Ecological goods and services (EGS) are the natural outputs and processes that create health, economic or social benefits. In British Columbia, as in many other jurisdictions, agricultural operations tend to occupy portions of the landscape both high in biodiversity and supporting key ecological functions. Agricultural lands have therefore become a focus for the development of payment for ecological services (PES) programs. These are used as a means to reward private-land stewardship that restores or maintains EGS.
The Ecological Services Initiative (ESI) was established in 2009 to demonstrate and test the concept of PES schemes for agricultural producers. As a next step to advance support of EGS from agricultural lands, the British Columbia Agricultural Research and Development Corporation (ARDCorp) undertook a strategic review of the ESI. This review explored options for the future support of EGS from agricultural lands in BC.
UPDATE: The Ecological Services Initiative is now known as the “Farmland Advantage” Project.