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A bioeconomic analysis of conserving freshwater values in an agricultural landscape


Warfe, DM and Tisdell, JG, A bioeconomic analysis of conserving freshwater values in an agricultural landscape, Marine and Freshwater Research, 68, (1) pp. 34-42. ISSN 1323-1650 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 CSIRO

DOI: doi:10.1071/MF15132


Water is a finite resource that must be shared among multiple users and economic and conservation objectives can often be seen as being in conflict. We explored this perception by conducting an integrated bioeconomic analysis of irrigated agriculture and the conservation of freshwater attributes in an agricultural landscape, the Tasmanian Midlands. We constructed a simple bioeconomic model based on current hydrology, water allocation, land use and freshwater ecosystem values, and quantified the economic returns from irrigation under a range of future climate, agricultural development and conservation scenarios. We found that projected climate conditions and conserving freshwater values in good condition had small effects on economic returns to irrigators, and that enterprise diversity and the area irrigated were major drivers of economic returns in this landscape. The availability of land suitable for irrigation rather than irrigation water itself appeared most likely to limit the economic returns from irrigation in the future. We provide a multi-criteria analysis for comparing development and conservation scenarios at a regional scale to inform planning and decision making in conservation and natural resource management. Our approach brings irrigation and conservation concerns into the same context and demonstrates that conservation need not necessarily limit agricultural development.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:water management, bioeconomic modelling, climate projections, conservation planning, land use, optimisation,
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Natural resource management
Objective Division:Economic Framework
Objective Group:Microeconomics
Objective Field:Microeconomics not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Warfe, DM (Dr Danielle Warfe)
UTAS Author:Tisdell, JG (Professor John Tisdell)
ID Code:106268
Year Published:2017 (online first 2016)
Deposited By:TSBE
Deposited On:2016-02-03
Last Modified:2017-11-01

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