Better biodiversity accounting is needed to prevent bioperversity and maximize co-benefits from savanna burning

Ben Corey, Alan N. Andersen, Sarah Legge, John C.Z. Woinarski, Ian J. Radford, Justin J. Perry

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Strategies for mitigating climate change through altered land management practices can provide win–win outcomes for the environment and the economy. Emissions trading for greenhouse gas (GHG) abatement in Australia's remote, fire-prone, and sparsely populated tropical savannas provides a financial incentive for intensive fire management that aims to reduce fire frequency, severity, and extent, and it supports important social, economic, and land management opportunities for remote communities, conservation agencies, and pastoralists. These programs now cover >20% of Australia's 1.9 million km2 tropical savanna biome, encompassing areas of globally significant biodiversity value. A common assertion is that by reducing the frequency, severity, and extent of fires for GHG abatement, these programs provide biodiversity co-benefits. However, such biodiversity benefits have been assumed rather than demonstrated. Much better accounting of how biodiversity is responding to changed fire management is required to ensure that there are no unintended outcomes for biodiversity (bioperversity), and that biodiversity co-benefits are maximized. Such accounting could underpin the earning of formal biodiversity credits from improved fire management, and will go a long way to understanding and improving the biodiversity outcomes of savanna fire management.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere12685
    JournalConservation Letters
    DOIs
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Nov 2019

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    savanna
    savannas
    biodiversity
    fire management
    greenhouse gases
    land management
    greenhouse gas
    environmental markets
    economic incentives
    accounting
    emissions trading
    credit
    biome
    socioeconomics
    management practice
    incentive
    climate change
    ecosystems
    economics

    Cite this

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    title = "Better biodiversity accounting is needed to prevent bioperversity and maximize co-benefits from savanna burning",
    abstract = "Strategies for mitigating climate change through altered land management practices can provide win–win outcomes for the environment and the economy. Emissions trading for greenhouse gas (GHG) abatement in Australia's remote, fire-prone, and sparsely populated tropical savannas provides a financial incentive for intensive fire management that aims to reduce fire frequency, severity, and extent, and it supports important social, economic, and land management opportunities for remote communities, conservation agencies, and pastoralists. These programs now cover >20{\%} of Australia's 1.9 million km2 tropical savanna biome, encompassing areas of globally significant biodiversity value. A common assertion is that by reducing the frequency, severity, and extent of fires for GHG abatement, these programs provide biodiversity co-benefits. However, such biodiversity benefits have been assumed rather than demonstrated. Much better accounting of how biodiversity is responding to changed fire management is required to ensure that there are no unintended outcomes for biodiversity (bioperversity), and that biodiversity co-benefits are maximized. Such accounting could underpin the earning of formal biodiversity credits from improved fire management, and will go a long way to understanding and improving the biodiversity outcomes of savanna fire management.",
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    Better biodiversity accounting is needed to prevent bioperversity and maximize co-benefits from savanna burning. / Corey, Ben; Andersen, Alan N.; Legge, Sarah; Woinarski, John C.Z.; Radford, Ian J.; Perry, Justin J.

    In: Conservation Letters, 13.11.2019.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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