We address the problem of landholder participation in biodiversity offsetting, a policy tool based on principles of market-based incentives. Our study focuses on the working rules of offsetting, specifically the rights and responsibilities of landholders. Our case study is an application of biodiversity offsetting in the Greater Sydney Metropolitan area, New South Wales, Australia. We conduct empirical analysis of landholders’ perceptions of their rights and responsibilities and subsequently apply an institutionalist perspective to infer implications for public policy reform. We find that landholders’ perceptions of their rights and responsibility with regard to i) providing offsets, ii) receiving money for doing so, iii) land management, and iv) transferring the land, elicit diverse reasons for (non)participation in biodiversity offsets in the Greater Sydney Metropolitan area. Some landholders consider themselves in alignment with the current working rules of the scheme, others do not. We reflect on these findings by abductively inferring reasons for institutional reform. The broader significance of our study resides in its potential to inform institutional design in jurisdictions where established schemes are under review, or may become subject to review.
Roel Plant & Laure-Elise Ruoso (2023) Landholder perceptions of biodiversity offsetting rights and responsibilities: implications for policy reform in New South Wales, Australia, Ecosystems and People, 19:1, DOI: 10.1080/26395916.2023.2167865