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Title: INFFER%20(Investment%20Framework%20For%20Environmental%20Resources)

INFFER (Investment Framework For Environmental
  • Background and Overview

  • Budgets small compared to the problems
  • Environmental protection more expensive than
    weve often allowed for
  • Spatial heterogeneity
  • Prioritisation is essential but difficult

Institutional context
  • Concerns about outcomes from regional investment
  • Treasury, Australian National Audit Office
    concerns about value for public money from NRM
  • Greater focus on outcomes in Caring for our
    Country and by some state governments

What does INFFER help with?
  • How to get value for money from NRM budget?
  • What is realistic/feasible?
  • Appropriate delivery mechanisms?
  • Project design
  • Give confidence to funders

General emphases
  • Natural assets
  • Outcomes
  • Value for money
  • Multiple threats
  • Multiple asset types
  • Technical socio-economic (equal emphasis)
  • Policy tools/delivery mechanisms
  • Transparency

Regional users
  • South West (WA)
  • Avon (WA)
  • South Coast (WA)
  • Northern Agric (WA)
  • Rangelands (WA)
  • Perth (WA)
  • Lachlan (NSW)
  • Central West (NSW)
  • Border Rivers/Gwydir (NSW)
  • Northern Rivers (NSW)
  • Namoi (NSW)
  • North East (Vic)
  • North Central (Vic)
  • Corangamite (Vic)
  • West Gippsland (Vic)
  • East Gippsland (Vic)
  • Goulburn Broken (Vic)
  • Port Phillip Westernport (Vic)

Based on experience
  • Builds on lessons from previous frameworks and
    from use by 15 regions
  • As simple as possible, but comprehensive
  • Highly structured and guided process
  • Template
  • Actively supported
  • Help desk
  • Workshops
  • Regular phone-hookup meetings
  • Fully documented
  • All documents freely available at

  • River reach
  • Intact native veg
  • Cultural heritage
  • Woodland birds

Asset types
  • Wetland
  • Listed on register
  • Last of its type
  • Threatened species
  • Flagship
  • Critically endangered
  • Native vegetation
  • Concentration of threatened species
  • Near pristine condition
  • Important location

What is the output?
  • An assessment for each asset
  • Background information about the asset
  • A specific, measurable, time-bound goal
  • On-ground works that will achieve that goal
  • Delivery actions that will result in those works
  • Information about asset value, threats/damage,
    technical feasibility, socio-economic
    feasibility, urgency, cost, risks
  • BenefitCost Index (comparable across projects)

What sorts of projects?
  • Ones that will deliver NRM outcomes for
    identifiable natural assets, which can be
  • large or small
  • degraded or pristine
  • localised or dispersed
  • any sort of natural asset
  • Not
  • Untargeted capacity building
  • ME not linked to a specific project
  • RD not linked to a specific asset

INFFER Pre-Assessment Checklist
  • Asset focus
  • 1. Can you clearly identify the environmental or
    natural resource asset?
  • 2. Will it be possible to define a goal for the
    asset that is SMART?
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • 3. Is there evidence to indicate that management
    actions can make a real difference?
  • 4. If the desired management actions are mainly
    on private land, is it likely that those actions
    would be reasonably attractive to fully informed
    land managers when adopted over the required
  • 5. If the project requires change by other
    institutions is there a good chance that this
    will occur?

North Central CMA
The INFFER Process
INFFER process
  • Can be applied to individual assets
  • Run small number of cherry-picked assets through
    the process
  • Helps with project development
  • Helps assess whether it is worth pursuing the
  • Better to be a comprehensive process
  • Community consultation other info sources
  • A more comprehensive look at the project options

Comprehensive process
  • 1. Develop a list of significant natural assets
    in the relevant region(s)
  • 2. Apply an initial filter to the asset list,
    using a simplified set of criteria
  • 3. Define projects and conduct detailed
    assessments of them
  • 4. Select priority projects
  • 5. Develop investment plans or funding proposals
  • 6. Implement funded projects
  • 7. Monitor, evaluate and adaptively manage

Rationale for the process
  • Starts broad, with far too many assets
  • Reduce list somewhat with simplified criteria
  • No point in great sophistication at this stage
  • Few enough make it through to make a good
    assessment practical

How long does it take?
  • New user around 5 person-days per asset to
    complete Project Assessment Form
  • Experienced user 1-2 days per asset, if
    information and experts accessible
  • Could be extended to encompass detailed modelling
    if desired

What skills needed?
  • Ideally, good knowledge of asset(s)
  • Able to engage with experts
  • Understand NRM projects some experience in
  • Capture and interpret technical and
    socio-economic information
  • Make judgements based on partial information

INFFER and knowledge gaps
  • Makes the best of the available info
  • Captures key knowledge gaps
  • Ratings for quality of information
  • Possible outcomes
  • Project to fill knowledge gaps
  • Data collection/investigation within the project
  • Feasibility assessment as phase 1 of project
  • Captures risks of project failure

Project Assessment Form
Project Assessment Form
  • Completed for every project
  • Could be more than one alternative project for
    the same asset
  • Guided process to collect the required
  • Detailed instruction manual

Project Assessment Form
  • Currently a word document
  • Converting it to a piece of software
  • Stand-alone or web based
  • Automate calculations
  • Easier navigation
  • Instructions hidden until needed
  • FAQs
  • Example responses

1. The asset
  • Spatial definition of the asset
  • Significance/importance of the asset
  • Key threats
  • Existing projects

2. Goal, works
  • Setting a specific, measurable, time-bound goal
  • On-ground actions to achieve goal
  • Actions by other organisations
  • Time lags until benefits
  • Effectiveness of works
  • Risk of technical failure
  • Spin-offs (positive and negative)

3. Socio-economics
  • Anticipated adoption of works by private
    land/water managers
  • Encompasses community capacity and knowledge
  • Risk of practice changes for the worse
  • Approvals
  • Socio-economic risks

4. Budget
  • Delivery mechanisms
  • Private citizens
  • Other organisations
  • Works, investigation and management
  • Costs
  • Up front (3-5 years)
  • Long-term maintenance costs

5. Project info
  • Project title
  • Project summary
  • Funders targets and outcomes
  • Outputs and intermediate outcomes

Public and private benefitsand choice of NRM
policy instruments
Public private benefits framework
  • Selects the most appropriate policy tool for a
    given circumstance
  • Relevant to change on private land

Public and private benefits
  • Private benefits relate to the landholder
    making the decisions
  • Public benefits relate to all others
  • neighbours, downstream water users, city dwellers
    interested in biodiversity

Possible projects
Each dot is a set of land-use changes on specific
pieces of land a project.
  • Which tool?
  • Incentives
  • Extension
  • Regulation
  • New technology
  • No action

Alternative policy mechanisms for seeking
changes on private lands
Category Specific policy mechanisms included
Positive incentives Financial or regulatory instrumentsA to encourage change
Negative incentives Financial or regulatory instrumentsA to inhibit change
Extension Technology transfer, education, communication, demonstrations, support for community network
Technology change Development of improved land management options, e.g. through strategic RD
No action Informed inaction
AIncludes polluter-pays mechanisms (command and
control, pollution tax, tradable permits,
offsets) and beneficiary-pays mechanisms
(subsidies, conservation auctions and tenders).
Simple rulesfor allocating mechanisms to projects
  • 1. No positive incentives for land-use change
    unless public net benefits of change are
  • 2. No positive incentives if landholders would
    adopt land-use changes without those incentives.
  • 3. No positive incentives if overall costs
    outweigh benefits.

Simple public-private framework
How applied
  • Project Assessment Form collects info
  • Public net benefits
  • Asset significance
  • Threats, Effectiveness of works
  • Time lags, Risks
  • Private net benefits
  • Adoption of the required works
  • Simple written guide will be automated
  • Does not dictate mechanisms you choose

Benefit Cost Index
An index of benefits from the project
Total costs (project and ongoing)
  • Difference from Benefit Cost Ratio is that in
    INFFER we dont express intangible benefits in

Benefit Cost Index
  • Can compare large and small projects
  • Can compare short and long projects
  • Allows comparison of projects for different types
    of assets
  • Waterways
  • Wetlands
  • Vegetation
  • Threatened species
  • Agricultural land

Example BCI ranking
Project Benefit Cost Index Budget
4 10.0 3m
2 8.1 13m
5 7.2 1m
1 4.0 0.5
6 1.1 1m
3 0.8 9m
If budget 17m, preferred projects are 4, 2 5
Advantages of the BCI
  • Avoids common problems in metrics used for
    ranking environmental projects
  • Add when they should multiply variables
  • Fail to divide by project costs (e.g. subtract
    costs, or just leave it out!)
  • Omit key variables (common to ignore adoption and
    technical feasibility)
  • All three
  • Cost of poor metrics is huge
  • Benefits of investment roughly halved
  • BCI can easily double environmental benefits

Interpretation and use of results
Project assessment report
  • Title, summary, etc.
  • Benefit Cost Index
  • Time lag until benefits delivered
  • Risks of project failure
  • Spin-offs
  • Quality of information
  • Key knowledge gaps

  • The info is an input to decision making
  • BCI is not to be used mechanistically
  • All-things-considered judgement
  • Other things may matter
  • Need a process of QA to give the decision makers

  • For many environmental managers its a very
    different way to do business
  • Having to provide comprehensive info
  • Particular concepts new to people
  • Ideally, need an asset expert with comprehensive

Typical problems for new people
  • Difficulties with asset and goal
  • Poor link between threat and works/actions
  • Required land-use changes not quantified
  • Tend to stick with comfort zones
  • Unrealistic expectations of adoption
  • Not adequately costed
  • Insufficient detail to judge the project

Requirements to get through
  • Training
  • One-to-one support
  • INFFER team offers training and one-to-one
  • Getting to resource limits
  • Vic govt planning to provide a training/support
  • Clear signals from government that there will be
    benefits to those managers who do it well

Project Examples
ExampleUpper Lachlan River
Upper Lachlan River
  • Goal improve condition and connectivity,
    protect fish
  • Threats loss of habitat (riparian and in
    stream), sediments nutrients, sand slugs
  • Management fencing, grazing exclusion, habitat
    restoration, sediment slug control, gully
    control, groundcover
  • Moderate impact on threats

Upper Lachlan River (contd)
  • Adoption
  • Little/none without incentives
  • Standard CMA cost sharing 50 adoption
  • Achievable for some elements, unlikely for larger
    management changes (gully, groundcover)
  • Overall cost around 3 million
  • BCI 3.6 (pretty good)

Lachlan Ranges
Lachlan Ranges
  • High value, but not a jewel?
  • Goal high conservation vegetation
  • Maintain extent and condition
  • Threats weeds, invasive native species, ag
  • Reduce threat from high to medium
  • Management grazing management, direct weed/pest
    control, reveg

Lachlan Ranges (cont)
  • Adoption
  • Little/none without incentives
  • Standard CMA cost sharing anticipates gt50
  • Analysis recommended stewardship payments
  • 7 landholders
  • Overall cost 1.81 million
  • BCI 4.65

Patho Plains
Patho Plains
  • Very high value
  • Small remnants dispersed over large area
  • Goal high conservation vegetation
  • Maintain extent and condition
  • Threats weeds, over grazing, cultivation
  • Reduce threat from high to medium
  • Management grazing management, direct weed

Patho Plains (cont)
  • Adoption
  • Little/none without incentives
  • Current MBI payments ? 25-50 adoption
  • 100 landholders
  • Overall cost 5 million
  • BCI 1.75

  • Affiliations of the INFFER team
  • University of Western Australia
  • Department of Primary Industries, Victoria
  • North Central Catchment Management Authority
  • Future Farm Industries CRC
  • Other key funders
  • Australian Research Council (Federation Fellow
  • Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage
    and the Arts (CERF Program)
  • Department of Sustainability and Environment ,