Measuring environmental losses from natural disasters: a case study of costing bushfires in the Northern Territory

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Abstract

Natural hazards cause sustained loss to the environment, yet the economic costs are largely not accounted for due to a lack of market measures. This research applies methods of global and national costing and proposes an integrated framework that incorporates marketable and non-marketable losses including those to the environment. These methods are applied to bushfires in the Northern Territory for estimating the cost of loss of ecosystem services as a surrogate. These fire events affect 20 per cent of the total land area annually (based on 18 years average from 2000–2018) and cost ~$150 million per annum. Losses were greatest on the Indigenous lands, followed by pastoral and conservation areas. It is calculated that the effect of bushfires on ‘loss of wellbeing’ for the remote Indigenous population is, conservatively, $272 million per year. An understanding of the costs of loss of environment is essential to develop emergency management policies that are effective in enhancing the resilience of communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-39
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian Journal of Emergency Management
Volume34
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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