Forcing companies to carry out costly biodiversity surveys often backfires

Identifying and counting different plants and animals found in tropical forests is nearly impossible to complete, say scientists. Raf Aerts

Identifying and counting different plants and animals found in tropical forests is nearly impossible to complete, say scientists. Raf Aerts

Forcing timber, mining and plantation companies to carry out costly, time-consuming and for-the-most-part incomplete biodiversity surveys on their holdings could drive away those genuinely committed to conservation, while allowing less scrupulous commercial ventures to fly under the radar, recent research by the Center for International Forestry Research suggests.

Forest management guidance, such as the certification criteria of the Forest Stewardship Council, the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification, and the Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil, as well as good practices for mining and biodiversity by the International Council on Mining & Metals require the detection, identification, and management of endangered and nationally protected species.

The study’s authors argue that to achieve beneficial conservation outcomes, it’s better to find practical ways to work collaboratively with commercial entities.

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