Research progress on biodiversity offsetting

Yuanyang Hu, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH8 9JU, The United Kingdom
2022 Biodiversity Science  
Aims: Biodiversity offsetting (BO) is a compensation action and has been implemented widely, including in North America and Europe, but not in China currently. This paper tries to provide an overview of the advantages and problems of biodiversity offsetting, specifically examining the situations in the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK), and providing an outlook on the future of biodiversity offsetting programs in China. Progresses: According to the available research, the main
more » ... tages of biodiversity offsetting are: (1) the outcomes are theoretically transparent and reliable; (2) the results are always positive in theory; (3) it brings a proactive approach to biodiversity conservation, mitigation banking. The main problems are: (1) the difficulty of achieving "quantifiable conservation outcomes"; (2) the difficulty of equating biodiversity gains with losses; (3) the problems of regulation in practice; (4) the lag between implementation and results. Additionally, more specific issues such as vague and outdated laws and policies, and inappropriate mitigation ratios have been discussed from the US and UK cases. Conclusions & Suggestions: Overall, the main problems of biodiversity offsetting are that the existing research cannot underpin its idealized implementation, and all kinds of subjective issues in its practice. Based on the current empirical evidence, biodiversity offsetting may contribute to the environmental protection and sustainable development in China. This paper suggests strengthening research on the feasibility of biodiversity offsetting in China, including introducing mitigation hierarchy, refining quantitative biodiversity indicators, pilot projects, and mitigation banking. That will deepen the understanding of biodiversity and provide a more theoretical basis for formulating biodiversity conservation policies in China.
doi:10.17520/biods.2021266 fatcat:sy65hs3o75chho6z3pieac5zxa