Farmer cluster brings future vision of the Cotswolds under nature recovery to life with professional illustrator

Workshop: Farmer cluster brings future vision of the Cotswolds under nature recovery to life with professional illustrator

Related project: The Landscape aesthetics of nature recovery

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Evaluating the impact of biodiversity offsetting on native vegetation

Biodiversity offsetting is a globally influential policy mechanism for reconciling trade-offs between development and biodiversity loss. However, there is little robust evidence of its effectiveness. We evaluated the outcomes of a jurisdictional offsetting policy (Victoria, Australia). Offsets under Victoria’s Native Vegetation Framework (2002–2013) aimed to prevent loss and degradation of remnant vegetation, and generate gains in vegetation extent and quality.

Analyzing the outcomes of China’s ecological compensation scheme for development-related biodiversity loss

Over the past three decades, China’s government has implemented many projects under its ecological compensation policy, including paying compensation fees for habitat creation to redress natural habitat losses caused by development. However, a critical evaluation of both the policy design and its ecological outcomes, has not previously been carried out. We assemble diverse data sources to provide the first evaluation of China’s eco-compensation policy and practice, identifying several challenges.

Mission-Oriented Public Policy for Nature Recovery

We conduct an expert workshop to identify policies for delivering nature recovery in England and perceptions of their feasibility, showing an inverse correlation between experts’ perceptions of policies’ impact at delivering nature recovery, and their feasibility. We then explore how these policies relate to the policy toolkit applied in mission-oriented strategy and demonstrate how missions-thinking can be applied to nature recovery. Many policies proposed fall within the conventional mission-oriented policy toolkit (clearly defining the mission, policy coordination, strategic public procurement, public investment in fundamental innovation and public goods, conditional financing, public engagement).

Nature-based credit markets at a crossroads

A swathe of recent impact evaluations demonstrating disappointing results suggest nature-based credits (derived from carbon or biodiversity offsets) are at a crossroads. Either nature-based credit markets are fundamentally reformed to adopt the latest scientific understanding on additionality, leakage and permanence, rebuilding investor confidence and allowing them to upscale, or they will continue to demonstrate non-additionality, lose investor confidence and constrain one of our most promising tools for drawing private investment into conservation.

Assessing the Potential of AI for Spatially Sensitive Nature-Related Financial Risks

There is growing recognition among financial institutions, financial regulators and policy makers of the importance of addressing nature-related risks and opportunities. Evaluating and assessing nature-related risks for financial institutions is challenging due to the large volume of heterogeneous data available on nature and the complexity of investment value chains and the various components’ relationship to nature. The dual problem of scaling data analytics and analysing complex systems can be addressed using Artificial Intelligence (AI). We address issues such as plugging existing data gaps with discovered data, data estimation under uncertainty, time series analysis and (near) real-time updates. This report presents potential AI solutions for models of two distinct use cases

Improving the ecological outcomes of compensatory conservation by addressing governance gaps: a case study of Biodiversity Net Gain in England

Biodiversity compensation policies have emerged around the world to address the ecological harms of infrastructure expansion, but they have historically experienced weak compliance. The English government is introducing a requirement that all new infrastructure developments demonstrate they achieve a Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG). Previous research has highlighted governance gaps that risk undermining the policy’s ecological outcomes, as well as exploring the risks caused by fundamental capacity constraints in regulators, but the magnitude of their effects on the policy’s potential impacts on biodiversity remains unexplored. We collated BNG information from all new major developments across six early adopter councils from 2020-2022. We quantified the proportion of the biodiversity outcomes promised under BNG which are at risk of non-compliance, explored the variation in strategies that developments use to meet their biodiversity liabilities, and quantified the occurrence of simple errors in the biodiversity metric calculations submitted by project proponents.

 

Exploring the ecological outcomes of mandatory biodiversity net gain using evidence from early-adopter jurisdictions in England

Net outcome-type biodiversity policies are proliferating globally as perceived mechanisms to reconcile economic development and conservation objectives. The UK government’s Environment Bill will mandate that most new developments in England demonstrate that they deliver a biodiversity net gain (BNG) to receive planning permission, representing the most wide-ranging net outcome type policy globally. However, as with many nascent net-outcome policies, the likely outcomes of mandatory BNG have not been explored empirically. We assemble all BNG assessments (accounting for ∼6% of England’s annual housebuilding and other infrastructure) submitted from January 2020 to February 2021 in six early-adopter councils who are implementing mandatory no net loss or BNG requirements in advance of the national adoption of mandatory BNG, and analyze the aggregate habitat changes proposed

Incorporating local nature-based cultural values into biodiversity No Net Loss strategies

Achieving “No Net Loss” (NNL) of nature from a development typically requires projects to follow a ‘mitigation hierarchy’, by which biodiversity losses are first avoided wherever possible, then minimised or remediated, and finally any residual impacts offset by conservation activities elsewhere. Biodiversity NNL can significantly affect people, including their cultural values. However, empirical research is lacking on how to incorporate impacts on cultural values of nature into NNL strategies. We use the Bujagali and Isimba Hydropower Projects and Kalagala Offset in Uganda as a case study to explore local people’s perceptions of the importance of cultural heritage to their wellbeing, how the developments affected their cultural heritage, and how these perceived impacts could be incorporated into NNL strategies. We sampled six villages experiencing different levels of hydropower development along the Victoria Nile River. Many river features, particularly rapids and waterfalls, are important cultural sites, associated with spirits and are worshipped by local communities. Spiritual beliefs, rituals and ceremonies, nature, and how cultural heritage is changing were frequently mentioned when respondents described cultural heritage. People perceived cultural heritage to be an important component of their wellbeing, but its importance differed between villages and socio-demographic groups

No net loss for people and biodiversity

Badly planned offsets can exacerbate poverty, and development and offset impacts can vary across spatial-temporal scales and by location, gender, and livelihood. We conceptualize the no-worse-off principle in the context of NNL of biodiversity, by exploring for whom and how the principle can be achieved.