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New Zealand Journal of Forestry (2007) 52(3): 36–40
©New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Professional Paper
Using biodiversity offsets to obtain “win-win” outcomes for biodiversity conservation and economic production

David A. Norton

Rural Ecology Research Group, School of Forestry, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch 8140

[First paragraphs ...]
A recent Environment Court decision (W081/2007, 19 September 2007) supported the use of biodiversity offsets as a tool for managing indigenous biodiversity values within economic production systems such as sheep and beef farms and plantation forests. In their decision, the Environment Court stated (para 62):

In our view, the Norton proposal (the use of biodiversity offsets) achieves a sound and sustained balance between enhancing the productive capacity of the property, and enhancing the quality of its remaining indigenous vegetation as a source of biodiversity and habitat. We understand the DOC position, which arises from its advocacy role. But in the overall scheme of the RMA it is too narrowly focused. In making our decision on this application, we have to encompass the wider view of sustainable management.

This Environment Court case arose from an application by the Bayly Trust to clear kanuka shrubland/forest on Waikatea Station, a sheep and cattle property located at Ruakituri, some 30 km north of Wairoa. As part of an ongoing programme to increase the productivity of the property they also proposed to protect a significant area of the property for soil and water, and biodiversity conservation purposes. In this article I review the background to the case, the biodiversity offset package proposed, and the implications it might have for future sustainable land management.
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