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The Effect of carbon credits on savanna land management and priorities for biodiversity conservation

Douglass, Lucinda L., Possingham, Hugh P., Carwardine, Josie, Klein, Carissa J., Roxburgh, Stephen H., Russell-Smith, Jeremy and Wilson, Kerrie A. (2011). The Effect of carbon credits on savanna land management and priorities for biodiversity conservation. PLoS ONE,6(9):e23843.

Document type: Journal Article
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IRMA ID 82057923xPUB170
Title The Effect of carbon credits on savanna land management and priorities for biodiversity conservation
Author Douglass, Lucinda L.
Possingham, Hugh P.
Carwardine, Josie
Klein, Carissa J.
Roxburgh, Stephen H.
Russell-Smith, Jeremy
Wilson, Kerrie A.
Journal Name PLoS ONE
Publication Date 2011
Volume Number 6
Issue Number 9
ISSN 1932-6203   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-80053464369
Start Page e23843
Total Pages 11
Place of Publication United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract Carbon finance offers the potential to change land management and conservation planning priorities. We develop a novel approach to planning for improved land management to conserve biodiversity while utilizing potential revenue from carbon biosequestration. We apply our approach in northern Australia’s tropical savanna, a region of global significance for biodiversity and carbon storage, both of which are threatened by current fire and grazing regimes.

Our approach aims to identify priority locations for protecting species and vegetation communities by retaining existing vegetation and managing fire and grazing regimes at a minimum cost. We explore the impact of accounting for potential carbon revenue (using a carbon price of US$14 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent) on priority areas for conservation and the impact of explicitly protecting carbon stocks in addition to biodiversity.

Our results show that improved management can potentially raise approximately US$5 per hectare per year in carbon revenue and prevent the release of 1–2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent over approximately 90 years. This revenue could be used to reduce the costs of improved land management by three quarters or double the number of biodiversity targets achieved and meet carbon storage targets for the same cost.

These results are based on generalised cost and carbon data; more comprehensive applications will rely on fine scale, site-specific data and a supportive policy environment. Our research illustrates that the duel objective of conserving biodiversity and reducing the release of greenhouse gases offers important opportunities for cost-effective land management investments.
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