Biodiversity publications archive

Reimbursing the future: an evaluation of motivational, voluntary, price-based, property-right, and regulatory incentives for the conservation of biodiversity

Biodiversity Series, Paper No. 9
M.D. Young, N. Gunningham, J. Elix, J. Lambert, B. Howard, P. Grabosky and E. McCrone
CSIRO Division of Wildlife and Ecology, the Australian Centre for Environmental Law, and Community Solutions
Biodiversity Unit, Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, 1996
ISBN 0 642 24429 4

Project brief and methodology

The project brief

The core components of the project brief required that the project team:

The terms of reference for an additional module which focussed on ecotourism were very similar, with the obvious need to focus on the impact of ecotourism and its possible benefits to the protection of biodiversity. During discussions the project's Steering Committee stressed the importance of demonstrating the relevance of the evaluation criteria and using these to develop operational recommendations which have practical application.


The three members of the core project team – CSIRO, ANU's Centre for Environment Law and Community Solutions – each took responsibility for a discrete part of the project, bringing together the results of their work to develop guiding principles, opportunities for future action and recommendations. Throughout the project, periodic meetings were held with a Steering Committee comprised of public servants from Commonwealth and State agencies charged with responsibility for nature conservation and biodiversity policy. The purpose of these meetings was to refine and, where appropriate, revise the project's direction. The Steering Committee also provided detailed portfolio comment on a draft of the report arising from this consultancy.

In the initial stages of the project, two roundtable meetings of stakeholder groups discussed the project brief and gave input into how it should be fulfilled. In setting up those forums, key stakeholder groups from the various resource use sectors, non-government conservation organisations and state conservation agencies were invited to participate, together with the project Steering Committee and project team members.

An extensive literature review was undertaken, canvassing material from national and international sources. The OECD and other institutions and individuals known by the project team members to have a professional interest in biodiversity issues were sent requests for relevant information. Specific questions were also placed on various Bulletin Boards in the World Wide Web, and standard literature searches were conducted across a range of academic and scientific databases. A summary of materials received was collated to provide an initial literature review which was also circulated to a wide range of interested individuals and organisations for comment, including some who participated in the various consultative forums. Project team leader, Mike Young also visited Unesco's Man and the Biosphere program and the IUCN's World Conservation Union Secretariat to the Convention on Biological Diversity to discuss the issues with staff in those locations. The literature review resulting from this process is published as part of the final report.

A community consultation process was undertaken. Ten general consultative workshops and three workshops which focussed on the ecotourism module were held across the country. Details of the methodology used in setting up and conducting those forums is presented in Chapter 3.

Figure 1

Figure 1: Location of 10 general and 3 ecotourism consultation workshops

The diversity of interests, the distances involved and the resultant costs, as well as the time available, all set boundaries on the consultation processes. The views canvassed were neither comprehensive nor representative of views across the whole of Australia. However, they provide 'snapshots' of views in different sectors of the community, both rural and urban, and reflect views from some of the diversity of land managers in Australia.

Initially, our contract required three case studies, however, following discussions with the Steering Committee, the Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories and the Department of Tourism, the proposed wheat-sheep belt case study was split into two and three additional case studies with an emphasis on ecotourism were undertaken. In total seven case studies were undertaken, each focussing on a particular social and geographic location which highlighted issues of concern to the project team. All case studies were treated equally and used as a platform against which recommendations were tested and developed. Personal experience of project team members was supplemented through literature review and close consultation with people living and working in the areas under study. The extent of this consultation can be assessed from the acknowledgments at the end of each case study report. Consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in both the case studies and the consultation workshops was constrained by the available budget, distance, time and cultural differences. We understand, however, that separate processes are underway to close this gap.

Throughout the project, the team discussed issues extensively with those who are charged with the task of protection and management of biodiversity. Consideration was also given to the fact that in many cases the processes they seek to manage are poorly understood.

Figure 2

Figure 2: Location of seven case study areas

The project team also made detailed assessments of various institutional and legislative models. They gave detailed consideration to the role of community and industry initiatives and to the scope of co-operative and co-management models involving both local communities and governments at all levels. Particular attention was also paid to more flexible and constructive legislative approaches, and in particular to means of providing for ongoing positive protection of biodiversity on private land, in conjunction with prohibitions.

Following the compilation of the above material, discussion and analysis was directed to the identification of principles which the literature review, consultations and case studies have demonstrated. A number of guiding principles were established, based on principles of ecological sustainability, and consistent with the directions of the National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia's Biological Diversity.

From these, discussion and work focussed on the opportunities that can be enhanced for governments, industry and community groups to protect biodiversity and ensure its sustainable use.