Explanations for the quality of biodiversity inputs to Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in areas with high biodiversity value
School of Science
Biodiversity is under significant threat globally and therefore the biodiversity input to environmental impact assessment (EIA) is important. The quality of biodiversity inputs needs to be high if biodiversity is to be protected, especially in areas with high biodiversity value. Here, we follow-up quality reviews of biodiversity inputs to EIA reports, through interviews with the biodiversity specialists who authored the biodiversity inputs, in order to find explanations for the quality results. This is the first quality review research to systematically engage with biodiversity specialists in this way. The biodiversity specialists highlighted professional registration as a key factor supporting strengths around professional conduct and gathering of baseline information. Weaknesses identified relate to review areas dealing with alternatives, public participation, prediction, as well as management actions and monitoring arrangements, which seem to be the result of a lack of understanding and/or agreement on the role of the biodiversity specialists in the EIA process. The research results suggest that ideally biodiversity inputs should not be seen as a one-off contribution but rather as an iterative contribution during different stages of the EIA process.