Local conditions and policy design determine whether ecological compensation can achieve No Net Loss goals
Protecting or restoring degraded ecosystems is not enough to offset the biodiversity losses associated with industrial development.
Ecological compensation policies are used around the world in an effort to achieve no net loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services, by balancing the destruction resulting from development with the improvement or protection of other areas.
However a modelling study led by researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia found that not one of 18 ecological compensation policies, which were based on existing policies used around the world, met the goal of no net loss of biodiversity, carbon storage and sediment retention.
The success of these policies was limited by the amount of land available for improvement or protection, and the differences in the types of ecosystem losses caused by development and the gains achieved on the land set aside to compensate.
- Nature Communications 11, 2072 (2020). doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-15861-1