Mapping the governance complex of land use policies for compensation

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Ecological compensation is the latest member of a growing family of concepts aimed at reducing degradation of environmental quality. This and other concepts of the family – like ecosystem services, green infrastructure, and nature-based solutions – have been subject to a range of different interpretations and subsequent implementation practices. The result is a complex governance system with unclear boundaries and implications for the management efforts of environmental quality. In this paper, we seek to map and disentangle this complexity – with a particular focus on ecological compensation and related concepts (such as biodiversity offsetting and no net loss), which all have gained momentum in recent years and which share the notion that intrusion in nature should be compensated in one way or the other. In a first step, we seek to map similarities, differences and overlaps, between the concepts, by using a set of analytical categories including: the origin of the concept (scientific or policy context), the aim of its application, the type of decision-making process it generates, its relation to urban or rural contexts, and the extent to which it has been subjected to regulation. In a second step, and as a result of this mapping, we will advance knowledge about how governments, municipalities and business actors in different ways work with environmental quality, ecosystem services and biodiversity. First, we draw conclusions about the degree to which the concepts under scrutiny are mutually reinforcing or competing. Second, our analysis enables conclusions about why some concepts are preferred in certain institutional contexts and what institutional preconditions are needed for their use. Third, we discuss possible implications of this governance complexity for questions of effectiveness and legitimacy.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Environmental Sciences
  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch
Event14th Nordic Environmental Social Science Conference: Social Science in Our time - Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden
Duration: 2019 Jun 102019 Jun 12


Conference14th Nordic Environmental Social Science Conference: Social Science in Our time
Abbreviated titleNESS
Internet address