The Privatisation of Biodiversity?

The Privatisation of Biodiversity?

New Approaches to Conservation Law

New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series

Colin T. Reid and Walters Nsoh

Current regulatory approaches have not prevented the loss of biodiversity across the world. This book explores the scope to strengthen conservation by using different legal mechanisms such as biodiversity offsetting, payment for ecosystem services and conservation covenants, as well as tradable development rights and taxation. The authors discuss how such mechanisms introduce elemhents of a market approach as well as private sector initiative and resources. They show how examples already in operation serve to highlight the design challenges, legal, technical and ethical, that must be overcome if these mechanisms are to be effective and widely accepted.

Chapter 4: Biodiversity offsetting

Colin T. Reid and Walters Nsoh

Subjects: environment, environmental governance and regulation, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law


Biodiversity offsetting involves allowing development causing biodiversity loss to proceed in one place so long as biodiversity gains are achieved elsewhere to ensure no net loss of biodiversity. In designing such schemes, attention has to be paid to the major challenges of identifying and valuing what constitutes a biodiversity gain and ensuring that it can and will be delivered, despite the practical difficulties and uncertainties shown by ecological practice. The arrangements for an offset can involve several parties who must be assured that each will comply with their obligations, requiring a network of legal relationships involving legal, financial and operational responsibilities. Schemes in operation in various jurisdictions offer examples of how such issues can be tackled, as well as demonstrating bio-banking schemes, whereby those seeking to provide a biodiversity gain to offset some harmful activity can do so by contributing to an existing conservation programme, which can benefit by being financed by this source of income.

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