Stakeholder perceptions of the efficacy of biodiversity offset policy in Australia

The Society for Conservation Biology – Oceania Conference is on this week in Brisbane – you can follow along via the #SCBO2016 hashtag and follow @SCBOceania on Twitter and Facebook.

I’m speaking tomorrow in a symposium that myself, Claudia Benham and Nadine Marshall organised entitled Understanding the human dimensions of environmental problems: connecting the dots through interdisciplinary researchWe’ve got an incredible lineup of speakers, so do come along to Room P7 from 11:30 am to hear about how and why environmental social sciences can benefit conservation.

See below for my slides and abstract:

Biodiversity offsetting aims to counterbalance ‘unavoidable’ impacts to biodiversity due to human development by protecting or restoring biodiversity elsewhere. Despite its rapid uptake by governments and businesses worldwide, biodiversity offsetting remains a divisive policy tool, and there is scarce available evidence of its efficacy. An understanding of the governance context in which biodiversity offset policy is developed and implemented can provide crucial insights into what opportunities may exist for policy improvement. The policy actors involved, their motivations and objectives, and the institutional and organizational incentives in place may all influence the capacity or inclination for biodiversity offset policy to be effectively, efficiently, and fairly implemented. Using a qualitative methodological framework, I conducted semi-structured interviews with stakeholders to identify key barriers and enablers to achieving positive outcomes from biodiversity offsetting. Preliminary findings indicate that although improvements in offset policy and metric design has provided regulators and proponents with more guidance on how to implement offset policy, key barriers remain in the way of achieving the desired outcomes from biodiversity offsetting: namely policy uncertainty, lack of capacity for effective oversight, limited public accountability, an inability to make offsetting commercially viable, and the use of offsetting in a piecemeal, non-strategic approach.

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