WASHINGTON, DC—Resources for the Future (RFF) today released a new installment of Resources Radio: “Green Growth That Works: Discussing Ecosystem Services with Lisa Mandle.”
In this episode, host Daniel Raimi talks with Lisa Mandle, a lead scientist at Stanford University’s Natural Capital Project who studies how to protect and enhance ecosystem services. Reflecting on key case studies from a book she co-edited, Green Growth that Works: Natural Finance Mechanisms from around the World, Mandle discusses how policy tools can ensure economic development does not come at the cost of ecosystem health. She explains how creative regulatory mechanisms and market incentives are being used globally to preserve fragile habitats, from watersheds to wetlands.
Notable quotes from the podcast:
- Natural resources as ‘natural capital’: “‘Natural capital’ refers to natural resources—our forests and plants and soils and waters and animals and everything out there that, if it’s managed well, can yield a stream of benefits to people that we call ‘ecosystem services’ … One way to think about it is that the natural capital is the stocks that then provide this flow of benefits.” (3:48)
- Unrestricted development can threaten ecosystems: “The US has a long history of losing wetlands to development. Traditionally, wetlands didn’t have such a great public image. People think about swamps, but wetlands actually perform really important functions in terms of reducing flood risk by slowing waters, absorbing waters, cleaning the water … There was a realization that [disappearing wetlands] was a problem and that the benefits of filling in wetlands for development projects often went to private companies.” (13:43)
- Challenges facing green infrastructure projects: “One of the things that’s pretty common with these green infrastructure approaches is that they’re newer, and they’re seen as riskier. Governments want something that’s tried and true. They know they’re going to get what they pay for, and green infrastructure isn’t always seen that way.” (26:15)
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