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Title: Aligning economic development and conservation through marine biodiversity offsetting : an analysis of perspectives, policy and practice in Australia
Author: Niner, Holly June
ISNI:       0000 0004 7964 9004
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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Biodiversity offsetting is increasingly used in diverse policy contexts to reduce, halt or reverse losses of biodiversity arising from development or other uses of the natural environment. To date, relatively little attention has been devoted to its use in marine environments. This thesis explores the policy basis for the marine application of the approach and its implementation in practice. A systematic review of documents evidencing the application or inclusion of biodiversity offset principles in global policy frameworks is first presented. Analysis focusses on the uptake of the principles for biodiversity offsetting success and indicates that globally there is a limited policy basis for the holistic application of the approach in marine environments. Using Australia as a case study, I explore how these principles are being applied in practice. Through a further systematic review of marine and coastal development projects I find little evidence to suggest that marine biodiversity offsetting in Australia is meeting stated aims of no net loss (NNL). In-depth interviews of participants with professional experience of the development and application of marine biodiversity offsetting policy were explored. Using two separate frameworks based around boundary objects and risk, interview data and participant perceptions were analysed to understand the influences governing current practice. Results indicate that marine biodiversity offsetting is not being applied with a view to meeting stated aims of NNL and that this trend is primarily driven by the challenges posed by marine environments and limited societal scrutiny. Current use of marine NNL seeks to maintain the legitimacy and credibility of government and industry alike, premised on ongoing trends of accepted marine biodiversity loss. I conclude that a significant change in the narrative surrounding the use of marine NNL is required to acknowledge the trade-offs and biodiversity loss implicated by much of marine economic development.
Supervisor: Styan, C. ; Jones, P. ; Milligan, B. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available