Dbytes #335 (21 June 2018)

Info & news for members and associates of the Environmental Decisions Group


“Society is a contract… between those who are dead, those who are living, and those who are to be born.”
Edmund Burke [contributed by Peter Burnett]

General News

1. Australia’s natural capital valued at $6,413 billion
2. Rapid decline of fishery stocks across Australia
3. Antarctica in 2070: what future will we choose?
4. Sustainable Development Goals: Australia’s voluntary national review 2018
5. Role of kelp forests in mitigating climate change under threat

EDG Node News

UMelb Node news: Darren Southwell and colleagues on optimal timing of biodiversity offsetting for metapopulations

UQ Node: Courtney Morgans and colleagues on Evaluating the effectiveness of palm oil certification in delivering multiple sustainability objectives
RMIT Node: Isaac Peterson and colleagues on evaluating the impact of offset policies
ANU Node: David Lindenmayer and colleagues on what matters in vegetation restoration for bird biodiversity in endangered temperate woodlands
Node: Vandana Subroy at the WA Feral Cat Symposium

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General News

1. Australia’s natural capital valued at $6,413 billion
Last week the Australian Bureau of Statistics released the 2018 edition of the Australian Environmental-Economic Accounts. The Australian Environmental-Economic Accounts are a comprehensive look at the country’s environment and its relationship with the economy. The total value of Australia’s environmental assets, or natural capital, was $6,413 billion at 30 June 2017, nearly double the value of $3,369 billion in 2006-07 and an increase of ten per cent from 2015-16. This is the fifth release of the publication.

http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/mf/4655.0

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2. Rapid decline of fishery stocks across Australia
The number of large fish species in Australian waters has declined by 30% in the past decade, mostly due to excessive fishing, according to new research. Marine ecology experts are calling for changes to fisheries management after publication of the study by scientists from the University of Tasmania and the University of Technology (UTS), Sydney. The decade-long study used data from diving surveys by three different bodies – the Australian Institute of Marine Science, the University of Tasmania and Reef Life Survey, a supervised citizen science group – to compare trends in fish populations in unprotected marine areas, protected areas that allow for some fishing, and protected areas that prohibit fishing.
https://www.environmentreport.com.au/single-post/2018/06/08/Study-shows-rapid-decline-of-fishery-stocks-across-Australia
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3. Antarctica in 2070: what future will we choose?

Choices made in the next decade will have long-term consequences for Antarctica and the globe, according to research published today in Nature.
The study explores how Antarctica and the Southern Ocean will change over the next 50 years, and how those changes will impact the rest of the globe.

 

Two scenarios are considered: one in which greenhouse gas emissions remain unchecked, and one in which strong action is taken to limit emissions and to manage increased human use of Antarctica.

 

In the high emissions narrative, by 2070 major ice shelves have collapsed, sea level rise has accelerated to rates not seen in 20,000 years, ocean acidification and over-fishing have altered Southern Ocean ecosystems, and failure to manage increased human pressures has degraded the Antarctic environment.

 

In the low emissions narrative, Antarctica in 2070 looks much like it does today.

 

https://www.csiro.au/en/News/News-releases/2018/Antarctica-in-2070-what-future-will-we-choose
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4. Sustainable Development Goals: Australia’s voluntary national review 2018

Australia is committed to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a universal, global approach to reduce poverty, promote sustainable development and ensure the peace and prosperity of people across the world. The SDGs reflect things that Australians value highly and seek to protect, like a clean and safe environment, access to opportunity and services, human rights, strong and accessible institutions, inclusive economies, diverse and supportive communities. Australia’s Voluntary National Review takes a narrative approach, addressing each of the SDGs. A data chapter following SDG17 covers Australia’s approach to data and how we will report against the SDG Indicators. An annex lists existing national policy frameworks that are relevant to the achievement of the SDGs. However, extensive further measures are underway at the state, territory and municipal levels of government. While it was impossible to include all of the material received through consultations for the Review, in cooperation with civil society partners, Australia will develop an online national platform to recognise these efforts and inspire future partnerships and activity. A national SDGs data platform will report against the SDG Indicators.
http://apo.org.au/node/176606

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5. Role of kelp forests in mitigating climate change under threat
A global study led by a team from The University of Western Australia and the Marine Biological Association of the UK has found that kelp forests take in more than twice the amount of carbon dioxide than previously thought, which can help mitigate the impact of climate change. However the scientists also found that the ability of kelp forests to mitigate the harmful affects of climate change was hampered by the warming of waters across the globe by up to three times, which they say is cause for concern.
https://www.environmentreport.com.au/single-post/2018/06/06/Role-of-kelp-forests-in-mitigating-climate-change-under-threat

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EDG News

UMelb Node news: Darren Southwell and colleagues on optimal timing of biodiversity offsetting for metapopulations

Biodiversity offsetting schemes permit habitat destruction, provided that losses are compensated by gains elsewhere. While hundreds of offsetting schemes are used around the globe, the optimal timing of habitat creation in such projects is poorly understood. Here, we developed a spatially explicit metapopulation model for a single species subject to a habitat compensation scheme. Managers could compensate for destruction of a patch by creating a new patch either before, at the time of, or after patch loss. Delaying patch creation is intuitively detrimental to species persistence, but allowed managers to invest financial compensation, accrue interest, and create a larger patch at a later date. Using stochastic dynamic programming, we found the optimal timing of patch creation that maximizes the number of patches occupied at the end of a 50‐yr habitat compensation scheme when a patch is destroyed after 10 yr. Two case studies were developed for Australian species subject to habitat loss but with very different traits: the endangered growling grass frog (Litoria raniformis) and the critically endangered Mount Lofty Ranges Southern Emu‐wren (Spititurus malachurus intermedius). Our results show that adding a patch either before or well after habitat destruction can be optimal, depending on the occupancy state of the metapopulation, the interest rate, the area of the destroyed patch and metapopulation parameters of the focal species. Generally, it was better to delay patch creation when the interest rate was high, when the species had a relatively high colonization rate, when the patch nearest the new patch was occupied, and when the destroyed patch was small. Our framework can be applied to single‐species metapopulations subject to habitat loss, and demonstrates that considering the timing of habitat compensation could improve the effectiveness of offsetting schemes.

Ref: Darren M. Southwell, Geoffrey W. Heard, Michael A. McCarthy (2018)
Optimal timing of biodiversity offsetting for metapopulations. Ecological Applications. 28: 508-521.
https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/eap.1666

UQ Node: Courtney Morgans and colleagues on Evaluating the effectiveness of palm oil certification in delivering multiple sustainability objectives
Industrial oil-palm plantations in South East Asia have caused significant biodiversity losses and perverse social outcomes. We compared plantations operated under the RSPO sustainability certification with equivalent uncertified plantations in Borneo. No significant difference was found between certified and non-certified plantations for any of the sustainability metrics investigated
Ref: Morgans CL, E Meijaard, T Santika, E Law, S Budiharta, M Ancrenaz & KA Wilson (2018). Evaluating the effectiveness of palm oil certification in delivering multiple sustainability objectives. Environmental Research Letters
http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aac6f4/meta
And see the CEED web story at http://ceed.edu.au/2018-news-articles/sustainable-certified-palm-oil-scheme-failing-to-achieve-goals.html

RMIT Node: Isaac Peterson and colleagues on evaluating the impact of offset policies
We propose an impact evaluation framework for biodiversity offsetting that can be used to determine the impacts attributable to developments and their associated offsets under a range of assumptions. This framework is used in conjunction with two hypothetical models of the offsetting process to illustrate a number of issues that can arise when conducting impact evaluations of biodiversity offsetting, where the ‘intervention’ comprises a development and its associated offsets. We establish that including gains due to avoided losses (i.e. development that would have otherwise happened) in the intervention impact calculation results in a reduction in the offset requirements per unit of development. This occurs regardless of whether the biodiversity at the development or offset sites is declining, stable, or improving. We also show how including gains due to avoided loss requires the consideration of offsets that might otherwise have occurred. These ‘avoided offsets’ increase the offset requirements per unit of development regardless of the background site dynamics. Finally, we examine offsetting as part of a larger, spatially strategic scheme and show that when the development and offset regions are separated, including avoided loss in the impact calculations can result in a situation where the development impact goes to zero and a system that attains ‘net gain’ regardless of the development and offsetting activities. The proposed framework can be used to inform offset policy by providing a transparent and logical methodology for the determining the offset requirements for the impacts attributed to development.
Ref: Peterson I., Maron M., Moilanen A., Bekessy S., Gordon A. (2018) A quantitative framework for evaluating the impact of biodiversity offset policies. Biological Conservation. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2018.05.005
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320717317949

ANU Node: David Lindenmayer and colleagues on what matters in vegetation restoration for bird biodiversity in endangered temperate woodlands
Vegetation restoration is a globally important form of management intervention designed to both remediate degraded land and to restore biodiversity. Using a 15‐year controlled experimental study in endangered Australian temperate woodlands, we quantified the response of bird biota to vegetation enhancement leading to the re‐establishment of an understorey, an increase in woodland patch size, or a combination of both. Our empirical results were characterized by marked variation in species richness and in the response of individual species to both time since enhancement and type of enhancement. For example, overall bird species richness initially responded negatively to enhancements but the effects were mitigated over time. Similar responses were identified for individual species such as the Rufous Songlark (Megalurus mathewsii). In the case of the Noisy Miner (Manorina melanocephala), responses to enhancement were negative and remained so over time. Conversely, the White‐plumed Honeyeater (Ptilotula penicillata), Yellow‐rumped Thornbill (Acanthiza chrysorrhoa) and Superb Fairy‐wren (Malarus cyaneus) responded positively to enhancements. We also found evidence for variable responses to the kind of enhancement with some species responding to increased woodland patch size (e.g. Yellow‐rumped Thornbill), others to a combination of enhancements (e.g. White‐plumed Honeyeater), whereas yet others were agnostic to the kind of intervention that was implemented (e.g. Noisy Miner). Positive effects of enhancement were often time lagged for 6–8 years following instigation of underplanting and/or increases in woodland patch size. The negative effects of patch enhancement on the Noisy Miner indicate that underplanting and/or increases in woodland patch size may represent ways in which the impacts on other bird taxa of this despotic, hyper‐aggressive species might be mitigated.
Ref: Lindenmayer, D.B., Blanchard, W., Crane, M., Michael, D. and Florance, D. (2018). Size or quality. What matters in vegetation restoration for bird biodiversity in endangered temperate woodlands? Austral Ecology, doi:10.1111/aec.12622.
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/aec.12622

UWA Node: Vandana Subroy at the WA Feral Cat Symposium
Vandana Subroy participated in the WA Feral Cat Symposium co-organised by the Western Australian Biodiversity Science Institute (WABSI) and the Peel Harvey Catchment Council (PHCC) in Mandurah, WA on 31st May 2018. The Symposium brought together stakeholders from the state and federal government, governmental and non-governmental landcare and conservation agencies, research organisations, academia, and animal welfare organisations across Australia to tackle a key threat to the survival of many native Australian species. Speakers shared latest research on feral cat control strategies, stories of successful feral cat management in diverse contexts, existing knowledge gaps and legislative frameworks for feral cat management. Vandana presented her research on stakeholder preferences for feral cat and fox management strategies in Dryandra Woodland— a fragmented but ecologically important conservation site in southwest WA as well as on the economic values of two focal threatened species being protected at the site; Numbats and Woylies. Her presentation was very well received by the audience. She also participated in an invited discussion the next day involving a subset of the Symposium’s participants to outline the forward strategy for feral cat management through collaboration, policy and research. Vandana is very thankful to WABSI and the PHCC for giving her the opportunity to present her research before relevant stakeholders with whom she will be collaborating on the final chapter of her PhD research that involves a cost-benefit analysis of feral cat management in Dryandra Woodland to inform the socio-economically beneficial conservation management for the site.



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About Dbytes
Dbytes is the eNewsletter of the Environmental Decisions Group. It is edited and distributed by David Salt. If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info. While Dbytes is primarily aimed at members of the EDG, anyone is welcome to receive it.

About EDG
The Environmental Decision Group (EDG) is a network of conservation researchers working on the science of effective decision making to better conserve biodiversity. Our members are largely based at the University of Queensland, the Australian National University, the University of Melbourne, the University of Western Australia, RMIT and CSIRO. The EDG receives support from the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). You can find out about the wonderful work of CEED by reading its magazine, Decision Point (which, as it happens, is also produced by David Salt).

Decision Point: http://www.decision-point.com.au/

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Dbytes #334 (14 June 2018)

Info & news for members and associates of the Environmental Decisions Group

‘The document expressed “fine aspirations” and its priorities and objectives were “sensible and clear”. However “there is no mention of investments of any kind in the strategy”, nor was there mention of law, policy, financial settings or other tools for change.’
The International Union for Conservation of Nature on Australia’s Strategy for Nature 2018-2030, read more in The Age [and see item 1 and 3]

General News

1. Feral horses are incompatible with a world heritage area. It’s one or the other
2.
Why do brumbies evoke such passion? It’s all down to the high country’s cultural myth-makers
3. Is Australia strong in environmental research?
4. Seven pearls of wisdom: Advice from Traditional Owners to improve engagement of local Indigenous people in shellfish ecosystem restoration
5. 
Murray-Darling Basin Authority: The Living Murray – Icon site condition

EDG Node News

UWA Node: Dave Pannell on an Adoption and Diffusion Outcome Prediction Tool
UMelb Node: Casey Visintin and colleagues on managing the timing and speed of vehicles reduces wildlife-transport collision risk
UQ Node: Jane McDonald and colleagues on improving private land conservation with outcome‐based biodiversity payments
RMIT Node: Florence Damiens presents at ECCB on ‘How and why biodiversity offsetting became a policy of international relevance?’
ANU Node: Karen Ikin and colleagues on old growth, regrowth, and planted woodland provide complementary habitat for threatened woodland birds on farms

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General News

1.
Feral horses are incompatible with a world heritage area. It’s one or the other

“Putting horses, mountains and the complexities of feral animal management to one side, this issue brings into very sharp focus the disdain our government shows for science. Being a “clever country” necessarily involves listening to our scientific community. If governments continue to ignore considered advice from the very panels they sanctioned specifically to give them considered advice, a lesser Australia awaits.”
An excerpt from David Watson’s heartfelt description of why he had no choice but to quit the NSW Threatened Species Scientific Committee after the NSW government gave feral horses heritage protection with the brumby bill.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jun/11/feral-horses-are-incompatible-with-a-world-heritage-area-its-one-or-the-other?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

[and see item 2]

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2. Why do brumbies evoke such passion? It’s all down to the high country’s cultural myth-makers

https://theconversation.com/why-do-brumbies-evoke-such-passion-its-all-down-to-the-high-countrys-cultural-myth-makers-97933

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3. Is Australia strong in environmental research?

“We do a lot of environmental research and we are very good at it. Importantly, the performance is spread across ‘sandstone’, newer major and regional universities. That may surprise some people, but the independent evidence is clear. Is environmental research our strongest suite in the global knowledge game? The case is strong for that claim, and we can look to see if this is confirmed when the ERA 2018 results are released. We may not be up to the challenges and opportunities in some other disciplines, but there is no knowledge-deficit excuse for failures in pursuing environmental sustainability. The difference between knowing what to do and actually doing it is another matter.”
Ref: Dovers, S., Carter, RW. And Ross, H. 2018. Is Australia strong in environmental research? Australasian Journal of Environmental Management. 25: 147-52.
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14486563.2018.1469219

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4. Seven pearls of wisdom: Advice from Traditional Owners to improve engagement of local Indigenous people in shellfish ecosystem restoration
Ref: I. McLeod,J. Schmider,C. Creighton,C. Gillies (2018). Ecological Management & Restoration 19: 98-101.
https://www.nespmarine.edu.au/system/files/McLeod%20etal%20Seven%20Pearls%20of%20wisdom_2018-Ecological_Management_Restoration_OPEN.pdf
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5. Murray-Darling Basin Authority: The Living Murray – Icon site condition

A decade’s worth of data has been collated for the first time to show how water recovered for the environment is improving key ecological sites on the River Murray. This report draws on over ten years of ecological monitoring undertaken as part of The Living Murray initiative at six priority environmental assets, also known as icon sites, on the River Murray in the southern Murray–Darling Basin. It provides a high level qualitative assessment of the performance against icon site ecological objectives from 2006–07 to 2016–17.

https://www.mdba.gov.au/publications/mdba-reports/living-murray-icon-site-condition-report

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EDG News

UWA Node: Dave Pannell on an Adoption and Diffusion Outcome Prediction Tool
ADOPT is the Adoption and Diffusion Outcome Prediction Tool. I’ve previously talked about how agricultural scientists, extension agents, policy makers and suppliers need to be able to predict how farmers will respond to a new practice or technology. How many farmers will adopt the new practice, and how quickly will they do so? This knowledge can influence research priorities, research funding decisions, the design and emphasis of extension campaigns, and the effectiveness of agricultural policies.
http://www.pannelldiscussions.net/

UMelb Node: Casey Visintin and colleagues on managing the timing and speed of vehicles reduces wildlife-transport collision risk
Quantitative models help simulate collision risk between animals and transport. Temporal variation in animal activity was strongly correlated with collision risk. Reducing speeds in areas of high predicted animal occurrence reduced collision risk. Reducing speeds during periods of peak animal activity also reduced collision risk.

Ref: Casey Visintin, Nick Golding, Rodney van der Ree, Michael A. McCarthy (2018). Managing the timing and speed of vehicles reduces wildlife-transport collision risk, Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, Volume 59, 2018, Pages 86-95, ISSN 1361-9209, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trd.2017.12.003


UQ Node: Jane McDonald and colleagues on improving private land conservation with outcome‐based biodiversity payments
In the new issue of Journal of Applied Ecology, our researchers share their findings on which outcome-based payment methods used in private land conservation were most successful in benefiting biodiversity. The team, led by Dr Jane McDonald, compared different outcome-based payment methods. They found that biodiversity outcomes were highly dependent on the payment method used, with some outperforming others. The goal of private land conservation is to increase biodiversity by paying private landholders for maintaining conservation areas on their properties. Payments are either input-based or output-based. Not much is known about improving biodiversity through the strategic use of outcome-based payments, which is what our researchers sought to address. The research findings contribute to policy and provide advice to those who wish to select the most appropriate method which will also lead to the best biodiversity outcomes.
Ref: McDonald JA, Helmstedt KJ, Bode M, Coutts S, McDonald-Madden E, Possingham HP. 2018. Improving private land conservation with outcome‐based biodiversity payments. Journal of Applied Ecology 55 (3): 1476-1485.
https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1365-2664.13071

RMIT Node: Florence Damiens presents at ECCB on ‘How and why biodiversity offsetting became a policy of international relevance?’
Biodiversity offsetting is often presented in the literature as a conservation tool to compensate for environmental damage due to economic development activities, by ensuring that “no net loss” in surrogates of biodiversity is achieved through conservation activities. The field of conservation has highlighted how in many cases current policies are likely to results in losses of biodiversity given the way they are currently implemented. Yet, despite these concerning results, we observe an increasing adoption of this policy internationally. Understanding why this policy approach has been so widely adopted around the world despite insufficient positive outcomes, is thus of major importance for the field of conservation and its future. This research investigates the genealogy of the concept of compensation/offsetting; and in doing so, aim to understand how it has become a major policy across time, scales and countries. We interrogate texts, based on a dataset of 60 key documents, selected via snowball sampling across texts. An argumentative policy analysis approach based on the Foucaultian concepts of power, discourse and genealogy is used to analyse the data. The latter is read, managed and coded using the software NVivo. We show that the waves of adoption of compensation/offsetting measures can be associated to reformist discursive responses to the rise in environmental concerns and radical discourses calling for limits to growth. The global success of biodiversity compensation/offsetting can be linked to the endorsement of a regulatory instrument (the Environmental Impact Assessment) during the Rio Convention and the creation of EIA guidelines via a rising transnational governance system. The shift from compensation to offsetting and no net loss originates in the success of the economic rationalist discourse in the US in the 1970s (and later, Australia), where market systems were introduced to lower the cost of regulatory compliance. The no-net-loss approach is currently spreading within the European Union and globally, to ensure a ‘green growth’ via potential new sources of funding for conservation. https://conbio.org/mini-sites/eccb2018/program/program/

ANU Node: Karen Ikin and colleagues on old growth, regrowth, and planted woodland provide complementary habitat for threatened woodland birds on farms
We compared old growth, regrowth, and planted woodland for bird conservation. Patch-scale occupancy was higher in old growth and regrowth than in plantings. Species occurrence in the landscape over time required all patch types. The most cost-effective strategy ignored patch type when selecting patches. Woodland bird conservation needs both protection of old growth and restoration.
Ref: Ikin, K., Tulloch, A.I.T., Ansell, D., and Lindenmayer, D.B. (2018). Old growth, regrowth, and planted woodland provide complementary habitat for threatened woodland birds on farms. Biological Conservation, 233, 120-128.
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320717321912



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About Dbytes
Dbytes is the eNewsletter of the Environmental Decisions Group. It is edited and distributed by David Salt. If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info. While Dbytes is primarily aimed at members of the EDG, anyone is welcome to receive it.

About EDG
The Environmental Decision Group (EDG) is a network of conservation researchers working on the science of effective decision making to better conserve biodiversity. Our members are largely based at the University of Queensland, the Australian National University, the University of Melbourne, the University of Western Australia, RMIT and CSIRO. The EDG receives support from the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). You can find out about the wonderful work of CEED by reading its magazine, Decision Point (which, as it happens, is also produced by David Salt).

Decision Point: http://www.decision-point.com.au/

Dbytes #333 (7 June 2018)

Info & news for members and associates of the Environmental Decisions Group

“It looks like a herd of elephants has been through, with torn up streams and lost vegetation.”
Mark Norman, Chief Conservation Scientist, Parks Victoria, on damage by feral horses in the Victorian high country (the source of the Murray River) [See item 4]

General News

1. From drone swarms to tree batteries, new tech revolutionises ecology & conservation
2. Govt review on how to reduce green tape for farmers closes on 15 June.
3. Up in smoke: what did taxpayers get for the $2bn emissions fund?
4. Victoria pledges to remove 1,200 brumbies to protect alps and calls on NSW to act [and First Dog on the Moon’s take on wild horses]
5. Government’s $500m Great Barrier Reef package may have limited impact amid climate change

EDG Node News

ANU Node: Ayesha Tulloch and colleagues on Using ideal distributions of the time since habitat was disturbed to build metrics for evaluating landscape condition
UWA Node: Shark-diving tourism as a financing mechanism for shark conservation strategies in Malaysia
UMelb node: Philosophical discussions in the lab: Žižek criticises ideological ecology
UQld Node: Nathalie Butt and colleagues on opportunities for biodiversity as cities adapt to climate change

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General News

1. From drone swarms to tree batteries, new tech revolutionises ecology & conservation

Euan Ritchie and Blake Allan

Understanding Earth’s species and ecosystems is a monumentally challenging scientific pursuit. But with the planet in the grip of its sixth mass extinction event, it has never been a more pressing priority.

To unlock nature’s secrets, ecologists turn to a variety of scientific instruments and tools. Sometimes we even repurpose household items, with eyebrow-raising results – whether it’s using a tea strainer to house ants, or tackling botfly larvae with a well-aimed dab of nail polish. But there are many more high-tech options becoming available for studying the natural world. In fact, ecology is on the cusp of a revolution, with new and emerging technologies opening up new possibilities for insights into nature and applications for conserving biodiversity. Our study, published in the journal Ecosphere, tracks the progress of this technological development. Here we highlight a few examples of these exciting advances.

https://theconversation.com/from-drone-swarms-to-tree-batteries-new-tech-is-revolutionising-ecology-and-conservation-94920
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2. Govt review on how to reduce green tape for farmers closes on 15 June.

Consultation to explore ways to improve farmers’ interaction with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act):
Independent Reviewer, Dr Wendy Craik, is undertaking a short-term targeted review to reduce red-tape and find practical ways to help farmers meet the requirements of the EPBC Act. The review will help unpack the issues faced by farmers to find real solutions while maintaining the high environmental standards Australia is renowned for. Dr Craik will report to Government in mid-2018. All interested stakeholders can submit written submissions until Friday 15 June 2018. A review briefing paper and information on making a submission are available at
http://www.environment.gov.au/epbc/information-for/farmers/consultation-agriculture-review

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3. Up in smoke: what did taxpayers get for the $2bn emissions fund?
Before the latest auction figures, Adam Morton investigates the plan Turnbull once called ‘a recipe for fiscal recklessness’
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jun/03/up-in-smoke-what-did-taxpayers-get-for-their-2bn-emissions-fund?CMP=share_btn_tw

 
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4. Victoria pledges to remove 1,200 brumbies to protect alps and calls on NSW to act

The Victorian Environment minister says up to 2,500 wild horses are causing ‘significant damage’ to plant and animal species.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jun/02/victoria-pledges-to-remove-1200-brumbies-to-protect-alps-and-calls-on-nsw-to-act

[And see First Dog’s take on this: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/may/23/the-cruel-truth-about-the-brumbies ]

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5. Government’s $500m Great Barrier Reef package may have limited impact amid climate change

At the end of April a $500 million package to help the Great Barrier Reef was announced by the Federal Government. It didn’t take long for questions to be raised about the decision to give $444 million in funding to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, a small charity with a revenue of only $8 million in 2016. The funding will be split between improving water quality, supporting reef restoration science, increasing crown-of-thorns starfish control, community engagement and reef monitoring. But there is no acknowledgement of what scientists argue is the biggest threat facing the reef: climate change. Without climate action, can this package actually do anything to help the reef? The answer is no, according to many involved in reef research, management and conservation, including University of Queensland coral biologist Sophie Dove.
“Unless we mitigate the CO2, a lot of the other solutions such as cleaning the water and removing crown of thorns are somewhat immaterial,” Dr Dove said…
Read more at ABC Science

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EDG Node News

ANU Node: Ayesha Tulloch and colleagues on Using ideal distributions of the time since habitat was disturbed to build metrics for evaluating landscape condition
Developing a standardized approach to measuring the state of biodiversity in landscapes undergoing disturbance is crucial for evaluating and comparing change across different systems, assessing ecosystem vulnerability and the impacts of destructive activities, and helping direct species recovery actions. Existing ecosystem metrics of condition fail to acknowledge that a particular community could be in multiple states, and the distribution of states could worsen or improve when impacted by a disturbance process, depending on how far the current landscape distribution of states diverges from pre-anthropogenic impact baseline conditions. We propose a way of rapidly assessing regional-scale condition in ecosystems where the distribution of age classes representing increasing time since last disturbance is suspected to have diverged from an ideal benchmark reference distribution. We develop two metrics that (1) compare the observed mean time since last disturbance with an expected mean and (2) quantify the summed shortfall of vegetation age-class frequencies relative to a reference age-class distribution of time since last disturbance. We demonstrate the condition metrics using two case studies: (1) fire in threatened southwestern Australian proteaceaous mallee-heath and (2) impacts of disturbance (fire and logging) in the critically endangered southeastern Australian mountain ash Eucalyptus regnans forest on the yellow-bellied glider Petaurus australis. We explore the effects of uncertainty in benchmark time since last disturbance, and evaluate metric sensitivity using simulated age-class distributions representing alternative ecosystems. By accounting for and penalizing too-frequent and too-rare disturbances, the summed shortfall metric is more sensitive to change than mean time since last disturbance. We find that mountain ash forest is in much poorer condition (summed shortfall 38.5 out of 100 for a 120-yr benchmark disturbance interval) than indicated merely by loss of extent (84% of vegetation remaining). Proteaceaous mallee-heath is in worse condition than indicated by loss of extent for an upper benchmark interval of 80 yr, but condition almost doubles for the minimum tolerable time since last disturbance interval of 20 yr. To fully describe ecosystem degradation, we recommend that our summed shortfall metric, focused on habitat quality and informed by biologically meaningful baselines, be added to existing condition measures focused on vegetation extent. This will improve evaluation of change in ecosystem states and enhance management of ecosystems in poor condition.
Ref: Tulloch, A.I.T., McDonald, J., Cosier, P., Sbrocchi, C., Stein, J., Lindenmayer, D.B., and Possingham, H.P. (2018). Using ideal distributions of the time since habitat was disturbed to build metrics for evaluating landscape condition. Ecological Applications,
https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/eap.1676

UWA Node: Shark-diving tourism as a financing mechanism for shark conservation strategies in Malaysia

This study estimated the economic value of the shark-diving industry in Semporna, the most popular diving destination of Malaysia, by surveying the expenditures of diving tourists and dive operators through the region. A willingness-to-pay survey was also used to estimate the potential of the industry as a financing mechanism for enforcement and management of a hypothetical Marine Protected Area (MPA) to conserve shark populations. The study showed that in 2012, shark-diving tourism provided direct revenues in excess of USD 9.8 million to the Semporna region. These economic benefits had a flow-on effect, generating more than USD 2 million in direct taxes to the government and USD 1.4 million in salaries to the community. A contingent valuation analysis indicated that implementation of a fee paid by divers could generate over USD 2 million for management and enforcement of the MPA each year. These findings suggest that shark diving is an important contributor to the economy of the Semporna region that could be used as a mechanism to assist financial resourcing for management and conservation strategies.
Ref: Gabriel M.S.Vianna, Mark G.Meekan, Abbie A.Rogers, Marit E.Kragt, James M.Alin, Johanna S.Zimmerhackel (2018). Shark-diving tourism as a financing mechanism for shark conservation strategies in Malaysia. Marine Policy, Volume 94, August 2018, Pages 220-226. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2018.05.008

UMelb node: Philosophical discussions in the lab: Žižek criticises ideological ecology
In a recent reading group, QAECO discussed a criticism of ecology from the contemporary philosopher Slavoj Žižek. Žižek is a strongly left-leaning critic of societal issues, who thinks many of society’s problems stem from an era of ideology. Žižek views ecology as one such ideology, believing that ecology “takes real problems and mystifies them”. He contends that ideologies provide an escape from real societal challenges and are a hindrance to true social progression. What makes him view ecology in such a light? Žižek’s view of ecology is perhaps synonymous to environmentalism, which calls for the preservation of nature. In contrast, as researchers and practitioners of ecology, we often think in terms of conservation of nature. Both views recognise the inherent value of nature, and uphold the ideology that nature is worth protecting for its own worth. The fundamental difference, however, is that ecological preservation focuses on maintaining nature at a current or past state deemed as desirable, whereas conservation focuses on protecting nature and is not necessarily intolerant to change.
https://qaeco.com/2018/06/05/philosophical-discussions-in-the-lab-zizek-criticises-ideological-ecology/

UQld Node: Nathalie Butt and colleagues on opportunities for biodiversity as cities adapt to climate change
Cities are investing billions of dollars in climate change adaptation to combat the effects of sea-level rise, temperature extremes, increasingly intense storm events, flooding and water scarcity. Natural ecosystems have enormous potential to contribute to city resilience, and so, actions that rely on this approach could sustain considerable co-benefits for biodiversity. In this paper we identify the prevalence of key themes of human adaptation response that could have biodiversity conservation outcomes in cities. We then quantify the area of impact for actions that identify specific targets for greening or green infrastructure that could involve natural ecosystems, providing an indicator of potential co-benefits to biodiversity. We then extrapolate to explore the total area of land that could benefit from catchment management approaches, the area of waterways that could benefit from nature-based improvement of these spaces, and finally the number of threatened species that could benefit across these cities. From 80 city climate adaptation plans analysed, we found that urban greening plays a key role in most adaptation strategies, and represents an enormous opportunity for biodiversity conservation, given the diversity of animal and plant species in urban environments. We show that the ranges of at least 270 threatened species overlap with the area covered by just 58 city adaptation plans, including watershed catchments totalling over 28 million km2. However, an analysis of 80 city adaptation plans (of a total 151 found globally) shows that this opportunity is being missed. Just 18% of the plans assessed contained specific intentions to promote biodiversity. We highlight this missed opportunity, as climate adaptation actions undertaken by cities represent an enormous incipient opportunity for nature conservation. Finally, we encourage planners and city governments to incorporate biological conservation into climate adaption plans, for the mutual benefit of urban societies and their biodiversity.
Ref: Butt N, DF Shanahan, N Shumway, SA Bekessy, RA Fuller, JEM Watson, R Maggini & DG Hole (2018). Opportunities for biodiversity as cities adapt to climate change. Geo: Geography and Environment 5. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/geo2.52
[And see CEED’s fabulous web pictorial on this paper at
http://ceed.edu.au/2018-news-articles/the-missed-opportunity-in-climate-change-adaption.html]

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About Dbytes
Dbytes is the eNewsletter of the Environmental Decisions Group. It is edited and distributed by David Salt. If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info. While Dbytes is primarily aimed at members of the EDG, anyone is welcome to receive it.

About EDG
The Environmental Decision Group (EDG) is a network of conservation researchers working on the science of effective decision making to better conserve biodiversity. Our members are largely based at the University of Queensland, the Australian National University, the University of Melbourne, the University of Western Australia, RMIT and CSIRO. The EDG receives support from the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). You can find out about the wonderful work of CEED by reading its magazine, Decision Point (which, as it happens, is also produced by David Salt).

Decision Point: http://www.decision-point.com.au/

Dbytes #332 (31 May 2018)

Info & news for members and associates of the Environmental Decisions Group

“Efforts to conserve biodiversity comprise a patchwork of international goals, national-level plans, and local interventions that, overall, are failing.”
Arlidge et al, 2018 [see item 4]

General News

1. The Australian Threatened Species Strategy – A Year Two Progress Report
2.
Nature Without Biodiversity: Urban Climate Adaptation Has a Blind Spot
3. GBCA: It’s time to think about biodiversity in green buildings like we do climate and energy
4. A Global Mitigation Hierarchy for Nature Conservation
5.
Humans just 0.01% of all life but have destroyed 83% of wild mammals – study

EDG News

RMIT Node: Our City’s Little Gems: Butterfly Biodiversity in the City of Melbourne
ANU Node: David Lindenmayer and colleagues on biodiversity benefits of vegetation restoration undermined by livestock grazing
UWA Node: Dave Pannell and colleagues on policy-oriented environmental research: What is it worth?
UMelb Node: Hannah Fraser and colleagues on Questionable Research Practices in Ecology and Evolution.
UQld Node:
Eduardo Gallo‐Cajiao and colleagues on crowdfunding biodiversity conservation

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General News

1. The Australian Threatened Species Strategy – A Year Two Progress Report

Dr Sally Box, Threatened Species Commissioner: “I am proud to deliver this progress report, which reflects the work of my office and predecessors. This is the fourth report on the Australian Government’s efforts to fight threatened species extinction. It also marks more than two years since the release of the Threatened Species Strategy. Key achievements during this period include:
•Mobilising over $255 million for projects that include outcomes for threatened species.
•Providing a competitive grants round under the Threatened Species Recovery Fund.
•Launching Australia’s first Threatened Species Prospectus.
•Raising awareness of Australia’s threatened species through the use of innovative engagement techniques.
•Increasing momentum and action under the Threatened Species Strategy…”

http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/threatened-species-strategy-year-two-progress-report

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2. Nature Without Biodiversity: Urban Climate Adaptation Has a Blind Spot

Many conservationists see urban climate adaptation as a win-win endeavor. After all, making cities more resilient to weather extremes often involves using nature: wetlands to absorb heavy rainfall, trees to lower local temperatures, and so on. Billions of dollars are being spent, and all this new nature ought to be a boon to biodiversity—yet the potential is in danger of being squandered. In a study published in the journal Geo: Geography and Environment [see UQ Node news], researchers led by Natalie Butt, an ecologist at the University of Queensland, reviewed climate adaptation plans from 80 cities around the world. Greenery is ubiquitous in them, but “just 18 percent of the plans assessed contained specific intentions to promote biodiversity,” they found…

http://www.anthropocenemagazine.org/2018/04/biodiversity-climate-adaptation/

[And see item 3 and UQ Node news]
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3. GBCA: It’s time to think about biodiversity in green buildings like we do climate and energy

The Green Building Council of Australia wants the building sector to start thinking about biodiversity and ecology the same way it does about climate change and energy. According to GBCA head of market transformation Jorge Chapa, while no one in the industry blinks an eye at moves to go zero carbon or net energy positive, that same level of “dramatic change” is not being seen around biodiversity and ecology.

“In principle everyone looks at nature in and around buildings and understands it’s important, but we haven’t put it at the forefront like other things,” Mr Chapa told The Fifth Estate.

In order to signal to the market that it’s time to rethink how nature is integrated and strengthened in and around projects, the council has released a discussion paper on changes to Green Star’s biodiversity and ecology credits…

https://www.thefifthestate.com.au/innovation/commercial/gbca-its-time-to-think-about-biodiversity-like-we-do-climate-and-energy/99112?mc_cid=5f8835a477&mc_eid=71269d6701
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4. A Global Mitigation Hierarchy for Nature Conservation

Efforts to conserve biodiversity comprise a patchwork of international goals, national-level plans, and local interventions that, overall, are failing. We discuss the potential utility of applying the mitigation hierarchy, widely used during economic development activities, to all negative human impacts on biodiversity. Evaluating all biodiversity losses and gains through the mitigation hierarchy could help prioritize consideration of conservation goals and drive the empirical evaluation of conservation investments through the explicit consideration of counterfactual trends and ecosystem dynamics across scales. We explore the challenges in using this framework to achieve global conservation goals, including operationalization and monitoring and compliance, and we discuss solutions and research priorities. The mitigation hierarchy’s conceptual power and ability to clarify thinking could provide the step change needed to integrate the multiple elements of conservation goals and interventions in order to achieve successful biodiversity outcomes.

Ref: William N S Arlidge, Joseph W Bull, Prue F E Addison, Michael J Burgass, Dimas Gianuca, Taylor M Gorham, Céline Jacob, Nicole Shumway, Samuel P Sinclair, James E M Watson, Chris Wilcox, E J Milner-Gulland; A Global Mitigation Hierarchy for Nature Conservation, BioScience, Volume 68, Issue 5, 1 May 2018, Pages 336–347, https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biy029
https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/advance-article/doi/10.1093/biosci/biy029/4966810
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5. Humans just 0.01% of all life but have destroyed 83% of wild mammals – study

The world’s 7.6 billion people represent just 0.01% of all living things, according to the study. Yet since the dawn of civilisation, humanity has caused the loss of 83% of all wild mammals and half of plants, while livestock kept by humans abounds. The new work is the first comprehensive estimate of the weight of every class of living creature and overturns some long-held assumptions. Bacteria are indeed a major life form – 13% of everything – but plants overshadow everything, representing 82% of all living matter. All other creatures, from insects to fungi, to fish and animals, make up just 5% of the world’s biomass.

See The Guardian for the media story
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/21/human-race-just-001-of-all-life-but-has-destroyed-over-80-of-wild-mammals-study
and PNAS for the science study
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/05/15/1711842115
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EDG News

RMIT Node: Our City’s Little Gems: Butterfly Biodiversity in the City of Melbourne
The data that Luis Mata and others collected for the “Our City’s Little Gems: Butterfly Biodiversity in the City of Melbourne” project has recently been visualised on this super cool platform: http://biodiversity.melbourne.vic.gov.au/insects/#/butterflies

ANU Node: David Lindenmayer and colleagues on biodiversity benefits of vegetation restoration undermined by livestock grazing
Extensive areas of the Earth’s terrestrial surface have been subject to restoration, but how best to manage such restored areas has received relatively limited attention. Here, we quantify the effects of livestock grazing on bird and reptile biota within 61 restoration plantings in south-eastern Australia. Using path analysis, we identified some of the mechanisms giving rise to differences in patterns of species richness and individual species occurrence between grazed and ungrazed plantings. Specifically, we found evidence of both: (1) indirect effects of grazing on various elements of biodiversity mediated through changes in vegetation condition (primarily the leaf litter layer), and (2) direct effects of grazing on biodiversity (irrespective of modification in vegetation cover attributes), possibly as a result of trampling by livestock. We also uncovered evidence of direct effects on bird and reptile biota of other planting attributes such as planting width and planting age. The results of our study suggest that the biodiversity benefits of restoration programs can be undermined by grazing, especially by uncontrolled grazing. We suggest that where the objective of vegetation restoration is to enhance biodiversity conservation, grazing within plantings should be limited or excluded.
Ref: Lindenmayer, D.B., Blanchard, W., Crane, M., Michael, D., and Sato C. (2018). Biodiversity benefits of vegetation restoration undermined by livestock grazing. Restoration Ecology, doi:10.1111/rec.12676.

UWA Node: Dave Pannell and colleagues on policy-oriented environmental research: What is it worth?
Evidence about the benefits to society from research is increasingly demanded. Economic models to evaluate the benefits of research exist but have not been applied to environmental research. We outline a framework for estimating the benefits of policy-oriented environmental research. Key elements include defining the counterfactual, time lags and valuing the benefits. Applications to environmental research are especially challenging when the research users are policymakers.
Ref: David J. Pannell, Julian M. Alston, Scott Jeffrey, Yvonne M. Buckley, Peter Vesk, Jonathan R. Rhodes, Eve McDonald-Madden, Simon Nally, Garry Goucher, Tas Thamo (2018). Policy-oriented environmental research: What is it worth? Environmental Science & Policy, Volume 86, Pages 64-71, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2018.05.005

UMelb Node: Hannah Fraser and colleagues on Questionable Research Practices in Ecology and Evolution.
“We surveyed 807 researchers (494 ecologists and 313 evolutionary biologists) about their use of Questionable Research Practices (QRPs), including cherry picking statistically significant results, p hacking, and hypothesising after the results are known (HARKing). We also asked them to estimate the proportion of their colleagues that use each of these QRPs. Several of the QRPs were prevalent within the ecology and evolution research community. Across the two groups, we found 64% of surveyed researchers reported they had at least once failed to report results because they were not statistically significant (cherry picking); 42% had collected more data after inspecting whether results were statistically significant (a form of p hacking) and 51% had reported an unexpected finding as though it had been hypothesised from the start (HARKing). Such practices have been directly implicated in the low rates of reproducible results uncovered by recent large scale replication studies in psychology and other disciplines. The rates of QRPs found in this study are comparable with the rates seen in psychology, indicating that the reproducibility problems discovered in psychology are also likely to be present in ecology and evolution.”
Ref: Fraser, H., Parker, T. H., Nakagawa, S., Barnett, A., & Fidler, F. (2018, March 21). Questionable Research Practices in Ecology and Evolution. https://osf.io/ajyqg/

UQld Node: Eduardo Gallo‐Cajiao and colleagues on crowdfunding biodiversity conservation
Raising funds is critical for conserving biodiversity and hence so too is scrutinizing emerging financial mechanisms that might help achieve this goal. In this context, anecdotal evidence indicates crowdfunding is being used to support a variety of activities needed for biodiversity conservation, yet its magnitude and allocation remain largely unknown. We conducted a global analysis to help address this knowledge gap, based on empirical data from conservation‐focused projects extracted from crowdfunding platforms. For each project, we determined the funds raised, date, country of implementation, proponent characteristics, activity type, biodiversity realm, and target taxa. We identified 72 relevant platforms and 577 conservation‐focused projects that have raised US$4 790 634 since 2009. Whilst proponents were based in 38 countries, projects were delivered across 80 countries, indicating a potential mechanism of resource mobilization. Proponents were from non‐governmental organizations (35%), universities (30%), or were freelancers (26%). Most projects were for research (40%), persuasion (31%), and on‐ground actions (21%). Projects have focused primarily on species (57.7%) and terrestrial ecosystems (20.3%), and less on marine (8.8%) and freshwater ecosystems (3.6%). Projects have focused on 208 species, including a disproportionate number of threatened bird and mammal species. Crowdfunding for biodiversity conservation has now become a global phenomenon and presents signals for potential expansion, despite possible pitfalls. Opportunities arise from its spatial amplifying effect, steady increase over time, inclusion of Cinderella species, adoption by multiple actors, and funding of a range of activities beyond research. Our study paves the way for further research on key questions, such as campaign success rates, effectiveness, and drivers of adoption. Even though the capital input of crowdfunding so far has been modest compared to other conservation finance mechanisms, its contribution goes beyond funding research and providing capital. Embraced with due care, crowdfunding could potentially become an increasingly important financial mechanism for biodiversity conservation.
Ref: Gallo‐Cajiao E, C. Archibald, R. Friedman, R. Steven, R. A. Fuller, E. T. Game, H. Morrison, E. G. Ritchie (2018). Crowdfunding biodiversity conservation. Conservation Biology. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/cobi.13144

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About Dbytes
Dbytes is the eNewsletter of the Environmental Decisions Group. It is edited and distributed by David Salt. If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info. While Dbytes is primarily aimed at members of the EDG, anyone is welcome to receive it.

About EDG
The Environmental Decision Group (EDG) is a network of conservation researchers working on the science of effective decision making to better conserve biodiversity. Our members are largely based at the University of Queensland, the Australian National University, the University of Melbourne, the University of Western Australia, RMIT and CSIRO. The EDG receives support from the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). You can find out about the wonderful work of CEED by reading its magazine, Decision Point (which, as it happens, is also produced by David Salt).

Decision Point: http://www.decision-point.com.au/

Dbytes #331 (25 May 2018)

Info & news for members and associates of the Environmental Decisions Group

“Kosciuszko National Park exists to protect the unique environment of the Snowy Mountains, and that unique environment includes wild brumbies.”
John Barilaro, Deputy Premier, NSW. Read more

“The decision is an international embarrassment,”
Alix Goodwin, Chief executive, National Parks Association of NSW, read more

[And see item 1]

General News

1. NSW’s no-cull brumby bill will consign feral horses to an even crueller fate
2.
The Wet Tropics Management Authority issued ‘State of Wet Tropics 2016-17’.
3. Global mismatch of policy and research on drivers of biodiversity loss
4. Clean Energy Regulator releases two new savanna fire management methods
5. To get conservative climate contrarians to really listen, try speaking their language

EDG News

General CEED News: What happened at the #CEEDTC2018 Twitter Conference (Tuesday, 22 May 2018)?
UQ Node: Eduardo Gallo for Vice President! Vote by 29 May
RMIT Node:
Sarah Bekessy and Holly Kirk speak at the Pint of Science
ANU Node:
Dave Blair and colleagues on failing to conserve Leadbeater’s Possum and its Mountain Ash forest habitat
UMelb Node:
Mick McCarthy featured in threatened species article in The Age

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General News

1. NSW’s no-cull brumby bill will consign feral horses to an even crueller fate
An Conversation editorial by Don Driscoll, President of the ESA

“New South Wales’ proposed brumby legislation – which abandons plans to cull feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park – is a dangerously reckless policy that will escalate environmental impacts, escalate costs, and put horses at risk of extreme suffering. The New South Wales’ Deputy Premier John Barilaro was reported as saying the cultural significance of the brumbies needed to be recognised. But the evidence regarding feral horse (brumby) impacts on the environment in the Australian alps makes it clear that large numbers of feral horses are incompatible with maintaining the ecological values of Kosciuszko National Park.”

https://theconversation.com/nsws-no-cull-brumby-bill-will-consign-feral-horses-to-an-even-crueller-fate-96905

and see also Assoc Prof Graeme Worboys’ editorial:
“This is an extraordinary proposal given that the brumby is an introduced stock animal gone wild and it is threatening the special values of Kosciuszko by trampling, eroding and polluting its unique alpine wetlands and catchments. It is even more inappropriate given the government’s scientific advisors are recommending that feral horses (brumbies) are listed as a threatening process.”
https://johnmenadue.com/graeme-worboys-save-kosciuszko/

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2. The Wet Tropics Management Authority issued ‘State of Wet Tropics 2016-17’.

http://www.wettropics.gov.au/site/user-assets/docs/2016-17%20State%20of%20Wet%20Tropics%20report.pdf

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3. Global mismatch of policy and research on drivers of biodiversity loss

From Tessa Mazor: “I would like to share with you a new paper out today in Nature Ecology and Evolution titled “Global mismatch of policy and research on drivers of biodiversity loss”. Our study synthesises over >44,000 articles and highlights the need to realign research on global drivers of biodiversity loss to better match policy agenda. We call for more work to be done concerning pollution and for multiple driver interactions. This paper was written by a group of CSIRO postdocs from a diverse range of fields – the journey of our paper can be read in our blog

Ref: Mazor, T., Doropoulos, C., Schwarzmueller, F., Gladish, D.W., Kumaran, N., Merkel, K., Di Marco, M. & Gagic, V. (2018) Global mismatch of policy and research on drivers of biodiversity loss Nature Ecology and Evolution doi:10.1038/s41559-018-0563-x

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4. Clean Energy Regulator releases two new savanna fire management methods

Two new savanna fire management methods—one that credits emissions avoidance only, and one that credits both sequestration and emissions avoidance, are now available under the Emissions Reduction Fund. Savanna fire management activities eligible under these two methods result in a shift to fewer large, high intensity late dry season fires, to a greater proportion of smaller, planned, lower intensity fires generally in the early dry season. This shift in the fire regime results in a reduction in emissions of methane and nitrous oxide and an increase in carbon dioxide stored in dead organic matter (coarse and heavy fuels). Sequestered carbon is subject to permanence obligations.

http://www.cleanenergyregulator.gov.au/About/Pages/News%20and%20updates/NewsItem.aspx?ListId=19b4efbb-6f5d-4637-94c4-121c1f96fcfe&ItemId=503
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5. To get conservative climate contrarians to really listen, try speaking their language

It’s a well-studied fact that facts don’t speak for themselves. This is especially apparent with climate change. Some brilliant studies in the past ten years have shown that people respond to narratives about climate change, not raw facts.

https://theconversation.com/to-get-conservative-climate-contrarians-to-really-listen-try-speaking-their-language-94296
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EDG News

General CEED News: What happened at the #CEEDTC2018 Twitter Conference (Tuesday, 22 May 2018)?
Who said this: “Decision science is just six steps and 31 one syllable words: 1 what do we want? 2 what can we do? 3 how does what we do change what we want? 4 pick the best think to do; 5 do; 6 learn. Or six word: Objectives, actions, models, algorithms, act, learn”
To find out, see the Highlights from CEED’s innagural Twitter Conference. An online-only environmental decision science conference that increases research potential, removes travel pollution, and improves equity.
[Hint: the mystery quote comes from person who uses the Twitter tag HugePossum!]
https://twitter.com/i/moments/998793807457017856
And here’s what CEED’s Director Kerrie Wilson said:
“Our inaugural Twitter Conference #CEEDTC2018 has been a huge success! According to metrics gathered by the comms team, your tweets from the conference had a potential audience reach of almost 600,000 people. This has been a great opportunity to begin a new and meaningful environmental decision science conversation while planting the seeds for new research partnerships and collaborations around the world. It has also been a great opportunity to lead by example, by hosting an online conference that did not generate any travel-related emissions.”

UQ Node: Eduardo Gallo for Vice President! Vote by 29 May
The final round of the elections for VP for Education and Outreach for the Board of Governors of the Society for Conservation Biology is on. A CEED PhD student based at UQ, Eduardo Gallo has come first in the initial round thanks to all your support. He now needs backing for the final push in his campaign. The second and final round closes on 29th May, so please cast your vote and consider him for this election at: https://conbio.org/about-scb/who-we-are/staff-board/bog-elections

RMIT Node: Sarah Bekessy and Holly Kirk speak at the Pint of Science
Sarah Bekessy spoke on Monday 14 May at the Pint of Science “Earth’s Future” session on “Everyday nature for the future of cities”.  A perfect storm of ideas is generating unprecedented enthusiasm for embracing nature in cities. But it’s more than just urban greening; it’s generating daily doses of biodiversity. https://pintofscience.com.au/event/earths-future
And Holly Kirk spoke last Tuesday at the Pint of Science “Animal Antics” session on “Studying the secret life of seabirds”.  Seabirds spend almost their whole lives on the open ocean, so how do we go about protecting these natural wonders? Holly spoke about how technological advances are uncovering seabird behaviour and aiding marine conservation. https://pintofscience.com.au/event/animal-antics

ANU Node: Dave Blair and colleagues on failing to conserve Leadbeater’s Possum and its Mountain Ash forest habitat
The conservation of the Critically Endangered Leadbeater’s Possum in Victoria’s Mountain Ash forests is one of the most controversial native mammal conservation issues in Australia. Much of the controversy results from long-running conflicts between the demands of the native forest logging industry and associated impacts on Leadbeater’s Possum and its Mountain Ash forest habitat. Here we argue that despite a legislative obligation to protect Leadbeater’s Possum and some limited recent improvements in management, conservation efforts for the species have gone backwards over the past decade. The key problems we identify include that the Victorian Government has: (1) maintained levels of wood production that are too high given the amount of the forest estate that was burned in 2009, (2) failed to substitute clearfell logging practices with more ecologically-sensitive Variable Retention Harvesting Systems, (3) ignored the science (including by its own researchers) on the need for a large protected area for Leadbeater’s Possum, (4) altered key definitions such as those for mature trees and old growth that have substantially weakened the ability to protect Leadbeater’s Possum, and (5) overlooked the array of forest values beyond timber production (such as water and tourism) and which make a greater contribution to the economy. Our analyses suggest that populations of Leadbeater’s Possum are undergoing a substantial decline, as are other hollow-dependent species such as the Greater Glider. In light of this, it is clear that Victoria needs to substantially change native forest timber harvesting practices as well as improve its efforts to conserve Leadbeater’s Possum and the Mountain Ash forests in which it occurs.
Ref: Blair, D., McBurney, L., and Lindenmayer, D.B. (2018). Failing to conserve Leadbeater’s Possum and its Mountain Ash forest habitat. Australian Zoologist, https://doi.org/10.7882/AZ.2018.008
UMelb Node: Mick McCarthy featured in threatened species article in The Age
“We’ve done particularly badly with mammals … around one-third of the mammal species that have gone extinct over the last couple of hundred years have come from Australia,” Mick McCarthy said. “Unfortunately, we’re punching well above our weight when it comes to threatened species going extinct.”
However, Professor McCarthy said the good news was that that trajectory could be reversed.
“To some extent, we’re actually pretty good at preventing extinction … if we actually know that [threatened species] exist and put in efforts to manage the threats against them,” he said.
He said disease, predation by introduced animals and habitat loss were all leading drivers of species decline – all of which could be addressed through research, policy changes and investment.
“If you look at total federal government expenditure which is roughly in the area of threatened species, it’s around about $70 million per year,” Professor McCarthy said. “That might sound like a lot of money, but it’s tiny in comparison to proposed tax cuts of around $20 billion a year on average over seven years.
“Defence gets over $30 billion a year – so these are three orders of magnitude of expenditure more than what we are spending on a federal level on threatened species.”
https://www.theage.com.au/environment/conservation/dozens-of-animals-and-plants-join-australia-s-threatened-species-list-20180512-p4zexo.html


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About Dbytes
Dbytes is the eNewsletter of the Environmental Decisions Group. It is edited and distributed by David Salt. If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info. While Dbytes is primarily aimed at members of the EDG, anyone is welcome to receive it.

About EDG
The Environmental Decision Group (EDG) is a network of conservation researchers working on the science of effective decision making to better conserve biodiversity. Our members are largely based at the University of Queensland, the Australian National University, the University of Melbourne, the University of Western Australia, RMIT and CSIRO. The EDG receives support from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). You can find out about the wonderful work of CEED by reading its magazine, Decision Point (which, as it happens, is also produced by David Salt).

Decision Point: http://www.decision-point.com.au/

 

Dbytes #330 (17 May 2018)

Info & news for members and associates of the Environmental Decisions Group

“Funding for the Environment Department has been cut again in this year’s budget. Since the 2012-13 budget, funding for the Environment Department has been cut by 37%. At a time when ecosystems are under extreme stress and entire species are threatened, the government is choosing to cut environment funding.”
Hannah Aulby (The Australia Institute)


General News

1. Australians value reducing the risk of marine pests on the environment
2. Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow
3. Swaths of native forest near Great Barrier Reef set to be bulldozed
4. Murray-Darling Basin Plan: Wentworth Group on requirements for Sustainable Diversion Limit
5. Dedicated boundary-spanners can support a more effective relationship between science and policy

EDG News

General CEED News: CEED Twitter Conference is on Tuesday 22 May 2018
UQ Node: Maria Jose Martinez-Harms and colleagues on Inequality in access to cultural ecosystem services from protected areas in the Chilean biodiversity hotspot.
RMIT Node: Mat Hardy on revolving private land to conserve nature
ANU Node:
Natasha Robinson and colleagues on reintroducing bandicoots in Booderee National Park
UMelb Node:
Jane Elith and colleagues running another species distribution modelling course

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General News

1. Australians value reducing the risk of marine pests on the environment

ABARES has released ‘An Assessment of the non-market value of reducing the risk of marine pest incursions in Australia’s waters.’ The assessment analyses public sentiment on the protection of the Australian environment from the impacts of new exotic marine pests. This new research shows that Australians place significant value on the health of our marine environment and that preventative policies will not only be essential in reducing the chance of marine pest incursions, they will also have both economic and environmental benefits.

http://www.agriculture.gov.au/abares/research-topics/fisheries/fisheries-research/value-of-reducing-marine-pest-incursion-risk

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2. Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow

AUSTRALIA’S greenhouse gas pollution levels have jumped yet again, with the latest national government data released just days after climate change was forgotten in the Federal Budget.

Climate Council Acting CEO Dr Martin Rice said the Quarterly Update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory released overnight shows an increase of 1.5% in greenhouse pollution levels over the last year (December 2017).

“This is now the third consecutive year Australia has seen an increase in greenhouse gas pollution levels. Yet, the Federal Government continues to bury its head in the sand, despite the climate siren sounding for years,” he said.

“This increase in emissions comes just days after the Federal Government failed to introduce any funding measures to tackle intensifying climate change in the 2018 Budget.”

https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/pollution-jumps-as-australia-buries-its-head-in-the-sand
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3. Swaths of native forest near Great Barrier Reef set to be bulldozed

Federal officials plan to back the destruction of almost 2000 hectares of pristine Queensland forest in a move that threatens the Great Barrier Reef and undermines a $500 million Turnbull government rescue package for the natural wonder. A draft report by the Department of the Environment and Energy recommends that the government allow the mass vegetation clearing at Kingvale Station on Cape York Peninsula. The area to be bulldozed is almost three times the size of the combined central business districts of Sydney and Melbourne.

https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/swaths-of-native-forest-near-great-barrier-reef-set-to-be-bulldozed-20180512-p4zewb.html

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4. Murray-Darling Basin Plan: Wentworth Group on requirements for Sustainable Diversion Limit

“The Murray‐Darling Basin Plan is an agreement to recover 3,200 GL of environmental water or equivalent outcomes to help restore the health of the Murray‐Darling Basin. Under Chapter 7 of the Basin Plan, this volume may be reduced if state governments can demonstrate alternative ways of delivering similar outcomes for the environment, as part of a process known as the Sustainable Diversion Limit (SDL) adjustment. In December 2017, the Australian Government tabled in Parliament an amendment to the Basin Plan (Basin Plan Amendment (SDL Adjustments) Instrument 2017) which increased the SDL by 605GL on the basis of 36 projects proposed by state governments. Our recent assessment found only one project was consistent with the requirements of the Basin Plan and related agreements. On the basis of this assessment, we compiled advice on the specific project requirements and legislative changes which would allow states to modify their projects in line with the Basin Plan, and restore credibility to the SDL adjustment process.”

http://wentworthgroup.org/2018/05/requirements-for-sdl-adjustment-projects/2018/

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5. Dedicated boundary-spanners can support a more effective relationship between science and policy

Boundary-spanning is one approach to creating a more comprehensive and inclusive knowledge exchange process between science and decision-makers. Articulating the views and experiences of a group of fellow boundary-spanners, Chris Cvitanovic explains how the concept has come to be defined and is now being taken up by those tackling highly complex or “wicked” modern-day problems. Boundary-spanners can support a more effective relationship between science and policy in a number of ways, including by increasing the efficiency with which scientific information is considered in decision-making processes and by identifying policy windows and helping scientists to capitalise on them quickly.

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2018/05/01/dedicated-boundary-spanners-can-support-a-more-effective-relationship-between-science-and-policy/?mc_cid=aa50cf9ce2&mc_eid=cbc75f5ba5
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General CEED News: CEED Twitter Conference is on Tuesday 22 May 2018
The schedule for the CEED Twitter Conference is now available on the CEED website. We have over 50 presentations from the CEED community, scheduled throughout the day from 7am to 7pm, with opportunities for you to join the discussion and ask questions between presentations. To follow the proceedings, you can watch the live feed from our webpage. To join the conversation, go to Twitter (see our CEED Twitter page @ARC_CEED, or follow the hashtag #CEEDTC2018).

We’re looking forward to the great conversations about environmental decisions science – see you then!

UQ Node: Maria Jose Martinez-Harms and colleagues on Inequality in access to cultural ecosystem services from protected areas in the Chilean biodiversity hotspot.
We quantified inequality in access to protected areas CES in a Chilean biodiversity hotspot. We developed a proxy for protected areas CES using visitation data from social media. Inequality in accessibility to CES from protected areas was very high. Conservation planning is needed to reduce inequality in access to protected areas CES.
Ref: Maria Jose Martinez-Harms, Brett A. Bryan, Spencer A. Wood, David M. Fisher, Elizabeth Law, Jonathan R. Rhodes, Cynnamon Dobbs, Duan Biggs, Kerrie A. Wilson (2018). Inequality in access to cultural ecosystem services from protected areas in the Chilean biodiversity hotspot. Science of The Total Environment, Volume 636, 2018, Pages 1128-1138. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969718315365

RMIT Node: Mat Hardy on revolving private land to conserve nature
Buying, protecting and reselling private land can be an effective way to conserve nature, but relies upon selecting the right properties.
Ref: Hardy M (2018): Revolving private land to conserve nature. Australasian Science 39: p46.

ANU Node: Natasha Robinson and colleagues on reintroducing bandicoots in Booderee National Park
Reintroductions can be an effective means of re-establishing locally extinct or declining faunal populations. However, incomplete knowledge of variables influencing survival and establishment can limit successful outcomes. We aimed to examine the factors (e.g. sex, body mass, release order) influencing the survival, dispersal, home range and habitat selection of reintroduced southern brown bandicoots into an unfenced, predator-managed environment in south-eastern Australia (Booderee National Park). Over 2 weeks in May 2016, six female and five male bandicoots were wild-caught in state forest and hard released into the park. Release locations were approximately evenly distributed between three primary vegetation types assessed as suitable habitat: heath, woodland and forest. Bandicoots were radio-tracked day and night for 4 weeks from the initial release date. No mortality was detected. Males dispersed more than twice as far as females but there was no significant sex bias in home range size. At the landscape scale, bandicoots preferentially selected home ranges that contained heath and avoided forest. Within home ranges, heath and woodland were both favoured over forest. Post-release dispersal is sex-biased, but more data are required to determine the influence of other predictors such as body mass and release order. Within the release area, bandicoots favoured non-forest vegetation types. Our study outlines factors influencing the establishment of reintroduced bandicoots. We recommend that future bandicoot reintroductions to Booderee National Park occur within areas of heath and woodland, and that subsequent releases consider the potentially larger spatial requirements and conspecific avoidance among male bandicoots. Our findings contribute new knowledge for improving translocation methods of a nationally endangered medium-sized mammal.
Ref: Robinson N. M., MacGregor C. I., Hradsky B. A., Dexter N., Lindenmayer D. B. (2018) Bandicoots return to Booderee: initial survival, dispersal, home range and habitat preferences of reintroduced southern brown bandicoots (eastern sub species; Isoodon obesulus obesulus). Wildlife Research 45, 132-142. https://doi.org/10.1071/WR17040

UMelb Node: Jane Elith and colleagues running another species distribution modelling course
From Jane: “Guru, José and I are teaching a 4-day course on species distribution modelling (SDM) in June. This will be similar to a course I led for CEED a few years ago (updated, but broadly the same themes and approaches) – if you missed it and want to come to this one (and have some money), there are still a few places. You may not plan to use SDMs much, but it might be useful to spend 4 days working on them to understand issues involved in fitting the models and in using them for various common applications. The course will be roughly 50% talks and demonstrations, 40% computer-based pracs, and 10% group discussion. Plus a comfortable amount of time in breaks to chat about issues. You’ll see from the website that we’re using R. And that the course costs ~ $950 without accommodation
More info: https://www.prstatistics.com/course/species-distribution-models-using-r-sdmr01/


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About Dbytes
Dbytes is the eNewsletter of the Environmental Decisions Group. It is edited and distributed by David Salt. If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info. While Dbytes is primarily aimed at members of the EDG, anyone is welcome to receive it.

About EDG
The Environmental Decision Group (EDG) is a network of conservation researchers working on the science of effective decision making to better conserve biodiversity. Our members are largely based at the University of Queensland, the Australian National University, the University of Melbourne, the University of Western Australia, RMIT and CSIRO. The EDG receives support from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). You can find out about the wonderful work of CEED by reading its magazine, Decision Point (which, as it happens, is also produced by David Salt).

Decision Point: http://www.decision-point.com.au/

Dbytes #329 (3 May 2018)

Info & news for members and associates of the Environmental Decisions Group

“As society turns to Wikipedia for answers, students, educators, and citizens should understand its limitations when researching scientific topics that are politically charged. On entries subject to ‘edit-wars’, like acid rain, evolution, and global change, one can obtain – within seconds – diametrically different information on the same topic.”
Gene Likens (the discoverer of acid rain and a recent visitor at the ANU Node)
Read more


General News

1. National Strategy for Environmental-Economic Accounting
2. A decadal plan for taxonomy and biosystematics in Australia and New Zealand 2018–2027
3.
The MDBA issued ‘Living Murray – Icon site condition report’.
4. We Just Breached the 410 PPM Threshold for CO2
5. Feed the man beef aquacultured fish


EDG News

UMelb Node: Luke Kelly on managing fire for plant and animal conservation
UQ Node:
Megan Evans on effective incentives for reforestation: lessons from Australia’s carbon farming policies
RMIT Node:
Kirsty Murray gives a glowing review of RMIT’s book – the little things that run the city
ANU Node:
David Lindenmayer on forest collapse threatens Melbourne’s water supply

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General News

1. National Strategy for Environmental-Economic Accounting

On 27 April 2018 the Meeting of Commonwealth, state and territory environment ministers endorsed a strategy to deliver a common national approach to environmental-economic accounting in Australia. Environmental-economic accounting helps us understand the condition of our environment, and its relationship with our economy. The strategy will ensure that coherent, comprehensive and integrated accounts are built and support public sector and business decision making at all levels – farm-enterprise-region-state-national – and across all sectors.

http://www.environment.gov.au/science/environmental-economic-accounting

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2. A decadal plan for taxonomy and biosystematics in Australia and New Zealand 2018–2027

This decadal plan (released by the Aust Acad of Science and the Royal Society) seeks to use new and emerging technologies, develop key infrastructure, and create a unified and dynamic science that will serve the needs of society, government, industry and our unique biodiversity.

https://www.science.org.au/support/analysis/decadal-plans-science/discovering-biodiversity-decadal-plan-taxonomy
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3. The MDBA issued ‘Living Murray – Icon site condition report’.

Murray Darling Basin Authority: A decade’s worth of data has been collated for the first time to show how water recovered for the environment is improving key ecological sites on the River Murray.

https://www.mdba.gov.au/media/mr/decade-data-shows-basin-plan-working-environment

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4. We Just Breached the 410 PPM Threshold for CO2

Scientific American: Carbon dioxide has not reached this height in millions of years

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/we-just-breached-the-410-ppm-threshold-for-co2/

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5. Feed the man beef aquacultured fish

From a former EDG member Claire Runge: “Feeding the world without losing our remaining biodiversity is one of the great challenges facing humanity. We found that we can save a huge area of land from future cultivation – an area twice the size of India – if people switch a small part of their diet from terrestrial meat (beef, chicken, pork etc) to aquacultured fish. These changes in diet are already happening. Aquaculture is the fastest growing food industry in the world, now producing more biomass than both beef cattle and wild-catch fish. Though there are well-documented issues with aquaculture industry, as there are with terrestrial meat production (such as the degradation of rivers and streams from livestock), we argue that these land use savings make this an idea worth considering as a way to reduce pressure on natural ecosystems. (This work came out of my time with the Science for Nature and People Partnership SNAPP https://snappartnership.net/, I did not receive funding from the aquaculture industry.)
Ref: Froehlich HE, Runge CA, Gentry RR, Gaines SD, Halpern BS. 2018. Comparative terrestrial feed and land use of an aquaculture-dominant world. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:201801692. http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/04/24/1801692115

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EDG News

UMelb Node: Luke Kelly on managing fire for plant and animal conservation
A recent initiative from the Ecological Society of Australia is the publication of one-page ‘Hot Topics’ that synthesise ideas and issues important to environmental policy. In 2017 I wrote a Hot Topic on ‘Managing fire for plant and animal conservation‘ with Angie Haslem (La Trobe) and Brett Murphy (Charles Darwin University). It’s just been republished in the journal Austral Ecology – along with five other widely read Hot Topics. A simple – but often overlooked – point we emphasised is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to fire management. Natural ecosystems contain different species, have different fire regimes and present different fire risks to biodiversity and people. Fire management will be more effective when guided by local knowledge and based on the demonstrated requirements of plants and animals, as well as the habitats they depend on.
https://ltkellyresearch.com/2018/03/26/managing-fire-for-plant-and-animal-conservation/

UQ Node: Megan Evans on effective incentives for reforestation: lessons from Australia’s carbon farming policies
Large-scale reforestation will rely at least in part on private landholders who are motivated to increase forest cover on their properties. Well-designed incentives can encourage landholder adoption of reforestation within production landscapes, while delivering social, economic and biodiversity co-benefits. Here, I draw on lessons from extensive research on barriers and enablers to landholder adoption of tree planting, the growing literature highlighting the potential benefits of assisted natural regeneration (ANR) for large-scale reforestation, and experiences from a voluntary land-based carbon abatement (‘carbon farming’) program implemented in Australia since 2012, where tree planting and ANR comprise several approved reforestation methods. Carbon farming projects to date have primarily adopted the ANR methods, yet program outcomes have been undermined by increased deforestation elsewhere in Australia. Policy uncertainty, the provision of co-benefits and the availability of trusted information are key factors influencing landholder adoption. Incentives for reforestation must be underpinned by a coherent and complementary policy mix which facilitates long-term participation and genuine environmental outcomes.
Ref: Megan C Evans (2018). Effective incentives for reforestation: lessons from Australia’s carbon farming policies, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 32, June 2018, Pages 38-45,
Free to access using this link: https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1WzVL6gsyPU5ja


RMIT Node: Kirsty Murray gives a glowing review of RMIT’s book – the little things that run the city
I love the specificity of The Little Things that Run the City. Every Melbourne child should have a copy of this book available to them and that’s actually possible as it’s a free, downloadable pdf at the City of Melbourne’s website. Click the image of the book’s cover to get a copy. Though it’s great to be able to access this fascinating project so easily, the actual hardcover book is such a pleasure to hold, I highly recommend getting a physical copy. The book was produced as an outreach educational resource for the City of Melbourne as part of the Interdiscplinary Conservation Science Research Group at RMIT University. So it’s not widely available in bookshops but it can be purchased at the shops in the Melbourne Museum and the Royal Botanical Gardens…”
http://kirstymurray.com/non-fiction/the-big-impact-of-little-things/

ANU Node: David Lindenmayer on forest collapse threatens Melbourne’s water supply
A landmark study from ANU has found that a vital forest in Victoria faces imminent collapse, which poses a major threat to Melbourne’s water supply. Lead researcher Professor David Lindenmayer said the study was based on 35 years of research in Victoria’s Mountain Ash forest, which generates nearly all of the water for Melbourne’s people and businesses. “Wildfires and over-logging have tipped the Mountain Ash forest very close to collapse – populations of animals living there have halved, and in some cases have declined by more than 65 per cent during the past 20 years,” said Professor Lindenmayer from the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society. He said the impending disaster could be avoided by having better forest policy and greater political will to save the forest’s large old trees…
http://science.anu.edu.au/news-events/news/imminent-forest-collapse-threatens-melbourne-s-water-supply

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About Dbytes
Dbytes is the eNewsletter of the Environmental Decisions Group. It is edited and distributed by David Salt. If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info. While Dbytes is primarily aimed at members of the EDG, anyone is welcome to receive it.

About EDG
The Environmental Decision Group (EDG) is a network of conservation researchers working on the science of effective decision making to better conserve biodiversity. Our members are largely based at the University of Queensland, the Australian National University, the University of Melbourne, the University of Western Australia, RMIT and CSIRO. The EDG receives support from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). You can find out about the wonderful work of CEED by reading its magazine, Decision Point (which, as it happens, is also produced by David Salt).

Decision Point: http://www.decision-point.com.au/