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Evaluating biodiversity offsets in environmental impact assessment (BONDA2U19SF)

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  • Full or part time
    Dr A Bond
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

‘Biodiversity offsets’ are a means of delivering a form of compensation for biodiversity loss so that there is an overall outcome of ‘no net loss’ from development (Rajvanshi et al., 2011, Brownlie et al., 2013). Offsets include: direct compensation in the form of restoration, rehabilitation and re-establishment of eco-systems, acquiring land for conservation; and indirect compensation in the form of physical protection or removal of threats (such as vermin) to biodiversity, improved management, education, and research, or contributions to biodiversity funds. Offsets gained traction when the international Business and Biodiversity Offsets Programme (BBOP) was established in 2004 (Ten Kate et al., 2004), and national biodiversity policies increasingly are being developed.
Emerging practice (International Association for Impact Assessment 38th Annual Conference, Durban, 2018) suggests biodiversity offsets are being agreed and implemented which are inconsistent with biodiversity offsets policy; and which interpret offsets in ways that inevitably lead to net loss in the long-term.
This research will critically examine practice in selected jurisdictions, determine the extent to which practice falls short of policy, and clarify what should and should not count as a no-net-loss offset. It aims:

1) To properly conceptualise ‘no-net-loss’ biodiversity offsets
2) To evaluate emerging policy
3) To evaluate emerging practice
4) To recommend how best to align policy and practice

You will develop research skills in:
• Research design
• Literature review
• Expert elicitation
• Stakeholder engagement
• Interview techniques
• Documentary analysis
You will be a member of the multidisciplinary Science, Society and Sustainability (3S) research group ( within the School of Environmental Sciences.

UK candidates who are eligible for Research Council studentships and who develop their own research proposals on this topic are able to apply for ESRC funding for 2019/20 entry. Please see for more information and contact Alan Bond ([Email Address Removed]) if you are eligible.

For more information on the supervisor for this project, please go here:

Type of programme: PhD

project start date: October 2019

Mode of study: Full time

Entry requirements: Acceptable first degree - Environmental Sciences; Geography; Ecology; Social Sciences; Planning.
The standard minimum entry requirements is 2:1.

Funding Notes

This PhD project is offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with funding or those applying to funding sources. Details of tuition fees can be found at

A bench fee is also payable on top of the tuition fee to cover specialist equipment or laboratory costs required for the research. The amount charged annually will vary considerably depending on the nature of the project and applicants should contact the primary supervisor for further information about the fee associated with the project.


i) BROWNLIE, S., KING, N. & TREWEEK, J. 2013. Biodiversity tradeoffs and offsets in impact assessment and decision making: can we stop the loss? Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 31, 24-33.

ii) RAJVANSHI, A., BROWNLIE, S., SLOOTWEG, R. & ARORA, R. 2011. Maximizing benefits for biodiversity: The potential of enhancement strategies in impact assessment. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 29, 181-193.

iii) TEN KATE, K., BISHOP, J. & BAYON, R. 2004. Biodiversity offsets: Views, experience, and the business case, IUCN--The World Conservation Union.

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