Managing biodiversity is a central part of responsible property management. Legal obligations may exist in relation to preservation orders, protected specifies or valuable habitats. Well-managed biodiversity can also contribute towards positive community engagement and employee wellbeing.
Managing biodiversity involves understanding the biodiversity characteristics of a property, and the associated stakeholder interests. This will shape the development of appropriate measures to enhance biodiversity and can help to secure the funding these measures require.
It is important that biodiversity risk are documented in the property risk register and, where necessary, included in the corporate compliance register.
Risks and compliance obligations could include, for example, preservation orders or protected species and habitat, reporting requirements relating to invasive species, and biosecurity considerations within procurement.
Some biodiversity risks may require periodic review by suitably qualified ecologists on a seasonal basis.
Reviewing the biodiversity related needs of local, regional and national stakeholders is important when developing a strategic approach to biodiversity management.
This may involve, for example, a review of Biodiversity Action Plans, or engagement with local authorities or community groups.
An ecological survey can contribute towards establishing current wildlife habitats and other green infrastructure, and to identifying and prioritising species. The outcomes from such a survey can enable opportunities to enhance biodiversity to be assessed.
Ecological surveys should be undertaken in alignment with stakeholders’ biodiversity strategies and can focus on internal or external property spaces.
Biodiversity performance targets, informed by the review of stakeholder needs and biodiversity mapping, should be developed for the property.
Biodiversity performance targets should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound, and may cover both energy reduction and energy efficiency measures as well as carbon dioxide equivalent measures.
A Biodiversity Action Plan requires collaboration between asset managers, property managers, facilities managers and other stakeholders.
The plan could include the installation of habitats and green infrastructure that will encourage wildlife and enhance biodiversity. This can range from simple bird boxes to green roofs.
Certain types of green infrastructure may require planning permission, which should be considered during the design phase. Structural surveys are also advised for infrastructure such as green roofs or living walls.
Actions may also include internal biodiverse spaces and biophilic design, which can contribute towards occupiers’ health and wellbeing.
A monitoring strategy should be prepared to track performance against Biodiversity Action Plans and biodiversity performance targets. This will enable review and continual improvement of performance, and can contribute information for stakeholders’ sustainability reporting initiatives.
A maintenance strategy should be prepared to identify maintenance requirements for biodiversity related asset, including information relating to newly installed or modified equipment. Specific consideration should be given to significant structures, such as green walls and living roofs.
Based on the ongoing review of the site Biodiversity Plan and progress towards biodiversity performance targets, property managers should engage asset managers and occupiers to discuss how future biodiversity improvement initiatives can be funded.
These discussions may be informed by the outcomes from biodiversity baseline findings, and could be guided by the high level intend set out with the asset manager’s corporate environmental policies and objectives.