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Theme 5. Biodiversity Economics and Markets

Leaders: Professor David Pannell, University of Western Australia & Dr Phillip Gibbons, the Australian National University

The theme emphasises inter-disciplinary research to increase the relevance of the Hub's research for policy and management. Issues researched will include the use of specific policy mechanisms (such as market-based instruments and offsets), monitoring strategies, improving evidence–based policy, accounting for equity in project assessment, and integration of carbon and biodiversity policies.

The research from this theme will assist and inform the Department's use of market based instruments in Environmental Offsets under the EPBC Act and Caring for Country program.

Projects:

5.1     Market-based instruments for biodiversity.
Leader: Dr Graeme Doole, UWA
What are the lessons for biodiversity policy from Australia's experience with market instruments? Where, when and how should they be used? 

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5.2     Monitoring for adaptive management Projects
Leaders: Dr Brendan Wintle, UM & Dr Tara Martin, CSIRO
How should monitoring programs be designed to best support learning in adaptive management?

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5.3     Balancing efficiency and equity in environmental project assessment.
Leaders: Assoc. Prof. Steven Schilizzi & Prof. David Pannell, UWA
Equity is usually not considered in assessment of environmental projects, but is often raised by community members as an important consideration. How can equity be appropriately considered in a systematic way in project assessment?

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 5.4      Improving evidence-based policy. 
Leader: Prof. David Pannell, UWA
Many processes for prioritisation of environmental projects draw on insufficient evidence. Key evidence is missed or low in quality. Drawing on the experience from practical use of rigorous processes such as INFFER, how can sound, practical improvements be made to decision making in key programs?

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 5.5      Lessons for policy from Australia’s experience with biodiversity offsets for conservation
Leader: Dr Phil Gibbons, ANU
The aim of this research is to evaluate  the effectiveness of biodiversity offsets for conserving biodiversity. The specific research questions are: (1) What are the net changes in biodiversity outcomes under biodiversity offsets programs relative to business-as-usual? We will compare the change in biodiversity outcomes before and after the introduction of biodiversity offset policies in different parts of Australia. (2) Do biodiversity offsets change the behaviour of developers ? We will test the hypothesis that, by imposing a shadow price on biodiversity, offsets create an incentive for developers to avoid &  mitigate a greater proportion of their impact.

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5.6     Integration of the carbon biodiversity market trade-ons
Leaders: Dr Brendan Wintle, UM & Dr Tara Martin, CSIRO
Carbon and biodiversity are ecologically and economically linked. What is the relative importance of regulation and market in stimulating biodiverse carbon sequestration? How should the two objectives be pursued? 

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5.7     Comparing the value for money from targeted, untargeted and landscape-scale approaches to biodiversity protection
Leader: Prof. David Pannell, UWA
Some in the community like government to support conservation actions in a relatively untargeted way, encouraging maximum participation. Considering principles of risk diversification and project effectiveness, how should resources be allocated to this approach and to investment in specific environmental assets. 

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5.8     Cost-effective conservation decision-making
Leader: Dr Michael Bode, UQ
Cost-effective and accountable decision-making requires the application of transparent, decision-support tools that state and quantify objectives, then identify the best decisions under existing uncertainties. This project will collaborate with regional and state managers to develop such tools.

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