A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush: Paper accepted at the 15th Annual BIOECON Conference, Cambridge

I woke to the exciting news this morning that my paper has been accepted for presentation at the 15th Annual BIOECON Conference, to be held at King’s College in Cambridge, UK from 18 – 20th September 2013.  I’m looking forward to travelling to the UK, and hope to visit some of the fantastic universities and institutions while I’m over there.

Here’s the abstract of my accepted paper, co-authored with Martine Maron, Phil Gibbons and Hugh Possingham.

Update 30th July 2013: The full program and papers for BIOECON are now available. I’ll be chairing the Behavioural Economics and Environmental Policy session on Day 2 of the conference. http://www.bioecon-network.org/pages/15th_2013/papers15.html

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush: ecological time preference and biodiversity offsets

bioecon

Biodiversity offsetting is an increasingly popular yet contentious measure used to compensate for the ecological impacts of development. Much of the research focus on biodiversity offsetting has been on developing metrics for quantifying the amount of offset required to achieve a ‘no net loss’ or ‘net gain’ of biodiversity.

Although the majority of metrics in use take into account the spatial dimension of impact, few consider the time required for an offset to fulfill its compensation requirements to a particular species or ecosystem. Given that the future prospects of biodiversity is inextricably linked with time, surprisingly little work has been undertaken to quantify the offset requirements for threatened species and ecosystems which face varied degrees of threat to their persistence.

In this study, we introduce a novel approach to comprehensively estimate the offset requirements for biodiversity impacts over time and space, by incorporating the species’ annual probability of extinction as a discounting factor within our loss-gain metric.

We find that accounting for ‘ecological time preference’ within our loss-gain metric results in greater offset requirements for threatened species and ecosystems, but offset burden can be reduced if compensation can be delivered more rapidly.

Our approach can utilise readily available estimates of the probability of extinction related to the IUCN threat status of Red Listed species and ecosystems, but could benefit from refined estimates of annual extinction probabilities for specific biodiversity elements.

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