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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Report: "The use of market-based instruments for biodiversity protection"
Article Type: Feature From: Management of Environmental Quality: An International Journal, Volume 21, Issue 5
The impacts of development projects (e.g. for housing, industry and transport) are an important cause of the ongoing loss of biodiversity in the European Union (EU). Although a range of policy instruments exist that aim to ensure such developments have acceptable environmental impacts, many developments result in significant residual impacts on biodiversity even after appropriate avoidance and mitigation measures.
To achieve the EU target of halting the loss of biodiversity it is therefore increasingly necessary to develop measures that require and deliver compensation (i.e. biodiversity offsets) for such residual impacts. One efficient method to achieve compensation might be to establish a policy framework that supports a system of habitat banking, whereby organisations (private, public or community bodies) enhance, restore or create habitats and trade these with developers who need to offset biodiversity losses.
The study “The use of market-based instruments for biodiversity protection” examined the potential benefits and risks of establishing habitat banking systems. The economic, legal, ecological and governance aspects of existing habitat banking systems were examined in some detail with respect to their potential application to the EU. The study concluded that there is a case for establishing such systems in the EU, primarily through the promotion of a no-net-loss biodiversity policy. A strong regulatory framework would, however, be needed to ensure that compensation measures are at least equivalent to impacts and only taken after appropriate avoidance and mitigation measures, and that they provide real, measurable, additional and long-term biodiversity benefits. Details can be seen at: www.ieep.eu/newsletter/newsletter4.php