A global review of ecological fiscal transfers

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleContributedpeer-review


  • Jonah Busch - , Conservation International (Author)
  • Irene Ring - , Chair of Ecosystem Services (Author)
  • Monique Akullo - , National Environment Management Authority (Author)
  • Oyut Amarjargal - , Earth Innovation Institute (Author)
  • Maud Borie - , King's College London (KCL) (Author)
  • Rodrigo S. Cassola - , United Nations (Author)
  • Annabelle Cruz-Trinidad - , United Nations (Author)
  • Nils Droste - , Lund University (Author)
  • Joko Tri Haryanto - , Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Indonesia (Author)
  • Ulan Kasymov - , Chair of Ecosystem Services (Author)
  • Nataliia Viktorivna Kotenko - , Sumy State University (Author)
  • Ariunaa Lhkagvadorj - , National Academy of Governance (Author)
  • Felipe Luiz Lima De Paulo - , Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco (Author)
  • Peter H. May - , Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro (Author)
  • Anit Mukherjee - , Center for Global Development (Author)
  • Sonny Mumbunan - , University of Indonesia, World Resources Institute (WRI) Indonesia (Author)
  • Rui Santos - , NOVA University Lisbon (Author)
  • Luca Tacconi - , Australian National University (Author)
  • Gracie Verde Selva - , The Institute for Food Systems and Sustainability Research (Author)
  • Madhu Verma - , World Resources Institute (WRI) India (Author)
  • Xiaoxi Wang - , Zhejiang University, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (Author)
  • Lu Yu - , Zhejiang University, German Development Institute (Author)
  • Kecen Zhou - , TUD Dresden University of Technology (Author)


Ecological fiscal transfers (EFT) transfer public revenue between governments within a country based on ecological indicators. EFT can compensate subnational governments for the costs of conserving ecosystems and in principle can incentivize greater ecological conservation. We review established EFT in Brazil, Portugal, France, China and India, and emerging or proposed EFT in ten more countries. We analyse common themes related to EFT emergence, design and effects. EFT have grown rapidly from US$0.35 billion yr−1 in 2007 to US$23 billion yr−1 in 2020. We discuss the scope of opportunity to expand EFT to other countries by ‘greening’ intergovernmental fiscal transfers.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)756-765
Number of pages10
JournalNature Sustainability
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021

External IDs

ORCID /0000-0001-5620-1379/work/142236411
ORCID /0000-0002-2688-8947/work/142244304