Payment for ecosystem services: Paying farmers for using farmland for flood control

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Research question: Northern Europe experiences an increasingly wet climate, leading to more frequent and severe fluvial flood events. Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) is becoming recognised as a valuable yet under-utilised means to alleviating negative effects of a changing climate. This however, necessitates a new and different collaboration between land-owners and stakeholders interested in protecting urban structures and as a result, novel ways of understanding and organising EbA emerge across Europe. One example, using the approach of Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) is presented in this paper.

Methodology: Farmers along the second longest watercourse in Denmark could be instrumental in allowing flooding on farmland to protect urban infrastructures. We conduct a choice experiment among farmers located in vicinity to the river ‘Storåen’ in order to assess their willingness to accept a contract that would allow the local municipality to periodically flood farmland in order to avoid or limit urban flooding from Storåen. The experiment aims to estimate the costs of getting farmers to participate in the scheme, which would represent (some of) the costs of reducing climate change problems in the town of Holstebro.

In a number of choice occasions, farmers were asked to select between either no contract or contracts characterised by a set of positive and negative attributes, including a whether or not to require specific flood resistant crops or not; whether to allow for a compensation in case of crop loss or not; the type of negotiation situation and finally the level of payment to the farmer for including his/her land in the inundation control scheme.

Findings: Results indicate that farmers on average would prefer not to enter a contract. If they were to agree on a contract they would prefer a compensation for lost crops; to negotiate collectively with other farmers and as expected would prefer higher rather than lower yearly payments. Surprisingly, the data did not show a significant preference for or against a requirement to grow flood resistant crops. A contract that would allow for compensation and based on individual negotiation would on average require a yearly payment of 309euro/ha.

Significance for practical solutions: This type of analysis investigates attitudes and preferences of land owners, which are essential when dealing with Ecosystem-based Adaptation. Past experience shows that without the agreement of land owners or the appropriate compensation level, voluntary schemes will not function at the necessary scale.
Udgivelsesår12 maj 2016
StatusUdgivet - 12 maj 2016
BegivenhedAdaptation Futures - Rotterdam, Holland
Varighed: 10 maj 201613 maj 2016


KonferenceAdaptation Futures

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