The Private and Social Values of Wetlands: An Overview
for Environment Australia and the Land and Water Resources Research Development Corporation
About the report
The Private and Social Values of Wetlands was a research project funded under the National Wetlands Research and Development Program by Environment Australia and Land & Water Australia between 1998 and 2001.
The focus of the project was on the management of wetlands located on private property. Wetlands are increasingly recognised as being of value to society yet the history of their use in Australia has been one of widespread degradation due to grazing, cropping, clearing and draining for commercial gain. What remains of Australia's wetlands are predominantly located on private land. The danger this situation presents arises from an imbalance between the incentives wetland owners receive for exploiting and protecting their wetlands. Wetland owners receive strong profit signals to exploit their wetlands but little if any financial reward has been available from wetland conservation activities.
Hence the goal of the project was to explore the nature and extent of the different values derived from wetlands in a range of alternative uses. Furthermore, with knowledge of these values, the project was aimed at providing recommendations as to appropriate incentive measures that could be put in place to ensure that wetlands on private lands are managed to satisfy the requirements of their owners and society at large.