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H9. Business Models for Farm Land Ecosystem Services

Program for Engineering, Ecology, Agricultural Sciences, Economics and other students

Everglades Ecosystem Restoration is the largest and most ambitious environmental restoration project in the US history. The project includes restoring wetlands, lowering agricultural production, revitalizing water quality, reviving the habitats for endangered and threatened species. However, for south Florida ecosystems restoration solutions to be viable over their actual implementation time frame, these solutions must address problems Florida will face 50 years from now as well as the problems of today. The threats to the ecosystem are global, not just local - e.g. eliminating Florida farms (and thus reducing nutrients load flowing to Everglades) simply moves agricultural production overseas to nations using less environmentally-sensitive practices, substituting overseas agricultural for domestic production contributes to global environmental threats and thus yields no net ecological benefit at all.

Farms Ecosystem Services

By adding an ecosystem services components to the agricultural business model in Everglades Restoration Area, farm lands can serve both restoration and economic goals effectively and efficiently. Main objective of this practical program is to focus on developing sustainable systems that deliver both agricultural production and environmental services.

List of main tasks:

  • Investigate sustainable farming systems used elsewhere, evaluate theirs pros and cons;
  • Provide an initial environmental and economic assessment of the investigated area/properties;
  • Research a legislative framework for water, soil, nutrients, greenhouse gas, etc. trading by conserving the value of the farms land, as well as its continued capacity for production;
  • Suggest new farming systems that combine revenues derived e.g. from crop sales, waste by-products, carbon credits, water storage, nutrients removal, wildlife habitat, etc.
  • Prepare innovative financing mechanisms that can be used to jump-start markets for environmental services;
  • Evaluate ecosystem services components of agricultural business models to quantify environmental impacts criteria (such as Environmental Sustainability Index, Environmental Loading Ratio, Ecological Footprint, Green Biofuels Index, etc.)
  • Based on partnerships you'll cultivate, develop a pool of financial, conservation, and legal expertise;
  • Increase public awareness of the economic importance of ecosystem services and the impacts of their loss.

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Qualified and motivated students and young professionals have a chance here! Are you searching for a challenging program in fundraising area? Would you like to start your career in managing projects and daily affairs on sales and marketing of a graduate students’ organization? Then our program might be good match for you.

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