Ecosystem Services Program News

Duke Kunshan to Offer New Professional Degree in Environmental Policy

Duke Kunshan University will offer a new international master’s degree in environmental policy (IMEP) beginning in the fall of 2017. The four-semester, 16-course program is designed to meet the growing global need for leaders who are versed in both Chinese and international environmental issues and policies. Billy Pizer of the Sanford School and the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutionsis among the faculty members that spearheaded the program’s creation.

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News Tip: Expert Available on Private Investment in Natural Resources

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015

Presidential memo released today encourages private investment in conservation of  America’s natural resources.

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George Kelly to Speak at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

Resource Environmental Solutions, LLC (RES) is pleased to announce that George Kelly, Chief Markets Officer, will be speaking at Duke University’s day-long forum Leadership in a Time of Rapid Change: Envisioning Solutions to Environmental Challenges on October 22 on Duke’s West Campus in Durham, NC.

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U.S. Federal Government Sends Agencies to Bat — For Nature and People

A memorandum released last week by the White House Office of Management and Budget, Council on Environmental Quality, and Office of Science and Technology Policy recognizes the power all U.S. federal agencies hold to affect human lives by changing nature, and asks them to act like it. The Nicholas Institute's Lydia Olander and the Nature Conservancy's Heather Tallis write about how agencies will consider the value of ecosystem services in decision making on the Cool Green Science blog. 

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The Value Of Nature To Be Recognized In Every U.S. Federal Agency Under New Guidance

The Obama administration recently issued a memorandum instructing all federal agencies to incorporate ecosystem services and natural infrastructure into its development processes. The memorandum recognizes the fact that nature provides vital contributions to economic and social well-being that are often not traded in markets or fully considered in decisions, and it builds on efforts to “internalize externalities”, as economists put it, by making those value explicit. The connection between ecosystem services and human well-being isn’t a particularly new idea, reports Ecosystem MarketplaceMuch more recently, Duke University’s National Ecosystem Services Partnership released a guidebook that offers a framework on how to incorporate ecosystem services into federal resource management decisions.

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Our Impact: Harnessing Science to Inform Agricultural Policy, Carbon Markets

In 2008, policy makers were drafting a federal cap-and-trade bill that increased the likelihood that energy and fuel prices could rise. This, coupled with uncertainty surrounding whether agricultural offsets--an uncapped sector--would provide profitable benefits to farmers without harming production, sparked concern in the environmental and agriculture communities. In the tenth installment of a 12-part series highlighting the environmental policy impacts of the Nicholas Institute over its first decade, we describe how the Technical Working Group on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases was created to inform this debate.

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Mangrove Forests Help Keep our Heads Above Water—and Marine Protected Areas Help them Help Us

On Earth Magazine reports on a new study from Duke University researchers finding that conservation measures in Indonesia—home to the world’s largest area of mangrove forests—prevented the loss of around 35,000 acres of mangrove habitat between 2000 and 2010. By leaving these forests alone, about 13 million metric tons of stored carbon didn’t get released into the atmosphere. 

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Protected Areas Save Mangroves, Reduce Carbon Emissions

Protected areas not only keep significant swaths of Indonesia’s shrinking mangrove habitats intact, but also prevent emissions of carbon dioxide that would have been released had these mangroves been cleared, according to a study in the journal Ecological Economics. Published online, the analysis examined the success of protected areas between 2000 and 2010, finding that their use has avoided the loss of 14,000 hectares of mangrove habitat.

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Our Impact: First Comprehensive Estimate of Blue Carbon Losses Drives Policy

Learn more about the Nicholas Institute-led study that provided the first comprehensive estimates of global CO2 emissions from the loss of coastal marine ecosystems.

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Climate Capital: Assessing the Hidden Value of Coastal Ecosystems

The PLOS Student Blog reports on adaptation of a model proposed by Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions researchers Linwood Pendleton and Brian Murray, along with others, to put a monetary value on indirect value of coastal marine ecosystems. In the new effort, researchers were able to use that model to show a significant and positive impact of increasing the size of marine protected areas.

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