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A conservation auction for landscape linkage in the southern Desert Uplands, Queensland
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Jill WindleJill Windle, John RolfeJohn Rolfe, J McCosker, A Lingard
Conservation auctions are a type of market-based instrument (MBI) that can achieve a more cost-efficient allocation of public funds than approaches such as devolved grants. In this paper, the conduct of a multiple round conservation auction to improve biodiversity management in a rangelands area is outlined. The auction was designed to develop a wildlife corridor across the southern Desert Uplands bioregion in Queensland and to improve management of rangelands areas. The conservation auction incorporated two important new design features. First, there was a need to promote landholder cooperation so that proposed areas for better land management were aligned and connected across the region. The second innovative design feature was to hold multiple bidding (three) rounds, which differs from the standard application of a single bidding round.The auction outcomes resulted in conservation contracts covering 85 000 ha of remnant vegetation awarded at an averagecost of $2* per hectare per annum. Although complete landscape connectivity across the Desert Uplands was not achieved, over 70% of the successful bids, accounting for over 62 000 ha (77% of the total bid area), were part of a group that formed a distinct corridor or landscape linkage with only single or part-property gaps. The results also indicate that multiple bidding rounds improved auction efficiency (for the government), although there was little improvement in connectivity. Sixty-six percent more environmental benefit units could be purchased for the given budget of $350 000 between rounds one and three.