Public Release: 

Biodiversity offsets need a national strategy to succeed

University of Kent

In a paper published by PLOS ONE, researchers concluded that a national strategy must be implemented in order to compensate for environmental damage caused by development projects in Africa.

Studying these issues and other serious ethical concerns, the research discovered that current offset programs - which are planned and designed on a project-by-project basis - fail to take into account the cumulative impacts of various conservations projects taking place in the same country or region.

The scientists from the universities of California, Stirling and Kent alongside representatives from conservation organisations worldwide also found these programs ignore wider considerations of population viability and consequently fail to contribute significantly to species' conservation.

The researchers consider strategic planning to be vital and offsets which involve damage to ape habitat need to be planned on a broader scale. For example, offsets need to be designed and implemented as part of a coordinated, national offset strategy where each one is integrated with other conservation planning efforts nationwide and/or regionally to give them the best chance of success.

The researchers also recommend that these strategies should take account of the cumulative impacts of development in individual countries by mapping the best locations for offsets to promote species conservation objectives, as well as by creating 'no-go zones' for any development.

By focusing on the possibilities of aggregating offsets to create larger protected areas, a coherent and a more stable and genetically healthy population is likely in the long term, they suggest.

###

The paper titled: 'Great Apes and Biodiversity Offset Projects in Africa: The Case for National Offset Strategies' is published in PLOS ONE, on 5 November 2014.

The authors are: Rebecca Kormos, University of California, US; Cyril F. Kormos from the WILD Foundation, Tatyana Humle, DICE, University of Kent; Annette Lanjouw, Helga Rainer, Arcus Foundation; Ray Victurine, Wildlife Conservation Society; Russell A. Mittermeier, Anthony B. Rylands Conservation International; Mamadou S. Diallo from Guinée Écologie; Elizabeth A. Williamson, University of Stirling.

For further information contact Katie Newton in the Press Office at the University of Kent.

News releases can also be found at http://www.kent.ac.uk/news

University of Kent on Twitter: http://twitter.com/UniKent

For Interview Requests

Rebecca Kormos from the University of California, US can be contacted via phone 510-862-5351 or email rebeccakormos@yahoo.com;

Cyril F. Kormos from the WILD Foundation can be contacted via phone 510-862-5359 or email cyril@wild.org;

Tatyana Humle from DICE in the School of Anthropology and Conservation at the University of Kent can be contacted via Katie Newton in the University's press office: 01227 823581 or k.newton@kent.ac.uk;

Annette Lanjouw from the Arcus Foundation can be contacted at -alanjouw@arcusfoundation.org;

Helga Rainer from the Arcus Foundation can be contacted at -hrainer@arcusfoundation.org;

Ray Victurine from the Wildlife Conservation Society can be contacted at -rvicturine@wcs.org;

Russell A. Mittermeier from Conservation International can be contacted at -rmittermeier@conservation.org;

Mamadou S. Diallo from Guinée Écologie can be contacted at - madousalioupop@yahoo.com;

Anthony B. Rylands from Conservation International can be contacted at - a.rylands@conservation.org;

Elizabeth A. Williamson from the University of Stirling can be contacted at -sga_coordinator@conservation.org.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.