Duncan James Hill, Martin Broderick

July 31, 2023

Biodiversity Net Gain: Embracing a Sustainable Future and How Galago by Ramboll is Leading the Way

Biodiversity net gain is a development approach that leaves biodiversity in a better state than it was before. This concept has evolved from a growing recognition of the critical role biodiversity plays in our environment, health, and economy. A cornerstone of sustainable development, biodiversity net gain aims to ensure that the development impacts on nature are adequately mitigated, and where possible, lead to an overall improvement in biodiversity.

The Importance of Biodiversity
Biodiversity is the variety of all life on Earth. It includes all species of plants and animals, but also their genetic diversity and the complex ecosystems they form. Biodiversity is essential for the functioning of natural systems. It provides us with food, clean water, air quality, climate regulation, pollination, and protection from natural disasters. It is also intrinsically valuable, offering aesthetic, cultural, and spiritual value.
The Biodiversity Crisis
Despite its importance, biodiversity is in crisis. The 2019 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services warned that around one million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction, many within decades. This rate of loss is unprecedented in human history and is primarily driven by changes in land and sea use, direct exploitation of organisms, climate change, pollution, and invasive species.
Biodiversity Net Gain: A Solution
In response to the biodiversity crisis, the concept of biodiversity net gain is gaining momentum. This approach requires developers to ensure their projects result in a net gain of biodiversity. It encourages sustainable development by integrating biodiversity considerations into early planning and design stages.
The process typically involves a mitigation hierarchy. This begins with avoiding harm, minimizing impacts, and restoring on-site habitats. If after applying these steps, there are still residual impacts, off-site habitat creation or enhancement may be required. The ultimate aim is to achieve no net loss and preferably a net gain of biodiversity.
The Role of Digital Technology
Digital technology is playing a critical role in achieving BNG. Tools like Geographical Information Systems (GIS), remote sensing, and artificial intelligence are enabling more efficient data collection and analysis, leading to more effective planning and decision-making. They allow for the visualization of complex environmental data and the prediction of potential impacts and benefits of different scenarios.
For this, Galago by Ramboll is a leading solution. It's a digital tool that leverages cutting-edge technology to support the delivery of BNG and other sustainability goals. By combining detailed ecological data with innovative technologies, Galago provides a comprehensive overview of a site's environmental value and potential impacts of proposed developments.
Galago by Ramboll - A Closer Look
Galago provides a suite of tools that aid in the planning, implementation, and monitoring stages of BNG. It offers services such as high-resolution land cover mapping, habitat condition assessment, and species distribution modeling. These offerings provide a comprehensive understanding of a site's ecological value and how it might be affected by proposed developments.
In the planning stage, Galago can help identify areas of high ecological value that should be avoided and areas where habitat creation or enhancement could deliver the most significant benefits. During the implementation stage, Galago's monitoring tools can ensure that the actions taken are delivering the predicted benefits. Book a demo.
What sets Galago apart is its commitment to sustainability and biodiversity. We understand that achieving BNG is not just about meeting regulatory requirements but is also an opportunity to contribute to wider sustainability goals, including climate change mitigation, improving people's health and wellbeing, and enhancing community cohesion.
Implementing Biodiversity Net Gain
Implementing biodiversity net gain involves a blend of scientific, policy, and practical considerations.
  • One of the first steps is a thorough ecological assessment to understand the current state of biodiversity. This involves collecting data on existing habitats and species and assessing their condition.
  • Next, the potential impacts of the proposed development on biodiversity are assessed. This includes both direct impacts, such as habitat loss or degradation, and indirect impacts, such as increased human disturbance.
  • The mitigation hierarchy is then applied to avoid, minimize, and restore impacts. Residual impacts are quantified, and the amount of biodiversity gain needed to offset these impacts is calculated.
  • Finally, the biodiversity gains are delivered and monitored to ensure they are successful. This often involves long-term management and monitoring plans.
Achieving Biodiversity Net Gain
Achieving BNG is not a straightforward task. Each project and its environmental context are unique, meaning there is no one-size-fits-all solution. A small urban development's needs, for example, can be drastically different from a large-scale rural project. An understanding of the local environment and ecosystem is critical, as is knowledge of local and national regulations.
BNG requires a long-term commitment. The benefits of habitat creation or enhancement often take years to materialize, and ongoing management and monitoring are required to ensure that the predicted benefits are being delivered. This implies that developers and local authorities need to think about long-term funding mechanisms and stewardship arrangements.
Galago by Ramboll: An Ideal Partner
Implementing biodiversity net gain requires a unique blend of skills, including ecological expertise, data analysis, and knowledge of environmental policy and planning. This is where Galago by Ramboll comes in.
Galago by Ramboll is at the forefront of leveraging innovative technologies to provide comprehensive solutions for biodiversity net gain. With a team of experts in Biodiversity, Corporate Sustainability, GIS, remote sensing, and AI-powered surveying, Galago is equipped to conduct detailed environmental assessments and devise effective mitigation strategies.
Our strong commitment to sustainability and biodiversity aligns perfectly with the principles of biodiversity net gain. Galago's innovative use of technologies, including satellites, planes, drones and AI, allows us to visualize, investigate, and track land assets, empowering clients to make informed decisions to tackle critical biodiversity issues. Let’s talk.
Biodiversity net gain is an essential approach in the face of the current biodiversity crisis. It presents an opportunity for developers, planners, and policymakers to play a significant role in conserving and enhancing biodiversity.
BNG represents a significant step forward in our approach to development and conservation. With the right tools and commitment, it offers a viable solution to the biodiversity crisis we face. Galago by Ramboll is a leading partner in this journey, combining AI-powered technological innovation with a deep understanding of biodiversity.
With the expertise and commitment of organizations like Galago by Ramboll, achieving biodiversity net gain is not only feasible but can also lead to sustainable and beneficial outcomes for people, nature, and the economy. As we navigate the path to a sustainable future, Galago by Ramboll stands as a reliable partner ready to make a real impact.

Want to know more?

  • Brittni Engels

    Galago Market Development

    +1 585-295-7703