OPAL: An open-source software tool for integrating biodiversity and ecosystem services into impact assessment and mitigation decisions

Mandle, Lisa; Douglass, James; Lozano, Juan Sebastian; Sharp, Richard P.; Vogl, Adrian L.; Denu, Douglas; Walschburger, Thomas; Tanis, Heather
Publisher N/A
SourceWeb of Science
Volume / Issue84
Pages121 - 133
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Article Link
Editor(s) N/A
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TagsEnvironmental impact assessment; Biodiversity offsets; Compensatory mitigation; Decision support tool; Land use planning; Environmental justice
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Conference Title N/A
Conference Date N/A
Publication Date16-Oct
Article Date N/A
GS Citation N/A
AbstractGovernments and financial institutions increasingly require that environmental impact assessment and mitigation account for consequences to both biodiversity and ecosystem services. Here we present a new software tool, OPAL (Offset Portfolio Analyzer and Locator), which maps and quantifies the impacts of development on habitat and ecosystem services, and facilitates the selection of mitigation activities to offset losses. We demonstrate its application with an oil and gas extraction facility in Colombia. OPAL is the first tool to provide direct consideration of the distribution of ecosystem service benefits among people in a mitigation context. Previous biodiversity-focused efforts led to redistribution or loss of ecosystem services with environmental justice implications. Joint consideration of biodiversity and ecosystem services enables targeting of offsets to benefit both nature and society. OPAL reduces the time and technical expertise required for these analyses and has the flexibility to be used across a range of geographic and policy contexts.
Created: 12/14/2017 10:30 AM (ET)
Modified: 12/14/2017 10:30 AM (ET)
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