1.4.3. Mitigating secondary effects

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Last update: June 2023

Mitigation of secondary effects typically goes far beyond a single infrastructure project and requires a higher-level guidance such as policies, plan, and programmes, and ideally these should be supported by a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). It must involve multiple stakeholders and consider longer time scales than a single project may allow (see Chapter 2 – Policy, strategy and planning). Possible steps may include:

  • Identify the main sources and drivers of habitat fragmentation and biodiversity loss in the study area, such as roads, railways, pipelines, urbanisation, agriculture, or other human activities.
  • Define the spatial and temporal scales of the assessment, considering the extent and connectivity of natural habitats, the distribution and movement of wildlife species, and the past, present, and future scenarios of infrastructure development.
  • Select the relevant biodiversity indicators and metrics that can capture the effects of habitat fragmentation and cumulative effects on species richness, abundance, diversity, composition, function, and resilience.
  • Predict and evaluate the potential impacts of habitat fragmentation and cumulative effects on biodiversity using appropriate models, methods, and tools, such as landscape ecology, population viability analysis, species distribution modelling or network analysis.
  • Identify and prioritise mitigation measures to avoid, minimise, restore, or offset the adverse impacts of habitat fragmentation and cumulative effects on biodiversity, considering the feasibility, effectiveness, and trade-offs of different options.
  • Implement the mitigation measures in a timely and coordinated manner, monitor, and evaluate their effectiveness on biodiversity indicators and metrics over time and adapt mitigation measures and management strategies based on monitoring results.
  • Communicate and disseminate the lessons learned from assessment and mitigation process to inform future decision-making and policymaking for sustainable infrastructure development.

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