Services provided by healthy ecosystems


Conserving and maintaining healthy ecosystems is critical for building resilience against the multiple impacts of climate change. Multiple ecosystem services provide a medley of benefits to people. The services provided by the large, complex and intact ecosystems of Cape York include climate regulation, habitat for thousands of species (many of which are useful), genetic resources (such as for wild rice), fresh water, waste treatment and erosion prevention. Acknowledging these values can provide economic and lifestyle benefits to people living on Cape York.

How was it identified?

Extensive surveys and community engagement has identified multiple values people hold for their environment. There is a large volume of technical and scientific evidence for ecosystem services and their valuation. Ecosystem services are also core to the Stream 2 reports on climate impacts and adaptation.

  • Conduct surveys and engagement to understand people's values for the environment and benefits that ecosystems provide.
  • Measure tangible products from the environment, eg. Carbon, erosion, ground cover and water.
  • Conduct systematic and rigorous monitoring of carbon in different systems for developing new Carbon Farming Initiative methodologies.
  • Evaluate ecosystem services in monetary units to open up a conversation with the community about benefits ecosystems provide and options for alternative land uses.
  • Engage with the community to understand the current opportunities for carbon farming.
  • Investigate possible options for carbon abatement and sequestration.
  • Conduct scenario modelling for ecosystem assets, land uses and using potential ecosystem services.
  • Work with properties and Indigenous groups to evaluate local ecosystem service benefits.
  • Seek and develop tools to support a market for ecosystem services and stewardship arrangements.
  • Work with the community to identify possible alternative economies for land management.
  • Support innovation for alternative economies for soil carbon, carbon sequestration.
  • Identify areas where carbon sequestration might be an option, eg. mangrove migration areas, soil carbon in wetlands (modelling and mapping carbon potential at a finer scale).
  • Use results of social and technical work to develop a framework for encouraging alternative land uses based on ecosystem services.
  • Develop communication products to promote understanding of ecosystems and their services.
  • Investigate, negotiate and develop offsets programs or appropriate environmental stewardship arrangements for infrastructure developments.
  • Connect experts to landholders to identify viable carbon sequestration opportunities and resourcing trials for monitoring and developing new sequestration techniques.
  • Hold workshops and field visits to discuss alternative livelihoods, such as through harvest of native species, tourism and Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge intellectual property arrangements.
  • Contribute to revision of policies to facilitate acknowledgement of ecosystem service benefits and develop economic markets. These may include changing duty of care arrangements to allow for payments for ecosystem services, biodiversity offsets policies and regulations for infrastructure developments.
  • Work with businesses, organisations and Indigenous groups to create viable income streams through healthy ecosystems, such as enhancing Indigenous land and sea funding.