Debt-for-conservation swaps – a possible financial incentive for on-farm biodiversity conservation?

Debt-for-nature swaps have been successfully applied in an international context to achieve nature conservation objectives in developing countries. The swap involves alleviating a country’s external debt burden in exchange for that country investing the equivalent amount of resources into specified nature conservation programs or activities. This paper explores to what extent the concept might be applicable and relevant in a domestic setting – by alleviating farm debt in return for on-farm conservation activities. The case for relevance of the instrument is argued on the basis of empirical data from a grazing region in northern Australia. Stakeholders and participants are identified for debt-for-conservation swaps and details for instrument design discussed. Preliminary results from a grazier survey and lessons from a similar incentive in the USA support a critique of the incentive instrument against a range of policy criteria.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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