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Biodiversity Offsets

Effective Design and Implementation

image of Biodiversity Offsets

This report examines the key design and implementation features that need to be considered to ensure that biodiversity offset programmes are environmentally effective, economically efficient, and distributionally equitable. Biodiversity offsets are being increasingly used in a wide range of sectors as a mechanism to help compensate for the adverse effects caused by development projects in a variety of ecosystems. In this report, insights and lessons learned are drawn from more than 40 case studies from around the world, with an additional 3 in-depth country case studies from the United States, Germany and Mexico.

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No net loss, the mitigation hierarchy and the economics of biodiversity offsets

Biodiversity offsets are used in project planning processes as a mechanism to help compensate for the biodiversity loss caused by development projects. Offset programmes most commonly seek to deliver a neutral outcome on biodiversity from development projects, or no net loss of biodiversity, though some have adopted a more ambitious goal of delivering a positive outcome, or net gain, for biodiversity. Biodiversity offsets are typically only used to deliver compensation for the residual impacts on biodiversity after measures have first been taken to avoid, minimise and then restore adverse impacts on biodiversity at the development site (i.e. the mitigation hierarchy). Biodiversity offsets may be implemented using one-off offsets, biobanks or payments in-lieu. The economics of offsets is also described.

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