An ecosystem services approach to estimating economic losses associated with drought

Banerjee, Onil, Bark, Rosalind ORCID:, Connor, Jeff and Crossman, Neville D. (2013) An ecosystem services approach to estimating economic losses associated with drought. Ecological Economics, 91. pp. 19-27. ISSN 0921-8009

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A consistent methodology enabling the estimation of the economic losses associated with drought and the comparison of estimates between sites and across time has been elusive. In this paper, we develop an ecosystem service approach to fill this research gap. We apply this approach to analysis of the Millennium Drought in the South Australian portion of the Murray-Darling Basin which provided a natural experiment for the economic estimation of hydrological ecosystem service losses. Cataloguing estimates of expenditures incurred by Commonwealth and State governments, communities and individuals, we find that nearly $810. million was spent during the drought to mitigate losses, replace ecosystem services and adapt to new ecosystem equilibria. The approach developed here is transferable to other drought prone regions, providing insights into the potentially unexpected consequences of drought and ecosystem thresholds and socioeconomic and political tipping points after which ecosystem restoration may become very costly. Our application to the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin demonstrates the potential of this approach for informing water, drought preparedness and mitigation policy, and to contribute to more robust decision-making.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: Low inflows resulted in low lake levels in the Lower Lakes (Lakes Alexandrina and Albert). This was a significant health and environmental concern as sulphidic lake bed sediments became exposed ( Baldwin, 2011a ). To mitigate the creation of acid sulphate soils, the South Australian government funded revegetation works around the Lower Lakes with aerial seeding of 4500 ha of exposed lakebeds, the barrage islands and other exposed areas around the Goolwa Channel. In 2010 alone, 300 tonnes of seed were sown on 5000 ha of exposed lakebed and an additional 1.1 million native seedlings were planted on 2300 ha. Revegetation works were funded by the government's $10 million Lower Lakes Bioremediation and Revegetation Project ( Department for Environment and Heritage, 2010 ). Funding Information: This work was funded by CSIRO Water for Healthy Country Flagship and The Goyder Institute for Water Research . Thanks go to Louise McIntosh from the Department for Water for compiling some of the cost estimates and John Kandulu from CSIRO for estimates on water purchase costs. CSIRO's Martijn van Grieken and Sorada Tapsuwan are kindly acknowledged for their helpful comments on this manuscript and thanks go to Martin Nolan for supplying the map of the SA-MDB.
Uncontrolled Keywords: australia,drought mitigation and planning,ecosystem services,environmental valuation,murray-darling basin,environmental science(all),economics and econometrics ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2300
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Environmental Social Sciences
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2021 01:57
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2022 03:19
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2013.03.022

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