An interoperable Value for a voluntary biodiversity credit Unit

Value is the planet-wide value of preserving the ecosystem where the unit is located.

Not every ecosystem is created equal. If we apply biogeochemistry science to look at the planet as an organism, some ecosystems are organs (a liver or a kidney), some ecosystems are muscle, skin, or bones (Boston, 2008). The resources represented by biodiversity credits must be directed in order of planetary importance. Especially in the context of unequal access to scientific resources and advocacy for Indigenous Peoples and local communities guarding critical biozones.

Our planet has crossed 6 of 9 planetary boundaries (Richardson et al. 2023) we need urgent global triage on biodiversity organs. For example, biodiversity hotspots contain a high level of endemic species and have undergone greater than 30% destruction which makes them incredibly high-value for immediate protection (Kareiva and Kareiva 2017).

Figure: Global distribution of plant species richness (Pirinon 2024)

There are at least ~14 competing biome schemes for Value, all incomplete, most out of date and ranging from 14-504 ecosystem categories (Table 1). We have made a significant effort with reviewers to standardize this to something markets can use (Table 2)

In this unit, Value is determined by public data on global ecosystem value and threat (Ecosystem value), then normalized to Platinum, Gold, Silver, or Bronze for interoperability and market adoption (Ecosystem value normalization). BCPs may issue credits of different values depending on their segmentation.

Ecosystem value sources

To create a standardized metric of ecosystem value from the perspective of all species on the planet, we utilized 12 reputable public classification schemas.

Please note, this ecosystem normalization table is acknowledged to be incomplete. Even the most respected organizations (IUCN, National Geographic, Biodiversity hotspots, WWF and UNEP among others) have partially characterized datasets. We will not attempt to give a complete ecosystem value calculation and will instead utilize external resources to provide this ranking, acknowledging that future versions will have updated categorizations based on wider public review.

Table 1. Ecosystem value sources based on public data

Category Source





Inside a biodiversity hotspot

Within 50 km of a recognized hotspot

Within 100 km of a recognized hotspot

All other locations

Deforestation region 2020 - 2030

Deforestation region 2030 - 2050

Within 50km from gold region

No intrinsic ranking

Complexity Index ≥270

Complexity Index ≥90 and ≤ 270

Complexity Index ≥45 and ≤ 90

Any other value

High biodiversity, any carbon ranking

Medium biodiversity, any carbon ranking

Low biodiversity - high carbon

Any other ranking

50% probability of collapse within 50 years

20% probability of ecosystem collapse in within 50 years

10% probability of ecosystem collapse within 100 years

Any other probability

Categories Ia, Ib

Category II

Category III, IV, and V

Any other category

Critically endangered


Vulnerable or Near threatened

No intrinisic ranking

>1 species naturally occurs in project area and is Extinct in the wild (reintroduction) or Critically endangered

>1 species naturally occurs in project area and is Endangered

>1 species naturally occurs in project area and is Vulnerable

No intrinisic ranking

Ramsar Category I

Ramsar Category II

Ramsar Category III

No intrinsic ranking

Global 200 Ecoregions

Within 50km of a Global 200 Ecoregion

Within 100km of a Global 200 Ecoregion

All other locations

100% intact forest ecosystem with minimal human disturbance

75% intact forest ecosystem with moderate human disturbance

50% intact forest ecosystem with high human disturbance

All other values

Natural assets

Mixed assets

Cultural assets

All other locations

35 global priority places

Within 50km of a global priority place

Within 100km of a global priority place

All other locations

To date, many of the accepted ecosystem classification schemas are incomplete, or periodically updated. Given this limitation, within two competing values, projects can select the ecosystem value that best serves their project, but must provide justification for their selection.

An example value calculation for Colombia is provided here.

Ecosystem value normalization

Under this unit, projects should be segmented by ecosystem value, issuing units under only one category Platinum, Gold, Silver, or Bronze based on the following

Table 2. Ecosystem value normalization table.



1 hectare

1 month

VBCs issued from the highest density, highest-threat locations, ie priority hotspots, critically endangered ecosystems. This is the highest value VBC in terms of the number of species being preserved.


1 hectare

1 month

VBCs issued from high-density locations, endangered species, recognized hotspots. This is a high-priority location that may not have as much urgency as the platinum areas but is still very rich in terms of the species being protected.


1 hectare

1 month

VBCs issued from vulnerable areas but with lower biodiversity. Silver areas may still be pristine, but they are areas that naturally have fewer species living there due to the particular landscape. Silver areas can have significance because of their proximity (within 50 kilometers) to other higher-value biodiversity areas.


1 hectare

1 month

VBCs issued from all other areas. May be of lower concern or lower density of biodiversity. Preservation adds value in terms of biodiversity load, but does not represent planetary ecosystem targets.

Note that the relative monetary value of different value credits will be determined by the market demand for each type of credit and with market standardization, represent publicly-recognized priorities for preservation.

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