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Biodiversity Offsets and protected areas. Biodiversity Offsets and Africa. Kerry ten Kate, Director of BBOP Patrick Maguire, BBOP Program Manager Forest Trends. www.forest-trends.org/ biodiversityoffsetprogram bbop@forest-trends.org. Introduction to offsets and BBOP. Kerry

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www forest trends org biodiversityoffsetprogram bbop@forest trends org

Biodiversity Offsets

and protected areas

Biodiversity Offsets and Africa

Kerry ten Kate, Director of BBOP

Patrick Maguire, BBOP Program Manager

Forest Trends



Introduction to offsets and BBOP


  • What are biodiversity offsets?
  • What are their potential benefits and risks? How might they help Africa?
  • What is the history of biodiversity offsets and existing regulatory frameworks on biodiversity offsets worldwide?


  • What is BBOP?
  • What have we produced to date?
  • What are we planning for the next 3 years?
  • What are the principles for biodiversity offsets?


Biodiversity offsets are measurable conservation outcomes resulting from actions designed to compensate for significant residual adverse biodiversity impacts arising from project development1 after appropriate prevention and mitigation measures have been taken.

The goal of biodiversity offsets is to achieve no net loss and preferably a net gain of biodiversity on the ground with respect to species composition, habitat structure, ecosystem function and people’s use and cultural values associated with biodiversity.


Net Positive Impact

+ ve








Biodiversity Value


Residual Impact



PI = predicted impact

Av = avoidance

Mt = mitigation

Rs = restoration

Ofs = offsets

ACA = additional conservation actions




- ve

Elements of NPI

Mitigation hierarchy and offsets

(Rio Tinto)


Opportunities and risks

of biodiversity offsets

Opportunities & Risks

  • Risks:
  • No substitute for “no go” areas
  • Slippery slope
  • Some methodologies inadequate
  • Failure to deliver
  • Controversy
  • No credible standards(yet)


Conservation (No net loss → Net gain)

  • more & better conservation, mainstreaming mechanism, gives value to biodiversity

Business (Economic efficiency)

  • economically efficient means to secure license to operate & reputation; influence policy: market mechanism not regulation

Policy-makers (Sustainable development)

  • involve private sector in achieving policy goals; use market mechanism

Local communities (Social equity)

  • means to minimise impact on livelihoods and secure additional benefits

A short history of biodiversity offsets

  • USA system of wetland mitigation: 1970s
  • Legislationin USA, Canada, Europe (27 countries),

Brazil, Switzerland, Australia,

China, Mexico, South Africa

  • Policy developmentin several countries (e.g. Brazil, NZ, UK, EU)
  • InvestorinterestIFC, Equator Banks, fund managers
  • Mining companies and associations:

RioTinto, AngloAmerican, Newmont, Sherritt

International Council of Mining and Metals.

(Rio Tinto policy: ‘net positive effect’ - through biodiversity offsets.)

  • Oil & gas:Shell, BP, Chevron Texaco, Statoil.
  • Other sectors:Walmart, Du Pont

Why should developers implement

biodiversity offsets ?

1. Legal requirements:

  • Law requiring offsets (e.g. US, EU, Brazil, Australia)
  • Law enabling offsets (e.g. EIA, planning law)

2. The business case for voluntary biodiversity offsets:

  • Good practice:
  • Companies obtain permits rapidly and operate cost-effectively.
  • Competitive advantage: best companies are preferred partners.
      • Good relationships with government, local communities, environmental groups, employees.
      • Bad practice:
      • Permit delays, liabilities, lost revenues.
      • Higher operating costs.
  • 3. Investor Requirements

Key issues

How to establish whether and when an offset is appropriate?

  • Go/No Go  Offsetable/Not Offsetable
  • Values  Mitigation Hierarchy

Metrics: how to quantify impact losses and offset gains?

  •  Structure & Composition  Ecological Process and Function
  • Socioeconomic and Cultural aspects
  • Offset activities and location
  •  Landscape level planning  Delivery  Out of kind and trading up
  • Implementation: how to make an offset succeed in practice?
  • Roles & responsibilities  Legal structures, institutional arrangements
  • Financial assurance  Monitoring, enforcement

Introduction to offsets and BBOP


  • What are biodiversity offsets?
  • What are their potential benefits and risks? How might they help Africa?
  • What is the history of biodiversity offsets and existing regulatory frameworks on biodiversity offsets worldwide?


  • What is BBOP?
  • What have we produced to date?
  • What are we planning for the next 3 years?
  • What are the principles for biodiversity offsets?

Learning Network

Advisory Committee

Pilot 1

Pilot 2


Pilot 3

Pilot 4

BBOP: Objectives and Structure


Portfolio of pilot projects worldwide demonstrating “no net loss” of biodiversity and livelihood benefits.


“How to” toolkit on offset

design and implementation;



Influence policy on offsets

to meet conservation and



BBOP: Advisory Committee

  • Anglo American; Biodiversity Neutral Initiative; BirdLife International; Botanical Society of South Africa; Brazilian Biodiversity Fund (FUNBIO); Centre for Research-Information-Action for Development in Africa; City of Bainbridge Island, Washington; Conservation International; Department of Conservation New Zealand; Department of Sustainability & Environment, Government of Victoria, Australia; Ecoagriculture Partners; Fauna and Flora International; Forest Trends; Insight Investment; the International Finance Corporation; International Institute of Environment and Development; IUCN, The International Union for the Conservation of Nature; KfW Bankengruppe; Ministry of Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development, and Spatial Planning, France; the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment, The Netherlands; National Ecology Institute, Mexico; National Environmental Management Authority, Uganda; Newmont Mining Corporation; Pact Inc.; Rio Tinto; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; Shell International; Sherritt International Corporation; Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, Mexico; Solid Energy, New Zealand; South African National Biodiversity Institute; Southern Rift Landowners Association, Kenya; The Nature Conservancy; Tulalip Tribes; United Nations Development Programme (Footprint Neutral Initiative); United States Fish and Wildlife Service; the Wildlife Conservation Society; Wildlands, Inc.; WWF; Zoological Society of London; and the following independent consultants: Susie Brownlie; Jonathan Ekstrom; David Richards; Marc Stalmans; and Jo Treweek.


Akyem Deposit

Current BBOP pilot projects

  • Shell International, GTL project, Qatar
  • Newmont Ghana Gold, Ghana
  • Anglo American platinum mine, South Africa
  • Sherritt Int’nal nickel mine, Madagascar
  • Residential construction, USA
  • Maasai tourism lodges and road, Kenya
  • Solid Energy coal mine, New Zealand

BBOP’s work 2009-2011:

  • Verification and auditing protocols
  • More & varied pilots
  • Improved guidelines
  • Country-level pilots, land-use/bioregional planning, policy
  • Aggregated offsets; conservation banking
  • Training and capacity building
  • Communications


  • 1. No net loss: A biodiversity offset should be designed and implemented to achieve in situ,measurable conservation outcomes that can reasonably be expected to result in no net loss and preferably a net gain of biodiversity.
  • Additional conservation outcomes:
  • A biodiversity offset should achieve conservation outcomes above and beyond results that would have occurred if the offset had not taken place. Offset design and implementation should avoid displacing activities harmful to biodiversity to other locations.

Impact site community

Protected area 1

Protected area 2

Ridge line

Proposed offset site #1, close to impact

Offset site community

Direct impact site

Proposed offset site #2, remote

Mountain habitat 2

  • Composite offsets

Mountain habitat 1


How can ‘gain’ be delivered?

  • Purchase land (or long lease)
  • Covenant on land
  • Contract with landholders (‘Payments for Ecosystem Services’):
    • E.g. Australia:
    • eg NSW & Vict: agreements registered on land title
    • Bushbroker: management plan:
    • (a) active management for 10-years. (b) on-going use and maintenance commitments in perpetuity.

What can be considered a ‘gain’?

  • (‘additionality’)

An offset must show measurable, additional conservation outcomes. Potential gain is a product of the amount of biodiversity the offset will generate and the likelihood of success:



  • 3. Adherence to the mitigation hierarchy: A biodiversity offset is a commitment to compensate for significant residual adverse impacts on biodiversity identified after appropriate avoidance, minimization and on-site rehabilitation measures have been taken according to the mitigation hierarchy.
  • Limits to what can be offset:
  • There are situations where residual impacts cannot be fully compensated for by a biodiversity offset because of the irreplaceability or vulnerability of the biodiversity affected.

Impacts too severe to be offset

Thresholds for offsets


Severity of impact on biodiversity

Impacts can and should be offset

What is the threshold?

Impacts too small to be worth offsetting


What is the threshold?


Some impacts cannot be offset

No offset

Vulnerable: Imminent threat of extinction

Little loss, degradation, fragmentation

High rate of loss, degradation, fragmentation

Irreplaceable:No options for conservation

Like-for-like or ‘in kind’ offset only

Limited extent, highly localised, few/ no options

Trading up may be appropriate

Relatively widespread, many options

Offset possible


Early, individual offsets



Sources: 2004: Insight/IUCN; White; Maze.








5. Landscape Context: A biodiversity offset should be designed and implemented in a landscape context to achieve the expected measurable conservation outcomes taking into account available information on the full range of biological, social and cultural values of biodiversity and supporting an ecosystem approach.



  • Stakeholder participation: In areas affected by the project and by the biodiversity offset, the effective participation of stakeholders should be ensured in decision-making about biodiversity offsets, including their evaluation, selection, design, implementation and monitoring.
  • Equity: A biodiversity offset should be designed and implemented in an equitable manner, which means the sharing among stakeholders of the rights and responsibilities, risks and rewards associated with a project and offset in a fair and balanced way, respecting legal and customary arrangements. Special consideration should be given to respecting both internationally and nationally recognised rights of indigenous peoples and local communities.


  • Long-term outcomes:
  • The design and implementation of a biodiversity offset should be based on an adaptive management approach, incorporating monitoring and evaluation, with the objective of securing outcomes that last at least as long as the project’s impacts and preferably in perpetuity.


9. Transparency: The design and implementation of a biodiversity offset, and communication of their results to the public, should be undertaken in a transparent and timely manner.

10.Science and traditional knowledge:The design and implementation of a biodiversity offset should be a documented process informed by sound science, including an appropriate consideration of traditional knowledge.


Biodiversity Offsets

and protected areas

Thank you


BBOP publications, April 2009



or contact: bbop@forest-trends.org


Pilots and policy


  • Pilot Projects:

Ghana; South Africa

  • Policy Work:

Uganda; Madagascar

  • Ideas for future pilot projects and policy work

Akyem pilot project

Newmont Golden Ridge Ltd, Ghana


Akyem pilot project (Ghana)

  • Nature of project
  • Status of project
  • Likely components of the offset

Akyem project

  • 130 km Northwest of Accra
  • Brim North District of the Eastern Region
  • 3 km west of district capital New Abrim
  • Development of an open pit mine, waste rock disposal facility, tailing storage facility, ore processing plant, water storage dam and reservoir, water transmission pipeline, sediment control structures and diversion channels, haul and access roads, and support facilities.
  • NGRL proposes to process approx. 8.8 million tonnes of ore annually (on average) to ultimately extract 7.7 million ounces of gold over a projected 15-year life-of-mine.

Akyem project

  • Upper Guinean Forest, Moist Semi-deciduous Zone. Steep hills, undulating landscape.
  • Mine facilities would remove crops, fallow fields and patches of secondary forest and wildlife habitat.
  • 1,428 hectares of disturbance. All but 162 hectares will be reclaimed.
  • 74 hectares of Ajenjua Bepo Forest Reserve (ABFR) in footprint.
  • ABFR is primarily agricultural land converted from original forest.
  • Project site in ABFR is an area significantly damaged by encroachment of local subsistence farming, intensive logging, and plantations of non-indigenous trees.

Akyem pilot: status

  • Project and offset still in planning stage.
  • Project not yet approved by Ghanaian government.
  • NGRL submitted Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) November 2008
  • Until approved by Ghanaian officials and the Company directors, offset design not finished.
  • Stakeholder participation may result in different offset design.
  • Currently, ‘virtual’ exercise to assess impacts and identify possible offset options.

Akyem: mitigation hierarchy

  • Reforestation with agencies
  • Closure and decommissioning plan to re-establish habitat throughout disturbed areas.
  • Community education to develop alternative means to secure bushmeat, reduce pressure on fauna and create farms to raise bushmeat and snails.
  • Policies prohibit employees and contractors from hunting on all mine properties.
  • Company to implement a Critical Species Management Plan including avoidance of nesting and brood-rearing periods for raptors and other species of high conservation priority and endemic plant species propagation programme.

Akyem project: biodiversity

  • Affected biodiversity: seven IUCN Vulnerable and Ghana Scarlet Star tree species, three species of forest antelope (Near Threatened Maxwell’s duiker, black duiker, royal antelope), one flying squirrel species (Pel’s anomalure), three bird species, two primate species, and two Vulnerable or Near Threatened bat species. Wetland and riparian communities in ephemeral drainages affected, but not fish populations in downstream rivers and larger tributaries.
  • Key Biodiversity Components Matrix:

Akyem: potential offset activities

  • Management activities in the offset area would include:
  • Planting IUCN Vulnerable tree species at densities commensurate with benchmark conditions
  • Planting species with high ethnobotanical values
  • Conversion of farm land within the forest reserve (32 hectares) to native plant species
  • Controlling undesirable, invasive plant species
  • Educating residents in sustainable practices in utilising non-timber forest products including bush-meat.

Akyem: Implementation Plan

  • Implementation Plan: offset site be managed to enhance biodiversity values by:
  • Providing an important corridor linking off-reserve areas, farm lands and other forest reserves
  • Providing a refuge for animals leaving Mining Area construction
  • Protecting and enhancing species of conservation concern
  • Protecting seed banks
  • Protecting headwaters
  • Providing micro-climate modification and
  • Providing medicinal plants and other non-timber forest products.

Akyem: site selection

Five candidate offset options were screened according to 22 criteria in four categories:

Mamang River Forest Reserve, Nsuensa Forest Reserve, Auro River Forest Reserve, Contribution to Globally Significant Biodiversity Area Fund, establishment of District Assembly Environmental Fund.

Local community use:

• Community benefits,

• Biodiversity Enhancement/benefit,

• Social/cultural acceptance,

• Avoidance of tribal conflict,

• Conformity to local natural landscape plan

• Ability to galvanise community support.

Ecological status:

• Species variability, diversity and use (e.g.

IUCN/Black Stars/local use),

• Ecological services delivery potential,

• Ability to achieve Global Conservation Concerns,

• Proximity to human disturbances (e.g., farming),

• Management suitability and capacity,

• Conformity to government objective and

• Addressing biodiversity problem.

Habitat status:

• Suitable seed bank or refugia,

• Land tenure compatibility,

• Suitability for demonstration,

• Structure of forest landscape,

• Infrastructure availability and

• Proximity to mining site and communities.

Organisational appropriateness:

• Credibility for NGRL,

• Cost effectiveness and

• Geo-political soundness.


PPRust pilot project

Anglo American, South Africa


PPRust pilot project

  • 25 km north-west of Mokopane town in the Limpopo Province of South Africa.
  • Expansion of existing mine platinum mine.
  • Opencast mining (pit ~400 ha), concentrator complex (~50 ha), waste residue facilities (1,412 ha), tailings dam (300 ha) and infrastructure (100 ha).
  • Will produce up to 1 million tonnes per month of platinum bearing ore processed on-site then transported to a local smelter for further enrichment.

PPRust pilot project

  • In northern savanna area of South Africa.
  • The ‘natural’ vegetation was open to closed woodland with diverse tree flora.
  • 200 years ago, ‘charismatic African megafauna’ eg lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino. Now disappeared except in protected areas and private reserves.
  • The land use is characterised by peri-urban settlement, subsistence dry-land farming, communal livestock grazing (cattle and goats) and the extractive use of other natural resources such as fuelwood.
  • Savanna Biome not threatened or sensitive at a national scale.
  • But significant impact at a local level: over-utilisation through wood collection, grazing, dryland crop production. High unemployment rates place further pressure.
  • People dependent on the local biodiversity for survival. So conservation importance of the remaining undisturbed areas has increased.

PPRust project: mitigation

  • Avoidance
  • Construction planned to avoid activities within 100m of Mohlasane and Sandsloot rivers.
  • No road construction: use of existing roads.
  • All sites determined to be sacred by the local community were identified during impact assessment and have been demarcated and will be protected.
  • Minimisation
  • Relocation site with low biodiversity values selected to minimise footprint on undisturbed land.
  • Smelter in Polokwane town rather than on-site.
  • Detailed management actions to mitigate environmental impacts in Environmental Management Program Report.

PPRust: loss/gain calculation

  • The habitat hectare approach was used to quantify the amount of biodiversity lost through the project and to be gained by the offset.
  • The loss of habitat due to mining was calculated taking into the account the degraded nature of the habitat.
  • Six to ten attributes were used for each of the four habitats affected to calculate a current biodiversity score as well as the expected score post impact.
  • The potential gains in the offset area were calculated taking into account the improvement that can be made following better protection and management.

PPRust project: offset

  • Proposed offset located 8 km west of impact area.
  • Comprises 5,398 ha of Makhado Sweet Bushveld, Central Sandy Bushveld and Waterberg Mountain Bushveld in the Savanna Biome.
  • Similar environmental characteristics to the impact area, although a larger proportion is mountainous. Subjected to much less subsistence farming, so more wooded.
  • Offset to include a wildlife reserve restocked with indigenous ungulates, improved protection, active range management and rehabilitation.
  • Employment creation and benefits through the offset add to the total social package associated with the mine development


  • Triggers
  • Thresholds of ‘offsetability’ (endemism, cumulative impacts)
  • Meaning of NNL: metrics (HH and spp) and cumulative impacts (W.Cape multipliers?)
  • Twin-track approach: simple method for less significant impacts
  • Additionality: (a) offsets on public land; (b) duty of care
  • Delivery mechanisms: credits on private land?
  • Bioregional and landscape-level planning
  • Biodiversity and carbon: synergies or double dipping?
  • Role of govt (field assessments or accredited assessors)?