Assessing the Peruvian biodiversity offset scheme and the potential role of protected areas

In December 2014, Peru's Ministry of the Environment made a major policy announcement in a ministerial resolution that established guidelines for developers to offset the residual impacts of their projects. The policy was several years in the making and the product of exhaustive analysis on the part of ministry staff and important policy support from CSF and several other organizations, including the Peruvian Society for Environmental Law, The Nature Conservancy and the Wildlife Conservation Society.

As part of our collaboration with MINAM, CSF and partners have developed case studies to test these guidelines. Four infrastructure projects were analyzed including waterways and hydroelectric projects in Loreto, and a road concession and an oil concession in Madre de Dios. The cases entailed analyses of the baseline information, estimation of the biodiversity losses resulting from project impacts, identification of residual losses after mitigation actions, identification of compensation sites that ensure no biodiversity loss, GIS modeling of opportunity costs for the implementation of the compensation sites (focused on adjacent protected areas), estimation of the costs of implementing the environmental compensation in the selected locations, and design of the financial mechanisms to ensure that resources are available for implementing the compensation actions for the duration of the impacts.

This project addressed the opportunity and challenges of using public protected areas as the location for compensatory actions, such as habitat protection and restoration. The cases provide guidance on: methodologies for the identification of equivalent areas for environmental compensation focusing on protected areas; recommendations for the integration in EIAs of the necessary information to sustain no net biodiversity loss in environmental compensation plans; tools to estimate the management costs and to compensation plans cost-effectively and maximizing conservation outcomes; and recommendations for financial mechanisms that ensure resource availability over the projects’ life.

With this input, MINAM will be able to design standards for infrastructure projects in a way that maximizes conservation outcomes and is most cost-effective.

This project was made possible through support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and our partners, the Biodiversity Consultancy and the Wildlife Conservation Society, who provided ecological expertise.