Ecosystem service valuation reinforces world class value of Cape York Peninsula's ecosystems but environment and indigenous people lose out

Preece, Luke D., van Oosterzee, Penny, Dungey, Kym, Standley, Peta-Marie, and Preece, Noel D. (2016) Ecosystem service valuation reinforces world class value of Cape York Peninsula's ecosystems but environment and indigenous people lose out. Ecosystem Services, 18. pp. 154-164.

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Abstract

Cape York Peninsula's iconic status relies on its world-class landscapes and continuity of Indigenous occupation. Contests between economic, environmental, cultural and social interests have not considered valuations of ecosystem services. This first valuation of Cape York's ecosystem services asks the question: who is winning and where?

The total ecosystem services value of Cape York is estimated conservatively to be AUD $130 billion per year. The value for each biome ranges from $0 ha⁻¹ y⁻¹ in 'non-remnant' areas, to $602,000 ha⁻¹ y⁻¹ for coral reefs. Ecosystem services value is comparable to the region's largest industry, bauxite mining. Mining has produced great benefits to the economy, but local communities remain disadvantaged, receiving a fraction of the ecosystem services value, estimated to be worth $120 M. The productivity of grazing lands is $18 ha⁻¹ y⁻¹, compared to the ecosystem services value of at least $3,300 ha⁻¹ y⁻¹.

We argue that the high ecosystem services value of Cape York is because of Indigenous land management over millennia. Since the disenfranchisement of Indigenous people, ecosystems of northern Australia have suffered significant land degradation.

A policy framework is required that acknowledges the value of ecosystem services and also incentivizes the cultural ecosystem services of Cape York.

Item ID: 43571
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: ecosystemvalues, cultural values, carbon, land use
ISSN: 2212-0416
Funders: Australian Government Department of the Environment (AG DotE)
Projects and Grants: AG DotE Project A09948G
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2016 23:24
FoR Codes: 14 ECONOMICS > 1402 Applied Economics > 140205 Environment and Resource Economics @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960501 Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960799 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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