We analyze the development of biodiversity offsetting governance through a research-weaving approach. Here, we combine information from a systematized review of the literature and a qualitative analysis of the institutional developments in different world regions. Through this triangulation, we synthesize and map the different developmental streams of biodiversity offsetting governance around the globe over the last four decades. We find that there is a global mainstreaming of core principles such as avoidance, no-net-loss, and a mitigation hierarchy, as well as pooling and trading of offsets for unavoidable residual damages. Furthermore, we can observe an ongoing diversification of institutional designs and actors involved. Together this constitutes an emerging regime complex of biodiversity offsetting governance that comes with both a set of shared norms and a growing institutional complexity. While this may imply institutional innovation through diversification and policy experimentation, it also raises questions regarding the effectiveness of offsetting practices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115231
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - 2022 May 9

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Ecology

Free keywords

  • Biodiversity offsetting
  • Comparative environmental politics
  • Conservation governance
  • Regime complex


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