Country Infos

Country Profile Manager:
Sofia Blom
Swedish Board of Agriculture
Phone: +46702550744

Conservation performance payments




The Swedish conservation performance payment scheme for Lynx (Lynx lynx) and Wolverine (Gulo gulo) offspring was first introduced in 1996 with modifications made in 2000. The scheme is targeted at areas of Sami reindeer herding in the north of Sweden - typically wildland, forest and tundra and has been taken up widely across the 51 Sami communities.

Location of the scheme

one region

The scheme is specific to the areas of Sami reindeer herding in the north of Sweden - north of the Arctic Circle as far south as the county of Dalarna. These areas are typically wildlands, forest and tundra and are mostly remote and natural areas which are also home to other large carnivores including wolves (Canis lupus).

Duration of the scheme

Since: 1996
Until: ongoing

Objective(s) of the scheme / project

  • Biodiversity

Which habitats or species are in the focus of the scheme / project?

  • Only species of FFH-D.

The objective of this scheme is the protection and preservation of two large carnivores, native to Swedish Lapland, the Lynx (Lynx lynx) and Wolverine (Gulo gulo). The Lynx and Wolverine are endangered carnivores on the World Conservation Union Red List, both at risk of habitat loss and illegal hunting. The scheme also targets wolves or any wild animal that is not an ungulate and that are protected from hunting. 

Which indicators are used?

  • Only FFH Species

The results indicators for this scheme are relatively straight forwards. Payments are made according to the number of Lynx and Wolverine offspring observed each year as a proxy for the total population. Previously the scheme rewarded the Sami herders for the number of dead Reindeer resulting from carnivore kills. This approach had moral hazards associated as the control mechanism (the number of dead livestock) was not contingent on conservation outcomes (the population of Lynx or Wolverine). The payments may also be applied for wolves, or any wild animal that is not an ungulate and that are protected from hunting. 

Design of scheme / project

  • Pure Result Based Payments

By which fund(s) is the scheme / project implemented?

  • National governmental financing

The payments are financed publically by the Swedish government and managed by the Swedish Environmental Agency - not by the Swedish Board of Agriculture (which manages agri-environment paymen

How are the incentives (payment levels) calculated?

  • Other

Payments are made according to the number of Lynx and Wolverine offspring observed each year as a proxy for the total population. The annual target is to record 90 Wolverine offspring and 80 Lynx offspring which are thought to indicate overall populations of around 400 of each species. The level of payment is determined according to the cost of the damage that each Lynx or Wolverine offspring is expected to cause throughout their lifetime.
The payment level in 2007 for each certified Lynx and Wolverine offspring was SEK 200,000 (~ € 22,045). In addition, payments can be made for the regular and occasional occurrence of lone Wolverines (SEK 70,000 [~ € 7,716]) and Lynx (SEK 35,000 [ ~ €3,858]). The payments are made to the Sami villages as a common pool resource to be distributed as they see fit. In many cases the herders have a say in how the money is distributed but not always. Until 2000 there was a cap on the total amount of money that was to be spent on performance payments irrespective of the number of offspring.

The payments may also be applied for wolves, or any wild animal that is not an ungulate and that are protected from hunting. 

Is there a top up in case of reaching the goals?

  • No

How many farmers take part in the scheme?

  • More than 2.000

How are participating farmers supervised/advised?

  • Information meetings/workshops (obligatory)
  • Other

training in surveying and measurement

Monitoring of the carnivore populations is a complex process, taking place primarily during the snowy season and involving a trained representative from the Sami village and a representative from the managing authority. The predator representatives must complete training in surveying and measurement before carrying out any monitoring.
The monitoring, carried out in the snowy season, records breeding territories (location of dens or lairs, tracks) and regular and occasional occurrence of adults (through tracks of adult animals, camera traps etc). Monitoring is carried out in cooperation between the herders (a predator representative) and scheme rangers from the County managing authority who come out to verify predator dens or lairs.
The monitoring framework is generally viewed by the Reindeer herders as cumbersome, but necessary.

Are there any evaluation results (2020)?

  • Yes

There is relatively limited empirical evidence to suggest whether the scheme has had a successful impact on species numbers. However, both Lnyx and Wolverine populations have increased and it is thought that this is at least in part due to the scheme. There is some evidence to suggest that incidents of poaching have fallen since 1996, although it is not clear how much of this poaching can be ascribed to the Sami reindeer herders. Long term radio collar monitoring programmes suggest that 60% of adult Wolverine mortality and 46% of adult Lynx mortality is a result of illegal hunting and poaching (figures from 1996 – 2002, see Zabel and Roe, 2008), although this involves a much larger range of hunters than the Sami alone.

An important success factor has been establishing good relations between the Sami herders and scheme officials. The officials have been receptive to requests from the Sami herders, for example being flexible about when the inventories are carried out to ensure that the optimum result can be recorded. Another example is through the target setting process, which initially was carried out only by the managing authority, but now involves communication with the Sami community.

However, challenges still remain around what are perceived to be onerous monitoring requirements and insufficient payment levels. The annual monitoring process is considered, by the Reindeer herders, to be time consuming and costly. According to Sami officials, payment rates for the scheme have not been adjusted in the last 10 years, however the cost of monitoring, including fuel for snowmobiles etc, has increased by over 50%.

Sami herders lose on average 20% of their reindeer stocks to carnivore attacks each year. The payments for successful offspring are now viewed as a significant source of income for many Sami villages, and as such attitudes towards the predators have changed. Yet, in light of this new income stream, there have been concerns about the socio-economic impact on villages where results are better one year and poor the next (as a result of a range of factors). To overcome this risk there have been discussions about spreading the payment across two years to ensure more economic stability; however, this has not yet been implemented. 


Zabel A and Holm-Müller K (2008) Conservation performance payments for carnivore conservation in Sweden. Conservation Biology, No 22, (2) pp247-251
Zabel A and Roe B (2009) Optimal design of pro-conservation incentives. Ecological Economics, No 69, (1) pp126-134
Zabel A, Bostedt G and Engel S (2010) Outcomes and Determinants of Success of a Performance Payment Scheme for Carnovire Conservation. CERE Working Paper 2010:7
Zabel A, Bostedt G, Engel S (2013) Performance payments for groups: The case of carnivore conservation in Northern Sweden, Environ Resource Econ.
Nieminen M, Norberg H, Maijala V (2011) Mortality and survival of semi-domesticated reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus L.) calves in northern Finland. Rangifer, 31(1), 71 – 84




Contact person

Viltförvaltningsenheten, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, Tel: +46 - 10-6981805