Your land might be worth twice as much as you think. The emerging nature-positive economy is changing how land is valued and paying landowners who increase the amount of natural capital on their property.
Natural capital is similar to capital in the traditional economy. Instead of stocks, bonds, and factories, natural capital is trees, wildlife, and soil. The traditional economy already values some kinds of natural capital like the crops we eat or the timber we use to build houses.
But we all know that land is valuable for more than just what can be extracted from it. Incorporating natural capital into the global economy requires measuring and paying for the full suite of values that nature provides:
- Habitat – From the ecological importance of biodiversity to the recreational value of birding and hunting, quality habitat for wildlife can be enormously valuable. Land management decisions today can shape habitat quality for decades to come.
- Carbon – Both forest protection and tree planting are playing outsized roles in slowing climate change. The bigger trees grow, the more carbon they pull from the atmosphere.
- Water – Forests and fields play a surprisingly important role in the quality and quantity of water we drink. Did you know that much of New York City’s water comes from managed forests in the Catskills?
- Disaster Mitigation – Wildfires, flooding, and landslides can cause enormous damage. Prudent management of natural capital can decrease the likelihood and severity of some catastrophic natural disasters.
Some landowners are beginning to receive payments for their natural capital. You may have seen news stories about forest carbon projects or payments for habitat protection. The general structure of these programs is that landowners change their land management practices and receive payment for measurable natural capital outcomes that result.
The rules are still being written for this new sector of the economy. It’s an exciting but also a confusing time. Landowners face complex tradeoffs and can inadvertently lock in long-term liabilities depending on the natural capital program they choose to participate in.
NCX can help you navigate the nature-positive economy to find the right program for you and your land. Create a free account at NCX.com to discover the true value of your land.