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Economic analyses of the benefits of restoring degraded ecosystems

Natural and near-natural ecosystems, such as intact forests and peatlands, provide a variety of ecosystem services and render high value to society. Determining the economic value of such services is an important prerequisite for taking the societal importance of ecosystems into account in trade-offs, such as land use decisions. However, knowledge of the economic value is not sufficient to ensure that these ecosystem services are provided to a sufficient extent through sustainable management. Land users often have no incentive to implement management that is unprofitable from a microeconomic point of view, because (opportunity) costs are incurred on their side while the benefits accrue to society. Therefore, an additional instrumental framework is needed to motivate land users to implement restoration measures or sustainable management by means of a financial incentive system.

The aim of the project is to assess and evaluate the social costs and benefits of restoration using the example of the forest and peatland ecosystems. The basis is provided by a comprehensive analysis of the current state of research on the economic valuation of forests and peatlands. Based on this, selected case studies are analyzed with regard to the economic value of restoration. The analysis is to contribute to the identification of promising approaches for the design of incentive programs and reward systems and to derive scientifically sound recommendations for the implementation of the action program “Nature-based Solutions for Climate and Biodiversity" developed by the BMUV. The inventories, analysis results and recommendations will be prepared for experts, decision-makers and the public.

IÖW Project Team