Navigation Links
Buying and selling habitats to help wildlife

Tradable permits are all the rage in environmental policy. They are already used internationally to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality. A group of economists and ecologists from the UK, the Netherlands and Germany, are working together to find out whether such schemes could work for wildlife too. So far, it looks promising, but probably only for cultural landscapes like farmland.

The European Commission expressed an interest in using tradable permits for wildlife conservation, in a recent green paper on market instruments in environmental policy. The paper calls it habitat banking. The idea is that each region sets a target for how much land it wants to keep for wildlife conservation, then leaves it up to the free market to find the most cost-effective way of doing it. If a developer wants to destroy valuable habitat, he or she has to purchase a permit to do so, from someone who has created a piece of valuable habitat elsewhere.

In some ways, habitat banking is similar to current policies of mitigation. European law requires developers who destroy valuable habitat to recreate something equivalent elsewhere. But according to Florian Hartig, a researcher from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Germany, using tradable permits is more flexible. The current mitigation policy is very strict, he says, Flexible instruments can help allocating mitigation where it is most effective.

With habitat banking, landowners who upgrade their land for wildlife get an immediate financial gain. And it would be possible for those with an interest in conservation to stockpile permits and not sell them, increasing the conservation value of the region perhaps even above the target.

A collaboration of European ecologists and economists is studying how such a market could work in theory. They presented their work last week at the European Science Foundations (ESF) first EuroDIVERSITY conference. One problem you quickly see when you look from an ecological perspective is that the value of one piece of wildlife habitat partly depends on how near it is to other pieces of wildlife habitat. When a habitat is newly created, it has to be possible for new species to colonise. This problem is surmountable if you build a measure of connectivity into the ecological value of each piece of land.

Other ecologists in the audience were intrigued but sceptical. Many felt it would be difficult to give a piece of land a single ecological value. The best sites for birds are not always the best for plants, or microbes, one argued. The researchers admit the evaluation process will be complex.

The biggest advantage of habitat banking is cheaper conservation, according to Frank Wtzold, leader of the economic part of the team, at UFZ. Often conservation is extremely expensive when the same benefit could be gained much more cheaply elsewhere, he says. He is about to publish research showing that the conservation of the rare German hamster, Cricetus cricetus, could be achieved for much less money if it was done through agri-environment schemes rather than by restricting economic development.

Hartig says habitat banking can never replace permanent reserves. Obviously it doesnt work for habitats that cannot recover quickly, and take hundreds of years to develop, like old-growth forests, he says. But he believes it can complement reserves, in semi-natural landscapes, where species are adaptable and move into new spaces fast.


Contact: Sofia Valleley
European Science Foundation

Related biology news :

1. Buying Time Through Hibernation on Demand
2. Could better mangrove habitats have spared lives in the 2004 tsunami?
3. Ebola virus: from wildlife to dogs
4. Controlling wildlife trade key to preventing health crises, study says
5. Viagras hidden help for wildlife
6. Afghanistan to protect wildlife and wild lands
7. UGA researchers find that hunting can increase the severity of wildlife disease epidemics
8. Pattern of human Ebola outbreaks linked to wildlife and climate
9. Manipulating nature: Scientists query wildlife birth-control method
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/2/2016)... 2, 2016   The Weather Company , an IBM ... an industry-first capability in which consumers will be able to ... ask questions via voice or text and receive relevant information ... Marketers have long sought an advertising solution that ... be personal, relevant and valuable; and can scale across millions ...
(Date:5/20/2016)...  VoiceIt is excited to announce its new ... By working together, VoiceIt and VoicePass will offer ... take slightly different approaches to voice biometrics, collaboration ... usability. Both ... "This marketing and technology partnership allows ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... 2016  Neurotechnology, a provider of high-precision biometric ... Biometric Identification System (ABIS) , a complete system ... ABIS can process multiple complex biometric transactions with ... fingerprint, face or iris biometrics. It leverages the ... MegaMatcher Accelerator , which have been used ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... --  Ginkgo Bioworks , a leading organism design ... awarded as one of the World Economic Forum,s ... innovative companies. Ginkgo Bioworks is engineering biology to ... in the nutrition, health and consumer goods sectors. ... including Fortune 500 companies to design microbes for ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... While the majority of commercial spectrophotometers and fluorometers use the ... models are higher end machines that use the more unconventional z-dimension of 20mm. ... the bottom of the cuvette holder. , FireflySci has developed several Agilent flow ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Wausau, WI (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 ... ... probiotic supplements, is pleased to announce the launch of their brand, UP4™ Probiotics, ... supplements for over 35 years, is proud to add Target to its list ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... SILVER SPRING, Md. , June 23, 2016 ... evidence collected from the crime scene to track the criminal ... sick, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. ... whole genome sequencing to support investigations of foodborne illnesses. Put ...
Breaking Biology Technology: