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Deriving Multiple Benefits from Carbon Market-Based Savanna Fire Management: An Australian Example

Russell-Smith, Jeremy, Yates, Cameron P., Edwards, Andrew C., Whitehead, Peter J., Murphy, Brett P. and Lawes, Michael J. (2015). Deriving Multiple Benefits from Carbon Market-Based Savanna Fire Management: An Australian Example. PLoS One,10(12 - Article No. e0143426).

Document type: Journal Article
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IRMA ID 84376995xPUB289
Title Deriving Multiple Benefits from Carbon Market-Based Savanna Fire Management: An Australian Example
Author Russell-Smith, Jeremy
Yates, Cameron P.
Edwards, Andrew C.
Whitehead, Peter J.
Murphy, Brett P.
Lawes, Michael J.
Journal Name PLoS One
Publication Date 2015
Volume Number 10
Issue Number 12 - Article No. e0143426
ISSN 1932-6203   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-84955462043
Total Pages 21
Place of Publication United States of America
Publisher Public Library of Science
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DIISR)
Abstract Carbon markets afford potentially useful opportunities for supporting socially and environmentally sustainable land management programs but, to date, have been little applied in globally significant fire-prone savanna settings. While fire is intrinsic to regulating the composition, structure and dynamics of savanna systems, in north Australian savannas frequent and extensive late dry season wildfires incur significant environmental, production and social impacts. Here we assess the potential of market-based savanna burning greenhouse gas emissions abatement and allied carbon biosequestration projects to deliver compatible environmental and broader socio-economic benefits in a highly biodiverse north Australian setting.

Drawing on extensive regional ecological knowledge of fire regime effects on fire-vulnerable taxa and communities, we compare three fire regime metrics (seasonal fire frequency, proportion of long-unburnt vegetation, fire patch-size distribution) over a 15-year period for three national parks with an indigenously (Aboriginal) owned and managed market-based emissions abatement enterprise. Our assessment indicates improved fire management outcomes under the emissions abatement program, and mostly little change or declining outcomes on the parks. We attribute improved outcomes and putative biodiversity benefits under the abatement program to enhanced strategic management made possible by the market-based mitigation arrangement.

For these same sites we estimate quanta of carbon credits that could be delivered under realistic enhanced fire management practice, using currently available and developing accredited Australian savanna burning accounting methods. We conclude that, in appropriate situations, market-based savanna burning activities can provide transformative climate change mitigation, ecosystem health, and community benefits in northern Australia, and, despite significant challenges, potentially in other fire-prone savanna settings.
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Additional Notes This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Description for Link Link to CC Attribution 4.0 License

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