Biodiversity Offsets in Australia — new report finds implementation at state level is poor

“no state leg­is­la­tion fully meets Com­mon­wealth stan­dards for bio­di­ver­sity offsets”

The report Assess­ment of the ade­quacy of threat­ened species & plan­ning laws has been released by the Places You Love Alliance, a coali­tion of 42 Aus­tralian NGOs. Read more at Blue and Green tomor­row or see a sim­i­lar arti­cle on the topic in the Guardian.


New PhD study: “Biodiversity offset markets: current challenges and prospective developments”

A Report on Bio­di­ver­sity Offsetting

Nice to see another PhD in the bio­di­ver­sity off­sets field – with more analy­ses such as this we will be able to have a bet­ter informed dis­cus­sion! Many thanks Carlos!

As the PhD is still “fresh” and under “inves­ti­ga­tion” it is not yet pub­licly avail­able. But instead, you may want to have a look the exec­u­tive sum­mary (Ferreira_2014_Biodiversity Off­set Mar­kets). Con­tinue read­ing

Love or Leave? The controversy about Biodiversity Offsets

Controversy on Biodiversity Offsets (Image created for Biodiversity Offsets Blog by Marianne Darbi)

No to Bio­di­ver­sity Offsetting?

As bio­di­ver­sity off­sets become more vis­i­ble in the pub­lic they are sub­ject to a grow­ing con­tro­versy. Crit­ics of bio­di­ver­sity off­sets have a grow­ing lobby, espe­cially in the UK, where the gov­ern­ment seems to rush, want­ing to push through the con­cept of bio­di­ver­sity off­sets, no mat­ter at what expense and qual­ity. Con­tinue read­ing

Biodiversity Offsets need a strong regulatory system! Or voluntary engagement?

Bio­di­ver­sity Off­sets under reg­u­la­tory systems

A decade ago off­sets only existed under sev­eral reg­u­la­tory sys­tems e.g. Envi­ron­men­tal Impact Assess­ment, US Wet­land Mit­i­ga­tion, Ger­man Impact Mit­i­ga­tion Reg­u­la­tion and other (see table below for some selected more). Compensation approaches in selected countries (from Darbi et al 2010)

The busi­ness case and vol­un­tary bio­di­ver­sity offsets

These have served as a source for the devel­op­ment of new toolk­its and stan­dards for the “the busi­ness case” for bio­di­ver­sity off­sets (e.g. BBOP, IFC, ICMM etc.). This implied the pro­mo­tion of “vol­un­tary off­sets” as opposed to the exist­ing “manda­tory offsets”.

Up to now, these two have been used mostly lit­er­ally and not fur­ther under­pinned. If you look at manda­tory and vol­un­tary bio­di­ver­sity off­sets as antipodes it is obvi­ous that this “black-or-white” dis­tinc­tion doesn’t work (see my pre­vi­ous post Early draft on a Typol­ogy of Bio­di­ver­sity Off­sets). Bio­di­ver­sity off­sets are far more com­plex than that. Con­tinue read­ing

Why did the concept of Biodiversity Offsets become so popular?

“Bio­di­ver­sity” is a buzz­word (and “Bio­di­ver­sity Off­set” is becom­ing one)

One rea­son for the pop­u­lar­ity of bio­di­ver­sity off­sets is inher­ent to the term itself: “bio­di­ver­sity” is prob­a­bly one of the most promi­nent buzz­words of the 21st cen­tury (after “sus­tain­abil­ity” at the end of the 20th century).

Sim­ply typ­ing “bio­di­ver­sity” into the Google search engine deliv­ers more than forty mil­lion results, and every day sev­eral hun­dreds or thou­sands of new infor­ma­tion sources are being pro­duced and added (as of August 2014).

While the Google search hits for “Bio­di­ver­sity Off­set” (includ­ing both “Bio­di­ver­sity Off­sets” and “Bio­di­ver­sity Off­set­ting”) can in no way be com­pared to the ones for “Bio­di­ver­sity”, they still deliver a remark­able num­ber — seen that it is a very spe­cific and com­plex concept.

Google search hits for biodiversity offset per year Con­tinue read­ing

From global biodiversity loss to No Net Loss in the EU?

A global prob­lem: the loss of bio­di­ver­sity on the polit­i­cal agenda

The nat­ural world is going down. Many species and their habi­tats, and ecosys­tem as a whole, are threat­ened by human activ­i­ties. A broad con­sen­sus exists among sci­en­tists, politi­cians, busi­nesses and in civil soci­ety as a whole that bio­di­ver­sity loss is one of the biggest chal­lenges that we are facing.

This is a prob­lem not only because of the intrin­sic value of nature but also because humans rely on a healthy envi­ron­ment as the basis for their exis­tence (see Mil­le­nium Ecosys­tem assess­ment, Global Envi­ron­men­tal Out­look).

As a result, pol­i­tics have declared that actions need to be taken to halt this global loss urgently and imme­di­ately. Con­tinue read­ing

Biodiversity Offsets — A collection of news by Carlos Ferreira on Scoop.it

I usu­ally stroll through the net search­ing for news on bio­di­ver­sity off­sets. Actu­ally I have the feel­ing that I don’t need to search for the news any­more, but the news “find me”. I come across an inter­est­ing arti­cle, a new com­ment or even a new guid­ance that is dis­cussed or released every­time I am open­ing my browser.

But yesterday’s “prey” was some­thing spe­cial that I want to share with you. I have never heard of scoop.it! before. That is a an online plat­form, where you can col­lect news on your field(s) of inter­est in a sort of folder or time­line. It is as easy as book­mark­ing, but with the advan­tages that the items are dis­played visu­ally and in the order you added them. You can also add a short per­sonal com­ment on every item you add. Fur­ther­more, you can add key­words and will auto­mat­i­cally have sug­ges­tions for inter­est­ing news that are reg­u­larly updated. I will change my old browser book­marks to scoop and have cre­ated http://www.scoop.it/t/biodiversity-offsets-blog.

You may ask your­self what that has got to do with bio­di­ver­sity off­sets and how you can ben­e­fit from this. Do have a look at http://www.scoop.it/t/biodiversity-offsets. That is a col­lec­tion started by Car­los Fer­reira specif­i­cally on bio­di­ver­sity off­sets. This dates back to 2011 and is a real valu­able source of infor­ma­tion. Thanks, Car­los for pulling this together and for shar­ing — I will def­i­nitely fol­low this!


Gina vs. the reef? A plea for informed debate on biodiversity offsets — new article by Megan Evans

Megan Evans, who writes her PhD at the Aus­tralian National Uni­ver­sity, has pub­lished a nice arti­cle on her blog, try­ing to out­bal­ance a rather poorly inves­ti­gated arti­cle pub­lished in the Guardian on an Aus­tralian coal ter­mi­nal. As she says:

I never thought I’d be in a sit­u­a­tion where I felt the need to defend Gina Rine­hart. I’m pro-mining tax, love the Great Bar­rier Reef, pro-divestment and pro-safe cli­mate. But, I want an informed debate on these issues – and in the case of the pro­posed Abbot Point coal ter­mi­nal devel­op­ment, we need to have a decent under­stand­ing of the envi­ron­men­tal poli­cies which guide the envi­ron­men­tal impact assess­ment process.

While I am not into the details of this project, the exam­ple illus­trates that the dis­cus­sion about bio­di­ver­sity off­sets has often become a hus­tle and bus­tle of quickly picked argu­ments instead of a “well-informed debate”. Thanks, Megan to add seri­ous­ness to this!

To read the full arti­cle, please visit: http://mcevansresearch.wordpress.com/2014/08/21/gina-vs-the-reef-a-plea-for-informed-debate-on-biodiversity-offsets/comment-page-1/#comment-1943

“Challenging futures of biodiversity offsets and banking” — report and findings from a Workshop held by the “Innovation in Governance Research Group”

“Chal­leng­ing futures of bio­di­ver­sity off­sets and bank­ing” was the name of a work­shop that was held on 19 April 2013 in Berlin. The work­shop was orga­nized by the ‘Inno­va­tion in Gov­er­nance Research Group’ Berlin  as part of its research on the emer­gence, devel­op­ment and spread of new forms of governance.

The team applied a scenario-based approach to engage the par­tic­i­pants in a dia­logue about bio­di­ver­sity off­sets and habi­tat bank­ing in the con­text of gov­er­nance and prin­ci­ples of sus­tain­able devel­op­ment. As a result, 24 invited experts gath­ered for a lively dis­cus­sion (I took part in this dis­cus­sion). The report of this event is now pub­licly avail­able. Thanks to Carsten Mann and his team.

I have extracted some main points from the sum­mary of the report below.

Challenging futures of biodiversity offsets and banking

Con­tinue read­ing

The mitigation hierarchy, a tool to preserve natural habitats — article by the French ministry of the environment

The French min­istry of the envi­ron­ment (Min­istère de l’Écologie, du Développe­ment durable et de l’Énergie) has recently issued an arti­cle on the appli­ca­tion of the mit­i­ga­tion hier­ar­chy (called séquence Eviter-Reduire-Compenser — ERC) in France. It is enti­tled “The mit­i­ga­tion hier­ar­chy, a tool to pre­serve nat­ural habi­tats” and was pub­lished in “le point sur”. Thanks to Anne-Laure Wittmann for point­ing to this. For more infor­ma­tion you can also refer to my pre­vi­ous post: Doc­trine ERC (Eviter-Reduire-Compenser) – Appli­ca­tion of the Mit­i­ga­tion Hier­ar­chy in France.

Here’s the link to the Eng­lish ver­sion: http://www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/LPS184_cle4ecbf7.pdf and the French ver­sion can be found here: http://www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/LPS184-2.pdf

The mitigation hierarchy France Con­tinue read­ing