AUTHORS: Graham Tucker – Evelyn Underwood – Andrew Farmer – Riccardo Scalera – Ian Dickie – A.J. McConville – Wilbert van Vliet
This study published by the Commission focused on the financing needs to achieve Target 2 of the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2020, which states that: “By 2020, ecosystems and their services are maintained and enhanced by…restoring at least 15% of degraded ecosystems.” With competing demands on the EU budget, political debates on Target 2 of the EU Biodiversity Strategy need to be based on robust, compatible pan-EU estimates of the costs and benefits of ecosystem conservation and restoration. Published information on the estimated costs and benefits of ecosystem restoration are highly variable and seem to be based on relatively few studies (which are often highly context-specific). The study compiled a database of a wide range of published per hectare costs of key restoration measures, in order to derive averages across the EU for each ecosystem.
The study also assessed the current extent of degradation of ecosystems, enabling a quantification of the area on which key restoration measures would need to be applied to in order to achieve the target. The study developed a number of potential scenarios for implementing the 15% target (eg based on disaggregating the EU target across ecosystem types according to biodiversity priorities, ecosystem service priorities and cost-saving priorities), and used the scenarios to generate a series of target cost estimates. The study also examined potential funding sources for restoration measures, including innovative financial instruments such payments for ecosystem services, biodiversity offsetting and carbon trading.