Roads and associated land transport activities can affect a wide range of indigenous terrestrial vertebrate species. National legislation, particularly the Resource Management Act 1991, requires that developers ‘avoid, remedy or mitigate’ the adverse environmental effects of their activities. How these effects are identified and managed in New Zealand varies because regulators and land transport contractors deal with these issues on a case-by-case basis.
Ecological compensation involves measures to create positive conservation outcomes intended to offset the residual impacts of development (e.g. restoration planting, pest control). Rarely, however, have the exchanges arranged been subject to objective assessment. Here we assess 110 cases of ecological compensation involving diverse New Zealand ecosystems on the basis of how they addressed the six key implementation issues identified by McKenney and Kiesecker (2010: Environmental Management 45: 165–176): equivalence, location (i.e.