Climate

Climate

We Provide What Leaders Need

 

Practical approaches to reducing carbon emissions


What's at Stake

 

Climate change is happening, and it’s impacting communities and ecosystems worldwide. Increasingly intense, more frequent extreme weather events too often wreak havoc on communities, especially low-income populations. Some communities are being forced to relocate as coastal land loss and floods destroy homes and infrastructure. Others are seeing droughts and fires diminish their water supply and scar landscapes.

It’s time that we made a concerted global effort to mitigate these effects. Reducing and preventing greenhouse gas emissions is crucial. Our work helps decision makers understand and protect the natural systems that sequester and store carbon and supports industries and cities in finding alternatives that reduce carbon emissions.


Our Approach

 

Protecting and Stewarding Natural Systems That Store Carbon

Many elements of the natural environment store carbon – forests, soil, plants, oceans – and it is critical that we protect and steward these assets. At Earth Economics, we assess and inform sustainable land use practices that support carbon storage. Our analyses help decision makers to make the best choices for climate mitigation efforts, whether that be preventing deforestation or improving agricultural practices to reduce carbon.  

 

Reducing Industry and Urban Areas' Dependence on Carbon

We work with industry leaders to determine the best, most cost-effective low carbon alternatives to industrial processes, from alternative fuels or renewable energy to supply chain improvements. Our comprehensive benefit-cost analyses provide compelling evidence that enables the strongest decisions to help our partners move away from carbon as quickly as possible.

 

Forests

Forests

We Provide what Leaders need

 

Solutions to maximize carbon capture and biodiversity

Forest management and watershed protection alternatives

Strategies for promoting forest health and resilience


What's at Stake

 

Forests are some of our most valuable natural assets, but their many benefits, from providing habitat and sustaining biodiversity to offering gorgeous recreational spaces and contributing to health and well-being, are too often taken for granted. Human development and climate change pose increasing threats. Global agricultural demands are driving deforestation, and fires, droughts, and invasive species are damaging our precious resources. Yet forests are truly resilience anchors – the healthier a forest is, the better able it will be to withstand climate change. We're working to address the challenges to forests and protect these valuable resources.

Photo Credit: Miguel Vieira via Flickr

Photo Credit: Miguel Vieira via Flickr


Our Approach

 

Raising Awareness of the Value of Forest Ecosystems

Communities and decision makers are often simply unaware of forest ecosystems’ full value. We work to provide a big picture look at forests and their broad benefits – from large-scale impacts like influencing climate to local benefits like recreational opportunities, habitat, and water filtration. Our analyses identify and monetize the benefits that forests offer, demonstrating just how much forests are worth so that decision makers can make the best choices about how and where to invest.

 

Influencing Mitigation Funding

We work to influence funding to promote sustainable management practices that reduce flood, fire, drought risks, and we also assess damages after they have occurred. With our assessments, communities can better understand and mitigate catastrophic losses from disasters.

 

Freshwater

Freshwater

We Provide What Leaders Need

 

Frameworks for sustainable water capture and allocation

Strategies to fund watershed restoration

Assessment of costs and impacts of water contamination


What's at Stake

 

Our health and well-being depend on a clean, abundant water supply – from drinking water to agriculture and business needs, we can’t live without it. Healthy watersheds also support biodiversity and help maintain resilient, productive ecosystems. Many of our water sources are threatened by drought, depletion, pollution, and development. It is high time that we started shaping policy and planning to tackle these challenges.

Photo Credit: Pascal Walschots via Flickr

Photo Credit: Pascal Walschots via Flickr


Our Approach

 

Raising Awareness of Healthy Watersheds' Value

A full understanding of a watershed's value drives the kind of investments that will support conservation and restoration and promote healthy, functioning watersheds. We support decision makers with a clear picture of their watershed's value and lead workshops and outreach to educate stakeholders about the critical connections between watersheds and resilient communities.

 

Informing Policy and Planning for Freshwater Ecosystems

From evaluating the benefits and costs of dams to investigating the impacts of green infrastructure investments, we help stakeholders understand their options when it comes to planning and policy for watersheds.

 

Advancing accounting and Finance Strategies to Support Investment in Freshwater Ecosystems

Although watersheds and aquifers are some of our most important assets, current accounting standards don't capture the value of natural assets or ecosystem services like water filtration and supply. We're working to change that. When accounting and finance strategies advance, we'll be able to allocate greater public investment to forested watersheds and green infrastructure, improving water policy and securing a clean water supply for the nation.

 

Oceans

Oceans

WE Provide What Leaders Need

 

Strategies to restore estuary health

Sustainable fisheries management frameworks

Assessment of marine habitat protection alternatives

 


What's at Stake

 

Oceans and natural coastal areas are remarkably beneficial to humans – providing fisheries for food supply, supporting livelihoods through coastal recreation and economic activity around ports, stabilizing our climate by sequestering and storing carbon, and buffering communities from storms and disasters. But risks to oceans and coastal areas are growing. Ocean acidification and nutrient pollution impact shellfish populations. Warmer water temperatures have damaged coral reefs, causing recreation and tourism to falter. Population growth is driving development pressure along shorelines as people seek beautiful places to live and recreate. There is an ongoing battle between preserving nature’s storm mitigation capabilities and maintaining people’s property values and development rights. Our marine work focuses on the complex interface between the natural marine environment and local communities by identifying oceans’ and coastal areas’ contributions to local communities and the economy.

Photo Credit: MinJae Kim via Flickr

Photo Credit: MinJae Kim via Flickr


Our Approach

 

Supporting Coastal Restoration

Coastal areas are a key interface between people and the environment. When intact, they are remarkably effective at protecting land and communities from hurricane winds, storm surge, and other hazards. Dunes, wetlands, mangrove forests, and other natural features all provide protection. We work to build an understanding of these critical areas and provide communities with options for funding coastal restoration.

 

Informing Management Policy for Oceans and Coastal Areas

We use systems analysis of policies and projects to identify opportunities to protect and preserve natural marine environments while balancing economic and social outcomes. From informing shoreline master planning processes to helping communities justify Marine Protected Area designations, we provide information that helps communities make the best decisions regarding their marine assets. As we build sustainable outcomes for local communities, we leverage these examples to inform regional and national policy and effect change at scale.

 

Photo Credit: finchlake2000 via Flickr

Photo Credit: finchlake2000 via Flickr

Working Lands

Working Lands

We Provide What Leaders Need

 

Assessment of best practices for sustainable production

Funding strategies to restore ecosystem health

Quantified benefits of working lands to the local economy


What's At Stake

 

Working lands are foundational to our economy and quality of life, whether they support agriculture, animal production, or forestry. But population growth and accelerating urban development are increasing the pressures on working lands, and current management practices are aggravating the issue - most are simply not sustainable. Working lands are a major part of our landscape - the way we manage these lands is critical and has far-reaching impacts. Our working lands must be managed using best practices that support healthy ecosystems and sustainable production for our communities.

Photo Credit: Richard Hurd via Flickr

Photo Credit: Richard Hurd via Flickr


Our Approach

 

Promoting Farmland Preservation

We support communities in advocating for farmland preservation, especially along rapidly developing suburban fringe areas. In assessing the economic value of farmland, we look at value beyond just agriculture – farmlands are inextricably tied to cultural heritage and a way of life, and they provide services like pollination, carbon sequestration, and flood risk reduction. We work with stakeholders to value their land and identify funding mechanisms for long-term stewardship.

 

Informing Best Management Practices

At Earth Economics, we conduct economic assessments of management practices so that land managers understand the complex relationships between healthy working lands and nearby communities. We assess the environmental and financial benefits of agricultural practices so that stakeholders can make well-informed decisions about where to invest and how to manage lands. We help forestry managers find a balance between extracting timber and keeping ecosystem services like water supply and wildlife habitat intact. Our data helps managers develop sound, long-term management strategies that support ecosystems and communities.

 

Banner Photo Credit: Mary Stephens

Communities

Communities

We Provide What Leaders Need

 

Nature-based solutions to support community resilience, job creation, and equity


What's at Stake

 

For too long, cities and towns have grown and developed without fully understanding and accounting for their natural surroundings. We’re working to change that. Truly resilient communities incorporate nature in planning and understand that a healthy environment underpins a robust economy and strengthens equitable communities. We help local leaders understand the links between a healthy environment and public health, jobs, disaster mitigation, recreational opportunities, and critical resources like water supply. With this understanding, leaders are empowered to set policy and establish funding mechanisms that afford environmental protection at the geographic and financial scale required to protect communities. 

Photo Credit: liz west via Flickr

Photo Credit: liz west via Flickr


Our Approach

 

Supporting communities’ climate adaptation efforts

Communities are facing more frequent and intense disasters like flooding and wildfires. We help to identify and manage the risks (financial and environmental) to communities and craft long-term, cost-effective natural infrastructure solutions that provide protection, reduce losses, and minimize taxpayer expense.  Importantly, the burden of these disasters often falls upon low-income and minority residents. Our research and analysis identifies these important connections and proposes more sustainable alternatives.

 

Raising awareness of the value of trails, parks, and open space

Open space and recreational lands are remarkably valuable assets - they provide a wealth of benefits (like water supply, habitat, and enhanced real estate value), support economic development, and improve people’s quality of life. We assess the value of open space both at the urban fringe and in remote wilderness areas.

Our goal is to help communities conserve important public lands that provide co-benefits and improve residents’ quality of life through access to trails, parks, and open space and economic development through the recreation economy. The outdoor recreation economy plays an important role in the transfer of wealth from urban to rural communities, and it supports a more diverse industry based on smaller, more local actors. From Alaska to Washington State, our studies have supported the passage of recreation bonds and legislation that will sustain public lands into the future.

We also focus on the links between healthy ecosystems and human health. Access to recreational open space can lead to reduced health care costs and improved physical and mental health, not to mention increased productivity in the workplace. People need access to nature, and we help communities find solutions to support these critical resources.

 

Improving floodplain management

Naturally functioning floodplains provide important benefits such as flood risk reduction, storm buffering, improved water quality, habitat, and groundwater recharge. Historical development within floodplains has harmed many natural functions and increased the damages to homes and communities. We work with communities and policy makers to rethink the way we plan and manage floodplains. From supporting integration of ecosystem services in FEMA’s benefit-cost analysis for mitigation projects to informing projects that resulted in rebuilding natural floodplains, we work towards solutions that support resilient communities and healthy ecosystems.

 

Photo Credit: Louisiana Governor's Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management via Flickr