The NSW Environmental Services Scheme: Results for the biodiversity benefits index, lessons learned, and the way forward

Authors

  • Ian Oliver,

  • Alan Ede,

  • Wendy Hawes,

  • Alastair Grieve


  • Ian Oliver is a Senior Research Scientist with the Department of Natural Resources (PO Box U245, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351. Tel. +61 2 6773 5271. Email: ian.oliver@dipnr.nsw.gov.au). Alan Ede is a Natural Resource Officer with the Department of Natural Resources (PO Box U245, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351). Wendy Hawes is a Regional Ecologist with the NSW Department of Natural Resources (PO Box 463, Inverell, NSW 2360) and Alastair Grieve was formerly the General Manager, Environmental Science, Forests NSW (Department of Primary Industries, Locked Bag 23, Pennant Hills, NSW 2120). This project forms part of the NSW Government's commitment to open up new income streams for landholders by creating markets for the environmental services they provide.

Abstract

Summary  In 2002 the Environmental Services Scheme (ESS) was launched in New South Wales, Australia. Its aim was to pilot a process to provide financial incentives to landholders to undertake changes in land use or land management that improved the status of environmental services (e.g. provision of clean water, healthy soils, biodiversity conservation). To guide the direction of incentive funds, metrics were developed for use by departmental staff to score the benefits of land use or land management changes to a range of environmental services. The purpose of this paper is to (i) report on the development of one of these metrics – the biodiversity benefits index; (ii) present the data generated by field application of the metric to 20 properties contracted to the ESS; and (iii) discuss the lessons learned and recent developments of the metric that aim to make it accessible to a wider range of end-users and applications.

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