Researchers from The University of Western Australia are part of a $10,000 Eureka Prize-winning team for a project that helps governments and environmental groups work out how to best spend their ‘green' money.
The Australian Research Council Eureka Prize for Excellence in Research by an Interdisciplinary Team was awarded to Professor David Pannell and Research Assistant Professor Sally Marsh of UWA's Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy. The Australian Museum Eureka Prizes are the most prestigious awards in Australian science.
The team's project, INFFER - Investment Framework for Environmental Resources - integrates biophysical, economic and social research to help governments and managers make wise decisions about investing in threatened environmental assets. INFFER gives scientific knowledge a workable economic framework.
INFFER focuses on environmental problems in rural areas, including protection of biodiversity and native vegetation; soil erosion; water quality in rivers, lakes and wetlands; environmental pests; threatened species; and salinity.
It is already in use in environmental assets of national importance, such as native forests threatened by dieback, the Gippsland Lakes, and the Hamersley Ranges.
An example of a problem which INFFER could advise on is: how can a salinity program be compared with a threatened species rescue when both are competing for the same dollars?
The other team-members are Dr Anna Roberts and Jennifer Alexander of the Department of Primary Industries, Victoria, and Geoff Park of the North Central Catchment Management Authority, Victoria. INFFER is a project of the Future Farm Industries CRC, which is headquartered at UWA.
The team was a Eureka finalist last year with its Salinity Investment Framework.