WCS Global Initiatives

Conservation Banking

As part of our overall strategy to achieve no net loss of biodiversity, WCS is working with governments and the private sector to explore and help create the conditions for the establishment of conservation banks.

Conservation banks require the existence of a national strategy or regulation requiring investors to follow the mitigation hierarchy and offset their residual impacts. A conservation banking system also requires the use of a monitoring system that provides a validated method to measure losses and gains of biodiversity and establish the units of exchange or tradable currency. The system creates a market-based mechanism that places a monetary value on biodiversity and ecosystem services. A conservation bank creates credits by putting new land under conservation through restoration of degraded habitats, or through improved land management. Developers can then offset their environmental impacts by purchasing credits at a price that reflects the Bank's cost of protecting biodiversity elsewhere.  For example, the State of Victoria, Australia uses “habitat hectares” to measure losses in which a comparison is made between different vegetation types. Credits are then created and traded in habitat hectares.