Equivalent Natures and Non-places

  • Elia ApostolopoulouEmail author


As explained in the previous chapter, achieving equivalence between ecological losses in the development site and ecological gains in the offset site is the cornerstone of the biodiversity offset design process. Even though offsetting programmes differ in terms of their equivalence requirements, ecological equivalence is a fundamental aspect that lies at the core of the definition of an offset and is widely acknowledged as necessary for achieving No Net Loss of biodiversity.


  1. Adams, W. M., Hodge, I. D., & Sandbrook, L. (2014). New spaces for nature: The re-territorialisation of biodiversity conservation under neoliberalism in the UK. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 39, 574–588.Google Scholar
  2. Apostolopoulou, E. (2019). Beyond post-politics: Offsetting, depoliticization and contestation in a community struggle against executive housing. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. Scholar
  3. Apostolopoulou, E., & Adams, W. M. (2015). Neoliberal capitalism and conservation in the post-crisis era: The dialectics of ‘green’ and ‘un-green’ grabbing in Greece and the UK. Antipode, 47, 15–35.Google Scholar
  4. Apostolopoulou, E., & Adams, W. M. (2017a). Biodiversity offsetting and conservation: Reframing nature to save it. Oryx, 51, 23–31.Google Scholar
  5. Apostolopoulou, E., & Adams, W. M. (2017b). Biodiversity offsetting and the reframing of conservation: A reply to ten Kate & von Hase and Dempsey & Collard. Oryx, 51, 40–42.Google Scholar
  6. Apostolopoulou, E., & Adams, W. M. (2019). Cutting nature to fit: Urbanization, neoliberalism and biodiversity offsetting in England. Geoforum, 98, 214–225.Google Scholar
  7. Apostolopoulou, E., Adams, W. M., & Greco, E. (2018). Biodiversity offsetting and the production of “equivalent natures”: A Marxist critique. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 17(3), 861–892.Google Scholar
  8. Apostolopoulou, E., Drakou, E., Santoro, F., & Pantis, J. D. (2012). Investigating the barriers to adopting a “human-in-nature” view in Greek biodiversity conservation. International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology, 19, 515–525.Google Scholar
  9. Apostolopoulou, E., & Paloniemi, R. (2012). Frames of scale challenges in Finnish and Greek biodiversity conservation. Ecology and Society, 17(4), 9.Google Scholar
  10. Backhaus, N. (2003). ‘Non-place jungle’: The construction of authenticity in National Parks of Malaysia. Indonesia and the Malay World, 31(89), 151–160.Google Scholar
  11. Bayon, R., Fox, J., & Carroll, N. (2008). Conservation and biodiversity banking: A guide to setting up and running biodiversity credit trading systems. London: Earthscan.Google Scholar
  12. BBOP (Business and Biodiversity Offsets Programme). (2009a). Biodiversity offset design handbook (Appendices). Washington, DC: BBOP.Google Scholar
  13. BBOP (Business and Biodiversity Offsets Programme). (2012a). Standard on biodiversity offsets. Washington, DC: BBOP. Available at:
  14. BBOP (Business and Biodiversity Offsets Programme). (2012b). Resource paper: No net loss and loss-gain calculations in biodiversity offsets. Washington, DC: BBOP.Google Scholar
  15. BBOP (Business and Biodiversity Offsets Programme). (2012c). Resource paper: Limits to what can be offset. Washington, DC: BBOP. Available at:
  16. Bennett, G., Gallant, M., & ten Kate, K. (2017). State of biodiversity mitigation 2017. Markets and Compensation for Global Infrastructure Development. Ecosystem Marketplace, Forest Trends, Washington DC.Google Scholar
  17. Bernhardt, E. S., & Palmer, M. A. (2011). The environmental costs of mountaintop mining valley fill operations for aquatic ecosystems of the Central Appalachians. In R. S. Ostfeld & W. H. Schlesinger (Eds.), Year in ecology and conservation biology (pp. 39–57). New York: New York Academy of Sciences.Google Scholar
  18. Bezombes, L., Gaucherand, S., Kerbiriou, C., Reinert, M. E., & Spiegelberger, T. (2017). Ecological equivalence assessment methods: What trade-offs between operationality, scientific basis and comprehensiveness? Environmental Management, 60, 216–230.Google Scholar
  19. Bidaud, C., Schreckenberg, K., Rabeharison, M., et al. (2017). The sweet and the bitter: Intertwined positive and negative social impacts of a biodiversity offset. Conservation and Society, 15, 1–13.Google Scholar
  20. Bormpoudakis, D., Tzanopoulos, J., & Apostolopoulou, E. (2019). The rise and fall of biodiversity offsetting in the Lodge Hill large-scale housing development, South East England. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space.
  21. Bracking, S., Bond, P., Brockington, D., Büscher, B., Igoe, J. J., Sullivan, S., & Woodhouse, P. (2014). Human, non-human and environmental value systems: An impossible frontier? (LSCV Working Paper Series No. 1). Leverhulme Centre for the Study of Value, School of Environment, Education and Development, The University of Manchester.Google Scholar
  22. Brockington, D., & Duffy, R. (2010). Capitalism and conservation: The production and reproduction of biodiversity conservation. Antipode, 42, 469–484.Google Scholar
  23. Bull, J. W., Lloyd, S. P., & Strange, N. (2017). Implementation gap between the theory and practice of biodiversity offset multipliers. Conservation Letters, 10, 656–669.Google Scholar
  24. Bull, J. W., Suttle, K. B., Gordon, A., Singh, N. J., & Milner-Gulland, E. J. (2013). Biodiversity offsets in theory and practice. Oryx, 47, 369–380.Google Scholar
  25. Bumpus, A. G. (2011). The matter of carbon: Understanding the materiality of tCO2e in carbon offsets. Antipode, 43, 612–638.Google Scholar
  26. Bumpus, A. G., & Liverman, D. M. (2008). Accumulation by decarbonization and the governance of carbon offsets. Economic Geography, 84, 127–155.Google Scholar
  27. Burkett, P. (1997). Nature in marx reconsidered a silver anniversary assessment of alfred schmidt’s concept of nature in Marx. Organization & Environment, 10, 164–183.Google Scholar
  28. Castree, N. (2003). Commodifying what nature? Progress in Human Geography, 27, 273–297.Google Scholar
  29. Commonwealth of Australia. (2012). Environment protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 environmental offsets policy. Department of the Environment, Canberra, ACT, Australia. Available at:
  30. Conway, M., Rayment, M., White, A., & Berman, S. (2013). Exploring potential demand for and supply of habitat banking in the EU and appropriate design elements for a habitat banking scheme (Final Report Submitted to DG Environment). UK: ICF GHK and BIO Intelligence Service.Google Scholar
  31. Curran, M., Hellweg, S., & Beck, J. (2013). Is there any empirical support for biodiversity offset policy? Ecological Applications, 24, 617–632.Google Scholar
  32. DEC. (2006). BioBanking: A biodiversity offsets and banking scheme: Conserving and restoring biodiversity in NSW (Working Paper). Sydney: Department of Environment and Conservation NSW.Google Scholar
  33. Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). (2013). Biodiversity offsetting in England green paper. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. London, UK. Available at:
  34. Demeritt, D. (1998). Science, social constructivism and nature. In B. Braun & N. Castree (Eds.), Remaking reality: Nature at the millennium. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  35. Dickinson, E. (2011). Displaced in nature: The cultural production of (non-) place in place-based forest conservation pedagogy. Environmental Communication: a Journal of Nature and Culture, 5(3), 300–319.Google Scholar
  36. Dickinson, S., & Berner, P. O. (2010). Ambatovy project: Mining in a challenging biodiversity setting in Madagascar. In S. M. Goodman & V. Mass (Eds.), Biodiversity, exploration, and conservation of the natural habitats associated with the Ambatovy project. Malagasy Nature 3 (pp. 2–13). Antananarivo: Association Vahatra.Google Scholar
  37. Fabiani, J. L. (1985). Sciences des écosystèmes et protection de la nature. In A. Cadoret (Ed.), protection de la nature. Histoire et idéologie (pp. 75–93). Paris: L’ Harmattan.Google Scholar
  38. Fine, B. (2005). From actor-network theory to political economy. Capitalism Nature Socialism, 16, 91–108.Google Scholar
  39. Gamarra, M. J. C., Lassoie, J. P., & Milder, J. (2018). Accounting for no net loss: A critical assessment of biodiversity offsetting metrics and methods. Journal of Environmental Management, 220, 36–43.Google Scholar
  40. Gardner, T. A., Von Hase, A., Brownlie, S., Ekstrom, J. M. M., Pilgrim, J. D., Savy, C. E., et al. (2013). Biodiversity offsets and the challenge of achieving no net loss. Conservation Biology, 27, 1254–1264.Google Scholar
  41. Gibbons, P., & Lindenmayer, D. B. (2007). Offsets for land clearing: No net loss or the tail wagging the dog? Ecological Management & Restoration, 8, 26–31.Google Scholar
  42. Gibbons, P., Macintosh, A., Constable, A. L., & Hayashi, K. (2018). Outcomes from 10 years of biodiversity offsetting. Global Change Biology, 24, 643–654.Google Scholar
  43. Gonçalves, B., Marques, A., Soares, A. M. V. D. M., & Pereira, H. M. (2015). Biodiversity offsets: From current challenges to harmonized metrics. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 14, 61–67.Google Scholar
  44. Harvey, D. (2001). Cosmopolitanism and the banality of geographical evils. In J. Comaroff & J. L. Comaroff (Eds.), Millenial capitalism and the culture of neoliberalism (pp. 271–309). Durham and London: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Herrera, L. M. G., Smith, N., & Vera, M. Á. M. (2007). Gentrification, displacement, and tourism in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Urban Geography, 28, 276–298.Google Scholar
  46. Hobbs, R. J., Hallett, L. M., Ehrlich, P. R., & Mooney, H. A. (2011). Intervention ecology: Applying ecological science in the twenty-first century. BioScience, 61, 442–450.Google Scholar
  47. Hough, P., & Robertson, M. (2009). Mitigation under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act: Where it comes from, what it means. Wetlands Ecology and Management, 17, 15–33.Google Scholar
  48. HS2. (2013). London-West Midlands environmental statement (Vol. 5). Technical Appendices. Scope and Methodology Report Addendum (Ct-001-000/2). Available at:
  49. ICMM (International Council on Mining and Metals) and IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). (2012). Independent report on biodiversity offsets. Prepared by the Biodiversity Consultancy. Available at:
  50. IEEP. (2014). Study on specific design elements of biodiversity offsets: Biodiversity metrics and mechanisms for securing long term conservation benefits. DG ENVIRONMENT: ENV.B.2/ETU/2013/0060r. Final Report. A Report Submitted by ICF Consulting Services in association with IEEP and Associated Experts. London, UK.Google Scholar
  51. Jähnig, S. C., Lorenz, A. W., Hering, D., Antonis, C., Sundermann, A., Jedicke, E., et al. (2011). River restoration success: A question of perception. Ecological Applications, 21, 2007–2015.Google Scholar
  52. Jameson, F. (1991). Postmodernism, or, the cultural logic of late capitalism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Jasanoff, S. (2011). Constitutional moments in governing science and technology. Science and Engineering Ethics, 17, 621–638.Google Scholar
  54. Katz, C. (1998). Whose nature, whose culture?: Private productions of space and the ‘preservation’ of nature. In B. Braun & N. Castree (Eds.), Remaking reality: Nature at the millennium (pp. 45–62). London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  55. Katz, C., & Kirby, A. (1991). In the nature of things: The environment and everyday life. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 16, 259–271.Google Scholar
  56. Laitila, J., Moilanen, A., & Pouzols, F. M. (2014). A method for calculating minimum biodiversity offset multipliers accounting for time discounting, additionality and permanence. MEE, 5, 1247–1254.Google Scholar
  57. Latour, B. (1987). Science in action: How to follow scientists and engineers through society. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  58. Lefebvre, H. (1970). La révolution urbaine (Vol. 216). Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
  59. Lefebvre, H. (1991). The production of space. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  60. Levins, R., & Lewontin, R. (1985). The dialectical biologist. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  61. Lohmann, L. (2005). Marketing and making carbon dumps: Commodification, calculation and counterfactuals in climate change mitigation. Science as Culture, 14, 203–235.Google Scholar
  62. Lohmann, L. (2012). Financialization, commodification and carbon: The contradictions of neoliberal climate policy. Socialist Register, 48, 85–107.Google Scholar
  63. MacKenzie, D. (2009). Making things the same: Gases, emission rights and the politics of carbon markets. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 34, 440–455.Google Scholar
  64. Maron, M., Hobb, R. J., Moilanen, A., Matthews, J. W., Christie, K., Gardner, T. A., et al. (2012). Faustian bargains? Restoration realities in the context of biodiversity offset policies. Biological Conservation, 155, 141–148.Google Scholar
  65. Maron, M., Ives, C. D., Kujala, H., Bull, J. W., et al. (2016). Taming a wicked problem: Resolving controversies in biodiversity offsetting. BioScience, 66, 489–498.Google Scholar
  66. Marx, K. (1899). Value, price and profit. London: Swan, Sonnenschein & Co.Google Scholar
  67. Marx, K., & Engels, F. (1970). The German ideology (Vol. 1). New York: International Publishers.Google Scholar
  68. Marx, K., & Engels, F. (2002). The communist manifesto. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  69. McAfee, K. (2012). The contradictory logic of global ecosystem services markets. Development and Change, 43, 105–131.Google Scholar
  70. McCarthy, M. A., Parris, K. M., van der Ree, R., et al. (2004). The habitat hectares approach to vegetation assessment: An evaluation and suggestions for improvement. Ecological Management & Restoration, 5, 24–27.Google Scholar
  71. Moreno-Mateos, D., Power, M. E., Comín, F. A., & Yockteng, R. (2012). Structural and functional loss in restored wetland ecosystems. PLoS Biology, 10(1), e1001247.Google Scholar
  72. Palmer, M. A., & Filoso, S. (2009). Restoration of ecosystem services for environmental markets. Science, 325(5940), 575.Google Scholar
  73. Parkers, D., Newell, G., & Cheal, D. (2003). Assessing the quality of native vegetation: The ‘habitat hectares’ approach. Ecological Management & Restoration, 4, 29–38.Google Scholar
  74. Pilgrim, J. D., Brownlie, S., Ekstrom, J. M. M., Gardner, T. A., von Hase, A., ten Kate, K., et al. (2013). A process for assessing offsetability of biodiversity impacts. Conservation Letters, 6, 376–384.Google Scholar
  75. Quétier, F., & Lavorel, S. (2011). Assessing ecological equivalence in biodiversity offset schemes: Key issues and solutions. Biological Conservation, 144, 2991–2999.Google Scholar
  76. Quétier, F., Regnery, B., & Levrel, H. (2014). No net loss of biodiversity or paper offsets?—A critical review of the French no net loss policy. Environmental Science & Policy, 38, 120–131.Google Scholar
  77. Robertson, M. (2000). No net loss: Wetland restoration and the incomplete capitalization of nature. Antipode, 32, 463–493.Google Scholar
  78. Robertson, M. (2006). The nature that capital can see: Science, state, and market in the commodification of ecosystem services. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 24, 367–387.Google Scholar
  79. Ruhl, J. B., & Salzman, J. E. (2006). The effects of wetland mitigation banking on people (FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 179). Available at SSRN:
  80. Seagle, C. (2012). Inverting the impacts: Mining, conservation and sustainability claims near the Rio Tinto/QMM ilmenite mine in Southeast Madagascar. Journal of Peasant Studies, 39, 447–477.Google Scholar
  81. Sears, P. (1964). Ecology—A subversive subject. BioScience, 1, 11–13.Google Scholar
  82. Sharma, S. (2009). Baring life and lifestyle in the non-place. Cultural Studies, 23, 129–148.Google Scholar
  83. Smith, N. (1998). Nature at the millenium: Production and re-enchantment. In B. Braun & N. Castree (Eds.), Remaking reality: Nature at the millennium (pp. 269–282). London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  84. Smith, N. (2006). Nature as accumulation strategy. In L. Panitch & C. Leys (Eds.), Socialist register 2007: Coming to terms with nature (pp. 16–36). London: Merlin.Google Scholar
  85. Smith, N. (2010). Uneven development (3rd ed.). New York: Verso.Google Scholar
  86. Smith, N., & Katz, C. (1993). Grounding metaphor: Towards a spatialized politics. In M. Keith & S. Pile (Eds.), Place and the politics of identity (pp. 66–81). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  87. Stokstad, E. (2008). New rules on saving wetlands push the limits of the science. Science, 320(5873), 162–163.Google Scholar
  88. Sullivan, S. (2013). After the green rush? Biodiversity offsets, uranium power, and the ‘calculus of casualties’ in greening growth. Human Geography, 6, 80–101.Google Scholar
  89. Tucker, G. M., Allen, B., Conway, M., Dickie, I., Hart, K., Rayment, M., et al. (2014). Policy options for an EU no net loss initiative. Report to the European Commission (with Annexes), Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), London.Google Scholar
  90. Virah-Sawmy, M., Ebeling, J., & Taplin, R. (2014). Mining and biodiversity offsets: A transparent and science-based approach to measure “no-net-loss”. Journal of Environmental Management, 143, 61–70.Google Scholar
  91. Virilio, P. (1997). Open sky (J. Rose, Trans.). New York: Verso.Google Scholar
  92. Walker, S., Brower, A. L., Stephens, R. T. T., & Lee, W. G. (2009). Why bartering biodiversity fails. Conservation Letters, 2, 149–157.Google Scholar
  93. Wilkinson, J. (2008). In-lieu fee mitigation: Coming into compliance with the new Compensatory Mitigation Rule. Wetlands Ecology and Management, 17, 53–70.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

Personalised recommendations