Environmental Net Gain
Environmental Net Gain of an area of land arises from a number of factors:
- Increase in the biodiversity of the land. e.g. changing from agricultural monoculture to woodland, scrub, etc. that is richer in wildlife (birds, mammals, insects, green plants, fungi, etc.)
- Increase in variety of wildlife habitats of more-or-less equal biodiversity. e.g. changing single-type woodland into a mix of woodland, scrub, ponds, wetlands, etc.
- Increase in net area (acreage) of higher-quality land as defined by the above, when compared with lower-quality land.
- Increase in structural robustness of wildlife habitats, especially by constructing or improving effectiveness of wildlife corridors.
- Increase in proportion of non-intensive (e.g. organic) food production over intensive.
- Increase in human quality of life.
This means that converting monoculture agricultural land into dwellings planned according to the principle of Greener Growth (as practised in Pennsylvania, USA, in which houses are put close together alongside wildlife land) could exhibit Environmental Net Gain if
- the acreage of the wildlife land is large enough to more than offset the decrease in biodiversity of the dwellings
- the variety of types of wildlife land, taking account not only of the land being developed but also surrounding lands,
- the wildlife land is planned to be part of a wildlife corridor that connects two biodiversity sources.
Notice how while (a) concerns the land itself, (b) and (c) make reference to surrounding lands too, and the contribution this land will make to the biodiversity of the area as a whole.
Andrew Basden, Klaus Armstrong-Braun,
23 January 2005.
Copyright (c) Andrew Basden 2004.
Last updated: 16 May 2011 link to andrew repaired.