Seeking convergence on the key concepts in ‘no net loss’ policy

Bull, Joseph W., Gordon, Ascelin, Watson, James E. M. and Maron, Martine (2016) Seeking convergence on the key concepts in ‘no net loss’ policy. Journal of Applied Ecology, 53 6: 1686-1693. doi:10.1111/1365-2664.12726


Author Bull, Joseph W.
Gordon, Ascelin
Watson, James E. M.
Maron, Martine
Title Seeking convergence on the key concepts in ‘no net loss’ policy
Journal name Journal of Applied Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0021-8901
1365-2664
Publication date 2016-01-01
Year available 2016
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1111/1365-2664.12726
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 53
Issue 6
Start page 1686
End page 1693
Total pages 8
Place of publication Chichester, West Sussex United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Abstract Biodiversity conservation policies incorporating a no net loss (NNL) principle are being implemented in many countries. However, there are linguistic and conceptual inconsistencies in the use of terms underlying these NNL policies. We identify inconsistencies that emerge in the usage of eight key terms and phrases associated with NNL policies: biodiversity, frames of reference (i.e. baselines, counterfactuals), no net loss, mitigation hierarchy, biodiversity offset, in-kind/out-of-kind, direct/indirect and multipliers. For each term, we make recommendations to support conceptual convergence, reduce ambiguity and improve clarity in communication and policy documentation. However, we also warn of the challenges in achieving convergence, especially given the linguistic inconsistencies in several of these key concepts among countries in which NNL policies are employed.Policy implications. The recommendations made in this article, on improving clarity and supporting convergence on key no net loss (NNL) concepts, should help eliminate ambiguity in policy documentation. This is crucial if policymakers are to design robust policies that are (i) transparent, (ii) translatable into practice in a consistent manner and (iii) sufficiently understood and supported by stakeholders to be effective in practice.
Formatted abstract
1. Biodiversity conservation policies incorporating a no net loss (NNL) principle are being implemented in many countries. However, there are linguistic and conceptual inconsistencies in the use of terms underlying these NNL policies.

2. We identify inconsistencies that emerge in the usage of eight key terms and phrases associated with NNL policies: biodiversity, frames of reference (i.e. baselines, counterfactuals), no net loss, mitigation hierarchy, biodiversity offset, in-kind/out-of-kind, direct/indirect and multipliers.

3. For each term, we make recommendations to support conceptual convergence, reduce ambiguity and improve clarity in communication and policy documentation. However, we also warn of the challenges in achieving convergence, especially given the linguistic inconsistencies in several of these key concepts among countries in which NNL policies are employed.

4. Policy implications. The recommendations made in this article, on improving clarity and supporting convergence on key no net loss (NNL) concepts, should help eliminate ambiguity in policy documentation. This is crucial if policymakers are to design robust policies that are (i) transparent, (ii) translatable into practice in a consistent manner and (iii) sufficiently understood and supported by stakeholders to be effective in practice.
Keyword Biodiversity Conservation
Ecology
Biodiversity & Conservation
Environmental Sciences & Ecology
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Grant ID DNRF96
DP150103122
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Publications
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Created: Tue, 11 Oct 2016, 00:10:50 EST by James Watson on behalf of School of Geography, Planning & Env Management