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Designing a system to offset for the residual impacts of terrestrial development on ecosystem service provision. Summary report for policy makers of the third 'Towards no net loss, and beyond' workshop, 7th December 2010

Margerison, C.; Howard, B.M.. 2011 Designing a system to offset for the residual impacts of terrestrial development on ecosystem service provision. Summary report for policy makers of the third 'Towards no net loss, and beyond' workshop, 7th December 2010. London, Natural Capital Initiative Partners, 22pp. (CEH Project No: C04296)

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Abstract/Summary

This report summarises the views and ideas expressed during a workshop to design a system to offset for the residual impacts of terrestrial development on ecosystem service provision. The event involved 33 participants from a wide range of organisations. It was organised by the Natural Capital Initiative; an independent forum for discussion of policy and practice aligned with the ecosystem approach. ‘Biodiversity offsetting’ means the delivery of measurable conservation outcomes to compensate for the residual ecological impacts of development. It applies where all means of avoiding impacts, and reducing their severity, have been utilised. Biodiversity offsets can potentially be applied to development in terrestrial, freshwater, coastal or marine environments. They can take the form of ‘case by case’ (site‐specific) offsets, habitat or species banking, or can proceed via in lieu fees. Increased biodiversity offsetting could be a contributor to the protection and enhancement of UK biodiversity, especially at sites not already protected by law for their biodiversity value. The reports of the earlier two workshops in the Natural Capital Initiative’s ‘Towards no net loss, and beyond’ series should be consulted for further discussion regarding hohow a system, or systems, of biodiversity offsetting might be implemented in the UK. Whilst many countries have developed biodiversity offsetting schemes, notably Australia, the United States and Germany, offsetting for the impacts of terrestrial development on the provision of ecosystem services (the benefits that people gain from the environment) is less well developed. Some examples do exist but these are few. The aim of the Natural Capital Initiative in convening this workshop was to explore an emerging area of discussion, providing a synopsis of key issues for policy‐makers to inform thinking on this topic. Key messages were derived from the workshop: 1. Developing offsets for ecosystem service provision should not be at the expense of the short‐term delivery of mechanisms to increase the use of biodiversity offsetting. Current knowledge and data are sufficient to allow biodiversity offsetting to begin in the UK. 2. Once biodiversity offsetting schemes have been implemented in the UK, monitored and evaluated, these could be extended to encompass ecosystem services explicitly. 3. Greater research is needed to increase scientific understanding of the complex relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem services specifically in the UK context, as well as how to manage, monitor and restore ecosystem service provision. 4. The data which exist in the UK are not sufficient to allow comprehensive offsetting for ecosystem services. Data collection must be augmented to encompass ecosystem services, and existing data brought together. 5. The capacity of stakeholders, including local authorities, to deliver ecosystem service offsetting must be improved. Guidance should be developed to support those delivering ecosystem service offsets. 6. Strengthened policy frameworks and guidance could help to stimulate schemes for effective compensation for the residual impacts of development on ecosystem services. A degree of flexibility should remain, however, in order to enable business to innovate. 7. Communication across a range of stakeholders will be important to ensure the delivery of schemes to offset ecosystem service provision. Each of the key messages is described on Pages 11 to 14. These are not listed in any order of priority.

Item Type: Publication - Report (UNSPECIFIED)
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity > BD Topic 3 - Managing Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in a Changing Environment > BD - 3.4 - Provide science-based advice ...
CEH Sections: Hails
Funders/Sponsors: NERC/Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Additional Keywords: biodiversity, offsetting
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
General > Science Policy
Related URLs:
Date made live: 25 Jun 2014 11:18 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/507101

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