When was it released: April 22, 2015
By whom: Luca Borger
After the Easter break our seminar series resumes with a talk by Prof EJ Milner-Gulland, Professor in Conservation Science at Imperial College London, Department of Life Sciences at the Silwood Park campus. E.J. leads the Imperial College Conservation Science group and is the Director of the multidisciplinary Grand Challenges in Ecosystems and the Environment group.
Biodiversity offsetting is expanding rapidly, both as a tool of corporate social responsibility and in government policy-making around the world (including in the UK). Offsets are used as the last stage of a “mitigation hierarchy” to compensate for the residual damage caused by developments. The aim is for the development overall to cause “no net loss” of biodiversity.
Offsetting has attracted huge controversy and concern from some, while others see it as a way of rebalancing the development-conservation trade-off in favour of nature. In this seminar I will highlight and explore both the theoretical and conceptual issues that need to be addressed in order to reach no net loss of biodiversity from development.
Using a case study of the Ustyurt plateau in Uzbekistan, I look at how offsetting could work in practice. I then touch on some work I’m about to start on using offsetting in a marine context, to think about bycatch mitigation. I sum up by suggesting some ways in which scientists could engage with the offsetting debate.