Agricultural land management strategies to reduce phosphorus loads in the Gippsland Lakes, Australia
AbstractA target to reduce phosphorus flows into the Gippsland Lakes in south-eastern Australia by 40% in order to improve water quality has previously been established by stakeholders. This target, like many others worldwide, has been set mostly on the basis of environmental concerns, with limited consideration of issues such as technical feasibility, socio-economic constraints, political factors and associated costs and benefits. An integrated analysis at the catchment scale is undertaken to assess the agricultural land management changes required to achieve this target, and to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of these changes. Based on assumptions used, it appears technically feasible to achieve a 40% reduction in P load entering the Lakes. However, the least-costly way of doing so would require around A$1 billion over 25years, a dramatic increase in the current levels of funding provided for management. Results of a sensitivity analysis indicate that there is little or no chance of investment in a 40% reduction being cost-effective. On the other hand, a 20% P reduction could be achieved at much lower cost: around $80 million over 25years and requiring more modest land-management changes. Reliance on voluntary adoption of ‘Current Recommended Practices’ is unlikely to deliver changes in management practices at the scale required to have sufficient environmental impacts. Enforcement of existing regulations for the dairy industry would be amongst the most cost-effective management strategies. The major implications of this work for agriculturally induced diffuse-source pollution include the need for feedback between goal setting and program costs, and consideration of factors such as the levels of landholder adoption of new practices that are required and the feasibility of achieving those adoption levels. Costs, landholder adoption of new practices and socio-political risks appear neglected in the formulation of many water quality programs. The study provides a demonstration of an approach to integrated multidisciplinary research addressing complex environmental problems with multiple decision makers, multiple stakeholders, and high uncertainty. On the evidence of experience in this study, the approach deserves consideration in other contexts.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Agricultural Systems.
Volume (Year): 106 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/agsy
Benefit:Cost analysis; Dairy; Diffuse source; Trade-offs;
Other versions of this item:
- Roberts, Anna M. & Pannell, David J. & Doole, Graeme J. & Vigiak, Olga, 2010. "Agricultural land management strategies to reduce phosphorus loads in the Gippsland Lakes, Australia," Working Papers 102454, University of Western Australia, School of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
- Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
- Q25 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Water
- Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
- Q57 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Ecological Economics
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Blog mentionsAs found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
- 210 â Under-estimating the costs of environmental protection
by David Pannell in Pannell Discussions on 2012-03-19 12:00:00
- 210 Under-estimating the costs of environmental protection
by David Pannell in Pannell Discussions on 2012-03-18 23:48:04
- 235 Ranking environmental projects 1
by David Pannell in Pannell Discussions on 2013-04-30 16:03:56
- Oliver, Damian, 2012. "An examination of award wages among Australian apprentices and trainees," Australian Bulletin of Labour, National Institute of Labour Studies, vol. 38(2), pages 158-176.
- Pannell, David J., 2013. "Value for Money in Environmental Policy and Environmental Economics," Working Papers 146501, University of Western Australia, School of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
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