Land Use 2021 - Session 1

Session 1: Putting Biodiversity Offsetting in its Place - Giving Meaning and Teeth to the Mitigation Hierarchy and Limits to Offsetting

April 19, 2021 (Monday) - 2 to 3:30 PM MDT (see recording below)


Session Leader: Martine Maron, University of Queensland

What can we reasonably expect of offsetting?

When is it appropriate to employ and when not?

It is broadly agreed in theory and in policy that biodiversity offsetting ought only to be considered as the final step in a hierarchy of mitigation measures, after all reasonable efforts have been made to avoid, mitigate and remediate environmental impacts

As well, there are circumstances where offsetting is either very risky or practically impossible due to the rarity, fragility or irreplaceability of the particular species or resource in question. However, despite the widespread agreement and frequent mention of these doctrines, policy-makers have frequent difficulty in applying them with consistency.

This session will focus on how processes can be established to give life to the mitigation hierarchy and the notion of “non-offsettability", as well as the special challenges of apply offsets in non-standard environmental conditions.


  • Martine Maron, University of Queensland Presentation
  • David Browne, Canadian Wildlife Federation 
  • Céline Jacob, Vertigo Lab (formely at Université du Québec en Outaouais) Presentation
  • Ritah Kigonya, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (no presentation)


Summary report - download the full report (all the sessions in a written form)




Session Lead: Martine Maron

Martine Maron is a Professor of Environmental Management at The University of Queensland, Australia. Her research is in environmental policy and conservation ecology. She is a Deputy Director of the NESP Threatened Species Recovery Hub and leads its Policy research theme, which includes projects seeking to improve biodiversity offsetting for threatened species and ecological communities. She helped draft the IUCN Biodiversity Offsets Policy and the UNCCD’s Land Degradation Neutrality approach, and has contributed to the development of numerous policy tools including Australia’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act Offsets Assessment Guide, the Reef Trust offsets calculator, and New Zealand’s biodiversity offsets accounting model. She continues to work with governments around Australia and the world to improve offset policy and practice, and leads an international working group which is developing a new approach to aligning ecological compensation with conservation targets.

Presenter: Céline Jacob

As an environmental geographer, Céline is interested in environmental governance systems with a particular focus on marine conservation. Her interdisciplinary work drawing from geography, economics and ecology investigates the sustainability of economic development. Céline did her PhD at Montpellier University in France on the application of biodiversity offset to the marine realm. Her research also explores assessment tools related to the maintenance costs of natural capital and analyzes impacts and dependency of the private sector on biodiversity and ecosystem services. I was a post-doctoral fellow at University of Quebec in Outaouais in Canada researching the recent introduction of ‘No Net Loss’ for wetlands and streams in Quebec and the resilience of coastal populations to climate change in the Gulf of St Lawrence. Céline is currently working at Vertigo Lab as a consultant on blue economy in Bordeaux (France).

Presenter: David Browne

David Browne is Director of Conservation at the Canadian Wildlife Federation.  He leads the overall development and delivery of CWF’s conservation programs.  David has over 20 years of experience in environmental and biodiversity conservation issues and has worked at the local, national, and international levels.  David holds Masters degrees in both environmental policy and environmental science and a Doctorate in freshwater ecology. 

Presenter: Ritah Kigonya 

Ritah Kigonya is interested in contributing solutions to one of the greatest global challenge today; that is Biodiversity loss. Her research focuses on natural resource management and sustainability. Currently, she is a PhD candidate at the department of Geography, at the Norwegian University of science and technology. There, she’s exploring the realities surrounding biodiversity offset implementation in the developing countries, with Uganda as her case study. Implementation of biodiversity offsets in most of these countries is a condition by international financing institutions to compensate for environmental impacts of development activities they finance. Ritah has a background in forest sciences with a Bachelor of Community Forestry and a Master of Science in Agroforestry (Makerere University).