What are biodiversity offset assessments?

A landscape of bush and trees taken at Solomons Gully

One of our many ecological services is to assess areas for their biodiversity offset potential. 

Why do we do this?

There are Commonwealth and/or State legislative limits imposed on major infrastructure projects related to potential disturbance to Commonwealth-protected vegetation communities, such as Threatened Ecological Communities (TEC) and vegetation identified as habitat for listed threatened species.

Where disturbance limits are exceeded, there is a requirement for an offset, i.e. an equivalent area (or multiple) of similar vegetation that is reserved with long-term security through land purchases or management agreements. This is where the biodiversity offset assessment comes in.

How does a biodiversity offset assessment work?

When a property is assessed for its biodiversity value, our ecologists may undertake a wide range of assessments including:

  • Vegetation mapping
  • Vegetation condition assessment (e.g. using the BioCondition tool) 
  • Pest plant and animal mapping 

Where time and resources permit, targeted surveys for threatened plants and animals may also be undertaken. 

A wide range of fauna survey techniques may be employed to survey for threatened fauna, including: 

  • Trapping
  • Spotlighting
  • Acoustic detection 
  • Active searches

The end result? A report that describes the biodiversity offset potential of a particular property or parts thereof. This includes tables that summarise the potential biodiversity offset yield of a property. These may include the number of hectares of regrowth and remnant vegetation, and the estimated amount of potential habitat present for individual threatened fauna and flora.

What are the benefits?

One of the many roles of biodiversity offsets is ecosystem restoration. This may be achieved through the retention and management of regrowth as well as remnant vegetation. 

Management activities such as pest animal and plant control, fire and thinning may be required to restore the full suite of biodiversity habitat values.

Aside from ecosystem restoration benefits, one of the other positives of biodiversity offsets is that there may be a high potential for property owners to generate income streams from offset agreements based on remnant and regrowth retention when planning future vegetation management.

Do you need to consider biodiversity offset assessments for your project? Contact us today.

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