The regulation applied within the buffer zone can either be mandatory, flexible, or voluntary. In the case of a mandatory regulation, this will typically consist of prohibition or restrictions on the activities within the zone. This implies that land owners within the zone are subject to limitations in the property rights or - more far reaching -are obliged to carry out certain nature preservation. One example is the National Danish Nature Protection Act that requires land use to be unchanged within designated locations characterized by specific nature types.
The term 'flexible regulation' refers to policy measures regulating environmental pressures through the marked by application of taxes of tradable quotas. This regulation is difficult to target locally, and is thus, not likely to be a general feasible option within buffer zones.
In the case of voluntary regulation, the landowners are given the opportunity to engage in environment-friendly schemes within the designated buffer zones. The scheme may either provide the landowners with the opportunity to enter subsidy payments targeted at reducing environmental pressures within the buffer zone, for example, reduced pesticide use, or simply provision of advisory services targeted to landowners within the zone.
Mandatory, flexible, and voluntary regulation can of course also be applied in various combinations. One example could be ammonia buffer zones where farmers are faced with a mandatory requirement of reducing ammonia emissions to a prespecified level, but at the same time are eligible to apply for subsidies to implementing ammonia abatement technologies.
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