Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022
Operationalisation of ecological compensation - Obstacles and ways forwardBlicharska, Malgorzata; Hedblom, Marcus; Josefsson, Jonas; Widenfalk, Olof; Ranius, Thomas; Ockinger, Erik; Widenfalk, Lina A.
AbstractEcological compensation (EC) has been proposed as an important tool for stopping the loss of biodiversity and natural values. However, there are few studies on its actual operationalisation and there is high uncertainty about how it should be designed and implemented to be an effective way of performing nature conservation. In this study we focus on ecological compensation in Sweden, a country where it is in the process of being implemented more broadly. Using interviews and a workshop we investigate how the work with the implementation is carried out and what challenges exist. The results show that implementation of EC is at an early stage of development and there are many practical obstacles, linked to both legislation and routines in the planning processes. There is a lack of holistic perspective and large-scale thinking, a quite strong focus on a small number of individual species, and an overall attitude that anything is better than nothing, all of which can have negative consequences for biodiversity conservation overall. Based on the results we discuss the need for better integration of EC into the entire decision-making process and for a holistic approach to preservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services, by increasing the focus on landscape perspective and considering delays in compensation outcomes. There is also a need for a national level standard for EC, making good and worse examples of compensation measures available and systematic monitoring of EC projects. Finally, a spatially explicit database to document all EC areas should be introduced both to ensure consistency in protection from future development plans and to enable long-term monitoring of EC outcomes.
KeywordsBiodiversity offset; Ecological compensation; Policy implementation; Stakeholder interview; Workshop
Published inJournal of Environmental Management
2022, volume: 304, article number: 114277
Publisher: ACADEMIC PRESS LTD- ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Urban and Rural Development
Widenfalk, Lina (Ahlbäck Widenfalk, Lina)
Sustainable Development Goals
SDG15 Life on land
UKÄ Subject classification
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URI (permanent link to this page)