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Farmers’ preferences for nature conservation compensation measures with a focus on eco-accounts according to the German Nature Conservation Act

Christian Sponagel, Elisabeth Angenendt, Hans-Peter Piepho and Enno Bahrs

Land Use Policy, 2021, vol. 104, issue C

Abstract: Negative impacts on nature and landscape caused by development activity have to be offset within the framework of no-net-loss policies in many countries worldwide. In Germany this is legally anchored in the German Nature Conservation Act (BNatSchG). The relevant compensation measures or biodiversity offsets are often implemented by developers on agricultural land which is lost as a result of the offsetting activity. Therefore, conflicts of interest can arise between the actors involved. However, approaches like mitigation banking can give farmers the possibility to voluntarily carry out a compensation measure against payment by the intervener. Thus, they can control the location and type of measure themselves and counter land use by external interveners. By establishing the timing of the individual measures in advance, these can further be better planned and coordinated than before. This may also lead to greater benefits for nature conservation. Hence, we conducted a discrete choice experiment with 209 farmers at the federal level to analyse under what conditions farmers would be willing to voluntarily implement compensation measures and how acceptance could be improved. We found that farmers are generally willing to implement compensation measures. One major challenge is the form of legal protection of the measure in connection with whether the measure is permanent or only for a fixed period of time. A land register entry markedly reduces acceptance. In addition, the market value of an area and the associated potential loss of value are also relevant. Furthermore, we were able to show that, in general, farmers are most accepting of production-integrated compensation (PIC). However, we did identify a lower acceptance of PIC among organic farmers. Nevertheless, production-integrated compensation in particular, depending on the legal safeguards, can be a rather expensive alternative for the intervener who bears the costs. Hence, our analyses provide important information for policy makers in environmental legislation and for practical landscape planning and nature conservation. They likewise provide insights into the market for biodiversity offsets in Germany.

Keywords: Nature conservation; Nature conservation law; Biodiversity offsets; Agricultural income; Farmers’ attitudes (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2021.105378

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