Governor O’Malley Releases Final Report On Market-Based Approaches To Recovering Ecosystem Services
Governor Martin O’Malley today released a State assessment of ecosystem services and markets in Maryland, prepared by the Ecosystem Services Working Group. Expanding upon the group’s interim report released in January, this final report provides an overview of current market conditions and identifies changes in existing programs that, if implemented, will actively promote market-based activities, encourage private businesses and citizens to play a larger role in conservation and restoration, and improve the State’s ability to compensate for lost environmental benefits.
The word "ecosystem" comes from the word "ecological" – meaning the relationship between plants, animals, the physical world, and humans – in a given environment, or "system." Ecosystems include forests, streams, mountain ridges, river banks, and wetlands, and provide for free essential life supporting "services" to human beings. These “Ecosystem Services” provided by nature include keeping our air clean, purifying our waters, preventing pollution and providing us the raw materials to create jobs and a strong economy.
And yet, we have for centuries undervalued and overused our natural capital.
We now face a point in time where the quality of our environment is diminished and we must either repair the damages and prevent further loss, or pay the consequences. In the State’s vigilant effort to find innovative approaches to restore and protect our treasured natural resources, as well as improve our economic and social opportunities, Maryland established the “Ecosystem Services Working Group” (ESWG). The charge of the ESWG is to assess and promote ecosystem services in Maryland, explore policy options and opportunities for market-based solutions, and provide a hub of informational resources.
Until we insert the true value of our environment into the way we do business and live, the Bay can never be truly restored and saved.
John Griffin, DNR Secretary
580 Taylor Ave
Tawes Building C-3
Annapolis, MD 21401