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Fire assisted pastoralism vs. sustainable forestry: the implications of missing markets for carbon in determining optimal land use in the wet-dry tropics of Australia
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-07, 17:13 authored by David OckwellDavid Ockwell, Jon C Lovett
Using Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, Australia as a case study, this paper combines field sampling of woody vegetation with cost benefit analysis to compare the social optimality of fire-assisted pastoralism with sustainable forestry. Carbon sequestration is estimated to be significantly higher in the absence of fire. Integration of carbon sequestration benefits for mitigating future costs of climate change into cost benefit analysis demonstrates that sustainable forestry is a more socially optimal land use than fire-assisted pastoralism. Missing markets for carbon, however, imply that fire-assisted pastoralism will continue to be pursued in the absence of policy intervention. Creation of markets for carbon represents a policy solution that has the potential to drive land use away from fire-assisted pastoralism towards sustainable forestry and environmental conservation.
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Department affiliated with
- Geography Publications
NotesThis is a statistically rich analysis of carbon sequestration under a `sustainable forestry¿ and another more exploitative regime. The study shows how micro data from scientific fieldwork can be aggregated via multivariate methods into full-scale cost-benefit analysis. The policy conclusion is that missing markets for carbon mean that government intervention is required to achieve sustainability. Dr Ockwell was responsible for collecting and analysing the data for two of the three sets of time-series data upon which the paper is based, conducting all the analysis and writing the original draft of the paper. The paper draws upon his doctoral research.
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