Bárbara Gonçalves, Alexandra Marques, Amadeu Mortágua Velho Da Maia Soares and Henrique Miguel Pereira have published a new paper entitled “Biodiversity offsets: from current challenges to harmonized metrics” in a Special Issue of Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability (Volume 14, June 2015, Pages 61–67). The article is based on a review of scientific literature on biodiversity offsets. You can read the full article on the Journal website (pay-walled). For more information see also the highlights and abstract below.
- Biodiversity offsets are a compensation tool that uses a common metric.
- We reviewed the scientific literature on biodiversity offsetting.
- most common challenges are currency and location of the offsets.
- essential Biodiversity Variables’ roles for offsets include comparability across locations.
Biodiversity offsets are compensatory mechanisms increasingly used to address ecological impacts resulting from human activities. We review the scientific literature on biodiversity offsets, published between 1999 and 2014. We found that biodiversity offset studies have increased through time. The majority of studies have been carried out in the USA. The development of biodiversity offsets schemes faces conceptual and practical challenges. The conceptual challenges discussed in the literature are: choice of metric, spatial delivery of offsets, equivalence, additionality, timing, longevity, ratios and reversibility. The practical challenges reported in the literature are: compliance, monitoring, transparency and timing of credits release. Amongst these, choice of metric and location are paramount and are related to the multidimensional nature of biodiversity and the values society places on biodiversity. Harmonized metrics such as the Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBVs) help to address these challenges by providing comparability of biodiversity loss and gain amongst locations.