, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 253–269 | Cite as

Conservation networks, integrated and sustainable land use in a tropical frontier — the Cape York Peninsula region, Australia

  • Andreas E. Hohl
  • Clem A. Tisdell


After discussing methods for and the difficulties of determining optimal land use, particularly in relation to conservation and sustainability issues, prospects for establishing conservation networks so as to preserve the wildemess characteristics of the Cape York Peninsula area are considered. According to a number of international studies, nature conservation in this region should be given a high priority. While Cape York is sparsely settled, it is not, however, a complete wilderness. Mining, cattle ranching, forestry, fishing, tourism and land use by Aborigines, frequently conflict with nature conservation in this region. But most of the land currently belongs to the Crown (State), even though Crown title is now subject to counter-claims by Aborigines following the Mabo case which is outlined, and most is held as leasehold by its users. In theory, leasehold from the Crown should give considerable scope for altering land use in the region, and instituting a system of conservation networks in the area based on core protected areas, such as those suggested by the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland. Nevertheless, strategic land use planning for Cape York Peninsula is difficult because knowledge about the stock of natural resources and current land uses in the region is very imperfect, and conflicts between interest groups at the regional, State and national level are unlikely to allow for easy harmonious resolutions of land use disputes.

But an encouraging sign in favour of nature conservation as a land use in Cape York Peninsula is its low economic opportunity cost, except where it comes into conflict with mining. Net returns from extensive pastoralism appear to be negative and economic returns from forestry are low. Tourism could be compatible with conservation. Potential conflicts with mining could be taken into account in the early planning stages of conservation networks by gazetting very large nature reserves and at a later time allowing some portions to be assigned for mining. The royalties from such mining might be used as transfer payments to benefit further conservation efforts in the region.


Fishing Transfer Payment Sustainability Issue Sustainable Land Considerable Scope 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Science and Technology Letters 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas E. Hohl
    • 1
  • Clem A. Tisdell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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