Nature Conservancy Team Publishes in 'Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment'

Steven Kraft, a member of The Nature Conservancy in Illinois’ science advisory council, co-authored a paper that was published in the August 2013 issue of "Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment."

September 30, 2013

Landowners play an important role in conservation, and the right incentives can help them help nature. Steven Kraft, a member of The Nature Conservancy in Illinois’ science advisory council, co-authored a paper published in the August 2013 issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment that explores how to make these types of conservation programs more efficient.

The paper, “How to Sell Ecosystem Services: a Guide for Designing New Markets,” examines how landowners are compensated for conservation practices on their property, how those existing systems can be improved, and what systems and processes should be established in the future. The paper focuses on six areas where the market can be streamlined to reap the most environmental benefits, which can include carbon storage, improved water quality, flood control, and increased wildlife habitat. It uses a floodplain restoration project as an example.

“This paper is important because it helps us understand what possibilities are available and what processes we can put into practice on working models around the state,” said Bob Moseley, the Conservancy’s Director of Conservation in Illinois.

Kraft co-authored the paper with Silvia Secchi, assistant professor of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale; Joe Fargione, Science Director for the North American Region of The Nature Conservancy; and economist Stephen Polasky, a member of the Conservancy’s Board of Directors. Through a gift from donor Brenda Shapiro, the Conservancy was able to fund Simanti Banerjee, then an economics graduate student at Pennsylvania State University, as a summer intern working on the formative research for this paper. Banerjee’s project involved reviewing payment for conservation practices, reviewing existing programs and proposing improved models for the future, and make recommendations for best practices moving forward.

Steven Kraft is an emeritus professor at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale’s graduate school, where he served as chair of the Department of Agribusiness Economics and director of the professional Science Masters in Advanced Energy and Fuels Management. His expertise includes watershed planning and restoration, the socio-economic aspects of land and water conservation, the effectiveness of conservation programs, and law and policy issues related to ecosystem services and agriculture.

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at

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