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An ecological challenge

Richard Knightbridge looks at the problem of deciding which species of fauna and flora should be considered in an Environmental Impact Assessment

6 February 2004

Flora and fauna are two of the topics that need to be addressed when considering the need for or undertaking Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) under the EIA Regulations. This requires decisions to be made about which animal or plant species, and areas of vegetation or other land cover, need to be subject to detailed assessment. It is always a challenge to decide where to focus the assessment effort where species are concerned. Any development, even on the most unprepossessing piece of land or water, will affect a large number of species, potentially ranging from micro-organisms through to mammals. It would be impractical to consider every species and hence there is a need to focus effort. But how should this be done? This article explores this question, drawing on the emerging Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management’s (IEEM’s) guidance on ecological impact assessment together with Entec’s experience of undertaking EIAs for a diverse range of major developments. (...

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