Accounting for the economic-biodiversity nexus to identify opportunities for better outcomes for biodiversity

McDonald, Jane A. (2016). Accounting for the economic-biodiversity nexus to identify opportunities for better outcomes for biodiversity PhD Thesis, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland. doi:10.14264/uql.2016.189

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Author McDonald, Jane A.
Thesis Title Accounting for the economic-biodiversity nexus to identify opportunities for better outcomes for biodiversity
School, Centre or Institute School of Biological Sciences
Institution The University of Queensland
DOI 10.14264/uql.2016.189
Publication date 2016-04-09
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Hugh Possinghamn
Kerrie Wilson
Philip Gibbons
David Pannell
Total pages 143
Language eng
Subjects 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity
0501 Ecological Applications
Formatted abstract
Biodiversity is in rapid decline and without additional funds or a sacrifice of economic development these trends, many claim, are set to continue. Given the lack of funds and the difficulty of changing economic development pathways, it is imperative that all possible options for improvements within the current constraints are explored and exploited. Opportunity for biodiversity gains occur where there are inefficiencies in the conversion from economic activity to biodiversity change. These inefficiencies mean the negative impacts of economic development on biodiversity could be reduced and the positive impacts of investments could be increased. The aim of this thesis was to identify if opportunities exist within the current political, social and economic context to improve outcomes for biodiversity and to develop methods for quantifying and delivering these improvements across multiple scales. In Chapter 1 and 2 I propose methods and approaches for including the environment and biodiversity more specifically in national accounting, defining biodiversity as an asset rather than just another ecosystem service. I outline the many and varied ways accounting for biodiversity can inform decisions that improve outcomes for biodiversity. At a national scale, there are many opportunities for improving biodiversity outcomes given the current policy and funding levels and in Chapter 3 I outline four improvements to policy implementation that could save more species in an Australian case study. At an industry scale, there is significant biodiversity loss associated with production activities and results from efficiency analyses in Chapter 4 indicate that some industries are more efficient than others in producing profit whilst maintaining biodiversity assets. This suggests there are opportunities for inefficient industries (and individual producers) to enhance biodiversity without reducing profitability. Some individual producers are already involved in payment schemes to improve biodiversity but I find with a game theoretic analysis in Chapter 5 that these improvements could be increased for the same funds by selecting alternative methods of fund allocation. There are improvements to be made across all spatial and institutional scales of the biodiversity-economic nexus and taking advantage of these opportunities will lead to greater biodiversity outcomes now and in the future.
Keyword Biodiversity
Environmental Accounting
Biodiversity payments
Threatened and endangered species
Biodiversity change

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Created: Tue, 05 Apr 2016, 07:55:53 EST by Jane Mcdonald on behalf of Learning and Research Services (UQ Library)