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Conservation Markets and Nature-based Solutions


Conservation markets can help enhance environmental integrity and diversify Canada’s economy, generating new revenue lines for land-based producers and landowners. Stratos supported several projects in Alberta that focused on the potential establishment and use of conservation markets in the province. We also developed a business case for the use of Nature-based Solutions for carbon reduction and adaptation, geared to government and funding agencies. Nature-based Solutions are actions that could be taken within a conservation market to protect, sustainably manage and restore ecosystems.


In 2019-2020, Stratos worked collaboratively with the EcoServices Network group of leaders to assess the potential need for the use of conservation markets in Alberta. Conservation markets place an economic value on land and water assets and beneficial and best management practices through the buying and selling of environmental protection, management, and regeneration services. We conducted user needs assessment interviews with nearly 40 potential market actors and other experts to inform this work. We also supported the planning and reporting of the Grasslands Conservation Market Symposium held in Calgary in November 2019. Further, Stratos conducted a detailed literature review as well as interviews with ten experts to develop an information package on the potential use of Nature-based Solutions in Alberta.

Alberta Innovates

Conservation & Nature



Conservation Markets User Needs Assessment Report

The Conservation Markets User Needs Assessment report puts forward eight potential pilot projects within four natural assets (grassland landscapes, biodiversity, water quality and wetland landscapes):

  • Carbon sequestration through landscape conservation
  • Landscape conservation driven by agri-food industry standards certification
  • Landscape conservation driven by ESG reporting
  • Environmental products from lands using best management practices (hay)
  • Residual effects / biodiversity management
  • Water quality offsets
  • Conservation re-insurance for flood protection
  • Wetland conservation offsets
  • The report also identifies key design characteristics to reduce potential market failure, informed by interview participant experience and knowledge. The EcoServices Network has published a summary of the report; the full report is available upon request from the Network. This work advanced the identification of priorities and opportunities for conservation markets in Alberta.

    Business Case for Nature-based Solutions

    The business case for Nature-based Solutions identifies three broad interest areas in Alberta for the application of Nature-based Solutions to carbon reduction, adaptation and resilience:

    • Industrial environmental management
    • Municipal planning and infrastructure, and
    • Landscape and agricultural management.

    Each opportunity describes the potential fundable opportunity, the GHG reduction / climate change adaptation and resilience benefits, key co-benefits, key players, and existing assets and enabling mechanisms in Alberta. The information package informed funding opportunities from Emissions Reduction Alberta, which ran a $40 million Food, Farming and Forestry Challenge in 2020.

    For more information on Stratos’ work in Conservation & Nature, contact Barb Sweazey, Stratos Director of Organizational Effectiveness at bsweazey@stratos-sts.com