Leveraging Biodiversity Net Gain to address invertebrate declines in England

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Natalie Elizabeth Duffus, Owen T Lewis, Richard Grenyer, Richard F Comont, Dave Goddard, Dave Goulson, Jeff Ollerton, Martin C Townsend, Judy A Webb, Richard I Wilson, Sophus O.S.E zu Ermgassen


Meeting ambitions such as the Global Biodiversity Framework 2030 targets will require multiple conservation mechanisms that benefit the widest possible range of habitats and species. Using England as a case study, here we evaluate the likely impact of a novel and ambitious ecological compensation policy, Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG), on terrestrial insects, spiders, and other arthropods (‘invertebrates’), a functionally important but rapidly declining component of biodiversity. Current implementation of BNG in England sets out to provide a 10% uplift in biodiversity when infrastructure development (such as housebuilding) occurs. However, BNG is a habitat-driven approach, which risks overlooking important considerations relevant to invertebrate conservation, threatens to further reduce the size and quality of their habitats, and may increase habitat fragmentation. BNG - as currently implemented – therefore represents a missed opportunity to use a universally applied policy to benefit invertebrates and other functionally important components of biodiversity. We suggest ways forward to realign BNG with what we know to be crucial for successful invertebrate conservation, and with other policy mechanisms such as the National Pollinator Strategy. This will ensure that appropriate habitats and conditions for invertebrates are retained, enhanced, and created at a landscape scale, and that BNG is optimised to contribute to broader national conservation targets. As biodiversity accounting and offsetting schemes such as BNG are increasingly adopted around the world, the experience of BNG in England provides valuable insights into how ecological compensation programmes could be better designed, implemented, and monitored to ensure that benefits for a wide variety of taxa are achieved.




Biodiversity, Entomology


Invertebrate Conservation, Biodiversity Net Gain, Biodiversity Offsetting, Ecological Compensation, Biodiversity Metric


Published: 2024-02-10 04:14

Last Updated: 2024-02-23 08:52

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CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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