To overcome the financial barriers caused by the differing distribution of responsibilities between the various jurisdictions, the scientists looked at existing approaches (Portugal, France) and new suggestions (Germany, Poland) for ecological fiscal transfers to the local level. The principle behind this idea is the fact that although many local governments provide services for higher levels and other neighbouring municipalities through their conservation responsibilities for instance, as a recreation area serving a city this is very rarely acknowledged in the current fiscal transfer schemes. "On the basis of the example of Portugal, we were able to demonstrate that taking account of Natura 2000 and other conservation areas in the municipal fiscal transfer system can make a considerable contribution to the municipal budget, particularly in rural areas with a high proportion of protected areas. In 2008, for example, one year after Portugal brought in ecological fiscal transfers in its amended Local Finances Law, up to 34% of municipal revenue originated from conservation areas," UFZ's Dr Irene Ring reports. The suggestions that this idea could also help to protect nature in Germany have already been assessed for municipal fiscal equalisation in the Free State of Saxony as well as for the fiscal equalisation scheme in place between the Lnder.
With a total budget just shy of 10 million euros and running for five years, the EU project SCALES (Securing the Conservation of biodiversity across Administrative Levels and spatial, temporal, and Ecological Scales) is one of Europe's largest biodiversity research projects. Regional case studies were carried out in the United Kingdom, Finland, Poland, France and Greece. In total, 31 institutions from various European countries, plus Australia and Taiwan, worked on SCALES. The project was coordinated by UFZ in Leipzig. Alongside the many scientific pu
|Contact: Klaus Henle|
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ