Government of New Zealand: Biodiversity offset policy development

At the request of the Government of New Zealand, TBC developed a global framework which establishes the burden of proof necessary to evaluate ‘offsetability’, given varying levels of: conservation concern; residual impact magnitude; offset opportunity; and feasibility of offset implementation. This work has now been published in the prestigious journal, Conservation Letters To request a copy of this publication, please email

Biodiversity offsets are widely seen as a way of balancing conservation and development, and so their use is spreading rapidly despite a paucity of peer-reviewed best-practice guidance. Decisions continue to be made on consent or funding for development projects that involve offsets, and so there is an urgent need for practical, scientifically-based guidance. We addressed part of this need by developing a practical process to help improve the consistency and defensibility of development decisions regarding the limits to the kinds of impacts on biodiversity that can be offset. The strength of this process is in assessing the relative difficulty of achieving a successful offset (‘offsetability’) as such limits are approached. The process has already been used by scientists and regulators to assess proposed offsets in New Zealand and is serving as an input to development of its national offset policy.