Forest Trendsâ€™ water initiative aims to bring effective and equitable investments for watershed services solutions at scale in order to widely realize this innovative and critically important approach to the global water crisis. Investments in watershed services (IWS) foster efficient use and management of the worldsâ€™ natural infrastructure through the use of market-like mechanisms.Â The concept of IWS is not new, but Forest Trends wants to work towards making IWS reach its full potential. They envision a world in which IWS is implemented widely, with many demonstrable benefits, and is considered a key tool in the toolbox of every decision-maker tasked with meeting the water crisis.
Forest Trendsâ€™ project addresses the challenges to IWS through a three-part, integrated approach to achieving IWS at scale.Â The design of this project is based around investments in natural water infrastructure through economic incentives and market-based mechanisms.Â Forest Trends understands that scaling IWS can only succeed if the expanding community of practice includes and encourages interaction among stakeholders with differing levels of expertise and engagement. The three principle pillars of Forest Trendsâ€™ approach are:
- Development of a portfolio of demonstration projects in Peru, Mexico, Bolivia, Brazil, Ghana and China that provide opportunities for refining, proving, and scaling up the concept of IWS across diverse watersheds;
- Creation of a set of original and external analytical resources and tools that will broaden the accessibility of IWS while also increasing its effectiveness across economic measures; and
- Recruitment, convening, and expansion of a community of practice that will increase the visibility of IWS and its use as an essential tool for solving the global water crisis.
Using a market-based system to scale up IWS will also help alleviate poverty through healthy ecosystems and sustainable livelihoods.Â This cross-sectoral collaboration can help benefit local communities experiencing the effects of watershed degradation and the resulting loss of ecosystem services.Â The development of Forest Trendsâ€™ approach to this problem may also benefit others who are tasked with addressing the water crises. Forest Trendsâ€™ focus on demonstrating scalable models, building a connected global community, leveraging lessons across different projects, and creating an accessible, practical toolbox for all stakeholders is designed to break through this scaling challenge.