Ecological-Economic Framework to Investigate and Promote the Effectiveness of Biodiversity Offsets
Biodiversity offsets are an increasingly popular yet controversial tool in conservation. Their popularity lies in their potential to meet the objectives of biodiversity conservation and of economic development simultaneously; the controversy lies in the need to accept ecological losses in return for uncertain gains, and the wide adoption despite methods and overriding conceptual framework being still under development. This project will address this knowledge gap by developing an ecological-economic conceptual framework to investigate the factors that can reduce the effectiveness of biodiversity offsets as a conservation tool, and will collect empirical evidence of biodiversity offset programs around the world to quantify the importance of such factors.
In 2011, the EU Biodiversity Strategy called on the European Commission to develop a No-Net-Loss (NNL) initiative for Europe’s ecosystems and ecosystem services, a request that was repeated that year by the Environment Council of Ministers and by the European Parliament. An impact assessment published in 2016 suggested that in order to achieve NNL of biodiversity in Europe mandatory offsetting measures would be necessary. This project will investigate how governments can promote the application of offsets through regulatory frameworks that enable the involvement of the private sector while delivering real reductions of environmental degradation.