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Social and economic strategies have become increasingly prominent in biodiversity planning. However, many of these approaches are new to conservationists and there is little experience in applying them to the sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity.

Economic incentives

Economic biodiversity incentives should make biodiversity an asset rather than a liability to concerned agents. They aim to increase returns on activities that conserve or restore valuable biological habitats as well as increasing the cost or lowering the return to activities that damage habitat.

Economic incentives comprise of a subset of all possible incentives for biodiversity conservation. Economic incentives tend to use market mechanisms to influence decision making. The focus is directly or indirectly on prices. There are few types of economic incentives:

  • Positive incentives: any monetary (direct payments, cost sharing, tax advantages) or non monetary (such as recognition and awards for outstanding performance) inducement, which incites or motivates governments, local people, and international organisations to conserve biodiversity.
  • Disincentives: any mechanism that internalises the cost of use and/or damage to biological resources in order to discourage activities that deplete biodiversity.
  • Indirect incentives: any mechanism that creates or improves upon markets and price signals for biological resources encouraging the conservation and sustainable use of biodi-versity.
  • Perverse incentives: an incentive which induces behaviour leading to the reduction in biodiversity. Perverse incentives are the result of government intervention failure. Most "perverse" incentives are designed to achieve other policy objectives and the perversity is thus an external factor, or an un-anticipated side effect of the policy.

Examples of economic strategies are:

Social strategies

Two important types of social strategies are:

  1. the use of indigenous knowledge; and
  2. strategies for local participation.

Еxample: Direct threat to birds in the Pomorie Lake is hunting and uncontrolled movement of people across the region

Pomorie Lake lies 25 km away from Burgas and 2 km north of Pomorie. It is an ultrasaline natural lagoon which is also the northernmost lake of the Burgas Lake Group. This wetland offers a rare combination of living conditions that allow the development of a very rare set of vegetation. The lake is separated from the Black sea by an artificial embankment and only its southern part has a connecting channel. From January 2001 was declared a protected area under the Protected Areas Act. The highest value for the region has its ornithological diversity.

In the area are established 215 bird species, 4 of them are globally threatened: curly pelican, pygmy cormorant, ruddy duck, Ferruginous Duck, Corncrake. The lake is one of the most important nesting sites of Recurvirostra avosetta and Himantopus himantopus. Reservoirs is of international importance as a wintering mute swan.

The bottom of the lake is covered with black mud rich in minerals and trace elements. The medicinal qualities of the liman mud that has been used since ancient times are precisely the reason why Pomorie is one of the preferred balneological, SPA, and wellness resorts on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. Today the medicinal mud is used for treatment of skin diseases and musculoskeletal disorders. It also finds applications in cosmetics and beauty procedures.

The lake sufferes a strong anthropogenic preassure:

  • The northern part of the lake is used for the production of salt – an activity going on for more than 20 centuries in the area but which violates the hydrological regime;
  • traffic on the road (passage in the western part of the lake)
  • constructions for the explotation of the SPA Area (the south end of lake)
  • coastal polution
  • land reclamation is a potential threat

BTVC Fotos at Flickr , transporting materials for construction of artificial nests


In order to protect rare and endangered species and habitats PomorieLake and adjacent areas were declared a protected area in 2001 and  Ramsar site in 2004.  In 1998 the lake was designated as Important Bird Area for birds, and since 2007 has been officially included in the European ecological network Natura 2000.  
Main issues: to protect the bird population from the direct threats of  hunting and uncontrolled movement of people across the area.

During the period February 2005 - February 2010 “The Green Balkans Association", in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Water and the municipality of Pomorie, perform the project "Pomorie Lake - Conservation, Restoration and Sustainable Management", funded by the GEF program and the World Bank.The project aims to promote the sustainable management of the lake and the ecosystem of the wetlands through conservation and restoration of biodiversity and sustainable use of natural resources.

The project activities are:

  • To support the development and implementation of plans for protected area management with a focus on conservation, restoration and management of natural resources of the ecosystem;
  • To restore the natural resource base of the ecosystem and hydrological balance of the wetland;
  • To raise awareness among local communities and the tourism sector for the wetland and the need to protect the natural resources of the lagoon;
  • To improve cooperation with state and local governments, businesses and other locations for wetland restoration in Bulgaria and Europe.

Example: Karst Ecosystem Conservation (KEC) - Croatia

The Karst Ecosystems Conservation (KEC) project aims to protect biological and landscape diversity of karst ecosystems in Croatia, taking into account the needs of the local population. KEC is being prepared on the basis of the National Strategy and Action Plan for Biodiversity Protection, and in line with Croatia's socio-economic goals. In December 2001, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) granted 5.07 million USD for the Karst Ecosystems Conservation project, while the contribution of the Republic of Croatia corresponded to an equivalent of 3.30 million USD.

Project preparation was completed by the end of 2000. The project will be implemented over five years, with grant funds being available by the end of 2007. During the project preparation, basic studies on social and rural development, biodiversity, legal and institutional frameworks for the protection of biodiversity, land-use plans and natural resources management plans, and studies on the public opinion, education and public participation, have been expanded. The concept and formulation of the project have been performed through a number of workshops organised at local and national levels.

Project funds will be allocated for carrying out of the following components:

  • strengthening the national capacity to ensure biodiversity conservation and support of the natural resource management;
  • establishing community-based mechanisms for biodiversity conservation and sustainable resource use in the karst region; and
  • project management and monitoring.

In order to provide incentives to include the local population in the biodiversity conservation, small grants will be given out in the area. Private entrepreneurs, NGOs and institutions in the region will be able to apply for 2,000, 10,000 or 25,000 USD in grants for traditional activities and crafts, which contribute to biodiversity conservation and help reduce environmental pressures.