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

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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
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalConservation Letters
Issue number1
Early online date13 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


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