Getting Biodiversity Offsets Right — A Research Agenda for Canada (Policy brief)

Getting biodiversity offsets rightA recent pol­icy brief (Octo­ber 2014) has been pre­pared by Sus­tain­able Pros­per­ity on bio­di­ver­sity off­sets in the Cana­dian con­text. See the pdf of the pol­icy brief here and the key mes­sages below.

Agenda for Bio­di­ver­sity Off­sets in Canada_Policy brief_Oct 2014

Key Mes­sages

  • Bio­di­ver­sity con­tributes to human well­be­ing in a num­ber of ways; human health ben­e­fits from clean air and fresh water, eco­nomic activ­ity relies on nature to sup­ply nat­ural resources, and peo­ple derive enjoy­ment and spir­i­tual value from being in nature and hav­ing access to recre­ation. How­ever, bio­di­ver­sity is in rapid decline, due in large part to pres­sures from eco­nomic activ­ity like resource devel­op­ment and land-use conversion.

  • Cana­di­ans want both eco­nomic activ­ity and bio­di­ver­sity. While the amount of resource devel­op­ment and eco­nomic activ­ity fore­cast for the com­ing decade is sub­stan­tial, there is a strate­gic win­dow now, prior to devel­op­ment, to set bio­di­ver­sity con­ser­va­tion goals and to imple­ment poli­cies that address the envi­ron­men­tal impacts of eco­nomic activity.

  • Bio­di­ver­sity off­sets have the poten­tial to be used as one tool to help achieve bio­di­ver­sity con­ser­va­tion goals. While Canada is gen­er­ally lack­ing pol­icy frame­works for bio­di­ver­sity off­sets, there is real world expe­ri­ence and prac­ti­cal knowl­edge upon which to build bio­di­ver­sity off­set poli­cies tai­lored for Canada.

  • In addi­tion to mov­ing for­ward now with bio­di­ver­sity off­sets where appro­pri­ate, ongo­ing research is required to ensure the best pos­si­ble envi­ron­men­tal and eco­nomic out­comes. This research agenda should be based on con­ser­va­tion sci­ence and should draw on inter­dis­ci­pli­nary col­lab­o­ra­tion from polit­i­cal, finan­cial, social, legal and eco­nomic experts. A start­ing point would be the 10 pri­or­ity research areas iden­ti­fied by par­tic­i­pants at the Feb­ru­ary 2014 con­fer­ence Bio­di­ver­sity Off­sets in Canada: Get­ting it Right, Mak­ing a Difference.

Study on Cana­dian Con­ser­va­tion Off­set Programs

The pol­icy brief builds on a recent study by War­ren Noga and W.L. (Vic) Adamow­icz enti­tled “A Study of Cana­dian Con­ser­va­tion Off­set Pro­grams. Lessons Learned from a Review of Pro­grams, Analy­sis of Stake­holder Per­cep­tions, and Inves­ti­ga­tion of Trans­ac­tions Costs” (Octo­ber 14, 2014).

See the pdf of the study here and find the sum­mary copied below: Noga and Adamowicz_2014_A study on Cana­dian con­ser­va­tion off­set pro­grams

Sum­mary of the study

The use of con­ser­va­tion off­sets to achieve envi­ron­men­tal goals is becom­ing more promi­nent, both in Canada and around the world. In order to build new, effec­tive pro­grams, it is use­ful to eval­u­ate cur­rent pro­grams for the lessons that can be learned. Much of the exist­ing lit­er­a­ture focuses on eval­u­at­ing off­set pro­grams from a bio­log­i­cal per­spec­tive or an eco­nomic per­spec­tive. To fully eval­u­ate a pro­gram, ele­ments of both dis­ci­plines should be used. The fol­low­ing paper devel­ops a frame­work using exist­ing cri­te­ria from both the bio­log­i­cal and eco­nomic lit­er­a­ture. The frame­work is then applied to sev­eral Cana­dian and one inter­na­tional case study to iden­tify what lessons can be learned. Inter­views with key stake­hold­ers in the design of exist­ing off­set pro­grams are used to expand the dis­cus­sion on the lessons learned. The paper con­cludes with a dis­cus­sion of lessons that are learned through the lit­er­a­ture review, appli­ca­tion of the frame­work, and inter­view responses.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>