Nav: Home

What if we paid countries to protect biodiversity?

August 30, 2019

Researchers from Sweden, Germany, Brazil and the USA have developed a financial mechanism to support the protection of the world's natural heritage. In a recent study, they developed three different design options for an intergovernmental biodiversity financing mechanism. Asking what would happen if money was given to countries for providing protected areas, they simulated where the money would flow, what type of incentives this would create - and how these incentives would align with international conservation goals.

After long negotiations, the international community has agreed to safeguard the global ecosystems and improve on the status of biodiversity. The global conservation goals for 2020, called the Aichi targets, are an ambitious hallmark. Yet, effective implementation is largely lacking. Biodiversity is still dwindling at rates only comparable to the last planetary mass extinction. Additional effort is required to reach the Aichi targets and even more so to halt biodiversity loss.

"Human well-being depends on ecological life support. Yet, we are constantly losing biodiversity and therefore the resilience of ecosystems. At the international level, there are political goals, but the implementation of conservation policies is a national task. There is no global financial mechanism that can help nations to reach their biodiversity targets", says lead author Nils Droste from Lund University, Sweden.

Brazil has successfully implemented Ecological Fiscal Transfer systems that compensate municipalities for hosting protected areas at a local level since the early 1990's. According to previous findings, such mechanisms help to create additional protected areas. The international research team has therefore set out to scale this idea up to the global level where not municipalities but nations are in charge of designating protected areas. They developed and compared three different design options:

An ecocentric model: where only protected area extent per country counts - the bigger the protected area, the better;

A socio-ecological model: where protected areas and Human Development Index count, adding development justice to the previous model;

An anthropocentric model: where population density is also considered, as people benefit locally from protected areas.

The socio-ecological design was the one that proved to be the most efficient. The model provided the highest marginal incentives - that is, the most additional money for protecting an additional percent of a country's area - for countries that are the farthest from reaching the global conservation goals. The result surprised the researchers.

"While we developed the socio-ecological design with a fairness element in mind, believing that developing countries might be more easily convinced by a design that benefits them, we were surprised how well this particular design aligns with the global policy goals", says Nils Droste.

"It would most strongly incentivize additional conservation action where the global community is lacking it the most", he adds.

As the study was aimed at providing options, not prescriptions for policy makers, the study did not detail who should be paying or how large the fund should exactly be. Rather, it provides a yet unexplored option to develop a financial mechanism for biodiversity conservation akin to what the Green Climate Fund is for climate change.

"We know that we need to change land use in order to preserve biodiversity. Protecting land from degradation and providing healthy ecosystems, clean air or clean rivers is a function of the state. Giving a financial reward to governments for such public ecosystem services will ease the provision of corresponding conservation efforts and will help to put this on the agenda", concludes Nils Droste.
-end-


Lund University

Related Biodiversity Articles:

About the distribution of biodiversity on our planet
Large open-water fish predators such as tunas or sharks hunt for prey more intensively in the temperate zone than near the equator.
Bargain-hunting for biodiversity
The best bargains for conserving some of the world's most vulnerable salamanders and other vertebrate species can be found in Central Texas and the Appalachians, according to new conservation tools developed at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Researchers solve old biodiversity mystery
The underlying cause for why some regions are home to an extremely large number of animal species may be found in the evolutionary adaptations of species, and how they limit their dispersion to specific natural habitats.
Biodiversity offsetting is contentious -- here's an alternative
A new approach to compensate for the impact of development may be an effective alternative to biodiversity offsetting -- and help nations achieve international biodiversity targets.
Biodiversity yields financial returns
Farmers could increase their revenues by increasing biodiversity on their land.
Biodiversity and wind energy
The location and operation of wind energy plants are often in direct conflict with the legal protection of endangered species.
Mapping global biodiversity change
A new study, published in Science, which focuses on mapping biodiversity change in marine and land ecosystems shows that loss of biodiversity is most prevalent in the tropic, with changes in marine ecosystems outpacing those on land.
What if we paid countries to protect biodiversity?
Researchers from Sweden, Germany, Brazil and the USA have developed a financial mechanism to support the protection of the world's natural heritage.
Grassland biodiversity is blowing in the wind
Temperate grasslands are the most endangered but least protected ecosystems on Earth.
The loss of biodiversity comes at a price
A University of Cordoba research team ran the numbers on the impact of forest fires on emblematic species using the fires in Spain's Doñana National Park and Segura mountains in 2017 as examples
More Biodiversity News and Biodiversity Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Meditations on Loneliness
Original broadcast date: April 24, 2020. We're a social species now living in isolation. But loneliness was a problem well before this era of social distancing. This hour, TED speakers explore how we can live and make peace with loneliness. Guests on the show include author and illustrator Jonny Sun, psychologist Susan Pinker, architect Grace Kim, and writer Suleika Jaouad.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#565 The Great Wide Indoors
We're all spending a bit more time indoors this summer than we probably figured. But did you ever stop to think about why the places we live and work as designed the way they are? And how they could be designed better? We're talking with Emily Anthes about her new book "The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of how Buildings Shape our Behavior, Health and Happiness".
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Third. A TED Talk.
Jad gives a TED talk about his life as a journalist and how Radiolab has evolved over the years. Here's how TED described it:How do you end a story? Host of Radiolab Jad Abumrad tells how his search for an answer led him home to the mountains of Tennessee, where he met an unexpected teacher: Dolly Parton.Jad Nicholas Abumrad is a Lebanese-American radio host, composer and producer. He is the founder of the syndicated public radio program Radiolab, which is broadcast on over 600 radio stations nationwide and is downloaded more than 120 million times a year as a podcast. He also created More Perfect, a podcast that tells the stories behind the Supreme Court's most famous decisions. And most recently, Dolly Parton's America, a nine-episode podcast exploring the life and times of the iconic country music star. Abumrad has received three Peabody Awards and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2011.