Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace is seeking a research assistant to support an ecosystem markets mapping project.

Duration: 10-15 hrs/week for 6-12 months; Stipend: TBD

About Ecosystem Marketplace

Ecosystem Marketplace, a project of Forest Trends, is a leading source of news, data, and analytics on markets and payments for ecosystem services (such as water quality, carbon sequestration, and biodiversity). We believe that by making accessible information on policy, finance, regulation, science, business, and other market-relevant factors, markets for ecosystem services will one day become a fundamental part of our economic system, helping give value to environmental services that, for too long, have been taken for granted. In providing free reliable market information, we hope not only to facilitate transactions (thereby lowering transaction costs), but also to catalyze new thinking, spur the development of new markets and the infrastructure that supports them, and achieve effective and equitable nature conservation.

Position Description

Ecosystem Marketplace is seeking a well-organized and self-motivated individual to support a project developing a mapping tool on ecosystem markets in the United States. The project objective is to design a decision-support tool integrating project- and program-level data on market-based mechanisms for conservation in the United States (including forest carbon, wetlands, species, and water quality markets as well as payment for ecosystem services programs) with data on enabling conditions and contextual factors for ecosystem markets, including policy frameworks, regulatory drivers, conservation priorities, etc. The research assistant will be instrumental in developing datasets for the mapping tool and working with the project team to develop analytical products in order to demonstrate tool outputs.

Responsibilities will include:

  • Producing program/project datasets and metadata for the mapping platform. This will include gathering and preparing primary data on wetland and conservation markets, forest carbon markets, and watershed investment programs/projects and coordinating with Ecosystem Marketplace program staff to prepare existing program/project datasets.
  • Producing enabling conditions/contextual factors datasets for the mapping platform. This will include supporting the project team in identifying appropriate datasets, gathering and preparing GIS data, and coordinating data management with external data partners as needed.
  • Developing a database structure and GIS data management plan including Q/A Q/C procedures and a long-term data maintenance plan in coordination with the project team and tool programmers.
  • Working with the project team to scope and produce analytical products including an atlas of ecosystem markets. This work may be carried out in coordination with a candidate’s own individual research interests, e.g. as for a Master’s project.
  • Supporting the project team in scoping, stakeholder outreach and tool design as needed. – Supporting the project team in reporting/grant-writing as needed.


  • Bachelor’s degree in natural resources management, geography, planning, ecology, public policy or related field. Preference will be given to candidates holding a GIS certificate.
  • Knowledge of/experience with ecosystem markets in the US (water, wetlands, species, and/or carbon).
  • Demonstrated experience with spatial analysis and GIS, preferably related to the conservation field. – Data collection and management experience.
  • Excellent organizational/analytical skills and attention to detail.
  • Creativity and resourcefulness in scoping and gathering data for the mapping platform – the ideal candidate will have a very high level of self-motivation and intellectual curiosity.
  • Experience/comfort in outreach (including cold calls) to a range of organizations; strong verbal and written communication skills working with both technical and non-technical colleagues.
  • Experience working independently and in effectively managing and prioritizing their own workflow in order to meet deadlines; ability to coordinate and communicate effectively with colleagues working remotely.


Washington DC or remotely for qualified candidates


Please send a cover letter and resume to Genevieve Bennett at gbennett (at) forest-trends (dot) org. Deadline for applications is December 19, 2014. Start date is TBC but preferably beginning mid-to-late January 2015