Biodiversity Offsets Can Be a Valuable Tool in Achieving Sustainable Development Developing a Holistic Model for Biodiversity Offsets That Incorporates Environmental, Social and Economic Aspects of Sustainable Development

  •  Linda J Abdo    
  •  Annabeth Kemp    
  •  Grey Coupland    
  •  Sandy Griffin    


The interpretation and use of biodiversity offsets in planning and development is a contentious issue because they rarely encompass each of the environmental, social and economic aspects of sustainable development. While currently agreed best practice for biodiversity offsets includes consideration of scope, scale, location, timing and duration, and monitoring, current literature on these components does not consider all aspects of sustainable development. Furthermore, much of the current agreed best practice focusses on the design of biodiversity offsets, without consideration of ongoing management or end-of-life. This manuscript reviews current best practice for biodiversity offsets, giving consideration to the environmental, social and economic aspects of sustainable development. In particular, we report that consideration of cost and risk is key and the use of planning frameworks, bonds and advanced offsets could mitigate these risks and allow for long-term success. Following this approach, a holistic model for design, implementation and ongoing management of direct biodiversity offsets that balances all aspects of sustainable development is presented.

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