Biodiversity offsets need a national strategy

Karen Baxter
Chimp Eden Sanctuary - Mimi by Afrika Force }

Research has found biodiversity offset projects are failing to prevent the widespread decline of gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos.

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, including if the life of one ape is being traded for another, 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, including Dr Tatyana Humle from the School of Anthropology and Conservation alongside colleagues at the universities of California and Stirling and conservation organisations worldwide, also found these programs ignore wider considerations of population viability and consequently fail to contribute significantly to species’ conservation.

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.

For more information contact Dr Tatyana Humle.