Beyond Carbon Abatement: Transdisciplinary action to drive co-benefits in land management and agriculture

Friday 1 July 2022 – 09:00 – 10:30  AEST

Moderator: Nikki Dumbrell
Speakers: Lynne Macdonald,  Lily Lim-Camacho,  Warwick Ragg, Gillian Mayne

As markets are increasingly turning their attention to carbon credits from the land sector, questions are emerging about how to best identify, foster and account for the co-benefits and trade-offs of this important shift. Potential co-benefits include biodiversity, public health benefits, cultural outcomes, and environmental goods and services such as improved water quality. Could co-benefits become a driver of sustainability beyond greenhouse gas abatement? Could failure to effectively integrate co-benefit metrics drive perverse outcomes? How will these diverse outcomes be effectively and efficiently monitored and verified?

These types of questions go to the heart of just and equitable transitions to a low carbon economy – they are about what communities and societies value, and how local values and knowledge can be integrated into regional and global systems of accounts and markets. While markets for carbon are growing rapidly, markets for co-benefits are emerging slowly. Unlike carbon, which has a universally consistent form, environmental, social, and cultural co-benefits will have many forms that have local and regional particularities. This makes them hard to quantify, simplify and trade as assets. In short, the co-benefits of carbon in agriculture and land management need attention from a variety of disciplines and actors working in a coordinated fashion.

Dr Nikki Dumbrell – Postdoctoral Fellow – Science, CSIRO
I am a Postdoctoral Fellow working on CSIRO’s Valuing Sustainability Future Science Platform.
A link to the project I am focussed on (“Valuing local provenance and place-based economies in natural capital and low carbon markets and industries”) is at the bottom of this page.
I am interested in environmental and natural resource economics and I really enjoy undertaking research in interdisciplinary teams. Broadly, I seek to engage in research projects that can improve our understanding of: (1) the economic, social and environmental consequences of different natural resource use decisions; (2) how these consequences are understood and experienced by different stakeholders; and (3) the effectiveness of different policies or (dis)incentives to encourage alternative resource use decisions.
My PhD (2018-2021, at The University of Adelaide) was concerned with links between the social licence to operate, economics and decision-making with particular focus applied to the agricultural and energy industries.

Dr Lynne Macdonald – Team Leader & Principal Scientist, CSIRO
Dr Lynne Macdonald is Team Leader of Carbon Accounting & Function within Agriculture & Foods Sustainability Program. The team capability spans innovations in measurement, monitoring and modelling of soil carbon stocks and flows through agricultural systems.
Dr Macdonald’s personal research focuses on advancing monitoring and management of soil biological functions for resilient and sustainable agricultural systems. She has led several large multi-party research programs including the GRDCs Sandy Soil Constraints Initiative (2016-2021), Australians National Biochar Initiative (2012-2014), key components of the National Soil Carbon Research Program (2009-2012, 2012-2015), and has been a key collaborator in several investments seeking to develop and understand soil amendments (GRDC, QLD Accelerate Partnership).

Dr Lilly Lim-Camacho – Research Group Leader, CSIRO
Dr Lilly Lim-Camacho is a research scientist focused on supporting industry in an era of global change, through applied systems approaches. Her expertise is in value chain management and analysis, which she applies in a range of challenges including sustainability, climate adaptation and social inclusion. Lilly utilises strong science communication and engagement techniques in her research, working with a wide range of stakeholders both in the public and private sectors.

Warwick Ragg – General Manager Natural Resource Management at National Farmers’ Federation
Warwick was raised on a farm in the NSW Southern Highlands and has almost 30 years experience in rural and regional advocacy. Prior to joining NFF Warwick had been working in the Commonwealth Government in stakeholder engagement roles and had previously spent a decade with NSW Farmers’ Association and a further decade as chief executive of Australian Forest Growers.

Gillian Mayne – Director Land Restoration Fund at Department of Environment and Science