WIT Press


Alberta’s Drive To Use Market-based Instruments For Ecosystem Services Provision

Price

Free (open access)

Paper DOI

10.2495/SI100191

Volume

134

Pages

12

Page Range

215 - 226

Published

2010

Size

304 kb

Author(s)

G. L. Kerr & H. Bjornlund

Abstract

Governments globally are struggling to reverse negative trends of decreased ecosystem function. Due to their nature as landscape drainage ‘sinks’, aquatic ecosystems are particularly in jeopardy. In response to some of the significant impacts on land and aquatic ecosystems, the province of Alberta (Canada) has recently introduced institutional, legislative and policy initiatives explicitly promoting ecosystem services (ES) production through market-based instruments (MBIs). This paper presents a brief account of the current state of aquatic ES knowledge and use in Alberta. Further, the paper explores the critical role that property rights play in MBIs, as a design criterion and applies this to the key legislation and policies in Alberta that currently enable MBIs. With few MBIs currently enabled, this paper evaluates the property rights regime for one MBI, the current water market in southern Alberta. The strengths and weaknesses of the property rights for water transfers provide some lessons for Alberta as it implements new MBIs for ES provision. Keywords: ecosystem service, market-based instruments, property rights, water markets. 1 Introduction Governments globally are struggling to reverse negative trends of decreased ecosystem function. Due to their nature as landscape drainage ‘sinks’, aquatic ecosystems are particularly in jeopardy. The Ecosystem Services (ES) approach has evolved from this struggle [1]. The complex nature of ES has promoted a number of governments to look beyond their current ‘command and control’

Keywords

ecosystem service, market-based instruments, property rights, water markets