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Type: Thesis
Title: Not “Going, Going, Gone”: Affordable Biodiversity Gains from a Conservation Auction
Author: Bond, Anthelia Josephine
Issue Date: 2019
School/Discipline: School of Agriculture, Food and Wine
Abstract: The use and management of private land has a critical role to play in halting biodiversity loss, one of the key environmental challenges currently facing humanity. Voluntary incentive programs, where payments or other incentives are offered to landholders for the provision of environmental services, are widely used to increase conservation on private land. Despite large investments in conservation incentives globally, many outstanding knowledge gaps need to be addressed in order to support the future effectiveness of these programs. Firstly, evidence of ecological impacts is rare and has been confined to a subset of program types and locations. Furthermore, although there are large funding shortfalls for biodiversity conservation, opportunities to leverage resources from carbon markets remain largely unexplored in empirical research. In relation to incentive program participants, much previous research has been based on narrow assumptions of the types of landholders who participate. Currently, there is also limited knowledge of the factors supporting retention of participants and of what happens when incentive contracts end. In this thesis, these knowledge gaps are addressed using empirical data from a large scale conservation auction (incentive program). The program offered 5 or 10-year contracts to private landholders to protect and restore remnant native vegetation in South Australia’s agricultural regions. This research uses both quantitative and qualitative data in a multidisciplinary approach spanning field ecology, carbon sequestration modelling, economics and sociology. This research shows that incentive contracts for restoration of remnant native vegetation can produce biodiversity gains. Furthermore, it demonstrates that carbon markets could pay the cost of that restoration under plausible scenarios and conservative carbon prices. Absentee and group landholders were found to be important participant types, challenging the commonly held assumption that participants are generally resident individuals or families. The important role of restoration costs in participant retention and post-contract behaviour was also identified, indicating that restoration activities are unlikely to continue when incentive payments cease if the ongoing costs of restoration exceed the private benefits from participation. These findings clarify directions for future research and offer multiple approaches to improve policy and incentive design for biodiversity conservation.
Advisor: Cavagnaro, Timothy
O'Connor, Patrick
Smukler, Sean
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, 2019
Keywords: Payments for ecosystem services
agri-environmental scheme
revealed price
remnant native vegetation
temperate woodland
carbon sequestration
impact evaluation
long-term monitoring
private land
land owner
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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