Evaluation of the Private and Social Costs of an On-farm Biodiversity Conservation Program in Western NSW

The aim of this study was to undertake an economic assessment of a biodiversity conservation scheme introduced to western NSW.  The scheme was the West 2000 Plus Enterprise Based Conservation (EBC) scheme which was a pilot project running from 2003-2008.  This scheme created a market for biodiversity by providing landholders with an annual incentive payment, for which they bid, in exchange for the provision of specified environmental services.  It was found that landholders did not necessarily have to make a trade-off between the lower variability of income with the EBC annual incentive payments and the higher incomes from traditional agricultural production.  In eighty per cent of the properties analysed, the annual incentive payments were accompanied by less expected variability and a higher expected income than in traditional agricultural production.  Another major finding was that a single policy may not be the most efficient method of conserving biodiversity on farms, and that a combination of policies may be more appropriate to obtain the desired levels of biodiversity conservation while meeting budget constraints.

Completed in 2008

Funded by: NSW Department of Natural Resources

Contact: The Institute for Rural Futures