Ökonomie für den Naturschutz – Is biobanking coming to Germany?

Economists and ecologists in Germany signed and published a Memorandum on “Economics for Nature Conservation” to call on policymakers to make more use of economic principles and instruments in conservation policies. You can access a pdf version of the memorandum (in German & English).

Panoramic view of the Neuschwanstein castle... biodiversity is in the background!

The two main points made by the memorandum are that:

  • Sustainable and healthy economic development is not possible without protecting and conserving biodiversity
  • When conserving nature, more attention must be paid to economic principles and economic instruments should be used more.
  • Concerning the latter, they cite the TEEB initiative and the EU’s objective of halting biodiversity loss by 2010 (two months left…), and argue that broadening the policy mix to include market-based tools would serve this goal. One of the steps they detail concerns the establishment of markets for conservation-related services in general and of conservation banks in particular. They call these “specialized providers”.

    Whoever impedes on the living conditions of plants and animals should have the opportunity to acquire newly developed natural sites from others rather than being obliged to reconstruct them themselves.

    Specialised providers will be able to offer newly developed nature and ecological services more cost-effectively and at a higher quality than can the individual originator of ecological damage. Improving nature and establishing biodiversity would thus change from being an annoying obligation to a source of income.

    The authors refer to the US mitigation banking as an example of such schemes and mention the fact that although the requirement for compensation of biodiversity impacts exists in German law (Ökokonten and Kompensationsflächenpools translated as “ecological accounts” and “compensatory area pools”), private land owners are not allowed to act as conservation banks.

    Anyway, looks like biobanking might just be on its way to Deutschland…

    One Response to “Ökonomie für den Naturschutz – Is biobanking coming to Germany?”

    1. F@bien says:

      It seems there are inconsistencies in this “call” as Wende et al. (2005) present a detailed analysis of a compensation pool owned by a private company.

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