NEW REPORT: A comparative analysis of ecological compensation programs: The effect of program design on the social and ecological outcomes

Author(s): Niak Sian Koh, Thomas Hahn and Clau­dia Ituarte-Lima

Title: A com­par­a­tive analy­sis of eco­log­i­cal com­pen­sa­tion pro­grams: The effect of pro­gram design on the social and eco­log­i­cal outcomes

Year: 2014

In: This report is a prod­uct of an intern­ship under­taken dur­ing the Mas­ter Pro­gram in Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment at Upp­sala University.

Pages: 37.

Pub­li­ca­tion type: report

Lan­guage: English

Source:[[]]&af=[]&searchType=SIMPLE&language=en&pid=diva2%3A772933&aq=[[]]&sf=all&aqe=[]&sortOrder=author_sort_asc&onlyFullText=false&noOfRows=50&dspwid=9758&dswid=-7135 and the link to the pdf of the arti­cle (full text)


An increas­ing inter­est is emerg­ing in eco­log­i­cal com­pen­sa­tion or bio­di­ver­sity off­sets as an instru­ment for slow­ing down the rate of bio­di­ver­sity losses, with pro­grams ongo­ing in more than 40 coun­tries. Adher­ing to the polluter-pays prin­ci­ple, the instru­ment requires the inter­ven­ing party to com­pen­sate for envi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion that has occured as a result of devel­op­ment. How­ever, its use is con­tested as the instru­ment may facil­i­tate a ‘license to trash’ if more devel­op­ment per­mits are allowed under the assump­tion that the degra­da­tion can sim­ply be com­pen­sated. This paper increases the under­stand­ing of whether exist­ing pro­grams for eco­log­i­cal com­pen­sa­tion effec­tively addresses the loss of bio­di­ver­sity and ecosys­tem ser­vices. A lit­er­a­ture review is con­ducted with five case stud­ies of eco­log­i­cal com­pen­sa­tion pro­grams rep­re­sent­ing mid­dle– and high– income coun­tries. We begin by describ­ing the dif­fer­ent approaches of design­ing com­pen­sa­tion pro­grams in Aus­tralia, Eng­land, Ger­many, South Africa and the U.S. Key issues in the pro­gram design are reviewed: pol­icy goals, adher­ence to the mit­i­ga­tion hier­ar­chy, weight­ing of losses and gains, and mon­i­tor­ing activ­i­ties. We then eval­u­ate the pro­grams’ out­comes, in terms of the eco­log­i­cal and social ben­e­fits pro­vided. From these case stud­ies, we find three design aspects that may con­tribute towards improv­ing the com­pen­sa­tion pro­grams’ out­comes: (1) inte­gra­tion of com­pen­sa­tion pro­grams with con­ser­va­tion land­scape plan­ning, (2) ade­quate com­men­su­ra­bil­ity of ecosys­tem func­tions and (3) an open access cen­tralised report­ing sys­tem. We also iden­tify four safe­guards to con­tribute towards pro­tect­ing the eco­log­i­cal and social ben­e­fits: (1) allo­cate co-responsibilities of equiv­a­lence weight­ing and mon­i­tor­ing to an inde­pen­dent, exter­nal organ­i­sa­tion, (2) con­sider local liveli­hoods at both the impact and pro­posed com­pen­sa­tion site, (3) ensure access to recre­ation and (4) stake­holder par­tic­i­pa­tion from the gen­eral soci­ety and con­sul­ta­tion of the directly affected com­mu­nity. We high­light that the use of this con­tro­ver­sial instru­ment requires con­sid­er­able reg­u­la­tion and capac­ity, with demo­c­ra­t­i­cally decided per­for­mance criteria.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>