Indicative demand for ecosystem credits

The information below gives an indication, as of November 2021, of where demand for ecosystem credits is focused based on our forecast of NSW’s State and Regional Significant Development and State Significant Infrastructure projects that will require biodiversity credits.

We intend to make this type of information publicly available, as part of the ongoing roll out of the integrated improvement and assurance program for the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme (Scheme).

  • Ecosystem credits are a type of biodiversity credit used in the Scheme that relate to threatened species habitat and Threatened Ecological Communities. Learn more about biodiversity credits and species credits on our What are biodiversity credits? webpage.
  • Offset trading group (OTG) was established under the Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM), to help identify a class of credits with similar biodiversity values. Credits that sit within an OTG are considered to be like-for-like offsets and can be traded to meet offset obligations for other credits within the OTG. See more on the like-for-like offsetting rules on our Offset rules webpage.
  • IBRA subregions are identified under the Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia (IBRA) system, which divides Australia into bioregions and subregions based on their dominant landscape-scale attributes. There is an interactive map of the NSW IBRA subregions on the Sharing and Enabling Environmental Data (SEED) portal.
  • State Significant Development (SSD)State Significant Infrastructure (SSI) and Regional Significant Development (RSD) are projects that meet the requirements established under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

In an effort to mature the biodiversity credit market in New South Wales, and as part of the integrated improvements and assurance program for the Scheme, efforts are being made to make it easier for developers to find biodiversity credits, and for landholders to supply and find buyers for their credits.

Addressing key supply issues

The demand analysis has been undertaken as part of the Scheme's supply strategy and to support public knowledge about potential future demand for ecosystem credits.

The NSW Government has recently undertaken an initial demand analysis to assess the likely supply of biodiversity credits needed in the NSW Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia (IBRA) subregions. The analysis is indicative only and based on information available as of November 2021. Further work will be undertaken in 2022 to refine and validate information.

The demand analysis is intended to support landholders when they are considering whether to establish a biodiversity stewardship agreement. These agreements can provide economic opportunities by managing land for conservation.

However, landholders should seek their own legal, financial and ecological advice.

Method used to calculate indicative demand

The method used was, first, to look at the current and recently approved State Significant Development (SSD), State Significant Infrastructure (SSI) and Regional Significant Development (RSD) projects (as identified through the ePlanning Portal).

Second, it was determined whether the projects had a biodiversity assessment and credit report completed. For projects with a report, data from Biodiversity Assessment Reports or the Biodiversity Offsets Assessment Management System was used to estimate demand. For projects without a report, a desktop calculation was used to estimate demand. The desktop calculation involved:

  • identifying the approximate footprint of the project and determining the likely vegetation present in the footprint (using publicly available vegetation maps)
  • applying the BAM formula for calculating ecosystem credits based on the approximate footprint and vegetation identified. Historic averages were used to approximate vegetation condition
  • applying slight adjustments for any structural data irregularities. These adjustments were based on footprint tolerances and a study of historic projects.

Third, to determine the total indicative demand for ecosystem credits, the projects with actual credit reports (BAM calculation) and the projects without (desktop calculation) were added together. Finally, this was grouped by demand by offset trading groups (OTGs), and IBRA regions and subregions where the SSD, SSI, and RSD developments are located.

Scope of the initial demand analysis

The scope of this initial demand analysis is limited to SSD, SSI and RSD projects that have been recently approved and are currently in progress, as identified through the ePlanning Portal. Local development (particularly in urban, coastal areas and regional centres) may also drive demand for ecosystem credits.

This demand analysis only includes ecosystem credits. Likely demand for species credits may be considered in further work in 2022.

Accessing and interpreting the initial demand analysis

The initial demand analysis is by each IBRA subregion and sets out the relative demand based on OTGs, including demand that is:

  • Strong (5000 credits or more)
  • Moderate (1001–4999 credits)
  • Low (1–1000 credits)
  • Not detected (0 credits)*

*Demand ‘not detected’ only reflects SSD, SSI and RSD projects that are currently in progress for assessment or that have been recently approved. There may be demand from local development or future development projects for these OTGs.

Access the indicative demand analysis

The indicative demand analysis does not provide exact numbers of credits as this is subject to change and depends on projects approved. However, it can be used to understand relative demand of OTGs within each IBRA subregion. The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment will work to refine this demand analysis in 2022.

The OTG is comprised of ecosystem credits with similar values. Under the like-for-like offset rules, ecosystem credits that are not Threatened Ecological Communities (TEC) are grouped into OTGs according to their vegetation class and historical clearing class (% cleared Tier).  Ecosystem credits that are TECs are grouped according to their TEC identity.

If you are interested in finding demand for credits, you can also check:

If you want to find credits already on the market and available for purchase, use the Biodiversity Offset Credit Supply Report.

If you would like to participate in the scheme by establishing a biodiversity stewardship agreement and want to find out more, please contact the BCT. See their information about stewardship agreements.

You can also contact an accredited assessor to find out what types of credits you might have on your property.