Biodiversity offsets are applied in many countries to compensate for impacts on the environment, but research on regulatory frameworks and implementation enabling effective offsets is lacking. This paper reviews research on biodiversity offsets, providing a framework for the analysis of program design (no net loss goal, uncertainty and ratios, equivalence and accounting, site selection, landscape-scale mitigation planning, timing) and implementation (compliance, adherence to the mitigation hierarchy, leakage and trade-offs, oversight, transparency and monitoring). Some more challenging aspects concern the proper metrics and accounting allowing for program evaluation, as well as the consideration of trade-offs when regulations focus only on the biodiversity aspect of ecosystems. Results can be used to assess offsets anywhere and support the creation of programs that balance development and conservation.
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