Biodiversity needs versus biodiversity funds: conservation priority areas under climate change and the distribution of EU biodiversity funding

L. Meller (Speaker), T. Lung (Speaker), A.J.A. van Teeffelen (Speaker), W. Thuiller (Speaker), M. Cabeza (Speaker)

    Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic


    Efforts to mainstream biodiversity conservation across policy sectors have led to the establishment of funding instruments to support multiple objectives together with the conservation of biodiversity, such as biodiversity projects funded through the Official Development Aid (ODA). In the European Union, the Structural and Cohesion Funds (SCF) aim at reducing regional disparities in wealth within the EU through various types of projects, some of which aim at improving the state of biodiversity. In addition, the LIFE+ programme supports environmental and nature conservation goals. The funding criteria in these instruments are affected by other policy goals parallel to biodiversity conservation, which may lead to inefficient results from a conservation perspective. Around 5 billion euros have been allocated for projects related to biodiversity and nature conservation through the SCF (2007-20013), and another 1.2 billion through LIFE+. In this study, we explore the distribution of these funds and compare it to conservation priorities and needs under climate change. Using the distribution of European birds as an indicator of biodiversity value, we identify priority areas for expanding protected areas both currently and in future scenarios, to meet adaptation needs of climate change. Allocation of funds correlates with extent of Natura 2000 sites, indicating a match with conservation effort. However, there are mismatches between the spatial distribution of funds and priority areas for complementing the existing protected area networks, especially when considering the predicted impacts of climate change. Our results point to certain regions which are potentially underfunded with respect of their biodiversity value. For conservation investment to contribute to long term biodiversity targets set within the EU and internationally under the UN Convention on Biodiversity, biodiversity funding should better account for conservation needs, particularly under future climate change.
    Period20 Aug 2013
    Held atINTECOL 2013 Ecology: into the next 100 years
    Event typeLecture