Thirty years of species conservation banking in the U.S.: Comparing policy to practice

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Carreras Gamarra, Maria Jose, and Theodore P. Toombs
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Thirteen years after the release of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service “Guidance for the establishment, use, and operation of conservation banks”, a draft “Endangered Species Act Compensatory Mitigation Policy” has been released. Understanding whether this draft Policy improves the existing Guidance and incorporates lessons learned requires a review of the practices of currently approved banks. We assess the practices that species conservation banks report, compare them with the 2003 Guidance and international biodiversity offset principles, and assess the degree to which the draft Policy advances conservation banking policy. Results show that banks have generally been well aligned to the recommendations of the 2003 Guidance, but fall significantly short when compared to the analyzed offset principles. Although the draft Policy significantly advances conservation banking policy, future policy updates that provide clear minimum standards on accounting methods, estimation of counterfactual scenarios and monitoring practices are still necessary, together with a greater transparency through reporting and the adoption of new methods and tools to meet the no net loss/net benefit goal.


Carreras Gamarra, Maria Jose, and Theodore P. Toombs. 2017. “Thirty Years of Species Conservation Banking in the U.S.: Comparing Policy to Practice.” Biological Conservation 214 (October): 6–12. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2017.07.021.