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Exploring the Contribution of Fiscal Transfers to Protected Area Policy

Maud Borie, UMR 5175 CEFE CNRS, Montpellier
Raphaël Mathevet, UMR 5175 CEFE CNRS, Montpellier
Aurélien Letourneau, UMR 5175 CEFE CNRS, Montpellier
Irene Ring, UFZ Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research
John D. Thompson, UMR 5175 CEFE CNRS, Montpellier
Pascal Marty, Université de la Rochelle

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-05716-190109

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Abstract

Biodiversity payments have become an increasingly proposed tool to promote conservation measures. An unexplored issue concerns the potential role of fiscal transfers between the state and infra-national authorities potentially as direct financial incentives for biodiversity conservation. We explore how protected areas can be taken into account in a redistributive fiscal transfer system between the state and local authorities, i.e., municipalities. Different simulations were made in the Mediterranean region of southern France, a major biodiversity hotspot subject to increasing threats. We examined two methods for fiscal transfer: first, a “per hectare” method, based on the surface of the protected area within the boundaries of the municipality and second a “population equivalent” method, in which we convert the surface of protected areas into relative numbers of inhabitants. Our results show that consideration of the population of the municipality in addition to its protected areas’ surface can provide a strong incentive to encourage municipalities to designate protected areas. However, this will require increased public funding to buffer financial losses incurred by large municipalities that have a low proportion of their territory within protected areas. We discuss the social feasibility of this tool for green infrastructure implementation and future protected area designation.

Key words

biodiversity; conservation policy; ecological solidarity; fiscal transfer; protected areas; public funding
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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087