Journal article

Local conditions and policy design determine whether ecological compensation can achieve No Net Loss goals

Laura J Sonter, Jeremy S Simmonds, James EM Watson, Julia PG Jones, Joseph M Kiesecker, Hugo M Costa, Leon Bennun, Stephen Edwards, Hedley S Grantham, Victoria F Griffiths, Kendall Jones, Kei Sochi, Philippe Puydarrieux, Fabien Quetier, Helga Rainer, Hugo Rainey, Dilys Roe, Musnanda Satar, Britaldo S Soares-Filho, Malcolm Starkey Show all

Nature Communications | Nature Research | Published : 2020


Many nations use ecological compensation policies to address negative impacts of development projects and achieve No Net Loss (NNL) of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Yet, failures are widely reported. We use spatial simulation models to quantify potential net impacts of alternative compensation policies on biodiversity (indicated by native vegetation) and two ecosystem services (carbon storage, sediment retention) across four case studies (in Australia, Brazil, Indonesia, Mozambique). No policy achieves NNL of biodiversity in any case study. Two factors limit their potential success: the land available for compensation (existing vegetation to protect or cleared land to restore), and ex..

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Awarded by Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Research Award

Awarded by Australian Research Council Future Fellowship

Funding Acknowledgements

This research was supported in part by the Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP) Compensatory Conservation Working Group, a partnership of The Nature Conservancy, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at University of California, Santa Barbara. L.J.S. acknowledges Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Research Award (DE170100684); M.M. acknowledges Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (FT140100516). M.M. and J.S.S. were supported by The Australian Government's National Environmental Science Program through the Threatened Species Recovery Hub; and multiple co-authors received support from COMBO (COnservation, impact Mitigation and Biodiversity Offsets in Africa), which is funded by the Agence Francaise de Developpement, the Fonds Francais pour l'Environnement Mondial and the Mava foundation, among others, and implemented by the Wildlife Conservation Society, Forest Trends and Biotope. We thank Hugh Possingham and Joe Bull for helpful feedback on a previous version of the manuscript, Tom Lloyd for editing the manuscript and figures, and many others who participated in our SNAPP workshops.