Biodiversity offsets in South Africa – challenges and potential solutions

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Adam Teixeira-Leite
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Biodiversity offsets in South Africa – challenges and potential solutions

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Post by Adam Teixeira-Leite » Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:43 am

Biodiversity offsets in South Africa – challenges and potential solutions

Susie Brownlie, Amrei von Hase, Mark Botha, Jeffrey Manuel, Zoe Balmforth & Nicky Jenner (2017) Biodiversity offsets in South Africa – challenges and potential solutions, Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 35:3, 248-256.

With growing degradation and transformation of critical ecosystems such as wetlands, increasing recognition of the value of wetlands to society and a push towards a policy of 'no net loss' of habitat and ecosystem goods and services, biodiversity (wetland) offsets are becoming common place in many development applications, from mining to road infrastructure to agricultural projects.

South Africa has over a decade of experience designing and implementing biodiversity offsets, however, in the absence of explicit national policy on biodiversity offsets (draft policy only now), we have relied heavily on existing legal provisions as the basis for offset requirements, supported by provincial guidelines (which are often lacking).

In this paper (attached), the authors highlight the general trend that offsets have frequently been inadequate to deliver intended biodiversity outcomes. The challenges of implementing offsets are discussed and through lessons learned, valuable insights into potential solutions for making offsets work for biodiversity conservation.

The challenges South Africa has faced in introducing and applying biodiversity offsets are likely to resonate also with other developing countries considering biodiversity offsetting as a mechanism to counteract the adverse impacts of development projects on biodiversity.
Attachments
Biodiversity offsets in South Africa challenges and potential solutions.pdf
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