Biodiversity and ecosystem services

We assist clients in the development of their initiatives through the application of a mitigation hierarchy aimed at achieving ‘No Net Loss’ and ‘Net Positive biodiversity’ according to international guidelines and IFI standards

According to the WWF's Living planet report 2020, between 1970 and 2016 there was an average 68% decrease in population sizes of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish. This percentage rises to 94% if we look only at the tropical subregions of the Americas.

Although biodiversity is fundamental to life on Earth, since the industrial revolution human activities have increasingly impacted on the global ecosystems, and today we're overusing the Earth’s biocapacity by at least 56%.

A loss of biodiversity means a loss of food, water, and raw material security, environmental buffers (controlling pathogens and parasites), modern and traditional medicine, and the livelihood of traditional cultures. It also means an increase in the exacerbation of climate change and risks to business.

At RINA, we have set up a specialised multidisciplinary biodiversity team comprised of experts from ecological, biological, environmental and geospatial sciences. With the support of our international structure, the team can apply internationally recognised tools and methodologies to ensure that the effects of development projects on biodiversity are avoided, minimised, restored and offset.

Service details

Our biodiversity team offers dedicated customer services tailored to the needs of each individual client throughout all phases of project development, such as:

With an extensive track record in ESIAs (Environmental and Social Impact Assessments) in different sectors all over the world, we’ve been able to develop quick, desktop-based assessment methodologies to identify biodiversity related risks right from the early design stages of new development projects.

Specifically, our team uses an integrated approach to screen for the presence of biodiversity or ecosystem services which may pose a risk for projects and initiatives, increasing costs or involving delays during the permitting and financing phases.

The approach combines global and local datasets and updated scientific bibliography with the expert knowledge of environmental specialists, in order to produce a profile of the nationally or regionally significant biodiversity in an area.

The biodiversity assessment for species richness and relative abundance is the basis for understanding the quality of biological diversity, and whether and how this will be maintained or improved as a result of a project being undertaken.

Habitat maps are required to provide a better understanding of the distribution and extent of terrestrial habitats, enabling the proponent to implement a mitigation hierarchy from the early stages of design and to communicate it to the competent authorities and wider public both during project financing and the permitting phase.

Sensitivity maps enable mapping of the sensitivity of an environment to project against the impact of accidental spills and to manage the potential impact of air, water and noise pollution.

We plan and perform habitat and sensitivity mapping thanks to our experience in integrating remote sensing (Landsat, Sentinel, SPOT, etc.) and GIS with baseline biodiversity data obtained in desktop studies and dedicated biodiversity baseline field surveys.

The results of this integration are visual tools that can easily highlight possible risks and support specific project development choices, the planning of field surveys for further consideration and monitoring throughout the project lifecycle.

Field activities are usually strongly recommended together with baseline screening activities, in order to provide specific understanding of the ecological framework in which a project or an initiative is to be developed.

These surveys are aimed at obtaining detailed information for habitat mapping and developing wildlife inventories with particular regard to protected species and IUCN globally threatened species (CR, EN, VU species).

In addition, field activities are integrated with the characterisation of ecosystem services through direct observations and interviews with the local population, competent authorities and other biodiversity stakeholders.

We organise and supervise marine and terrestrial field biodiversity and ecosystem service surveys by coordinating a team of experts and experienced professionals all over the world.

We also collaborate with specialist service providers to put in place the best available technologies to collect detailed data in the field, such as drones and Lidar sensors for aerial data acquisition and cost-effective, easily deployable mini-ROVs for coastal and nearshore habitat mapping.

We have extensive experience in the preparation and revision of biodiversity inclusive ESHIAs (Environmental, Social and Health Impact Assessments), focusing on potential impacts to ecosystem services and sensitive habitats and species.

By integrating information derived from screening studies, habitat mapping, field surveys, and knowledge of the potential impacts of a proposed project, we also can develop a specific and accurate Biodiversity Impact Assessment (BIA), Critical Habitat Assessment (CHA) and Appropriate Assessment (AA).

As part of a systematic process, our team can identify biodiversity issues associated with each project phase, together with related laws and regulations appropriate to the geographical region. We can also rely on the support of local specialists and experienced environmental sector professionals with the collaboration of national and international universities and research centres.

We can then assist the client in identifying and selecting appropriate mitigation measures to address possible negative outcomes and provide monitoring measures to ensure their successful implementation.

Biodiversity of marine life is an indication of a healthy environment. We can help ensure that marine activities which negatively affect marine life and productivity are monitored and reduced.

We have an established team of multidisciplinary marine and environmental specialists certified as Marine Mammal / Marine Fauna Observer (MMO and MFO) and Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) operators.

Our experienced teams can also work nearshore and offshore on client survey vessels, as well as to planning and conducting dedicated coastal surveys.

We can also cover onboard client representative roles during both nearshore and offshore geophysical and environmental surveys, as well as in the field of noise monitoring and modelling.

Understanding risks and liabilities related to investing in the development of projects is essential in the decision-making and planning process for proceeding with a transaction. Ensuring compliance with laws, national and international standards, policies and regulations, conventions and procedures is the basis of environmental due diligence.

In evaluating the potential environmental and social risks associated with the activities of a potential project or client, we can help ensure that any investment would not present potential liability issues to the investor.

We do this by providing the following services:

- Training and capacity building

- Environmental and Social Due Diligence (ESDD) and Independent Environmental and Social Consultant (IESC) focus

- Restoration and compensation / biodiversity offset design and monitoring

- Liaison with regulatory authorities.

Marco Compagnino Head of Environment Planning & Permitting

+39 010 3196636
+39 349 7823977

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