NESP TWQ Round 5 - Project 5.12 - Scoping land use conversion options for high DIN risk, low-lying sugarcane areas in Burdekin and Mackay Whitsunday regions

The Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan and Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan 2017-2022 have set ambitious targets for Great Barrier Reef (GBR) water quality improvement. Indeed, Water Quality Improvement Plans (WQIP) for most NRMs in the Great Barrier Reef catchments recognise that complete adoption of sugar cane best management practices will still not be sufficient to achieve the nitrogen load reductions required to meet the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) Water Quality Guidelines. Thus additional options need to be considered transitioning agricultural land to other uses is one of those options. Here we capitalise on existing evaluation frameworks developed in NESP TWQ Project 2.1.2, as we aim to:

  1. identify possible alternate land uses in coastal low-lying cane land, that has a high DIN loss;
  2. quantify the economic costs of changing land use, and market mechanisms to incentivise this transition (e.g. Reef Credits); and
  3. explore benefits (e.g. farm profitability) of land transition.

This project will better define options land use change across two NRMs that have different climatic conditions, industry groups, water boards and potentially different land use transitions.

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