Impact Mitigation Regulations (Germany)

The 1976 Federal Nature Conservation Act in Germany introduced the Impact Mitigation Regulations (IMR). This law is mandatory and precautionary, aiming to ensure "no net loss" by avoiding any damage, and restoration and replacement compensation for residual unavoidable impacts. It covers all natural assets under the German Federal Nature Conservation Act, including projects at the levels of both urban planning and sectoral planning. The IMR has strict additionally requirements and is regulated by public conservation agencies. It was integrated with Federal Building and Spatial Planning regulations in the 1990s, which introduced greater market-style flexibility, a trend that continues through current reforms. Increased flexibility has led to the use of compensation pools, collectively providing compensation areas and measures. Compensation is undertaken as a result of damage identified in planning (and other) processes, and is generally organized through state planning authorities. At present, the control of the compensation processes via the state means it is not a fully functioning market, and as a result volume of the market is unknown. However, data from the state register in Bavaria identify over 1,000 new sites in the six months to September 2009 resulting from the German Impact Mitigation Regulation. Compensation sites in Bavaria conserve an average of about 2,600 hectare per year. The compensation pools approach has brought a number of advantages, overcoming obstacles to IMR implementation, but also introduced various risks and problems: Compensation is not secure in perpetuity, long-term monitoring costs are required, land availability constraints exist, there is a loose spatial and functional equivalence between debit and credit, there are a wide variety of methods used to assess equivalence, there is disputed evidence on additionality, and targets for different habitat types are not always established. Reforms to the Nature Conservation Law are planned which intend to standardize the use of compensation measures, the reconnection of habitats, long term management and maintenance, and the level and calculation of copmensation payments. Reforms will also weaken the distinction in the mitigation hierarchy between in-kind and on-site restoration and compensation (out-of-kind and off-site). Finally, reforms intend to provide state level regulation of the storage of 'credits' in copmensation pools, trading of credits, and thier long-term managment. These reforms, and the recent involvement of private agents (Hof Hasemann GmbH and Rheinisch-Wesfalische Wasserwerksgesellschaft mbH) in the compensation pools process, suggest that biodiversity compensation practices in Germany may develop into more market-based systems in the near future.

Program Statistics

Date Established: 1990 Status: Active Program Type: Compensation
About the program:
Annual size of program (area): 2,646 (hectares) Year of Data: 2009
Cumulative size of program (area): 19,880 (hectares) Years of Data: 2009 -
Annual payments of program (US$): Year of Data:
Cumulative payments of program (US$): Years of Data: -
Notes on program size or payments:

The program size /cumulative program size can be considered minimum figures. The program size figures only represent the hectares in compensation pools in Bavaria, under Germany’s impact mitigation regulation. Compensation sites in Bavaria (including currently operating sites and those that have sold their credits) total about 19,880 hectares, cumulative. In 2008 3004 sites (2514 ha) were registrated, in 2009 2892 sites (2646 ha) in Bavaria alone.

Species or habitat types (if applicable):
Bank regulator information: Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety Last Updated: June 29, 2010