Research in Brief
This project will translate the findings from Project 5.1 and its subcomponents to a series of user-friendly videos. These explanatory videos will step viewers through the key technical principles and concepts involved in offset design and delivery, as well as the key principles of strategic planning. In addition, the project will develop tools to support offset assessments, particularly for scoring habitat quality and estimating risk of condition decline. These outputs will be co-developed with practitioners and decision-makers from government agencies, consultancies, land owners and managers, and peak bodies.
Why is the research needed?
Biodiversity offsetting and strategic planning are two of the main tools available for mitigating unavoidable impacts of development on biodiversity and threatened species. Australia is a leader in developing improved approaches for offsetting and strategic planning. Nevertheless, the concepts and methods involved can be complex and unintuitive, and information often scattered across scientific and grey literature.
There is a clear need for accessible guidance on how to design and implement a robust offset that achieves a genuine ‘no net loss’ or ‘improve or maintain’ outcome for the threatened species or community it targets, and how to tie landscape level planning and offsets more closely together.
This project has emerged from discussions with the Department of the Environment and Energy and the Queensland Department of Environment and Science.
Koala. Photo: Diliff CC BY-SA 3.0 Wikimedia Commons
How can the research help?
This work will benefit the ongoing improvement of the design and implementation of offset policy across Australia, and as such, it has the potential to benefit any species and ecological communities for which impacts from development trigger offset requirements under state or Commonwealth policy and regulation (and guide investment in their management). We will develop guidance on estimating impacts and offsetting needs for threatened species and communities, both at site and broader landscape level. In addition, we will extend the decision support tool on risk of loss developed as part of Project 5.1 to help guide decision-making around species habitat and risk of loss of ecological condition. This will be done to help provide guidance on species identified as priority challenges by assessment staff in the Department of Environment and Energy.
Case study species, such as the ground parrot, green and golden bell frog, koala and king bluegrass will be used to illustrate how the decision-support tools and guidance developed can be applied across MNES.
What research activities are being undertaken?
There will be two main sets of outputs developed in conjunction with end-users:
Each of these products will be co-developed with research users in policy and assessment sections of the Department of Environment and Energy, the Queensland Department of Environment and Science, and other state agencies, along with environmental consultants who work with industry. This co-development will involve several stages of significant interaction: 1) canvassing the key issues for which this guidance will be most valuable; 2) agreement on the set of issues to be developed as videos; 3) testing of draft videos and guidance, with modification reflecting feedback, to ensure end products are fit-for-purpose.
Who is involved?
The project is being driven by researchers based at The University of Queensland, The University of Melbourne and RMIT University in consultation with Commonwealth
and state environment departments across Australia.
Where is the research happening?
The research is applicable to all listed threatened species and ecological communities across Australia.
When is the research happening?
The project will run for 18 months from 2019 to 2020.
For more information please contact Martine Maron - firstname.lastname@example.org
Top image: Green and golden bell frog (Litoria aurea). Photo: Adam Parsons