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Atherton, Australia

Van Oosterzee P.,Biocarbon Pty Ltd | Van Oosterzee P.,James Cook University | Blignaut J.,University of Pretoria | Bradshaw C.J.A.,University of Adelaide | Bradshaw C.J.A.,South Australian Research And Development Institute
Conservation Letters

Workable financial mechanisms are essential to abate greenhouse gas emissions. Deforestation, which contributes a large proportion of total global emissions, must be avoided as an effective emissions-reduction tactic, and to alleviate biodiversity loss and poverty. However, incentives to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) have had mixed and suboptimal success because of opportunity costs and administrative and technical issues, in particular, leakage, permanence, and additionality. We show that these latter concepts can be ambiguous, potentially contrived and in some cases, generate perverse outcomes. Encumbering avoided-deforestation projects with these administrative shackles risks massive increases in global deforestation and a concomitant loss of biodiversity, ecosystem services and emissions-reduction opportunities. We offer a solution built on a proven insurance-based hedging principle, a concept we call iREDD, that could indirectly address specific technical and administrative challenges, whether real or contrived. Project-specific iREDD insurance policies and premiums would be negotiated upfront using a simple assessment of risk based on governance quality, the integrity of management plans, liquidity, monitoring and evaluation frameworks, and political acceptability. iREDD acts as both an incentive for prudent forest management given the seller's potential financial windfall if forests are diligently managed, and guarantees not to disenfranchise the buyer. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Source

Van Oosterzee P.,Biocarbon Pty Ltd | Van Oosterzee P.,Charles Darwin University | Preece N.,Biome5 Pty Ltd | Preece N.,Charles Darwin University | And 2 more authors.
Conservation Letters

The agriculture, forestry, and other land-use sector is a crucial sector, second only to the energy sector, in fighting climate change, and provides an important greenhouse gas abatement opportunity for the world. Recently, released figures for Australia, for example, suggest that agriculture, forestry, and other land-uses, which depend on healthy functioning ecosystems, could abate as much as three quarters of the country's emissions. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was concerned primarily with ecosystems and humankind, but the Kyoto Protocol of the Convention forfeited the potential of using agriculture, forestry, and other land-uses for global climate mitigation. This had the effect of decoupling biodiversity and ecosystems from carbon pollution reduction and climate change considerations. The Australian Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, one of the first emission trading schemes in the world to follow Kyoto "rules," excludes the agriculture, forestry, and other land-use sector, apart from plantation reforestation, potentially creating perverse incentives that themselves can turn into threatening ecological processes. We use Australia and its emerging emissions trading scheme as a case study of the potential effects of this decoupling, and demonstrate the potential impacts on a landscape-scale regional greenhouse gas abatement and carbon sequestration project. ©2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Source

Preece N.D.,Biome5 Pty Ltd | Preece N.D.,James Cook University | Preece N.D.,Charles Darwin University | van Oosterzee P.,James Cook University | And 3 more authors.
Ecological Management and Restoration

Forest restoration efforts in Australia's Wet Tropics establish <100 ha/year, compared with 20-year average clearing rates of 1661 ha/year. Establishment costs are serious impediments to restoration efforts. Costs range from $25,000 to $67,000/ha, compared with less than $5,000/ha in other areas using other methods. Some of this difference stems from methods used to plant trees. Augered holes are used commonly in environmental plantings, whereas planting spades are used mostly in forestry plantings. To determine the most cost-effective planting method between auger and spade planting methods, we compared the planting costs and the survival and growth of seedlings of local rainforest species, The speed of planting with a spade is on average four times quicker than with an auger, whereas the survival (range = 89-94%, spade vs auger respectively), and growth (slightly greater height growth for auger planted individuals) rates were only marginally different. Given these results, using planting spades is a cost-effective alternative to augering holes. © 2012 Ecological Society of Australia. Source

Preece N.D.,Biome5 Pty Ltd | Preece N.D.,Charles Darwin University | Preece N.D.,James Cook University | Crowley G.M.,James Cook University | And 4 more authors.
Forest Ecology and Management

Revenue from carbon credits from rainforest stands could encourage reforestation for biodiversity conservation on private land in north-eastern Queensland, Australia. Current models and allometrics for estimating carbon, however, are not calibrated against sites in the region and underestimate carbon stocks. We assess the accuracy of the two accepted methods to estimate carbon stocks in Australian rainforests: FullCAM and the Keith et al. (2000) allometric. We also assess the effect of FullCAM's discounting of small stems (2.5-10cm) to carbon stocks, and compare the carbon benefits of the three reforestation methods in the region to identify planting configurations with the best carbon sequestration potential. We sampled 27 rainforest stands in north-eastern Queensland. Using these data we calculated above-ground biomass (AGB) using the Keith allometric and derived the above-ground carbon (AGC). We compared our estimates across three reforestation methods with the FullCAM modelled estimates for the same sites, and with estimates derived from two global rainforest allometrics (Brown, 1997; Chave et al., 2005). The Keith allometric estimated that planted forests yielded on average 20Mg of tradable carbon ha -1y -1 (i.e. CO 2-equivalent), with no differences between plantation forests and environmental plantings, although the former had more large diameter stems. Small stems (<10cm) accounted for 15.1% of AGB in plantings <20years old. However, even excluding these, the estimates using the Keith allometric were 19.5% greater than those of FullCAM; the Chave allometric 40.4% greater; and the Brown allometric 54.9% greater. More thorough forest mensuration using actual tree volumes and densities is required to determine a biomass allometric function for rainforests in the region. Until then, we recommend the Chave allometric function. It provides intermediate values, is based on the widest range of tropical trees and has been shown to be accurate away from the sites used for its development. This study demonstrates the inadequacy of current methods for estimating carbon stocks in rainforest plantings in north-eastern Queensland. A tailored allometric and the re-parameterisation of FullCAM is needed to reflect both the region's environmental characteristics and the vegetation structure of young reforestation stands. Current estimates deprive landholders of financial incentives and underestimate the national greenhouse gas benefits of tree planting in the Wet Tropics. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. Source

van Oosterzee P.,Biocarbon Pty Ltd | van Oosterzee P.,James Cook University | van Oosterzee P.,Charles Darwin University | Dale A.,The Cairns Institute | And 3 more authors.
Global Environmental Change

Rural and regional hinterlands provide the ecosystem service needs for increasingly urbanised communities across the globe. These inter-related ecosystem services provide key opportunities in securing climate change mitigation and adaptation. Their integrated management in the face of climate change, however, can be confounded by fragmentation within the complex institutional arrangements concerned with natural resource management. This suggests the need for a more systemic approach to continuous improvement in the integrated and adaptive governance of natural resources. This paper explores the theoretical foundations for integrated natural resource management and reviews positive systemic improvements that have been emerging in the Australian context. In setting clear theoretical foundations, the paper explores both functional and structural aspects of natural resource governance systems. Functional considerations include issues of connectivity, knowledge use and capacity within the natural resource decision making environment. Structural considerations refer to the institutions and processes that undertake planning through to implementation, monitoring and evaluation.From this foundation, we review the last decade of emerging initiatives in governance regarding the integration of agriculture and forests across the entire Australian landscape. This includes the shift towards more devolved regional approaches to integrated natural resource management and recent progress towards the use of terrestrial carbon at landscape scale to assist in climate change mitigation and adaptation. These developments, however, have also been tempered by a significant raft of new landscape-scale regulations that have tended to be based on a more centralist philosophy that landowners should be providing ecosystem services for the wider public good without substantive reward.Given this background, we explore a case study of efforts taken to integrate the management of landscape-scale agro-ecological services in the Wet Tropics of tropical Queensland. This is being achieved primarily through the integration of regional natural resource management planning and the development of aggregated terrestrial carbon offset products at a whole of landscape scale via the Degree Celsius initiative. Finally, the paper teases out the barriers and opportunities being experienced, leading to discussion about the global implications for managing climate change, income generation and poverty reduction. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Source

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