Only once the first two steps of the Net Gain approach (avoid and minimise native vegetation removal) have been addressed to the fullest extent possible, can appropriate offsets be considered (step three of the Net Gain approach).
Commensurate gains, to compensate for permitted native vegetation loss, and actions to achieve a net gain are set out in an Offset Management Plan. Native vegetation offset targets (gains commensurate with losses) can be generated via:
1. Enhanced management of existing vegetation, and/or
2. Revegetation/rehabilitation (or natural recruitment).
Generally it is more prudent to manage remnant vegetation as greater gains can be achieved, in both ecological and economic terms (i.e. it costs less and greater ecological gains can be achieved). However, management of existing vegetation requires a high level of skill, knowledge and resourcing for at least a 10-year period.
Offset Management Plans detail the calculation process and the amount of gain available within a potential offset site. Once gains have been calculated the total score is summed and multiplied by the area (in hectares) to determine total gain is available (a value in habitat hectares). This total allows comparison to offset targets (requirements) for native vegetation losses and decisions can be made regarding the ability of an offset site to achieve a net gain.
An Offset Management Plan typically details:
· Native vegetation losses (a value provided in habitat hectares and number of scattered trees)
· Native vegetation offset targets required to achieve a net gain (a value in habitat hectares and number of trees)
· Offset proposal (details of proposed offset site)
· Actions to achieve a net gain (management actions required for implementation)
NOTE: Offset Management Plans should be prepared by suitably qualified and experienced personnel with a current ‘Habitat Hectares Competency Accreditation’ from DSE.
For more information regarding the services Beacon Ecological can provide and Offset Management Plans please click “contact” in the menu above or visit our home page at www.beaconecological.com.au