Great Apes and Biodiversity Offset Projects in Africa: The Case for National Offset Strategies — new paper by Kormos et al

Rebecca Kor­mos, Cyril F. Kor­mos, Tatyana Humle, Annette Lan­jouw, Helga Rainer, Ray Vic­turine, A. Mit­ter­meier, Anthony B. Rylands, Mamadou S. Diallo and Eliz­a­beth A. Williamson have pub­lished a new paper on “Great Apes and Bio­di­ver­sity Off­set Projects in Africa: The Case for National Off­set Strate­gies in Meth­ods in PLOS ONE. You can access the full paper here  (open access) and find the abstract copied below.

Read also more here: Bio­di­ver­sity off­sets need a national strat­egy, Novem­ber 5, 2014, by Katie New­ton (see also here and here and here)


The devel­op­ment and pri­vate sec­tors are increas­ingly con­sid­er­ing “bio­di­ver­sity off­sets” as a strat­egy to com­pen­sate for their neg­a­tive impacts on bio­di­ver­sity, includ­ing impacts on great apes and their habi­tats in Africa. In the absence of national off­set poli­cies in sub-Saharan Africa, off­set design and imple­men­ta­tion are guided by com­pany inter­nal stan­dards, lend­ing bank stan­dards or inter­na­tional best prac­tice prin­ci­ples. We exam­ine four projects in Africa that are seek­ing to com­pen­sate for their neg­a­tive impacts on great ape pop­u­la­tions. Our assess­ment of these projects reveals that not all apply or imple­ment best prac­tices, and that there is lit­tle stan­dard­iza­tion in the meth­ods used to mea­sure losses and gains in species num­bers. Even if they were to fol­low cur­rently accepted best-practice prin­ci­ples, we find that these actions may still fail to con­tribute to con­ser­va­tion objec­tives over the long term. We advo­cate for an alter­na­tive approach in which bio­di­ver­sity off­set and com­pen­sa­tion projects are designed and imple­mented as part of a National Off­set Strat­egy that (1) takes into account the cumu­la­tive impacts of devel­op­ment in indi­vid­ual coun­tries, (2) iden­ti­fies pri­or­ity off­set sites, (3) pro­motes aggre­gated off­sets, and (4) inte­grates bio­di­ver­sity off­set and com­pen­sa­tion projects with national bio­di­ver­sity con­ser­va­tion objec­tives. We also pro­pose sup­ple­men­tary prin­ci­ples nec­es­sary for bio­di­ver­sity off­sets to con­tribute to great ape con­ser­va­tion in Africa. Cau­tion should still be exer­cised, how­ever, with regard to off­sets until fur­ther field-based evi­dence of their effec­tive­ness is available.

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