Experts and innovators meet to chart the future of ecosystem conservation The World Resources Institute (WRI) and the American Forest Foundation (AFF) co-host the 4th annual Ecosystem Markets Conference in Madison, Wisconsin, June 29 – July 1, 2011. Hundreds of experts, innovators, land owners, government officials, investors and academics will discuss how to make ecosystem markets work to conserve natural resources; followed by a field trip through Aldo Leopold’s backyard to see ecosystem services in action.

At a time when state and federal budgets for conservation are dwindling, ecosystems are being degraded and threats to natural resources are increasing, more market-driven solutions are necessary to open the next chapter in conservation. Through ecosystem markets, the many benefits that well-managed lands provide, such as clean water and wildlife habitat, are assigned a value that results in payments to landowners for providing these services. This win-win for the public and landowners is necessary to protect the planet’s natural resources.

The 2011 conference theme “Ecosystem Markets: Making Them Work” underscores the need for innovative thinking to bridge the gap between ecosystem market potential and reality. Participants will gather for two days of open-format meetings on topics including payments to landowners, policy and ethics, private investment, water quality, bioenergy, and more.

The conference will open with a video address by Harris Sherman, Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Senior representatives from the host organizations along with ecosystem services experts from around the world will participate in the conference and will be available for interviews.

4th Annual Ecosystem Markets Conference. Website:

June 29-30, 2011, conference sessions
July 1, 2011, field trip to working ecosystems and Aldo Leopold’s shack

The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club
1 W. Dayton Street, Madison, WI
(Free parking is provided for our conference group)

Media Highlights:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011
* 8:15 a.m. – Welcome and video address by Harris Sherman, Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, U.S. Department of Agriculture
* 8:35 a.m. – Plenary Session 1: The Current State of Ecosystem Markets
* 10:20 a.m. – Plenary Session 2: Policies to Support Ecosystem Services and Markets
* 12:40 p.m. – Lunch and preview of Green Fire documentary, hosted by the Aldo Leopold Foundation and followed by a Q&A session

Friday, July 1, 2011
* 8:00 a.m. – Field trip; See below for details. * Experts available for interviews during the tour

For the full conference agenda, visit

RSVP and Media Requests:

Amanda Cooke | AFF | | 202-463-2731
Lauren Cole | WRI | | 202-729-7736

Follow the Twitter conversation - #ecomarkets2011

Field Trip Information - PHOTO OPPORTUNITY

Tour the Leopold family shack and farm, and see sites conserved for ecosystem services through public/private partnerships, including the Leopold Waterfowl Production Area, Baraboo Oak Street dam removal site, and the Leopold Memorial Reserve constructed wetland. Detailed agenda:

July 1, 2011 from 8:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Meet at the Madison Concourse Hotel for bus departure.

Experts from WRI, AFF and other conference attendees will be available for interviews and photo opportunities during the Field Trip. Please contact Amanda Cooke or Lauren Cole to RSVP.

Thanks to the Aldo Leopold Foundation and the Sand County Foundation for their generous assistance in hosting and organizing the field trip.