Offsetting of deterioration
The offsetting of deterioration takes place in five stages.
1. Identification of habitat types and habitats of species in the land area to be deteriorated
The offsetting of deterioration starts with the identification of the habitat types and habitats of species in the area concerned in the project. This applies to all habitat types, including those that are not protected under the Nature Conservation Act. The identification of species concerns species protected under the Nature Conservation Act and threatened species. The threat status is determined in accordance with the most recent assessment of the threat status of habitat types and species.
2. Assessment of the status of natural values
The status of the identified habitat types is assessed on scale from 0 to 1, where 1 represents a site that is in its natural state or a state comparable to this and 0 is a site that has lost its natural state. The assessment of the natural state is based on the key characteristics of the habitat type concerned. Read more in section 2 of the Decree of the Ministry of the Environment on Voluntary Ecological Compensation.
3. Assessment of the deterioration of natural values
The deterioration of the identified habitat types and habitats of species is determined by assessing the status they will reach as a result of the project. The scale of deterioration is the difference between the status observed before the deterioration and the status resulting from the measures that cause deterioration.
The scale of deterioration in respect of each natural value is expressed as hectares of natural value, i.e. as an equation of the surface area and the change in the quality of the site [natural value hectare (nvh) = surface area x site status (0-1)].
Read more in section 3 of the Decree of the Ministry of the Environment on Voluntary Ecological Compensation.
4. Procurement of offsetting
A party that will offset deterioration procures the site to be used for this from the landowner that generated the natural values. Information on natural values that have been generated is available in the public compensation register or from operators maintaining lists of natural values offered for sale or purchase, such as the Luontoarvot.fi service of the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners. The party that will do the offsetting can also generate the necessary natural value hectares in advance by following the relevant provisions of the Nature Conservation Act.
5. Application to the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for a decision on the compensation equivalence of an offset
The party causing deterioration submits an application to the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment concerning a decision on the compensation equivalence of an offset. If the offset compensates for the deterioration at least in full and meets the criteria laid down in the law, the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment must give a positive decision. The decision specifies the offset site and prohibits the destruction and deterioration of natural values in the site concerned. The prohibition enters into force when owners and holders of the site have been notified of the decision. The decision is entered to the real estate register. This will ensure the permanence of the natural values that have been generated. The natural values to be used for offsetting are marked as having been used as offsets in the compensation register.
The offset must be equivalent to the deterioration in terms of its quality and quantity and it must take place in an equivalent biogeographic area as specified in the Decree. Read more in sections 1, 4, 7 and 8 of the Decree of the Ministry of the Environment on Voluntary Ecological Compensation.