A case study of environmental offsets for the endangered Carnaby’s Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus latirostris)

Brooke Richards, Miriam Sullivan, Peter Mawson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Environmental offsets are applied in Western Australia (WA) as a management tool to compensate for residual significant impacts of clearing and development of habitat for the endangered Carnaby’s cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus latirostris). In the past 20 years many offsets have been established for the species. This research investigated whether environmental offsets were effective for conserving Carnaby’s cockatoo habitat. The research was conducted as a case study describing offset implementation in WA.
Land acquisition offsets were the most common type used for both WA and federally approved developments. Only one offset that contributed to the 25, 364 ha acquired has been vested as conservation estate. Land acquisition offsets allow development to occur without significant time delays, as developers have been able to use the transfer of funds for land purchase to fulfil most, or all, of their offset obligation(s). Those lands purchased in fulfilment of offset conditions have been strategically acquired to either extend existing conservation estate, or to create a significant contiguous corridor of habitat suitable for Carnaby’s cockatoos. Other offset types such as research and education were rarely used to fulfil offset obligations.
There was free and easy access to online primary documentation associated with the granting of offsets, but secondary documentation was mostly unavailable and prevented in-depth investigation. Overall, mitigation of impacts on Carnaby’s cockatoos from development of key habitat through environmental offsets show promise, but thus far have resulted in a net loss of habitat for Carnaby’s cockatoo.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPacific Conservation Biology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Apr 2020

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