The development of the Australian environmental offsets policy: from theory to practice — new paper by Miller et al

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KATHERINE L. MILLER, JAMES A. TREZISE, STEFAN KRAUS, KIMBERLEY DRIPPS, MEGAN C. EVANS, PHILIP GIBBONS, HUGH P. POSSINGHAM and MARTINE MARON have pub­lished a new paper enti­tled The devel­op­ment of the Aus­tralian envi­ron­men­tal off­sets pol­icy: from the­ory to prac­tice” in Envi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion (2015). Read more on the Jour­nal web­site (pay-walled). For more infor­ma­tion see also a the sum­mary below.


Envi­ron­men­tal off­set­ting involves com­pen­sat­ing for the resid­ual adverse impacts of an action on the envi­ron­ment by gen­er­at­ing an equiv­a­lent ben­e­fit else­where. As the preva­lence of envi­ron­men­tal off­set­ting grows, so does the chal­lenge of trans­lat­ing no-net-loss goals to work­able pol­icy. From 2011–2012, the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment devel­oped an Envi­ron­men­tal Off­sets Pol­icy and an accom­pa­ny­ing met­ric (the Off­sets Assess­ment Guide) to sup­port deci­sion mak­ing about off­set require­ments under the Envi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion and Bio­di­ver­sity Con­ser­va­tion Act 1999. Through exten­sive stake­holder con­sul­ta­tion and in col­lab­o­ra­tion with aca­d­e­mic researchers, the Guide was devel­oped with the aim of account­ing appro­pri­ately for eco­log­i­cal equiv­a­lence in a trans­par­ent and flex­i­ble man­ner. This paper out­lines the Aus­tralian Government’s envi­ron­men­tal off­set pol­icy devel­op­ment process, and describes the approach adopted for eval­u­at­ing the suit­abil­ity of pro­posed off­sets in meet­ing the pol­icy goals. The Guide explic­itly esti­mates the extent to which an off­set will improve the tar­get biota and/or avert future losses, the degree of con­fi­dence that the off­set will be imple­mented suc­cess­fully, and the time it will take to deliver a con­ser­va­tion ben­e­fit. Since imple­men­ta­tion of the Envi­ron­men­tal Off­sets Pol­icy and the Guide, there has been a shift in focus from esti­mat­ing off­set require­ments based on sim­plis­tic area ratios, toward directly eval­u­at­ing the com­po­nents of an off­set action that deter­mine its envi­ron­men­tal per­for­mance. Achiev­ing a bal­ance between sci­en­tific robust­ness and pol­icy work­a­bil­ity is an ongo­ing chal­lenge. The Envi­ron­men­tal Off­sets Pol­icy and Guide rep­re­sent an impor­tant step towards con­sis­tency and trans­parency in envi­ron­men­tal off­set decision-making.



The development of the Australian environmental offsets policy: from theory to practice — new paper by Miller et al — 1 Comment

  1. Pingback: (First) Biodiversity Offsets NewsMONTH, January 2015 - Biodiversity Offsets Blog

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