© The Ecological Society of America Biodiversity offsets are most commonly used to mitigate the adverse impacts of development on biodiversity, but some offsets are now also designed to support ecosystem services (ES) goals. Here, we assemble a global database of biodiversity offsets (n = 70) to show that 41% already take ES into consideration, with the objective of enhancing cultural, regulating, and provisioning services. We found that biodiversity offsets were more likely to consider ES when (1) development projects reported impacts on services, (2) offsets had voluntary biodiversity goals, and (3) conservation organizations were involved. However, offsets that considered ES were similar in design (eg offsetting approach, extent, and location) to offsets focused solely on biodiversity, suggesting that including ES goals may represent an attempt to strengthen community support for development projects, rather than to offset known ES impacts. We also found that 34% of all offsets displaced people and negatively affected livelihoods. Therefore, when biodiversity and ES are linked, current practices may not actually improve outcomes, instead incurring additional costs to communities and companies.
© The Ecological Society of America
Sonter LJ, Gourevitch J, Koh I, Nicholson CC, Richardson LL, Schwartz AJ, Singh NK, Watson KB, Maron M, Ricketts TH. Biodiversity offsets may miss opportunities to mitigate impacts on ecosystem services. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 2018 Apr;16(3):143-8.