A Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP) is a document that sets out the things that should be done by a municipality to protect, manage and make use of its local nature and wildlife now and in the future. It will have been produced and agreed by involving the local people who will help to carry out the actions it contains.
An LBAP is an ongoing process of engagement and local action that helps to ensure that important species, habitats and ecosystems are maintained and enhanced for the benefit of people and the environment. This process starts with the formation of a partnership with a broad range of stakeholders and the creation of the plan. For the plan to be effective, the partnership must take an active role in the implementation of the plan. It must promote opportunities where people and wildlife benefit from specific actions and also overcome barriers and constraints through finding appropriate local mechanisms.
Local Biodiversity Action Plans present clear benefits for knowledge and awareness about biodiversity:
- They raise awareness among local communities and the public and can help to highlight the value and uniqueness of biodiversity.
- They can highlight the links between biodiversity and the quality of life and human well-being in a local area.
- They promote the knowledge of less well-known species and habitats in a local area.
In addition, LBAPs also provide benefits in terms of taking action for biodiversity:
- They enable the targeting of limited time and resources at the local level to be more effective.
- They allow success to be measured through the identification of clear objectives and targets.
- They promote participation through the development of a feeling of shared responsibility and common goals.
- They provide administrative benefits through the pooling of local knowledge and expertise, a wider distribution of workload and the identification and distribution of funding.
The process of creating and implementing a Local Biodiversity Action Plan involves a number of well-defined steps. These steps do not have to take place one after the other. The steps are briefly listed below:
- Formal endorsement
- Set up LBAP team
- Appoint coordinator
- Form stakeholder group
- Situation analysis
- Issues and opportunities
- Targets and indicators
- Actions and means
Survey and inventory
- Database and mapping
- Biodiversity audit
- Traditional and local knowledge
- Identify information gaps
Consultation and publication
- Publish draft LBAP
- Publish consultation
- Publish final LBAP
As stated above, this is just a brief list of the different steps in the LBAP process. Each of these steps is subject to numerous factors and needs to be managed accordingly. For a more detailed description of the steps and the overall process, please refer to the handbook Local Biodiversity Action Planning for Southeastern Europe.
Plans should be developed through the participation of key stakeholders and on the basis of a series of sequential questions (e.g. What do we want to achieve? What have we got? etc.). They should provide a logical progression of thought that clearly defines the present situation in terms of the current biodiversity resource, its links to current and future economic prosperity, its local and international importance and how it could be enhanced in the future to continue to provide critical goods and services to local communities. It is also important that outcomes are monitored so that ineffective actions can be revised and new plans prepared at a suitable interval (e.g. five years). Developing clear indicators of success that can be related to human benefits at the beginning of the process is essential for setting future direction and for gaining wider support.
Points of attention
To deliver an effective LBAP it is important:
- to get the right people together;
- to help them to plan and take action;
- not to impose your own agenda;
- to facilitate genuine participation;
- to plan carefully, but not for too long;
- to make sure that outputs lead to outcomes;
- to be clear about what needs to be done;
- to integrate LBAP objectives across different sectors;
- to evaluate benefits to people, planet and profit;
- to adapt targets and actions when they do not work;
- to make individuals and organizations accountable.