Biodiversity is under pressure because of human development and is therefore protected through the Convention on Biological Diversity, among other international policies. Impact assessment (IA) instruments are seen as a valuable tool for helping to protect biodiversity at different levels of decision making but are argued to work independently at policy and plan-level (Strategic Environmental Assessment, SEA) as opposed to project level (Environmental Impact Assessment, EIA), creating inefficiencies in knowledge transfer that threaten biodiversity protection. This paper aims to benchmark the biodiversity coverage in both SEA and EIA literature to better understand the potential for transferring biodiversity knowledge from SEA to EIA (known as tiering). An analytical framework of global biodiversity objectives is distilled from international policy drivers that impact assessment processes should address. This novel framework is then applied to literature to determine the extent to which these biodiversity objectives are addressed at each level of assessment. The analytical framework includes 18 objectives which are divided into four main application groups within SEA and EIA practice in order to identify potential for improving tiering of biodiversity knowledge in IA. This work marks the starting point for a research agenda aimed at improving tiering of biodiversity assessment in impact assessment.
- analytical framework
- Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
- Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)