Main content area

Understanding the drivers for Natura 2000 payments in forests: A Heckman selection analysis

Sarvašová, Zuzana, Quiroga, Sonia, Suárez, Cristina, Ali, Tamás, Lukmine, Diana, Đorđević, Ilija, Hrib, Michal
Journal for nature conservation 2018 v.46 pp. 28-37
European Union, biodiversity, conservation areas, econometrics, environmental sustainability, expert opinion, forest ecosystems, forest industries, forests, funding, issues and policy, models, private forestry, private lands, probability, rural development
The ecological network Natura 2000 is one element of the common European Union policy regarding biodiversity protection. National implementation of Natura 2000 differs across the European Union. Ecologically valuable forest ecosystems are often within private lands. The aim of this paper is to assess the implementation of the compensation mechanism developed through adapted management of private forests by using the Natura 2000 payments’ measure of the European rural development programmes for the financing period 2007–2014. The econometric Heckman selection model was used to assess the drivers influencing the implementation of the payments measure. Data sources include European and national statistics and expert knowledge. The results show that the countries with the highest proportion of forest cover in Natura 2000 protected areas are the least paid for compensation, and the implementation apparently does not follow the needs of private forests (assuming from the share of private forests in the country). The state of progress in designating Natura 2000 sites can be an important driver for increasing the probability of Natura 2000 payments for those countries accessing the European Union after 1995. Other evidence includes that national economic development is not observed to be significant in explaining the implementation of Natura 2000 payments. The drivers affecting the implementation of Natura 2000 payments are more focused on increasing the competitiveness of the forest sector than supporting environmental sustainability.