Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

The transition from No Net Loss to a Net Gain of biodiversity is far from trivial

  • J.W. Bull (a1) and S. Brownlie (a2)
Abstract
Abstract

The objectives of No Net Loss and Net Gain have emerged as key principles in conservation policy. Both give rise to mechanisms by which certain unavoidable biodiversity losses associated with development are quantified, and compensated with comparable gains (e.g. habitat restoration). The former seeks a neutral outcome for biodiversity after losses and gains are accounted for, and the latter seeks an improved outcome. Policy-makers often assume that the transition from one to the other is straightforward and essentially a question of the amount of compensation provided. Consequently, companies increasingly favour Net Gain type commitments, and financial institutions make lending conditional on either objective, depending on the habitat involved. We contend, however, that achieving Net Gain is fundamentally different to achieving No Net Loss, and moving from one to the other is less trivial than is widely realized. Our contention is based on four arguments: (1) the two principles represent different underlying conservation philosophies; (2) ecological uncertainties make it difficult to know where the threshold between No Net Loss and Net Gain lies; (3) different frames of reference are more or less appropriate in evaluating the ecological outcomes, depending on the principle chosen; and (4) stakeholder expectations differ considerably under the two principles. In exploring these arguments we hope to support policy-makers in choosing the more appropriate of the two objectives. We suggest that financial institutions should provide greater clarity regarding the explicit requirements for each principle. We conclude by highlighting questions of relevance to this topic that would benefit from focused research.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      The transition from No Net Loss to a Net Gain of biodiversity is far from trivial
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      The transition from No Net Loss to a Net Gain of biodiversity is far from trivial
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      The transition from No Net Loss to a Net Gain of biodiversity is far from trivial
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Corresponding author
(Corresponding author) E-mail jwb@ifro.ku.dk
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

R. Bayon & M. Jenkins (2010) The business of biodiversity. Nature, 466, 184185.

J.W. Bull (2014) Biodiversity offsets for moving conservation targets. PhD thesis. Imperial College London, UK.

J.W. Bull , K.B. Suttle , A. Gordon , N.J. Singh & E.J. Milner-Gulland (2013a) Biodiversity offsets in theory and practice. Oryx, 47, 369380.

J.W. Bull , K.B. Suttle , N.J. Singh & E.J. Milner-Gulland (2013b) Conservation when nothing stands still: moving targets and biodiversity offsets. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 11, 203210.

J.W. Bull , E.J. Milner-Gulland , K.B. Suttle & N.J. Singh (2014a) Comparing biodiversity offset calculation methods with a case study in Uzbekistan. Biological Conservation, 178, 210.

J.W. Bull , A. Gordon , E.A. Law , K.B. Suttle & E.J. Milner-Gulland (2014b) Importance of baseline specification in evaluating conservation interventions and achieving no net loss of biodiversity. Conservation Biology, 28, 799809.

S. Burgin (2008) BioBanking: an environmental scientist's view of the role of biodiversity banking offsets in conservation. Biodiversity and Conservation, 17, 807816.

M. Curran , S. Hellweg & J. Beck (2014) Is there any empirical support for biodiversity offset policy? Ecological Applications, 24, 617632.

P.J. Ferraro & S.K. Pattanayak (2006) Money for nothing? A call for empirical evaluation of biodiversity conservation investments. PLoS Biology, 4(4), e105.

T.A. Gardner , A. von Hase , S. Brownlie , J.M.M. Ekstrom , J.D. Pilgrim , C.E. Savy (2013) Biodiversity offsets and the challenge of achieving no net loss. Conservation Biology, 27, 12541264.

A. Gordon , J.W. Bull , C. Wilcox & M. Maron (2015) Perverse incentives risk undermining biodiversity offset policies. Journal of Applied Ecology, 52, 532537.

A. Gordon , W.T. Langford , J.A. Todd , M.D. White , D.W. Mullerworth & S.A. Bekessy (2011) Assessing the impacts of biodiversity offset policies. Environmental Modelling & Software, 26, 14811488.

T.J. Habib , D.R. Farr , R.R. Schneider & S. Boutin (2013) Economic and ecological outcomes of flexible biodiversity offset systems. Conservation Biology, 27, 13131323.

I.L. Jones , J.W. Bull , E.J. Milner-Gulland , A.V. Esipov & K.B. Suttle (2014) Quantifying habitat impacts of natural gas infrastructure to facilitate biodiversity offsetting. Ecology and Evolution, 4, 7990.

H. Kujala , M.A. Burgman & A. Moilanen (2013) Treatment of uncertainty in conservation under climate change. Conservation Letters, 6, 7385.

M. Maron , R.J. Hobbs , A. Moilanen , J.W. Matthews , K. Christie , T.A. Gardner (2012) Faustian bargains? Restoration realities in the context of biodiversity offset policies. Biological Conservation, 155, 141148.

A. Moilanen , A.J.A. Van Teeffelen , Y. Ben-Haim & S. Ferrier (2009) How much compensation is enough? A framework for incorporating uncertainty and time discounting when calculating offset ratios for impacted habitat. Restoration Ecology, 17, 470478.

E.J. Pickett , M.P. Stockwell , D.S. Bower , J.I. Garnham , C.J. Pollard , J. Clulow & M.J. Mahony (2013) Achieving no net loss in habitat offset of a threatened frog required high offset ratio and intensive monitoring. Biological Conservation, 157, 156162.

H.J. Rainey , E.H.B. Pollard , G. Dutson , J.M.M. Ekstrom , S.R. Livingstone , H.J. Temple & J.D. Pilgrim (2015) A review of corporate goals of No Net Loss and Net Positive Impact on biodiversity. Oryx, 49, 232238.

A. Rajvanshi , S. Brownlie , R. Slootweg & R. Arora (2011) Maximizing benefits for biodiversity: the potential of enhancement strategies in impact assessment. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 29, 181193.

C. Richert , A. Rogers & M. Burton (2015) Measuring the extent of a Social License to Operate: the influence of marine biodiversity offsets in the oil and gas sector in Western Australia. Resources Policy, 43, 121129.

S. Walker , A.L. Brower , R.T.T. Stephens & W.G. Lee (2009) Why bartering biodiversity fails. Conservation Letters, 2, 149157.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Oryx
  • ISSN: 0030-6053
  • EISSN: 1365-3008
  • URL: /core/journals/oryx
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 17
Total number of PDF views: 115 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 195 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 27th March 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.