Ecoclimb- Economics of climate adaptation for biodiversity conservation

Start of Project 12/2017
End of Project 07/2022

As climate change increasingly threatens habitats, climate adaptation strategies have been developed to counteract the degradation of biodiversity. However, the economics behind these strategies have so far not been considered. Therefore, Ecoclimb develops ecological-economic models to analyse instruments for biodiversity conservation in terms of their ecological effectiveness and cost-effectiveness. In particular three instruments are analysed: (i) incentive payments for nature conservation maesures, (ii) compensation measures and (iii) land purchase for conservation purposes.

Learn more

Project results

Climate change is a major threat to biodiversity. In order to adapt biodiversity conservation to climate change, the effects of climate change both on species and on conservation costs need to be considered. So far, however, economic aspects have hardly been considered. In Ecoclimb, integrated climate-ecological-economic models were developed to investigate the interaction of the climatic, ecological and economic systems. Using the example of conserving the large marsh grasshopper (Stethophyma grossum) in Schleswig-Holstein, it was found that protected areas need to be adapted spatially in order to remain cost-effective. In addition, the timing of conservation measures such as extensive grassland use needs to be adapted to climate change. This means that policy instruments such as agri-environment schemes need to be designed flexibly so that the necessary adjustments can be implemented.

Illustration of project results

Overview of the modelling procedure. Cli­mate data, site-specific factors, infor­ma­tion on the species and cost date feed into the calculation of the timing of land use, the eco­logical and economic model. The effec­tive­ness and costs of different con­ser­vation mea­sures is simulated and the optimal spatio-temporal allocation is determined.

Main Findings

  • The impacts of climate change should be explicitly taken into account when de­signing policy instruments for species con­servation.
  • Flexibility in the selection of areas can increase cost-effectiveness, especially when budgets are low.
  • Flexibility in the temporal allocation of conservation measures can increase cost-effectiveness.
  • Climate un­certainty can be addressed by choosing robust land allocation strategies.