Financial incentives for large-scale wetland restoration: Beyond markets to common asset trusts

Elsevier, One Earth, Volume 4, 23 July 2021
Canning A.D., Jarvis D., Costanza R., Hasan S., Smart J.C.R., Finisdore J. et al.
Wetlands provide ∼$47.4 trillion/year worth of ecosystem services globally and support immense biodiversity, yet face widespread drainage and pollution, and large-scale wetlands restoration is urgently needed. Payment for ecosystem service (PES) schemes provide a viable avenue for funding large-scale wetland restoration. However, schemes around the globe differ substantially in their goals, structure, challenges, and effectiveness in supporting large-scale wetland restoration. Here, we suggest wetland-based PES schemes use common asset trusts (CATs) to build investment portfolios of wetlands across landscapes that sustain and enhance overall provision of multiple ecosystem services. CATs can meet the needs of multiple investors, permit bundled payments, and provide flexibility to invest in the restoration of numerous services/values, all using a coordinated, highly collaborative, prioritized, and transparent process. CATs would support financial viability, facilitate efficiency to reduce administrative burdens, and enable credibility and social licence building to restore wetland values and services globally.