How Markets Can Make a Difference in Forest Conservation

BY: Guilherme Valladares, 2008 Kinship Fellow Originally Brazil’s Atlantic Rainforest covered more

WEBINAR: Catalyzing Community-led Marine Conservation

Seeing is Believing: Catalyzing Community-led Marine Conservation by Demonstrating the Economic Bene

Catch Shares: Challenges and Successes

In this Q&A, Kate Bonzon, Senior Director, Knowledge and Solutions, Oceans – Environmental

 

How Markets Can Make a Difference in Forest Conservation

October 15, 2014 in Carbon, Mechanisms for Market-based Conservation

BY: Guilherme Valladares, 2008 Kinship Fellow

Originally Brazil’s Atlantic Rainforest covered more than 1.3 million km², an area larger than the state of California, but today less than 7% of this superbiodiversity-rich biome is left standing. Known for its 25 species of primates, 20 of which are endemic to the area, the Atlantic Rainforest is designated as a conservation hotspot. The remaining forest is extremely fragmented, and it continues to suffer from deforestation and forest degradation with the encroachment of millions of people living in its surroundings.

The Recôncavo region of Bahia state, where I and at least four generations of my family were born, was once covered by this lush forest. Since the 17th century, the forest has been converted into sugarcane and tobacco fields, cassava and other subsistence crops, and pasture fields.

“Presently, one of the most pressing factors contributing to the slow and steady degradation of the forest fragments is the use of wood as fuel for domestic cooking.”

Presently, one of the most pressing factors contributing to the slow and steady degradation of the forest fragments is the use of wood as fuel for domestic cooking. In the 33 counties that form the Recôncavo region, more than 100,000 households still depend on wood to fuel their stoves daily. Every day thousands of gatherers go into the forested areas to collect wood, and cook their meals over smoky, open fires.

Since 2001 we have engaged in many efforts to understand and reduce forest degradation in the region, and we have found a very effective and fast-result action that is now benefiting thousands of households: the introduction of improved cook stoves. By substituting rudimentary, open fires with efficient and robust stoves we reduce up to 60% of the wood removed from our forest fragments.

“ … we have found a very effective and fast-result action that is now benefiting thousands of households: the introduction of improved cook stoves.”

Valladares, Guilherme (2008)We have already substituted stoves in 6,000 households, and are now starting our second initiative, extending to another 6,000 households over the next three years. This effort is improving the lives of more than 40,000 people, especially women and children, who are generally the ones collecting and cooking with wood.

In 2010 our project design was the first initiative of its kind in Brazil to be validated by the Gold Standard to operate in the carbon market. The first independent verification occurred in 2012, for offsets totaling 98,000 tons of CO²e, and early this year our first carbon credits were issued and retired in the name of our client on the Markit Environmental Registry. Our second project design was validated in September of this year, allowing for the reduction of another 98,000 tons of CO²e.

” … early this year our first carbon credits were issued and retired in the name of our client on the Markit Environmental Registry. Our second project design was validated in September of this year, allowing for the reduction of another 98,000 tons of CO²e.”

Field operation requires accessing hundreds of remote, rural communities across the region. The logistics to transport materials and personnel are challenging, and may include trucks, tractors, wheel barrows, bicycles and pack animals. Stoves are built on-site at each home by our masons. After construction is completed, training and monitoring continues with hundreds of door-to-door visits and community meetings by our agents in the field.

All these results have been achieved with 100% funding from the proceeds of the carbon credit sales; we have not received any funds from philanthropy, private grants, or funds from the government or multilateral organizations. We are very proud of our fully market-based approach, which has forced us to work as a business with very lean operating costs, extremely reduced administrative expenses, firm timelines, and concrete, independently-audited results.

We are aware that many other efforts are needed to protect our forests. Nevertheless, traditional conservation efforts have failed over the last decades of intervention by big international NGOs and government agencies. Millions of dollars have been spent with no, or very few, measurable results. We feel that our success, based on a local and pragmatic approach, serves as an example of how markets can make a real difference in forest conservation.

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Valladares, Guilherme_2Guilherme Prado Valladares (2008 Kinship Fellow) is the founder and CEO of Ambiental PV Ltd., and executive director of Instituto Perene, both based in Salvador, Bahia, Brasil. Guilherme holds a B.Sc. in Forestry and Natural Resources Management from the California Polytechnic State University, and an Executive MBA from the Fundação Getulio Vargas. As a professional forester Guilherme worked for Duratex, Brazil´s leader in fiberboard production and pioneer in FSC certification. Later as a consultant Guilherme has worked with companies like AngloAmerican, Arcelor Mittal, PwC, Odebrecht, and NGOs like The Nature Conservancy, Climate Care, Conservation International, Forest Trends, and CARE International. In 2011 Ambiental PV was selected by the World Finance magazine as the best forest carbon company in Latin America. As head of Instituto Perene, Guilherme helped secure the sales of two carbon credit contracts, and coordinates all field operations. In 2011 Instituto Perene was given a special achievement award by the U.S. EPA for the work with efficient cookstoves.  Guilherme is a happy family man, married to partner Renata Everett for 17 years, and a proud father of two boys, Pablo (16) and Francisco (8). He is fluent in English, Portuguese and Spanish.

WEBINAR: Catalyzing Community-led Marine Conservation

September 30, 2014 in Conservation Collaborations, Ecosystems & Biodiversity, Mechanisms for Market-based Conservation

sept2014_blueventures_v2_200x200Seeing is Believing: Catalyzing Community-led Marine Conservation by Demonstrating the Economic Benefits of Fisheries Management in Madagascar and Belize

Join Dr. Al Harris of Blue Ventures and Dr. Tom Oliver of the University of Hawai’i in a discussion of the economic benefits of periodic fisheries closures in Madagascar and the impact that these closures have had in catalyzing a groundswell of broader community-based marine conservation efforts throughout the country and further afield. Watch the webinar recording, view the tweet chat, and read speaker bios below!

 

 

WEBINAR: “Seeing is Believing: Catalyzing Community-led Marine Conservation.” from Kinship Conservation Fellows on Vimeo.

Speaker Bios:

HarrisDr. Alasdair Harris, Founder and Research Director, Blue Ventures

A marine ecologist with an unhealthy obsession for corals, Al has spent 14 years developing marine research and conservation initiatives in the Indian Ocean, and founded conservation organisation Blue Ventures in 2003.

Within Blue Ventures, Al is responsible for coordinating conservation programmes, leading an interdisciplinary and international team of scientists, educators and conservation practitioners. His work focuses on developing scalable solutions to marine environmental challenges, in particular pioneering market-based approaches that make marine conservation make economic sense to coastal communities.

Alongside his work with Blue Ventures, Al is a visiting post-doctoral researcher at the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute, a member of the World Commission on Protected Areas, a member of the Marine Stewardship Council’s Stakeholder Council, and a technical advisor to the United Nations Environment Programme’s Convention on Migratory Species Secretariat.

Al is recipient of the IUCN World Conservation Union’s Young Conservationist Award, winner of the Condé Nast Environment Award, an Ashoka Fellow, and a passionate ambassador of Australia’s penguins. His work developing sustainable business approaches for financing conservation has twice been commended by the UK Chancellor in the ‘Enterprising Young Brits’ awards, and was highly commended by HRH the Duke of Cambridge in the 2013 inaugural Tusk Conservation Awards.

Watch Al speaking at the Do Lectures, WWF’s 2013 Fuller Symposium, and the BBC’s World Challenge

OliverDr. Tom Oliver, Assistant Professor, University of Hawai’i

Dr. Oliver received his PhD from Stanford University in 2009, studying under Prof. Stephen Palumbi. His thesis work focused on the adaptation of reef coral and their symbionts to current and future environmental extremes. Since then he has served as a Post-Doctoral researcher at Stanford, researching genomic-scale expression in response to heat stress in corals, and as a Post-Doctoral Researcher with Blue Ventures Conservation, studying the biological, economic, and social effects of temporary fishery closures among the Vezo people of Southwest Madagascar. He now serves as a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Hawaiian Institute for Marine Biology, under Prof. Ruth Gates.

About Blue Ventures

Blue Ventures is a UK-based conservation organisation working to rebuild tropical fisheries with coastal communities. The organisation is committed to protecting marine biodiversity in ways that benefit coastal people.  Blue Ventures works in places where the ocean is vital to local cultures and economies, and where there is a fundamental unmet need to support human development.

Catch Shares: Challenges and Successes

September 22, 2014 in Ecosystems & Biodiversity, Mechanisms for Market-based Conservation

In this Q&A, Kate Bonzon, Senior Director, Knowledge and Solutions, Oceans – Environmental Defense Fund, talks about the catch shares program: the history, the challenges, and the successes.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.

At Environmental Defense Fund, I lead a team of experts dedicated to delivering cutting edge research and management options for fishermen and fishing communities. It’s our job to research what works, what doesn’t and share that knowledge with fishing communities that want a better future. We focus on the design and implementation of fishing rights, also known as “catch shares.”

I’m based in San Francisco and when I’m not in the office, you can find me enjoying the water—whether it’s walks on the beach, learning to sail or actually swimming in the Bay! I also love a day at the ballpark with my family or friends watching the awesome San Francisco Giants, and even better when they are in the World Series!

Q: What led you to an interest in fisheries management approaches?

I’ve always had strong ties to the oceans. Growing up, I spent my summers on Whidbey Island, near Seattle, where my mom’s family has vacationed in the same cabin on Useless Bay every year since 1949. That’s where I learned to crab, clam, and fish, and I have fond memories of walking the tide flats, exploring and enjoying the environment. And, I still return every year for at least a few days.

I realized I could actually have a career related to the ocean while in college. I took a class called “Fishing for Solutions” and was hooked! I learned about the real and complex challenges facing the ocean, but also about promising, effective solutions like catch shares, marine protected areas and sustainable labeling. These exciting new concepts coupled with my professor’s enthusiasm and breadth of knowledge inspired me to turn my passion into a career as well.

Q: Give us a snapshot of the historical context that led to the development of catch shares.

The world’s oceans were once considered so abundant with fish and marine life that we could fish harder and harder, and never deplete them. As human populations around the world increased—so did the taste for seafood—along with the advent of new and improved fishing technology and equipment. This has added increased stress on fish populations, generally resulting in dwindling wild fish stocks, decreasing catch and declining value to fishermen and communities.

In attempts to prevent such depletion, fishery managers often limited fishing effort by restricting the number of fishing trips or amount of fishing gear used. But the key drawback of “effort management” – and the reason these systems are an imperfect solution — is that reducing one measure of effort often increases other measures. For example, limiting the days a vessel can fish may lead to the use of bigger boats; limiting the number of boats may lead to the use of larger engines. The incentive to increase catch still remains because anything one fisherman leaves in the ocean could easily, and likely, be caught by another. There is no incentive for long-term stewardship.

But there is an alternative. All over the globe, we have seen examples of management systems that work, some based on thousands of years of experience and others recently implemented. Through extensive research, the common thread we discovered is that these systems provide fishermen with a long-term stake in the fishery, tying their current behavior to future environmental outcomes. By giving fishermen the privilege or right to a secure area or share of the catch, fishermen also retain the responsibility to conserve fish stocks and marine ecosystems and are subsequently rewarded by stable and healthy fish populations. Collectively termed “catch shares” more and more fisheries are trying to emulate these successful programs.

All over the globe, we have seen examples of management systems that work, some based on thousands of years of experience and others recently implemented.

Importantly, catch shares are flexible and can be custom designed to meet the different characteristics and goals of diverse fisheries. And they are. As of 2013, about 200 catch share programs are managing more than 500 different species in the waters of 40 countries.

If you’d like to learn more about catch shares, visit our Catch Share Design Center, the leading online resource for science-based information on catch shares. Another helpful resource is Google Scholar’s Catch Shares page.

Q: What are the greatest challenges in guiding a group toward implementing a catch share program?

ScreenHunter_02 Sep. 22 10.34Over the course of my tenure at EDF, I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with policymakers, fishermen, fishery managers and other industry stakeholders around the world—and nearly all of them want the same thing – a productive, profitable fishery that delivers fresh, good quality fish.

But, implementing a catch share requires change. And change is hard, especially when it is unknown.

That’s one reason we developed the Catch Share Design Manual, the first ever step-by-step planning guide for fishery managers, fishermen and practitioners. It draws on the experience of hundreds of fisheries in more than 30 countries and the expertise of more than 80 fishery experts around the world. It shows how other people have successfully made this change and highlights how many different communities have tailored catch share programs to meet their unique needs.

The manual has been successful. So successful that many stakeholders began asking for more fishery management tools and resources, which prompted my team to develop a comprehensive toolkit for designing and implementing catch share programs in a wide array of contexts.

Q: What are you finding to be the long-term outcomes of catch shares management?

Around the world, from small scale fisheries to large commercial fishing operations, well-designed catch share programs are increasing compliance with catch limits, decreasing bycatch and discarded fish, increasing revenues and cutting back fishing-related costs, showing that sustainable fishing has a breadth of great environmental and financial benefits.

A review of 345 fish stocks from around the world found that those managed with catch shares had significantly lower cases of overexploitation, or fishing more than the resource can bear, when compared to conventional management practices while another study found that catch share implementation can prevent, or even reverse, collapse of fisheries.

Catch shares have also been shown to stabilize the amount of fish caught as well as fish populations.  They provide fishermen more time and flexibility to choose when to take fishing trips. These factors make fishery management more certain and improve fishermen’s ability to plan more efficient and profitable business operations, while also making fishing safer.

Q: Where do you see yourself headed in the next few years?

I’ll never forget one of my first projects when I first started at EDF. I traveled up and down the California coast interviewing fishermen about their fishing experience and knowledge and include their insights into policy discussions. It didn’t take long for me to understand that most fishermen want to take of the resource, and even feel that it’s their duty to do so. But ineffective fishing policies were making that impossible while also hampering their businesses.

Ever since then, my on-going goal is to play a pivotal role in equipping fishermen and oceans stakeholders with the resources and knowledge they need to improve their businesses while also protecting biodiversity and ocean health.

Q: If you could eat any kind of fish for dinner tonight, what would you pick?

Living in the Bay area, I have access to some of the best taquerias in the country. And I frequent them often! I love a good rockfish taco and now I can enjoy them knowing that they are managed sustainably under the West Coast Groundfish fishery’s catch share program. In fact, the Monterey Bay Aquarium recently rated rockfish as a “Best Choice” option under their Seafood Watch Program—a seafood sustainability rating system.

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Bonzon, KateKate leads a diverse and talented team of experts to deliver cutting-edge scientific research, trainings and policy recommendations for innovative fisheries management.  Collaborating with policymakers, fishermen, fishery managers and other industry stakeholders, Kate is a pioneer in the development and design of catch share programs, a proven approach for ensuring sustainable fisheries. She has led the development of numerous tools to advance the approach, including the first step-by-step guide for designing and implementing catch shares (the Catch Share Design Manual). Over the course of her EDF tenure, Kate has advised governments, fishermen and other stakeholders in more than 30 countries on sustainable fishery management tools and policies. Prior to her work on catch shares, she helped conceptualize, design, and capitalize the California Fisheries Fund, which gives U.S. West Coast fishermen low-interest loans to facilitate their transition to sustainable fishing practices. Kate graduated from Stanford University with an M.S. in Earth Systems and a B.A. in Human Biology. She is a 2003 Kinship Conservation Fellow.

Creating a Market for Lionfish

September 15, 2014 in Economics and Business, Ecosystems & Biodiversity, Environmental Education, Mechanisms for Market-based Conservation

By: Jen Chapman (2014 Fellow)

In this interview, Jen describes what sparked her passion for the marine environment and how she works to create an active and diverse market for lionfish with Blue Ventures in Belize. This interview is part of a Fisheries Series this fall, featuring webinars as well as articles like on The Kinship Lens.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.

I consider myself extremely lucky to have been raised in Singapore and South Africa, and by parents who love travelling and the outdoors. My upbringing is definitely the source of my passion for the marine environment. I remember snorkelling on Malaysian coral reefs as a child, finding a hawksbill turtle that had died entangled in a discarded fishing net, seeing shark fins drying on lines in villages, and my heart breaking when I saw the fish that I loved to see on the reef, in live seafood restaurants’ aquaria.

As I became more interested in coral reefs and fisheries, I became appalled by the methods that are used to harvest these precious resources and the associated inequality in distribution of wealth. When I finished my biology degree, I returned to South East Asia to complete a coral reef conservation internship with Endangered Species International in the Philippines and then worked as a biologist and project manager for Ecofieldtrips.

Whilst exploring the fantastic biodiversity of the Coral Triangle, I realised that my passion lay in practical conservation work, and I had a strong desire to try living somewhere I had never been before. I was thrilled to start working for Blue Ventures in Belize in 2011 and have absolutely fallen in love with this beautiful country. Sometimes, I have to pinch myself when I bump into a manatee on a water quality monitoring trip, or whilst gearing up for an early dive at our field site, Bacalar Chico; a time often coupled with an unbeatable sunrise! I am based at our office in Belize’s largest fishing village, Sarteneja, and from the moment I got off the bus, I felt at home. That feeling has never left.

Q: The major hurdle in encouraging fishermen to catch and restaurants to source lionfish, is their venomous spines. How does Blue Ventures handle educating communities about this?

Fishers Workshop. Sarteneja Fishermen Association.

Fishers Workshop. Sarteneja Fishermen Association.

Since mid-2011, we have held regular lionfish safe handling demonstrations with fishers and often couple these with tasters and information booths for the general public. These events invariably start with a presentation reviewing the lionfish invasion, so that everyone understands the negative impacts this invasive fish has on Caribbean reefs, after which we pull out the first of many dead, whole lionfish. Our objective is to show that getting a lionfish market-ready is not so tricky, as long as you know the location of the venomous spines.

Most people are aware of the large dorsal spines, but the smaller spines located on the pelvic and anal fins are less obvious and are usually the source of a sting. We also place a heavy emphasis on the effective use of hot water as first aid, as well as the difference between poisonous (don’t eat) and venomous (don’t touch).

After the first demonstration, fishers in the audience are invited to try cleaning and filleting lionfish, and offered tasters of lionfish ceviche and empanadas. During our first events, people were very hesitant to try and some outright refused; now, fishers bring lionfish home to feed to their families.

Q: Lionfish has been featured on menus in Sarteneja, Belize for a few years now. Are you seeing interest from consumers outside that community? How is Blue Ventures working to increase demand?

Yes, definitely. We work to increase demand through media appearances, submitting articles to national newspapers, as well as holding regular taster events. We are aiming at expanding our social marketing campaign to include roadside banners, t-shirt distribution, and radio adverts. We also partner with the Southern Environmental Association to conduct an annual lionfish culling derby, an event that always gets people talking about lionfish.

I suppose, in reality it’s quite simple – at every opportunity, we are there talking about lionfish, giving out tasters, playing lionfish themed games, and wearing lionfish t-shirts! To help restaurants in selling this relatively new food item, we provide marketing assistance in the form of posters, table tents, and menu inserts encouraging the consumer to try this delicious and environmentally sound seafood choice.

Q: What are the major advances you’ve seen in the last year or so in your project?

Lionfish Catch. Photo by Lee Mcloughlin.

Lionfish Catch. Photo by Lee Mcloughlin.

In mid-2013, we partnered with a US-based seafood distributor, Traditional Fisheries, and Placencia’s fishing cooperative to facilitate the first international export of lionfish from Belize. All went smoothly, however a subsequent increase in shipping costs means that we have to find an alternative route to meet the international demand. Nevertheless, the first export did attract a great deal of media attention, and fishers began to deliver lionfish to the Placencia Cooperative for distribution nationally.

In 2014, seeing an increase in demand, we partnered with the Sarteneja Fishermen Association to train another 32 fishers on lionfish safe-handling and to develop fisher-restaurant partnerships. Over the last month in particular, we have seen a huge increase in the number of fishers targeting lionfish, which they are selling to restaurants around Belize.

As of September 2014, lionfish can be found for sale in all six districts in Belize, and more restaurants are reaching out to us to develop partnerships with fishers. That’s not to say there isn’t still work to be done; we want to see lionfish in all restaurants in Belize, and eaten in homes across the country! We’re in the process of collecting data from restaurants to get an estimate of current turnover – a figure I’m excited to see. Another interesting development has been lionfish jewellery production, which has boomed in the last six months.

Q: Are you willing to share your favorite lionfish recipe?

Photo by Gordon Kirkwood.

Lionfish ceviche. Photo by Gordon Kirkwood.

I can never get enough lionfish ceviche – and it’s so easy to make! Raw, cubed lionfish fillet is marinated in a delicious concoction of tomato, onion, cilantro and lime – the lime cooks the fish, so when you see it has turned white, you know it’s ready.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interested in learning more about Blue Ventures’ work with lionfish? Check out the resources below.

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Chapman, Jennifer - photoJen Chapman is the Country Coordinator for Blue Ventures in Belize, where she has led the development of research and conservation programmes since 2011. A key part of this has been leading the promotion of market-based strategies to address invasive lionfish populations, including the successful development of international export and domestic markets. Prior to working in Belize, Jen was based in Singapore, where she was responsible for developing and leading educational fieldtrips throughout South East Asia, specialising in marine biology, conservation and environmental education. She received a Bachelor of Science with honours in Biology from the University of Southampton in the UK, where she subsequently worked as a research assistant investigating the environmental sustainability of bioenergy crops. Jen believes passionately that innovative, sustainable, market-led approaches are required to solve problems of depletion of marine resources – the recovery of which are inextricably linked to human health, wealth and happiness.

Addressing Problems Around the World

September 4, 2014 in About Kinship, Carbon

By Andrew Goldberg, 2014 Kinship Fellow

Andrew introducing himself to the group on Day 1 of Kinship Fellows.

Andrew introducing himself to the group on Day 1 of Kinship Fellows.

I’m back in Asheville after spending July in Bellingham, Washington as a 2014 Kinship Conservation Fellow. I’ve returned to work at Dogwood Alliance with a new appreciation for the global nature of environmental problems, the diverse tools used to achieve conservation success, as well as many great new friends from my wonderfully diverse cohort.

While I originally viewed the fellowship as a way to deepen my understanding on the workings of conservation through forest carbon like our Carbon Canopy work, the program took me on a deep dive into tools used to address problems across the world.

” … the program took me on a deep dive into tools used to address problems across the world.”

norbu_andrew

Norbu and Andrew and other Fellows from the 2014 Cohort.

For example, my new friend Tsering Norbu from the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, who founded and leads the Pendeba Society, which is focused on environmental conservation of the high plateau around Mt. Everest, preventive health care and eco-tourism income generation from the growing number of Chinese and international tourists coming to visit the Everest region. His work is about as different from Dogwood’s work with the forests of the US South as it can be. Norbu told me about his project to address the loss of wetlands on the Tibetan high plateau by teaching local people to build their livestock corrals from stone instead of using traditional turf corrals where the turf had been historically dug up from the scarce and ecological valuable wetlands. In addition to protecting their water security, the new stone corrals last for many years instead of the short-lived turf construction.

Another key takeaway for me was that so many of the world’s environmental problems are more properly construed as social problems. For example, forests are cut down, not to make money, but instead to provide heat and fuel for a family in need. Therefore social solutions like economic development to alleviate poverty or a technical fix like the introductions of more responsible charcoal production are truly critical. Thankfully, while there are certainly many in need, we do not experience that kind of poverty across our region.

Beyond Tibet, there were sessions on water markets, carbon markets, biodiversity offsets, and more. The Kinship cohort came to the program with projects from around the world, like Jen Chapman’s stopping invasive lionfish through commercial fishing in Belize, and Greg Martindale’s supporting economic development in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa by developing markets for wild-raised game meat produced on game farms, etc.

2014 Cohort (Taken by Matthew King at WWU)

The 2014 Cohort.

Back in Asheville, I am working with our Carbon Canopy partners and the Dogwood team to analyze our progress to date on our 12,500 acres forest carbon pilot projects as well as our 2,100 acres in development. The new ideas and examples I learned at Kinship weave into our at Dogwood work as well. And metaphorically, I will be working alongside my global Kinship cohort. Building new markets for ecosystem services like forest carbon is hard, particularly when, like here, the system of exploitation for forest products is so deeply ingrained in the region’s economy and culture. But we will persevere and come together to make our work more effective and strategic.

Thanks Kinship.

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Andrew Goldberg is an attorney who serves as Dogwood Alliance’s chief corporate negotiator and point person for large corporate paper consumers working to develop and implement environmental paper procurement policies. His focus is on forest products supply chain sustainability, corporate social responsibility and emerging market tools for forest conservation. A former Appalachian thru-hiker, he now logs miles chasing his children. He was a 2014 Kinship Conservation Fellow.
This article was originally posted on the Dogwood Alliance blog.

WEBINAR: From Sea to Fork

August 29, 2014 in Conservation Collaborations, Economics and Business, Ecosystems & Biodiversity

From Sea to Fork: How Industry Collaborations Drive Change in Sustainable Seafood from the Net to Your Table

 aug2014_seatoforkThis webinar explores two distinct yet complimentary organizations’ roles within the sustainable seafood movement: Sustainable Fisheries Partnership and Shedd Aquarium’s Right Bite program. Participants learn about the operations, scope, and mission of each and get an insider’s perspective on how collaboration between partners such as Shedd and SFP is vital to the success and growth of the sustainable seafood movement.

Aislinn Gauchay of Shedd and Kathryn Novak of SFP demonstrate how all players in the market – from NGO’s to consumers, and distributors to fishermen – must be committed to sustainability for there to be true and lasting change in the seafood industry.

 

WEBINAR – From Sea to Fork: How Industry Collaborations Drive Change in Sustainable Seafood from the Net to Your Table from Kinship Conservation Fellows on Vimeo.

Webinar Presenter Bios:

Headshot gauchayAislinn Gauchay, Manager, Great Lakes and Sustainability, oversees the strategic management, organization and implementation of the Great Lakes and Sustainability department and Shedd’s environmental initiatives, including: Great Lakes conservation, sustainable seafood, and general sustainable practices. Gauchay engages with diverse audiences from the Great Lakes community to build issue awareness and to position Shedd as a trusted voice and conservation leader. Gauchay also manages the Midwest’s leading sustainable seafood initiative, Right Bite, working with thousands of individuals, families and culinary professionals to increase the availability of sustainable seafood in Chicago’s vibrant marketplace. Gauchay began her career at Shedd in the Development Department as the Coordinator of Donor Relations and Special Events where she executed over 100 events annually including the Auxiliary Board’s primary fundraising event BLU.  Aislinn’s transition to conservation began when she became co-trip leader of Shedd Aquarium’s Iguana Research Expedition in the Bahamas in 2011 and 2012.  Aislinn was a member of New York University’s archaeological excavations team in Egypt’s Dakhleh Oasis and graduated with honors from Illinois Wesleyan University with a B.A. in Greek and Roman Studies.

Kathryn NovakKathryn Novak is the Director of Buyer Engagement at Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP). She joined SFP in 2009, just two years into the organization’s existence, and helped to shape the development of what is now the Buyer Engagement Division. In that role, Kathryn has been the architect of much of the way that SFP approaches its corporate Partners. In addition to overseeing the Buyer Engagement team, she serves as the liaison to nearly a dozen of SFP’s largest partners, including Walmart, Sam’s Club, High Liner, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, and Publix Super Markets. She is responsible for helping them to develop and implement sustainable seafood policies, and works closely with their supply chains to coordinate engagement in fishery and aquaculture improvement projects. Previous to SFP, Kathryn began her conservation career at the Ocean Conservancy, where she worked with fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico to improve their fishing practices. Originally from Saratoga, New York, Kathryn has a B.A. in Communications from the State University of New York at Albany. She is based in Colorado.

WEBINAR: Business Planning Series – Revenue Models

August 21, 2014 in Economics and Business, Funding, Fundraising, and Finance, Leadership and Business Skills

july2014_biz2_emailerBuilding on the basics presented earlier this year, Ruth Norris, a member of the Kinship Fellows Faculty and executive coach and organizational effectiveness consultant, probes deeper into social sector business revenue models. Case studies represented by the work of Kinship Fellows: Arshiya Bose (2013), Sarah Charlop-Powers (2009), Scott Gillilan (2009), and Heather Webb (2009) aid in demonstrating models.

To see the first webinar in the Business Planning Series, click here.

 

 

WEBINAR: Business Planning Series Part 2: Revenue Model Case Studies from Kinship Conservation Fellows on Vimeo.

Norris, RuthRuth Norris is an executive coach and organizational effectiveness consultant whose clients include philanthropic foundations, bilateral and multilateral development assistance agencies, and social change organizations, particularly in the field of environmental conservation.  She has worked with the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation’s Organizational Effectiveness program, grantees of Resources Legacy Fund and the S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation and was a leader in the development of programs funded by the World Bank Global Environment Facility and USAID/Enterprise of the Americas Initiative establishing national environmental endowments in developing countries.

Her consulting practice focuses on managing organizational culture and teams, business and revenue planning, and entrepreneurial approaches to conservation and social change, including messaging and marketing.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and mass communications and a master’s degree in journalism. She has also completed extensive nondegree academic and practical studies in human and organizational psychology and behavior, as well as organizational management and leadership.  She is fluent in Spanish.

WEBINAR: State of the Voluntary Carbon Report

August 19, 2014 in Carbon

june2014_kincarbonJoin Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace in a webinar celebrating the release of findings from their State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2014 carbon markets industry benchmark survey. The webinar highlights 2013 trends in the voluntary carbon market and discusses how governments are tapping into the expertise of the voluntary markets in developing compliance emissions reduction programs. It describes in detail the motivations of voluntary buyers of carbon offsets and outlines which project types were most attractive to these buyers last year.

For the presentation slides, click here. For the webinar recording, see below. For more resources from Ecosystem Marketplace about the State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets Report, click here.

WEBINAR: State of the Voluntary Carbon Market Report from Kinship Conservation Fellows on Vimeo.

Ecosystem Marketplace, a project of Forest Trends, is a leading source of news, data, and analytics on markets and payments for ecosystem services such as water quality, carbon sequestration, and biodiversity. Ecosystem Marketplace’s Carbon Program produces a range of qualitative and quantitative analyses of the voluntary and forest carbon markets, as well as a suite of other mechanisms for financing forest conservation. Our products include original news articles, annual marketplace reports, periodic topical reports, news briefs, a resource library and tracking carbon offset projects. Additional activities occasionally include providing specialized market and policy consultative services, leading in-person and remote educational lectures and hosting regional to international events.

Ecosystem Marketplace works to link practitioners and decision-makers with each other and advises companies, governments and other NGOs on carbon/forest carbon market developments, transparency, social and environmental co-benefits and other mechanisms. For more information about Ecosystem Marketplace, a leading source of information and analysis on environmental markets and payments for ecosystem services, visit www.ecosystemmarketplace.com.

SPEAKER BIOS:

Molly Peters-Stanley

MollyStanley_Bio_PicMolly is Director of Ecosystem Marketplace, where she oversees the development of Ecosystem Marketplace’s industry-leading reports on payments for ecosystem services such as water quality, carbon sequestration, and biodiversity and leads donor outreach and fundraising efforts supporting Ecosystem Marketplace’s research projects. Previously, Molly analyzed voluntary and compliance carbon markets as a climate policy officer in South Australia’s Department of Premier and Cabinet, Sustainability and Climate Change Division. Molly received her Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College, School of Public Policy and Management. She pursued this degree as a Public Policy and International Affairs fellow.

Gloria Gonzalez

GloriaGonzalezphotoGloria is the Senior Associate in Ecosystem Marketplace’s Carbon Program where she reports and writes stories for the Ecosystem Marketplace and Forest Carbon Portal websites and is the co-author of the State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets and State of the Forest Carbon Markets reports. Prior to joining the Ecosystem Marketplace team, Gloria was the Americas Editor of Environmental Finance and Carbon Finance magazines. Gloria graduated from Syracuse University with a dual degree in magazine journalism and political science.

Russian Protected Areas: The Polistovsky Reserve

August 11, 2014 in About Kinship, Eco-Tourism

By Elena Nikolaeva, 2013 Kinship Fellow

During the Kinship Conservation Fellows program in 2013, I had the opportunity to look at my work in a broader context, to focus on practical aspects of conservation, and to meet fantastic people who are truly passionate about making a difference in the world. The main emphasis of Kinship – market-based approaches – is quite a new topic for Russian protected areas (PA), and I was excited to dive deeper into this mysterious world at the crossroads of marketing and conservation.

The project I brought to Kinship the summer of 2013 aimed to introduce participatory approaches to conservation in Polistovsky Reserve, a raised bog area in Northwest Russia that protects wetlands of global importance. As with many other protected areas in the world, there are competing commitments at stake. The protected area is meant to conserve unique natural ecosystems, but local communities struggle to make a living on the same land (and tend to illegally use resources because they do not have an alternative livelihood). How do we solve this problem?

Restrictive measures alone, that have been used in our country for decades, don’t work here. While attending Kinship Conservation Fellows, I went on an exciting journey to explore different mechanisms that can make a difference – from encouraging development of sustainable cranberry harvesting, to fostering local social entrepreneurship, diversifying livelihoods, and even selling carbon credits. Many ideas were brought to the table during our small-group classroom discussions, consultations with experts, and evening drinks with my peers. In the end, I learned that there isn’t one recipe to solve the problem, and Kinship gave me a wonderful chance to learn from a number of practical case studies all over the world, and, from this cocktail, create something that will be relevant to our situation.

In the end, I learned that there isn’t one recipe to solve the problem, and Kinship gave me a wonderful chance to learn from a number of practical case studies all over the world, and, from this cocktail, create something that will be relevant to our situation.

A pivotal moment for me was when I realized that I need to go beyond ecotourism for a solution. In discussion during the month, I found that ecotourism provides only peripheral benefits to local communities and nature, and can’t be the only solution to the problem faced by the people I work with. This led me to consider different angles and alternative market-based tools in the various projects that I’m working on.

For example, this year I’m involved in a project focused on cultural landscapes and supporting the integrity of the land/people relationship. Russia has a system of “zapovedniks,” or protected areas with the most strict nature preservation rules (IUCN category Ia). This distinction protects huge wilderness areas with unique biodiversity, but even in these landscapes, the interaction of people and nature over time has produced areas of distinct character with significant ecological, biological, cultural, and scenic values. And, in many of the national parks, cultural landscapes are often the central theme. Safeguarding the integrity of these examples of people/nature interaction is vital for protecting and sustaining these areas and the values associated with them.

Many challenges present themselves: How can these biological and cultural assets be transformed into sustainable livelihoods through market-based conservation mechanisms? What are strategies to develop participatory approaches to sustainable tourism planning and management there? How is it possible to catalyze improvements in the legislation and governance of cultural landscapes? These questions are what makes the work really interesting, and they encourage me to explore various topics related to market-based conservation. I am constantly learning from the experience of other Kinship Fellows and experts as I find answers.

2013 Kinship FellowsNow when I look back to July 2013, a lot of wonderful memories come to my mind: our coaching sessions with Beatrice Benne and Ruth Norris, talks with outstanding international experts in conservation, role playing exercises in the classroom, peer-to-peer learning evenings, cultural cooking nights, sunsets in Bellingham, hiking and kayaking on our free days, and much more. This month inspired me for future challenges and gave me a priceless gift: amazing Kinship friends in different countries with similar goals, interests and attitudes toward the challenging work ahead.

 

Elena N, 2013 Kinship FellowElena Nikolaeva works with Russian nature protected areas to increase their capacity in environmental education, ecotourism and cooperation with local communities.  After graduation from the Geographical Department of Moscow State University, Elena has been working for a conservation NGO  – Center “Zapovedniks” – which conducts trainings for protected area managers. In 2009 Elena won a Fulbright scholarship to study at the University of Montana in the USA, where 2 years later she received her M.S. in parks, tourism and recreation management. Now she is involved in a number of conservation projects focused on sustainable tourism development in national parks and reserves of Russia. Elena is a World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) regional Vice-chair for Russia and CIS and an Executive Committee member of WCPA Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group. She is a 2013 Kinship Conservation Fellow.

Grounding Adaptive Leadership into Systems Thinking

June 24, 2014 in Leadership and Business Skills

By: Beatrice Benne (Kinship Faculty member)

As I am about to teach the Adaptive Leadership course with the Kinship Conservation Fellows 2014 cohort, I want to reflect on the importance of grounding adaptive leadership into systems thinking.  Here are three main reasons.

Perhaps the most obvious reason is that today’s conservation projects deal with complex adaptive social and ecological challenges that must be addressed holistically if one is to re-establish the harmony that has been broken between communities and their natural environments.  Adaptive leaders must be able to embrace and make sense of the whole complexity of their projects.  A systems thinking approach can help them understand the dynamic relationships between elements of their projects and how patterns form.  In contrast, reductionist methods that focus on analyzing parts of a system independently of one another can only address symptoms but not root causes.

Consider the case of the rehabilitation of a degraded watershed in China’s Loess Plateau: for years, various ministries and departments of the Chinese government worked independently of one another to address two related issues of the highly degraded Loess plateau: soil erosion, and poverty of millions of people struggling to feed their families.  The uncoordinated interventions, however, often worked at cross-purposes.  On the one hand, the livestock distributed to farmers ate the seedling trees provided by reforestation programs, further aggravating erosion and forcing farmers to plant crops on higher slopes.  On the other hand, the tree varieties that were planted were chosen for their capacity to stabilize the soil but not bear fruit, and thus did not generate a source of farmers’ income.  It was not until the problem was reframed through an understanding of the dynamic of the whole system, and the connection was established between the need to first improve farmer livelihoods and then address the ecological degradation, that the whole socio-ecological problem could effectively be addressed and Loess plateau regenerated in only six years.

A second reason for adaptive leaders to become systems thinkers relates to the importance of seeing patterns.  The pattern of behavior of a complex system is the emergent outcome of the dynamic interactions between the elements in that system.  While dynamic interactions that operate over time are often hard to understand, patterns, in contrast, are easily observable.   Uncovering a pattern can provide many clues of what is going on in a complex system and might launch a leader on a fruitful inquiry path.  For the team of experts who were tasked to find a solution to rehabilitate the Loess Plateau, the moment of insight came when asking a village chief why in his particular village, agriculture was flourishing (an uncommon pattern in the area).  The chief replied: “it is green down there because of the walnut trees up here.”  The village had chosen to plant walnut trees and had banned grazing.  The team realized that if things could grow in that area, nature could perhaps re-grow on the Loess plateau, assuming people could give it a chance by changing their behavior and value system—which brings us to our third reason.

A critical skill for adaptive leaders is the ability to uncover and check stakeholders’ assumptions, values, and belief systems.  In her well-known article “Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System,” systems thinker Donella Meadows explains that the most effective leverage point in a system is our mindsets or paradigms, out of which the structures of our systems are designed.  I often use the Sufi tale of “The Blind Men and the Elephant” to show that, faced with a complex socio-ecological challenge, each stakeholder has a narrow and often imperfect understanding of the issues at hand due to deeply held beliefs.  To uncover what the ‘elephant’ really looks like (i.e., the adaptive challenge), an adaptive leader needs to help stakeholders work with one another, using a process of simultaneous inquiry and deep listening to challenge each other’s assumptions and mental models, until the beast shows its ‘true’ face.  When this happens, it’s like the blinders have been removed and people are able to see a situation with “new” eyes—a transformative change.

Benne, BeatriceBeatrice Benne, Ph.D., is the Founder and Principal of Soma Integral Consulting, which facilitates the resolution of adaptive challenges within the context of socio-ecological environments.  Beatrice brings to her clients a broad range of skills and expertise including a whole systems approach to organizational management, strategy, and change; transformative leadership capacity development; and creative approaches to addressing complex situations.  Beatrice also delivers regenerative design and development services to urban communities that want to become more sustainable.

Over the past 15+ years working in diverse organizational settings — from large corporations to startups — Beatrice has gained experience in facilitating change, leading process improvement projects, and creatively combining ideas from different fields for the design of strategic business solutions.  With her unique ability to combine rational analysis and perceptive intuition, Beatrice is able to successfully navigate the intricacy of highly complex organizational environments, while maintaining a sharp focus on the expected outcomes and performance of the projects and initiatives she leads.

Beatrice holds a M.Sc. and Ph.D. from the Department of Architecture at the University of Berkeley, California, USA, and a Diploma of Architect from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. She is a Kinship Conservation Fellows faculty member.