A Novel Approach to Biodiversity Baselining

5 April 2024 by Georgie Tugwell


Who Are We?

An introduction to the biodiversity baselining developers:

  • rePLANET are world-leading carbon and biodiversity project developers with deep scientific expertise, excellent market credibility and 30 years of experience in coordinating large-scale international conservation expeditions. rePLANET were also heavily involved in the development of the Wallacea Trust methodology which ranked top biodiversity crediting initiative in a recent global analysis.
  • Mozaic Earth possess deep private sector experience, strong technology expertise and cutting-edge analytical abilities. By leveraging the power of the smartphone, Mozaic Earth are solving major barriers to nature solution adoption: cost, scalability and capacity.

The strategic partnership between rePLANET and Mozaic Earth combines technological and ecological expertise to revolutionise biodiversity quantification.


Barriers to Biodiversity Quantification

The state of nature in the UK and further afield is poor. Global wildlife population sizes have decreased by 70% yet over half of the world’s GDP remains reliant on the surviving nature. Action for nature is required and intervention success must be measured and verified to ensure nature recovery progress. However, the absence of low-cost, certifiable biodiversity quantification solutions is a major barrier to improving the state of nature.

Monitoring and quantifying biodiversity is essential for credit issuance and nature positive strategy evaluation, however to date, options on the market have been prohibitively expensive. The demand for certified biodiversity credits is increasing, yet significant upfront costs and finance time lags are disincentivising landowners from engaging with the processes required to deliver these credits. Affordable, accessible and holistic biodiversity monitoring has never been so urgently required.


Our Biodiversity Baselining Solution

Seeking to overcome these barriers and provide an affordable, accessible and scientifically robust solution, rePLANET and Mozaic Earth partnered to develop a novel biodiversity baseline package for landowners across the UK and Europe. The package monitors five biodiversity metrics, in accordance with the Wallacea Trust methodology, calculating site baseline biodiversity values; this is vital for future biodiversity uplift claims whether it be for credits or nature positive strategy reporting. Biodiversity data is collected through remote sensing and a smartphone app for subsequent analysis by AI and ecologists. The app enables landowners to collect their own

ecological data, removing the need for costly ecologist site visits and making this the cheapest biodiversity quantification option on the market.

Advantages of the approach include but are not limited to:

1. Cheapest and most user-friendly option on the market

2. Quantification using the leading biodiversity crediting methodology

3. Use of the DEFRA biodiversity metric for UK projects

4. Data formatted to facilitate external verification

5. Leads to internationally recognised biodiversity credit generation


The Metrics Monitored

The Wallacea Trust methodology was based off the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and measures project area biodiversity by analysing changes in a basket of biodiversity metrics that are pre-determined, site-specific and peer-reviewed. The methodology requires at least five metrics to be monitored, one structural and the rest non-structural and each linking to project site health. Once metrics are determined for a given site, these must be monitored and quantified consistently throughout the project lifetime to calculate biodiversity uplift. The five metrics monitored by this package are:

1. DEFRA Biodiversity Metric 4.1: The structural metric used to evaluate the composition of ecologically important habitats in project areas; this metric is a valuable inclusion as it is central to the new UK Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) legislation.

2. Abundance and Species Richness of Breeding Birds: Birds are excellent indicator species as they are well-studied, have broad geographical ranges and are responsive to environmental change.

3. Abundance and Species Richness of Detritivores: A key tenet of land regeneration is the restoration of soils and improvements in this metric will reflect healthy soil ecosystems.

4. Abundance and Species Richness of Higher Plants: Plants are an excellent proxy for the general health of landscapes. Agricultural expansion decreases plant biodiversity; however, successful biodiversity-friendly land management stimulates recovery of plant communities.

5. Abundance and Species Richness of Pollinators: Regenerative land management strategies will restore pollinator populations and diversity; this is a key variable to include in project design, especially as pollinators provide important ecosystem services for agricultural productivity.

The package quantifies biodiversity across these metrics, generating robust baseline values for each which are essential for later stage uplift calculations and either biodiversity credit issuance or nature positive strategy reporting and evaluation.


We Make External Verification Easy

Our approach generates robust baseline values for each biodiversity metric, essential for later stage biodiversity uplift calculations. Importantly, the package ensures that project site monitoring data is prepared in a format suitable for submission for external verification by third parties such as the Biodiversity Futures Initiative (BFI). The BFI, a grouping of academics from a range of universities, offers the most cost-effective way of externally verifying the packages biodiversity claims (e.g. project ‘A’ has achieved a 100% increase in biodiversity across 500 ha compared to the baseline). Verified claims can then be issued as credits by registries or used to support nature positive strategies.

Data is gathered on the smartphone application and formatted to facilitate verification e.g. by BFI Stage 2 Reviews. The application tracks key site indicators and visualises biodiversity gains on the ‘End Customer Insights Dashboard’ which makes for easy interpretation and comparison of current and future site biodiversity levels. External verification of biodiversity claims is incredibly important as it can:

  • Generate biodiversity credits via a blockchain registry
  • Support corporate nature-positive strategies and reporting
  • Increase carbon credit sale price through quantification of their biodiversity co-benefits


The Future

Biodiversity uplift quantification cannot be completed without rigorous biodiversity baseline assessments and consistent use of suitable biodiversity metrics across project periods. Investing in our approach sets biodiversity projects up for success as critical baseline data is collected, analysed and summarised on the app to enable company-wide interpretation and biodiversity claims verification.

Several farms and estates at the forefront of biodiversity conservation and uplift will pilot the package this year. Our affordable, holistic solution to biodiversity monitoring will then be readily available for application across the UK and Europe after its official launch early 2025. We are striving to deliver an integrated biodiversity monitoring solution in a cost-effective way with world-class end-user experience.


For any biodiversity baseline package enquiries, please contact max.bodmer@replanet.org.uk

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