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Policy responses to invasive native species: issues of social and private benefits and costs

Listed author(s):
  • Farquharson, Robert J.
  • Kelly, Jason A.
  • Welsh, Pam
  • Mazur, Kasia
  • Bennett, Jeffrey W.

Farm and catchment managers in Australia face decisions about controlling invasive native species (or scrub) which may infest agricultural land. The treatment of this land to remove the infestation and re-establish native pastures is likely to be expensive for landholders. Yet there are potential social benefits from such remediation and so a policy question arises of what to do to about facilitating such change. New South Wales state government legislation addresses this issue through regulations, and the Catchment Management Authorities are responsible for administering public funds to achieve associated natural resource improvements. However, the extent of the private costs and social benefits associated with such changes are not known, which precludes benefit-cost analyses using the traditional welfare economics framework. This paper reports results of a social and private economic analysis of the impacts of a typical infestation remediation decision. We show that for the landholder the private costs exceed the benefits achieved from increased livestock productivity. However, there are social benefits expressed by the willingness to pay by members of the local catchment community for improvements in native vegetation and biodiversity. When these social benefits are included, the economic analysis shows a positive social net benefit. This raises questions of how to reconcile the public and private accounting, and whether any changes to policies, regulations or procedures for natural resource management in New South Wales are warranted.

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Paper provided by Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society in its series 2009 Conference (53rd), February 11-13, 2009, Cairns, Australia with number 48157.

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Date of creation: 2009
Handle: RePEc:ags:aare09:48157
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AARES Central Office Manager, Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU, Canberra ACT 0200

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  1. Farquharson, Robert J. & Hill, Christine M. & Bennett, Jeffrey W. & Tracey, Jacqueline, 2007. "Environmental economics and valuation: towards a practical investment framework for Catchment Management Authorities in New South Wales," 2007 Conference (51st), February 13-16, 2007, Queenstown, New Zealand 10404, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
  2. Mark Morrison & Jeff Bennett, 2004. "Valuing New South Wales rivers for use in benefit transfer," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 48(4), pages 591-611, December.
  3. Martin van Bueren & Jeff Bennett, 2004. "Towards the development of a transferable set of value estimates for environmental attributes -super-," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 48(1), pages 1-32, 03.
  4. van Bueren, Martin & Bennett, Jeffrey W., 2004. "Towards the development of a transferable set of value estimates for environmental attributes," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 48(1), March.
  5. Mazur, Kasia & Bennett, Jeffrey W., 2008. "Using focus groups to design a choice modelling questionnaire for estimating natural resource management benefits in NSW," Research Reports 94801, Australian National University, Environmental Economics Research Hub.
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