High-Performance Computing & Data Science at Geoscience Australia (2021-2023)

Auricht Projects undertook a review of the High-Performance Computing and Data Science system within Geoscience Australia’s (GA) to improve ‘search and discovery’ processes for their geographic information. Involved a multi-stage process including: scoping, development of roadmap (to address issues, and recommendations related to metadata records and templates associated with the Appian workflow system for delivering information about products held by Geoscience Australia), along with staff training in ISO/TC 211 standards with a focus on ISO 19115.

Trial to assess the application and utility of an innovative multi-spectral earth observation method and tool for Biodiversity Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (2022-23)

In cooperation with Yundi Nature Conservancy and support from Pew Charitable Trusts undertook a trial of an innovative multi-spectral earth observation method and tool for Biodiversity Monitoring, Reporting and Verification.

The results of this work were presented at the Australian Land Conservation Alliance’s October 2023 Private Land Conservation Conference – Yundi Nature Conservancy Presentation.

Global Peatlands Assessment: The State of the World’s Peatlands – Evidence for action toward the conservation, restoration, and sustainable management of peatlands (2022)

Global Peatlands Assessment – The State of the World’s Peatlands: Evidence for action toward the conservation, restoration, and sustainable management of peatlands was undertaken by the Global Peatlands Initiative between 2020 and 2022 as decided by the UNEA-4 resolution on the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Peatlands in March 2019.

Australian Wetland Inventory (2021 – 2022)

Contracted by the Australian Government to provide services to scope the development of an Australian Wetland Inventory.

Part 1 – Review of wetland mapping and inventory opportunities to develop and Australian Wetland Inventory (2021)

Part 2 – Conceptual design and technical capacity support to build an Australian Wetlands Inventory

Valuing Protected Area Tourism Ecosystem Services Using Big Data (2022)

Economic value from protected areas informs decisions for biodiversity conservation and visitor benefits. Calculating these benefits assists governments to allocate limited budget resources. This study estimated tourism ecosystem service expenditure values for a regional protected area network in South Australia (57 parks) using direct transactional data, travel costs and economic multipliers. The big dataset came from a comprehensive booking system, which helped overcome common limitations associated with survey data (e.g., key areas rather than full network and high zero-value observations). Protected areas returned AU$373.8 million in the 2018–19 base year to the South Australian economy.

Markets, mis‐direction and motives: A factual analysis of hoarding and speculation in southern Murray–Darling Basin water markets (2021)

There is a long history of concern about speculation in water markets, and potential adverse impacts on agricultural water users. However, applications of traditional analysis into price increase drivers in water markets are challenging due to data limitations. To address this, we use speculation theory, most notably Hirshleifer’s four fundamentals for speculative trade, to examine whether speculation or hoarding price increase drivers are evident in Australia’s largest water market, the southern Murray–Darling Basin. While speculation is likely, and with good reason given the gains possible, we find no evidence of hoarding behaviour in market price or volume trends. It is more plausible that agricultural sectors – notably horticultural users – have driven price increases given their requirements to access water at any cost during periods of low supply.

Water allocation in Australia’s Murray–Darling Basin: Managing change under heightened uncertainty (2021)

Historically, water resource policy in the Murray–Darling Basin (Basin) has taken a pro-farmer orientation leaving the environment to become the residual claimant. Around 1990, the attention was focused on minimizing overuse that led to on-farm productivity losses and developing a market for water to help define opportunity costs of water in irrigation. More recently, the scope has been extended to include explicit allocations for the environment.
This paper, examines the sources of social costs in water resource allocation, including pros and cons of water trading with respect to agricultural production and externalities. The aim is to canvass possible reform alternatives which might help governments to become a catalyst in fostering collaboration for efficient adaptation.

The Blue Economy in Sub-Saharan Africa – Working for a Sustainable Future (2021)

Co-author of Chapter 2 ‘The Blue Economy in Africa’ in the Murdoch University’s publication ‘Inclusive Transitions on the Continent of Africa’. In keeping with the University’s commitment to research translation for the global public good, the Commissions have been exercises in applied public policy informed by rigorous research and analytical thinking.

(g)etting to the point: The problem with water risk and uncertainty (2019)

This paper explores the unawareness/uncertainty problem by coupling Arrow’s states of nature approach for dealing with uncertainty with Rothschild and Stiglitz’s exploration of inputs and increasing risk. This results in a modified Just-Pope production function equation isolating inputs to i) protect base capital (natural, social or private) and/or ii) generate an output. By exploring water input supply unawareness via alternative states of nature we may identify tipping points where current technology fails, resulting in irreversible losses of private and public capital tied to water inputs. We conclude by discussing the value of quantifying minimum-input requirements and identifying critical tipping-point outcomes in water systems, increased benefits/risks from transformed landscapes chasing higher economic returns, and the need for adaptive public arrangements in response.

African Farming Systems Update (2012-2019)

Auricht Projects led the Spatial and Information Analysis Team for the Joint ACIAR-ICRAF-UN-FAO publication Dixon et al (2020) ‘Farming Systems and Food Security in Africa: Priorities for Science and Policy under Global Change’. This study is an update and expansion of the 2000 Joint FAO-World Bank Global Study on Farming Systems and Poverty Alleviation see www.fao.org/farmingsystems/ where Mr Auricht also led the data and analytics team.

Agricultural Intelligence Transformation Project (2015-2017)

Agricultural Intelligence Transformation Project (AITP) – Between November 2015 and July 2017, as a consultant Senior Business Analyst, Christopher Auricht provided strategic and technical input to the Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources AITP Project aimed at delivering improved intelligence and insight to the Department and its associated Stakeholders, based on modernising business