Cost-effectiveness of conservation payment schemes for species with different range sizes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Payments to compensate landowners for carrying out costly land-use measures that benefit endangered biodiversity have become an important policy instrument. When designing such payments, it is important to take into account that spatially connected habitats are more valuable for many species than isolated ones. One way to incentivize provision of connected habitats is to offer landowners an agglomeration bonus, that is, a bonus on top of payments they are receiving to conserve land if the land is spatially connected. Researchers have compared the cost-effectiveness of the agglomeration bonus with 2 alternatives: an all-or-nothing, agglomeration payment, where landowners receive a payment only if the conserved land parcels have a certain level of spatial connectivity, and a spatially homogeneous payment, where landowners receive a payment for conserved land parcels irrespective of their location. Their results show the agglomeration bonus is rarely the most cost-effective option, and when it is, it is only slightly better than one of the alternatives. This suggests that the agglomeration bonus should not be given priority as a policy design option. However, this finding is based on consideration of only 1 species. We examined whether the same applied to 2 species, one for which the homogeneous payment is best and the other for which the agglomeration payment is most cost-effective. We modified a published conceptual model so that we were able to assess the cost-effectiveness of payment schemes for 2 species and applied it to a grassland bird and a grassland butterfly in Germany that require the same habitat but have different spatial-connectivity needs. When conserving both species, the agglomeration bonus was more cost-effective than the agglomeration and the homogeneous payment; thus, we showed that as a policy the agglomeration bonus is a useful conservation-payment option.


External organisations
  • Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research
  • Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus- Senftenberg
  • Free University of Berlin
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economic Geography
  • Environmental Sciences


  • agglomeration bonus, agglomeration payment, aglomeración, bono, conservation instrument, ecological-economic modeling, esquema de pago, instrumento de conservación, modelado ecológico-económico, pago por aglomeración, payment scheme
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)894-899
Number of pages6
JournalConservation Biology
Issue number4
Early online date2016 May 11
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Aug 1
Publication categoryResearch