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Mapping Economic Returns to Agriculture for Informing Environmental Policy in the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia
journal contributionposted on 2009-06-01, 00:00 authored by Brett BryanBrett Bryan, S Hajkowicz, S Marvanek, M D Young
We integrate information from several disparate data sources including agricultural statistics and remote sensing to quantify and map the distribution and dynamics of agricultural returns to land and water resources from 1996/1997 to 2000/2001 in the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB), Australia. Total profit to agriculture was estimated at AUD3.86B in 1996/1997 and AUD3.73B in 2000/2001. The mapping reveals a high spatial concentration of economic returns to land and water resources from agriculture. Dryland agriculture covers over 82% of the study area. Irrigated agriculture covers 1.7% of the land area (2000/2001) but returns one third of the total profit to agriculture. We found that around 80% of the profit to agriculture comes from just over 5% of the land area. The results from this regional scale economic mapping can inform regulatory policy and public investments in natural resource management through targeting industries and regions that provide low marginal returns to the natural resource base. © 2008 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.