Developing a Framework for Biodiversity Credits that Create Effective Conservation Outcomes with the World Wildlife Fund

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2023-04-28

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Abstract

As the devastating impact of the biodiversity crisis comes into clearer focus, there has been heightened interest in alternative means of financing critical conservation work, including how to engage on the growing momentum around “biodiversity credits.” Through work with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), the report considers the efficacy and suitability of biodiversity credits as an economic instrument to incentivize investing in nature. The proposed financial mechanism outlined herein is designed to channel payments directly to communities acting as nature stewards in exchange for the achievement of positive, measurable conservation outcomes. The scope of this study considers how WWF intends to define biodiversity credits, as well as what monitoring techniques should be used to ensure credits are measurable and equitable, with the intention of implementing the recommendations in a pilot project in the Maya Forest of Mexico beginning in late 2023.

Ultimately, we determined that biodiversity credits can be a viable method of privately financing conservation if they are equitable, transparent, measurable and comparable across time and space. We recommend WWF pursue biodiversity credits, not biodiversity offsets, and avoid including carbon stocks when measuring a Biodiversity Unit. Finally, we found that a limited number of monitoring tools can be sufficient for ensuring transparency and reliability in most cases.

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Holbrook, Cheney Gardner (2023). Developing a Framework for Biodiversity Credits that Create Effective Conservation Outcomes with the World Wildlife Fund. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/27149.


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