New Poll: Do you think it is pos­si­ble to mea­sure the suc­cess of bio­di­ver­sity offsets?


As I have recently  sug­gested, I am launch­ing a new poll on the Bio­di­ver­sity Off­sets Blog. Thanks to all who have con­tributed to shap­ing this in the related LinkedIn dis­cus­sion.

As a result the OUTCOME or SUCCESS of bio­di­ver­sity off­sets have been iden­ti­fied as a cru­cial fac­tor (that also deter­mines the cred­i­bil­ity and reli­a­bil­ity of offsets).

Like the last poll, this one con­sists of two related ques­tions. Please vote on both of them and leave a com­ment below for any fur­ther expla­na­tion. Thanks!

Poll #2

Do you think it is pos­si­ble to mea­sure the suc­cess of bio­di­ver­sity offsets?

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What is your under­stand­ing of “suc­cess” of bio­di­ver­sity offsets?

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New Poll: Do you think it is pos­si­ble to mea­sure the suc­cess of bio­di­ver­sity offsets? — 9 Comments

    • Very true, Mark. Thanks. That’s why I framed the sec­ond ques­tion around the def­i­n­i­tion of suc­cess or in your words the dif­fer­ent objec­tives that an action thrives for, in order to be called “suc­cess­ful”. How­ever, as long as the objec­tive is kind of very gen­eral and abstract (who can tell exactly what “no net loss” of an ecosys­tem means?!), all eval­u­a­tions of suc­cess remain vague…

  1. Yes. This is a pro­gram eval­u­a­tion ques­tion. How you assess suc­cess will depend to some extent on what the objective(s) of the off­set is. But likely you would use a range of approaches — just as in any real world com­plex pro­gram evaluation.

    • Of course, Andrew, suc­cess is obvi­ously shaped by the objec­tives that you set in the very begin­ning, i.e. whether you set low level or high level tar­gets will give a dif­fer­ent eval­u­a­tion of suc­cess (even though the actual out­come on the ground may be the same)

  2. The largest chal­lenges have to do with base­line and leak­age. We are on a tra­jec­tory of ever deceas­ing base­lines. Even if you main­tain or increase bio­di­ver­sity on one site, typ­i­cally project impacts are sim­ply occur some­where else. There is a sim­i­lar prob­lem with for­est car­bon off­sets in man­aged forests. Even if you reduce the tim­ber har­vest lev­els in loca­tion A, global demand will often result in increased tim­ber har­vest else­where to com­pen­sate for reduc­tions at loca­tion A.

    • very true, Andy! So would you call for a global No Net Loss target/scheme? It would most likely be very ide­al­is­tic to have an over­ar­ch­ing world­wide com­pen­sa­tion require­ment so that the shift from one loca­tion to another (because the demand stays the same as you have pointed out) does not occur. Or don’t you think that is ever pos­si­ble?
      Obvi­ously, we need to reduce the demand and thus change our behaviour…

  3. On a purely per­sonal note — I’ve always thought nature worth valu­ing purely for its own sake and resist attempts to value this in mon­e­tary terms aka ecosys­tems approach etc. I recog­nise, how­ever that our pol­icy mak­ers, gov­ern­ments and polit­i­cans have gen­er­ally adopted and advo­cate this ‘mod­ern’ approach so as to jus­tify both pol­icy and pub­lic expenditure !

    That said, bio­di­ver­sity off­sets are likely to remain an impor­tant tool for the future but will need mon­i­tor­ing to ensure that any attempt to make do with a min­i­mal­is­tic approach. In the UK, I would pro­fer the opin­ion that devel­op­ers and plan­ners mostly work to a ‘min­i­mal­is­tic’ standard.

  4. I think it is best to pro­vide a restored con­di­tion that is so much more than the degraded con­di­tion that it is obvi­ous that there has been a ben­e­fit. I would be happy to share Pow­er­Point seg­ments that illus­trate this point for folks who are inter­ested. Send me an e-mail at the above e-mail and I can send you the segments.

    • David, Thanks for shar­ing your insights. I’d be very inter­ested in your Pow­er­point Slides and prob­a­bly many other peo­ple are. Please do send me the slides to m.darbi[at] Maybe this would also make a great post for the Bio­di­ver­sity Off­sets Blog — what do you think?

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