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EM Podcast: Making Biodiversity Offsets Work

Nathaniel Carroll

The Business and Biodiversity Offsets Program (BBOP) has published an exhaustive library of resources four years in the making and designed to support progress in the fight to save biodiversity by embedding its value in our economic system. EM Audio speaks with BBOP Director Kerry ten Kate.

The Business and Biodiversity Offsets Program (BBOP) has published an exhaustive library of resources four years in the making and designed to support progress in the fight to save biodiversity by embedding its value in our economic system. EM Audio speaks with BBOP Director Kerry ten Kate.

3 June 2009 | The Business and Biodiversity Offsets Program (BBOP) is a global partnership of 40 organizations launched in 2004 by Forest Trends (publisher of Ecosystem Marketplace) to determine when biodiversity offsets are appropriate and when they are not, and to come up with detailed protocols ensuring they are done right when implemented.

The BBOP team, headed by Kerry ten Kate, spent the first four years launching pilot projects and consulting with biologists, engineers, economists, non-governmental organizations, policy-makers, and anyone else interested sharing their views on how to best preserve biodiversity in the face of growing human development. The result of this consultation process is a veritable library of publications, principles, handbooks, resource papers, and case studies.

A cornerstone of the project is the development of the BBOP Learning Network and the publication of the BBOP Biodiversity Offset Design Handbook, which will ultimately offer a step-by-step guide for developing biodiversity offset projects.

“The aim of a biodiversity offset is to achieve ‘no net loss’ and preferably a ‘net gain’ of biodiversity,” explains ten Kate. “Much of BBOP’s work has been to explore what this means in practice, given the innate complexity of biodiversity (the variability among all kinds of living organisms).”

The biggest challenge has been – and remains – agreeing on a definition of biodiversity that will suit the worlds of science, politics, and business across cultures and regimes.

“Its various components (genes, species and ecosystems) hold distinct and highly variable values for different people,” she says. “With this in mind, the definition alludes to some of the important aspects of biodiversity that need to be taken into consideration when planning an offset: namely species composition, habitat structure, ecosystem function and people’s use and cultural values associated with biodiversity.”

In a wide-ranging interview with Ecosystem Marketplace‘s Nathaniel Carroll, ten Kate and BBOP Program Manager Patrick McGuire discuss the potential of biodiversity offsets, as well as their limitations, and the challenges to making sure the potentials are achieved while the limitations are not exceeded.

Click Below to Download the Podcast:

Nathaniel Carroll is Director of Biodiversity Markets, Ecosystem Marketplace. He also administers the www.speciesbanking.com web site. He can be reached at ncarroll@ecosystemmarketplace.com.

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