The Desert Uplands is a biogeographic region in central-western Queensland that lies within the rangelands area of Australia. In the region, many pastoralists are clearing the scrub and woodland vegetation in order to improve production for cattle grazing. Only limited production gains are possible because of the low rainfall and infertile soils relative to many other areas of Queensland. To assess whether such developments are economic and desirable, a first step is to value the environmental implications of alternate management regimes. A stated preference choice modelling study was undertaken to provide estimates of these values. Attributes included in the choice model pertain to reductions in the population size of nonthreatened species, the number of endangered species lost to the region, and changes in regional income and employment. A nested logit model was used to model the data. Results indicate, inter alia, that the loss of one endangered species to the Desert Uplands region is valued similarly to three jobs lost. The welfare implications of several different policy options regarding levels of tree retention are estimated.


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