Environmental Assessments: Biodiversity Accounting

Biodiversity market opportunities to create income via land stewardship

Environmental Assessments: Biodiversity Accounting

Biodiversity market opportunities to create income via land stewardship

Capacity to Deliver -


The issue

Biodiversity market opportunities to create income via land stewardship are in their infancy in Australia. It is imperative that landholders are provided with sound, independent information. WMLIG aims to keep our members up to date with research, policy and market developments so the WMLIG community is at the forefront of potential opportunities. There are a range of biodiversity methodologies available for the assessment of natural capital, however; the practicality of undertaking the assessments, and financial investment required for different methods need to be understood. Some biodiversity assessment methodologies are not applicable in some geographic locations.

The solution

WMLIG is currently looking at using a novel derivative of the rapid assessment method used on travelling stock reserves by Murray Local Land Services for landholder biodiversity assessments. WMLIG is scoping up local aggregated farm biodiversity or wildlife corridor type pilot projects to create a product/s to market with the novel RAM methodology.

The impact

Environmental assessment methods need to be chosen carefully to ensure good use of resources. It appears several assessment methods are not suitable for use across all areas of NSW as pre 1750 vegetation map data is not available. WMLIG would welcome the opportunity to have access to pre 1750 data. There are currently a range of Environmental, Goods and Services (EG&S) programs in NSW, however; many are in their infancy, and some markets, such as the Australian carbon credit (ACCU’s) market have been very complex regarding the methodology and verification process. Value to the farmer is also questionable, with income split roughly 50:50 between the farmer, brokers and consultants. EG&S products, risk is likely borne by the landholder, so this information needs to be taken into account before embarking on land stewardship contracts. Feedback from the MRC Leadership Team was that contract agreements need to be provided to Regional Emergency Services, as this alters the value of landscape assets and prioritisation considerations for emergency service resource provision.

This project was supported by Murray River Council's Building Our Communities in Advance Project, via funding from Local Government NSW.

Key facts

  • Requires pre-1750 reference data for condition scoring and benchmarking purposes. This data was not published for our local region.
  • Privately developed.
  • Accounting for nature
  • An accredited assessor is required to undertake this methodology.
  • There are only approximately 400 accredited assessors in the whole of NSW.
  • Results are incredibly robust
  • Involves many transect sites per assessment and as such can be very costly.
  • NSW Government developed.
  • This method has been developed for NSW roadside reserves and requires some small changes to make the method suitable for private property use (WMLIG has been in contact with Local Land Services to create an updated version to accommodate private land assessments).

Project Partners