Original Articles

Building Market-oriented Mechanisms for Ecological Compensation: Based on the Theory of  "Transaction Costs"

  • Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China

Received date: 2009-10-01

  Revised date: 2010-03-01

  Online published: 2010-05-25


The critical issue of eco-compensation is to build mechanisms for protecting environment and ecosystem by adjusting the economical relationship between the stakeholders who damaged and supported ecosystem services. Focusing on the definition, the purpose, the payment terms and the criterion of eco-compensation, many research papera have been published. Up to now, foreign researchers are more interested in the eco-compensation participated with local residents and running by market-based mechanism. Compared to the international progress, based on the traditional knowledge according to theory of "public goods" by Samuelson P and "externality" by Pigou C, domestic practice in natural resources and environment management is currently still in the government-led phase, and also, the hot pot of eco-compensation research is in financial transfer payments by central governments such as returning cropland to forest project, prohabiting over-grazing and natural forest protection. However, with the development of transportation and communication, the rise of the social concept for ecological payments, the growing ecological consumption such as eco-tourism, and the formation of institutional system of ecological property rights, the transaction costs of ecological services trading is gradually reducing and the eco-compensation market is getting matured. According to different types of ecosystems and ecosystem services, based on the "transaction cost" theory by Course R H in the economics of property rights, the feasibility and the patterns of ecosystem services trading were discussed for establishing a market-oriented compensation system. In this system, regional ecosystem was classified into three types according to the major services of the society-nature conservation areas. Meanwhile, the compensation manners were listed and grouped by three principals of developing the existing market for compensating the ecosystem output services, bundling compensation for the intangible services, and seeking diverse operations for ecosystems mainly providing non-material services. In the future research, attentions should be paid to case studies on land management and community participation.

Cite this article

FENG Ling . Building Market-oriented Mechanisms for Ecological Compensation: Based on the Theory of  "Transaction Costs"[J]. PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY, 2010 , 29(5) : 515 -522 . DOI: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2010.05.001


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