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Recent Program Publications

Publication Thumbnail: Charting New Waters Charting New Waters

Genevieve Bennett et al.

Program Contacts

Tundi Agardy - Program Director

Frank Hicks - Affiliated Financing Director

Christine Lanser - Program Associate



Photo by Tundi Agardy

The Marine Ecosystem Services (MARES) Program aims to protect crucial marine ecosystem services by harnessing markets and private sector investment, in order to complement conventional coastal and marine management and safeguard human well-being.

MARES targets the following four main objectives in promoting its overall goal of protecting marine ecosystem services:

  1. developing a solid foundation of understanding of marine ecosystem services and their economic value;
  2. elaborating best practices for the conservation of those services;
  3. communicating information about ecosystem services and the potential to effectively and efficiently protect them, in order to raise awareness and generate political will; and
  4. helping to build a community of practice for marine payment of ecosystem services (PES) and other innovative financing mechanisms.

In meeting these objectives, MARES uses analyses, assessments, pilot projects, and other tools to derive lessons learned from PES initiatives and to build capacity for marine ecosystem services protection.

The MARES Initiative presents a new focus for Forest Trends, building on the core work done by the organization in terrestrial ecosystems and conventional markets. It works with other Forest Trends programs and with the Katoomba Group and Ecosystem Marketplace to adapt their models in developing the conceptual underpinnings for marine PES markets and biodiversity offsets and to expand the global network of PES practitioners and experts to include the marine community.

Photo by Elisei Shafer

With the backing of Forest Trends’ experience and successes in facilitating the development of forests, carbon, and more recently water markets, the MARES Program of Forest Trends is poised not only to help build PES and biodiversity offsets markets in marine and coastal ecosystems, but also to bring Forest Trends’ full complement of expertise in helping connect land and marine conservation. MARES facilitates bringing all stakeholders, whether terrestrial or marine, concerned with a particular marine ecosystem service, but also strives to identify and engage stakeholders whose interests will benefit from the conservation of the targeted marine ecosystem service.

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