Buying land to resell (for conservation)

Academic conferences need environmental policies

CEED researchers are passionate about trying to reduce our environmental impacts. A team of our researchers have recently published a correspondence piece in Nature Ecology & Evolution asking why so few academic conferences seem to have taken actions to reduce their environmental impact. The team consisted of Matthew Holden, Nathalie Butt, Alienor Chauvenet, Michaela Plein, […]

Read More

Ethics, equity and a ‘good’ environmental decision

Ethics and environmental decision science When researchers hear the word ‘ethics’ they often groan. That’s because the term usually arises in connection to ethics committees; panels which university-based scientists need to go through to get permission to undertake research. They ‘groan’ because it’s another transaction cost on getting their research done. Having said that, every […]

Read More


A biodiversity offset accounting system

Improving the estimation of ecological equivalence within offset exchanges Key messages: Ecologically robust, user-friendly decision support tools improve the transparency of biodiversity offsetting and assist in the decision making process We developed a disaggregated accounting model to balance biodiversity trades within a ‘no-net-loss’ framework The model improves on other models that use aggregated metrics by […]

Read More

Offset policies don’t work

So maybe we should be weighing up the alternatives Biodiversity offsetting policies are in place across Australia, administered by both state and federal authorities, to ensure that there are no net losses of native vegetation. Readers might be alarmed then to learn that in 2014, almost 300,000 hectares of native vegetation was cleared in Queensland. […]

Read More

James Trezise out in the field. This field, however, is part a paddock providing habitat for the
threatened legless lizard - and it’s up for proposed development. James (on the right) is explaining to
a group of biodiversity-conservation students from the Australian National University how the EPBC
Offsets mechanism deals with this type of proposal

Of apples, oranges and offsets

And the importance of scientific advocacy in shaping long-term policy Everyone wants to influence policy to protect those values they care most about. However, everyone goes about ‘influencing’ in different ways. So far in this series on ‘influencing policy’ we have heard views from a psychology researcher, a research policy officer, an NGO science manager […]

Read More

Kangaroos graze in a remnant of
the once mighty Cumberland Plains
Woodlands. (Photo by Penny Watson)

Step forward then look back

Using ‘backcasting’ to improve conservation and offsets policy Understanding the long-term impacts of different conservation policies is a massive challenge. For starters, there are long delays (potentially decades) between policy implementation and the resulting conservation gains or losses. And sometimes measuring those gains or losses can be difficult or even impossible because it’s expensive to […]

Read More

Out on a limb: Most people would support funding being made
available to community groups to restore habitat for threatened
species like the Carnaby’s cockatoo. But what if that funding is part
of an offset for habitat loss. Suddenly it’s not about adding value to
environment so much as allowing the loss of equivalent environmental
value. (Photo by Leonie Valentine)

Could well-designed offset policies actually increase loss?

Perverse incentives may yield unintended biodiversity outcomes The idea of biodiversity offsetting is that impacts on biodiversity from development are compensated for by actions elsewhere in the landscape. It’s a simple idea but one that is generating a lot of controversy. Despite the noble-sounding goal of ‘no net loss’ of biodiversity, many are sceptical about […]

Read More

Offsetting in the context of policy

What happens to the theory when it hits the real world? Biodiversity offsetting is a highly topical and increasingly popular approach used to compensate for impacts on species and ecosystems as a result of development, and is the subject of a large and growing body of scientific research. There has been substantial work in developing […]

Read More

Developing an environmental offsets policy 

Environmental offsetting involves compensating for the residual adverse impacts of an action on the environment by generating an equivalent benefit elsewhere. As the prevalence of environmental offsetting grows, so does the challenge of translating no-net-loss goals to workable policy. From 2011–2012, the Australian Government developed an Environmental Offsets Policy and an accompanying metric (the Offsets […]

Read More

Tackling the moving-target problem

Using biodiversity offsets to capture moving conservation targets How do we conserve something when it won’t stand still? It’s a question we are only just beginning to grapple with in conservation science. Fixed protected areas are an example of a classic conservation tool, but traditional interventions like these can be ineffective for ‘moving targets’: for […]

Read More