When is an offset not an offset? A framework of necessary conditions for biodiversity offsets

Pope, Jenny, Morrison-Saunders, Angus, Bond, Alan and Retief, Francois (2021) When is an offset not an offset? A framework of necessary conditions for biodiversity offsets. Environmental Management, 67. 424–435. ISSN 0364-152X

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Abstract

Biodiversity offsets have become a widely-accepted means of attempting to compensate for biodiversity loss from development, and are applied in planning and decision-making processes at many levels. Yet their use is contentious, and numerous problems with both the concept and the practice have been identified in the literature. Our starting point is the understanding that offsets are a kind of biodiversity compensation measure through which the goal of no net loss (or net gain) of biodiversity can be at least theoretically achieved. Based on a typology of compensation measures distinguishing between habitat protection, improvement (including restoration, habitat creation and improved management practices), and other compensation, we review the literature to develop a framework of conditions that must be met if habitat protection and improvement initiatives can be truly considered offsets and not merely a lesser form of compensation. It is important that such conceptual clarity is reflected in offsets policy and guidance, if offsets are to be appropriately applied and have any chance of fully compensating for biodiversity loss. Our framework can be used to support the review and ongoing development of offsets policy and guidance, with the aim of improving clarity, rigour and therefore the chances that good biodiversity outcomes can be achieved.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: biodiversity offsets,biodiversity compensation,mitigation hioerarchy,no net loss,net gain,offsets policy,ecology,environmental science(all),decision sciences(all) ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2300/2303
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2021 00:56
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2021 00:59
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/78030
DOI: 10.1007/s00267-020-01415-0

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