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Reefonomics Plus! Coupling biophysical and economic modelling with social dimensions

The Australian and Queensland governments are investing many millions of dollars in programs to accelerate adoption of improved agricultural practices to improve water quality flowing into the Great Barrier Reef. As reef programs have matured, the importance of understanding and predicting their social dimensions is increasingly being recognised.

Reefonomics is an existing platform which creates prioritised investment portfolios for land management actions across the Great Barrier Reef catchments.

The Reefonomics prioritisation is based on a recursive marginal cost abatement approach to deliver the greatest water quality benefit per dollar. The marginal cost abatement approach prioritises the most cost-effective investment actions. However, some investment actions are co-dependent, or need to be staged. The ‘recursive’ component of the analysis means that Reefonomics doesn’t move on to the next action, before first making sure that the current action has not created an opportunity to implement a more cost effective action. Scenarios can be developed for a given set of actions, a given budget or to meet water quality targets.

The predicted likelihood of farmers adopting new practices depends on a whole range of factors including the ‘fit’ of those practices with their farming enterprise, capacity, ability to implement and others.

Uptake can differ between regions and industries and specific practices.

So the question is: What if we could consider the likely rates of adoption for different sets of investment actions?

In addition, investors are also interested in co-benefits (social and other benefits beyond water quality). So what if we could incorporate these into investment planning?

The Queensland Water Modelling Network, in partnership with the Office of the Great Barrier Reef, Truii and Eberhard Consulting, is building a proof of concept to explore the coupling of social dimensions with biophysical and economic modelling in the Great Barrier Reef through Reefonomics Plus.

By demonstrating how social dimensions can be represented and incorporated into investment scenarios the Reefonomics Plus project can contribute to developing more holistic decision support systems land managers and investors.

If you would like to learn more about this project please contact [email protected] to receive a link for a free webinar to be held on 3rd December.

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