Globally, human development has proceeded at a rapid pace for the past several decades for both terrestrial and aquatic/marine environments. Project developers, government decision-makers and the public have had little data regarding the relative values of natural resources, or losses thereof, to facilitate project – and corresponding natural resource takings/ecosystem degradation – decision-making, resulting in intrinsic, but poorly quantified, environmental degradation.
Accordingly, we have found that an effective strategy for communicating the value of ecosystems and related natural resources to facilitate smart resource management is to monetize the replacement value of resource losses from development. A number of tools have been developed for monetizing resource value, including quantitative mitigation analysis to address compensating for ecosystem and related natural resource losses due to human development.
Quantitative Mitigation Analysis is a methodology developed to assist project developers and regulatory agencies alike with developing or evaluating cost-effective, defensible, quantitatively based compensatory mitigation strategies for developments that result in the taking of, or diminution in quality to, habitats and related natural resources. Quantitative Mitigation Analysis quantifies loss of ecological function from proposed developments and determines the amount of mitigation required as compensation. This paper introduces and describes Quantitative Mitigation Analysis and presents a case example that demonstrates how Quantitative Mitigation Analysis may be applied to construction projects resulting in substantive habitat destruction for the benefit of project developers and the regulatory community alike.