Research for the Environment

Economics of the Environment - water resources, energy, biodiversity, climate change

Department of Economics

Prof. Dr. Erik Gawel
Prof. Dr. Bernd Hansjürgens

PD Dr. Irene Ring

Evelyn Doltze
Heide Scharfe

Tel.: ++49 341 235-1259/1255
Fax: ++49 341 235-45 1259
Permoserstraße 15
D-04318 Leipzig, Germany

The environment is a scarce good. Research in the field of environmental economics clarifies how one should sustainably use environmental resources and which rules society should abide by to achieve this.

As part of the Division of Social Sciences the Department of Economics works together in interdisciplinary groups on current problems in the fields of water, (bio)-energy, nature conservation and biodiversity as well as climate change. Here questions are analysed concerning economic valuation, the concepts of institutions and decision-making processes as well as the instrumentation of environmental and resource policies. Furthermore, the department develops methods for the economic and ecological modeling of environmental systems.

News & Highlights

UFZ’s environmental economists are co-authors of the new policy brief published by the Helmholtz Alliance ENERGY-TRANS

Illustration erneuerbare Energien

The Helmholtz Alliance ENERGY-TRANS has published its second policy brief: “The future of the energy transition in Germany”. Renowned scientists from different research disciplines – mainly economics and law, but also engineering and social sciences – offer guidance on current issues of energy transition policy. The authors representing five of the Alliance’s research institutes (UFZ, ZEW, FU Berlin, DLR, ZIRIUS) present their views on important debates on the energy transition and indicate basic challenges for the design of a sustainable energy transition policy. A collection of 17 short statements – dealing with aspects such as the German Renewable Energies Act or the integration of national energy policies on the European level – outlines central features of a future energy transition policy.

Point of view

Scrapping the European renewable energy targets? An economically questionable decision

energy production

The EU Commission proposes to abandon its binding targets for the deployment of renewable energies. UFZ's environmental economists Paul Lehmann, Erik Gawel and Sebastian Strunz question this decision.

to the point of view (in German)


Innovative financing to strengthen the European
“Natura 2000”-network


Covering around 17.5 % of the area of the EU, “Natura 2000” is the largest network of nature reserves in the world. To overcome the financial barriers caused by the differing distribution of responsibilities between the various jurisdictions, scientists of the SCALES-project looked at existing approaches and new suggestions for ecological fiscal transfers to the local level. The principle behind this idea is that although many local governments provide services for higher levels and other neighbouring municipalities through their conservation responsibilities, associated public costs are rarely acknowledged in the current fiscal transfer schemes.

The EU project SCALES (Securing the Conservation of biodiversity across Administrative Levels and spatial, temporal, and Ecological Scales) is one of Europe's largest biodiversity research projects. It was coordinated by UFZ in Leipzig.

More information on the project


The Department of Economics belongs to the departments at the UFZ with the most third-party funding.

to an overview of the projects

Main points of research

The Department of Economics plays a part in numerous interdisciplinary research topics at the UFZ.

to the main points of research


The Department of Economics plays a part in numerous interdisciplinary research topics at the UFZ.

to an overview of the staff

Working groups

The Department of Economics is involved in the interdisciplinary working groups social science water research, nature conservation, climate change, governance and institutions as well as energy.

P. Soederholm

Patrik Söderholm joins the UFZ Department of Economics as an ENERGY-TRANS guest professor.

More information

Irene Ring

Irene Ring has been elected President of the European Society for Ecological Economics.

Report on the ESEE website