A NSW Government website

Biodiversity credits


Biodiversity credits are the common unit for measuring biodiversity under the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme. They are used to measure: 

  • the unavoidable impacts on biodiversity from developments, activities and clearing (a credit obligation) 
  • predicted improvement in biodiversity at a stewardship site. Learn about Biodiversity Stewardship Agreements. 

Types of biodiversity credits

There are 2 types of biodiversity credits: 

  • ecosystem credits, which measure 'ecosystems', specifically threatened ecological communities, threatened species habitat for species that can be reliably predicted to occur with a plant community type and plant community types generally  
  • species credits, which measure the threatened species found at a location that cannot be reliably predicted to occur within the ecosystems identified. 

Generating credits and credit obligations

Biodiversity credits created at a stewardship site via a Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement can be used to offset the loss of biodiversity values at an impact site (a credit obligation) by being traded and retired.  

The number and type of ecosystem and species credits that are created at a stewardship site depend on the existing biodiversity at the site and the management actions set out in the Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement. 

Trading credits

A proponent can meet their credit obligation by purchasing and retiring the correct number and type of biodiversity credits according to the offset rules. Learn more about Offset rules. 

Landowners can sell the credits they have created, typically to proponents needing to offset impacts. Other buyers could be government bodies or philanthropic organisations.  

The money from the sale of credits created at a stewardship site is used to fund the management of the site in perpetuity. This amount is called the Total Fund Deposit.  

When this is fully paid, any additional money, and money from any additional sales of credits created at the stewardship site is paid directly to the landowner.  

The biodiversity credit market determines the overall price paid for each credit. However, the price must be sufficient to satisfy the Total Fund Deposit. 

To learn about credits held under the previous BioBanking Scheme, go to the BioBanking credits and obligations page.