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.

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Update on the project´s process

Our modelling results show the effects of climate change on cost-effective species conservation using the case study of the large marsh grasshopper (Stethophyma grossum) in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. In the ecological model, shifts in the life cycle stages caused by climate change are modelled – overall, the large marsh grasshopper is a winner of climate change in the case study area. In the economic model, shifts in land use are modelled - the increasingly early phenological beginning of spring leads to earlier land use dates being profit-maximising, which in turn influences conservation costs. The integrated climate-ecological-economic model shows what these factors mean for cost-effective species conservation. The results so far show that the cost-effective location of conservation sites changes under climate change and that conservation measures that can be adapted remain cost-effective. Different policy instruments have different strengths and weaknesses in this regard. Future model versions will examine these in more detail.

Preliminary results of the project

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.


Charlotte Gerling, Martin Drechsler, Klaus Keuler, Johannes Leins, Kai Radtke, Björn Schulz, Astrid Strum, and Frank Wätzold (2021): Cost-effective conservation in the face of climate change: combining ecological-economic modelling and climate science for the cost-effective spatio-temporal allocation of conservation measures in agricultural landscapes. working paper:

Johannes A. Leins, Thomas Banitz, Volker Grimm, and Martin Drechsler (2021): High-resolution PVA along large environmental gradients to model the combined effects of climate change and land use timing: lessons from the large marsh grasshopper. Ecological Modelling, 440

Charlotte Gerling, Frank Wätzold (2020): An economic evaluation framework for land‐use‐based conservation policy instruments in a changing climate, Conservation Biology, 35(3). 

Charlotte Gerling, Astrid Strum, and Frank Wätzold (2020): The impact of climate change on the profit-maximising timing of grassland use and conservation costs. Working paper: