Ecological compensation (EC) is being explored as a policy instrument for the European Union’s ‘No Net Loss of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services’ initiative. EC is commonly associated with the Polluter-Pays Principle, but we propose the Developer-Pays Principle as a more comprehensive principle. Safeguards that are relevant to local and national contexts are needed when addressing social-ecological resilience in the face of risks associated with EC. The operationalisation of EC in Sweden is assessed through two case studies: the E12 highway and Mertainen mine. The institutional design and implementation procedures are investigated through semi-structured interviews as well as an analysis of legal and other written documents. Using a multi-level governance framework, we examine four key disputed issues within compensation. Our results suggest that (i) Risk of a license-to-trash can be minimised; (ii) Complementary quantitative and qualitative ecological valuation methods are needed to achieve additionality and No Net Loss; (iii) Compensation pools may be a promising strategy to secure land availability; and (iv) Social safeguards are vital for EC in high-income countries as well, where they are currently understudied. We conclude that EC cannot be the main instrument for nature conservation, but rather complementary to a strong legal framework that protects biodiversity and ecosystems in addition to the sustained and equitable benefits of ecosystem services.
Research news | 2018-03-20
A final reply to Montoya et. al's criticism of the planetary boundaries framework
General news | 2018-03-19
In 2017, we surpassed one thousand published articles in peer-reviewed journals and we hosted the fourth international conference on resilience and sustainability science. Another year to be proud of, we think
Research news | 2018-03-14
Amid an increase in megacities, changes in ecosystems far away can affect local access to freshwater
Research news | 2018-03-12
Ten essentials for guiding action-oriented research on energy transformation and climate change
Research news | 2018-03-09
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we have been highlighting some of our women researchers at the centre. In our final profile this week, we showcase associate professor Beatrice Crona, whose work spans from small-scale fisheries governance to global drivers of change.
Research news | 2018-03-08
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we are highlighting some of our women researchers. We would now like to showcase Jennifer Hinton, a PhD candidate studying the social dynamics of a sustainable biophysical resource economy