Payments for ecosystem services is another important development for the world’s forests. While a market for forest carbon under the U.N. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) mechanism has been slow to materialize, it nonetheless indicates that the world is starting to pay attention to the services afforded by healthy ecosystems. These aren’t limited to carbon—forests provide water, help mitigate erosion, house biodiversity, and offer option value like diversified income streams relative to monocultures. Old-growth forests in particular are getting more attention as a conservation priority, being off-limits to conversion under zero deforestation commitments and with growing pressure from advocates to exclude them from exploitation under environmental certification initiatives like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
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