SHORT INFO — Biodiversity offsetting: challenges in theory and practice — talk by Prof EJ Milner-Gulland

What’s it about in short: sem­i­nar and talk by Prof EJ Milner-Gulland on bio­di­ver­sity off­set­ting at Swansea Uni­ver­sity (UK), April 23, 2015

When was it released: April 22, 2015

By whom: Luca Borger

More info:

Short extract:

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.

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