Threatened Species Unit, North East Branch
New South Wales Department of Environment and Conservation, 2004
ISBN: 174122 135 8
11. Consideration of Social and Economic Consequences
- 11.1 Consideration of economic costs
- 11.2 Consideration of economic benefits
- 11.3 Consideration of social costs
- 11.4 Consideration of social benefits
- 11.5 Consideration of net social and economic benefits to society
The estimated cost over five years of the implementation of this Recovery Plan is $135 800 (Table 3). This cost includes surveys, land reservation and/or protection, ecological and genetic research, threat and disturbance assessment, community involvement and, if appropriate, population enhancement and/or ex situ programs. Because Grevillea beadleana occurs on land generally regarded as unsuitable for agriculture, protection of its habitat will have little impact in terms of benefits forgone, even where the protected population is on private land.
It is necessary to consider the economic benefits of the proposal in order to determine the net economic cost or benefit to society. The following effects, although difficult to quantify in financial terms, are likely economic benefits to society as a result of implementation of the recovery plan:
- provision of protected habitat for threatened and other significant flora and fauna species in protected Grevillea beadleana habitat;
- increased value of the protected land through habitat enhancement and intrinsic value of the threatened plant community;
- increased value of private/leasehold property through habitat protection; and
- meeting the government's commitment to biodiversity conservation.
The prevention of tin mining in the areas of Grevillea beadleana habitat at Binghi has a potential social cost by limiting the potential for local job creation. This is likely to have a limited impact since tin mining has previously occurred in the area and economically viable deposits have probably been mined previously.
As the other areas where Grevillea beadleana occurs are in national parks, nature reserves or on land zoned for environmental protection, the protection of G. beadleana in these areas will not involve any limitation of land uses and therefore will have a negligible social cost. The eastern site in Guy Fawkes River National Park is in close proximity to a walking track, which traverses the area that has previously been fenced to prevent grazing by cattle. To date, no interference with G. beadleana plants by people has been observed, however if interference is observed, it may be necessary to relocate the walking track away from the area where G. beadleana occurs. All other sites are considered to be relatively inaccessible to members of the public, and therefore it is not considered feasible or necessary to exclude people from these areas.
While the implementation of the Recovery Plan is unlikely to significantly increase employment in the region in the long term, it will provide short term employment opportunities, and opportunities to develop and enhance skills valuable in the work force.
The proposed public education program will increase awareness of rare plants and their significance in the region, and promote community involvement in the recovery process. The recovery of Grevillea beadleana to a level of viability in nature, and downlisting of the species to a Vulnerable or rare status, is considered to be a social benefit to the community.
While social and economic costs and benefits may be difficult to quantify in financial terms, DEC considers that the benefits to society of implementation of the Recovery Plan outweigh the costs of the proposal.
In terms of the social and economic benefits of recovery of Grevillea beadleana and the associated benefits for conservation of other rare and threatened species and communities that form the habitat of the species, DEC considers that implementation of the Recovery Plan would result in a net benefit to society. Community education is expected to generate positive attitude toward recovery planning, and genuine concern in the community for conservation of threatened species.
Successful implementation of the Recovery Plan would involve community participation in the recovery, so the community would have a sense of achievement by meeting the recovery objectives, and a sense of ownership of the results.
As Grevillea beadleana occurs on leasehold and private land in the Binghi and Enmore areas, it is essential that the landowners are actively involved in the implementation of the Recovery Plan. During the implementation of the previous Recovery Plan (Benson 1991) and preparation of this Recovery Plan, a good working relationship has been established with members of the local communities, including membership of the Grevillea beadleana recovery team. To date, private landowners at Binghi and Enmore have co-operated with DEC to permit ongoing visitations on their land to access G. beadleana sites for surveys and research.
Community groups that have been involved with the Grevillea beadleana Recovery Plan include the Hernani Public School and the Armidale Plant Society. Students at UNE have undertaken research projects into G. beadleana and the draft Recovery Plan has been used in teaching exercises. Landowners adjacent to the Chambigne Nature Reserve and Guy Fawkes River National Park have also permitted access through their properties and will also need to be involved in order to assist in reducing the fire frequency affecting this area. It is anticipated that such community involvement will continue to be an important part of the successful implementation of the Recovery Plan.