New Zealand Journal of Ecology (2018) 42(1): 11- 17

Compliance with biodiversity compensation on New Zealand’s public conservation lands

Research Article
Ann Brower *
Laurien Heijs  
Ruth Kimani  
James Ross  
Crile Doscher  
  1. Department of Environmental Management, Lincoln University, PO Box 84, Lincoln 7647, Canterbury, New Zealand
*  Corresponding author

This article assesses compliance with biodiversity compensation on New Zealand’s conservation land. Of the 261 Department of Conservation (DOC) concessions for commercial activity searched, only about 15% included compensation provisions. A sample of 20 concessions of that 15% suggests 68% achieve full compliance. Our results suggest compliance is influenced by factors such as habitat and activity type, protected area category, and whether a concession holder has pending concessions and/or renewals. Inconsistencies in compliance monitoring, enforcement, and reporting merit attention. Although New Zealand’s rate of full compliance with biodiversity compensation conditions is higher than that observed in other countries, compensation is rarely requested. This rarity and the lack of national guidelines on how and what to ask for in compensation, suggest that compliance with compensation once requested, and the quality and consistency of requests, limit biodiversity protection. Jurisdictions engaging in biodiversity compensation should attend not just to compliance, but also to the requests themselves. To do so, they should develop clear guidelines, enforcement strategies, and reporting processes.