Protecting watershed services

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A new report by the nonprofit Forest Trends reveals that, as soaring temperatures and rapid urbanization threaten water security, countries are beginning to invest in the protection and preservation of their water sources.

The report analyses payments for watershedservices, i,.e voluntary (generally) agreements that seek to link upstream land use and management with downstream water use and management to realize benefits for upstream and downstream users.

Such investments in watershed services can be cost effective while financing conservation at the same time and providing a new revenue source for rural communities.

The report cited 205 watershed programs—up from 103 in 2008—that in 2011 generated $8.17 billion in investments, an increase of nearly $2 billion above 2008. About 91 percent of all watershed investments made in 2011 happened in China.

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