Dbytes #307 (12 October 2017)

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

“If all we want is the wild, we will get it. If we expect a usable mix of ecological goods and services, we will have to add our hand to nature’s.”
S Pyne (2016). The Northern Rockies: A Fire Survey. University of Arizona Press [and contributed by Ted Lefroy].

General News

1. ‘Alarming’ rise in Queensland tree clearing as 400,000 hectares stripped

2. Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity: nature conservation and climate policy are mutually beneficial (Germany) 

3. All systems go for Lord Howe Island rat eradication

4. National Carbon Offset Standard for buildings and precincts launched

5. It’s The Habitat Destruction, Stupid

EDG News

RMIT Node: Georgia Garrard and colleagues on Biodiversity Sensitive Urban Design
ANU Node: Heather Keith and colleagues on money can’t buy me love, but you can put a price on a tree
UWA Node:
How well do conservation auctions perform in achieving landscape level outcomes? A comparison of auction formats and bid selection criteria.
UMelb news: Cindy Hauser on the 14th Annual Elith Culinary Competition
UQ News: Ruben Venegas-Li and colleagues on 3D Spatial Conservation Prioritisation: Accounting for depth in marine environments.
-~<>~-

General News

1. ‘Alarming’ rise in Queensland tree clearing as 400,000 hectares stripped

[Recommended by Martine Maron]

Deputy Premier brands Australia ‘deforestation hotspot’ after a 45% jump in her state’s reef catchment clearing
Queensland underwent a dramatic surge in tree clearing – with the heaviest losses in Great Barrier Reef catchments – in the year leading up to the Palaszczuk government’s thwarted bid to restore protections. Figures released on Thursday showed a 33% rise in clearing to almost 400,000 hectares in 2015-16, meaning Queensland now has two-thirds the annual rate of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. The latest Statewide Landcover and Trees Study (Slats) report showed a 45% jump in clearing in reef catchments, where 40% of all clearing took place.

The deputy premier, Jackie Trad, said the rise of 100,000 hectares to 395,000 hectares cleared was “incredibly alarming”.
“We know that the current rates of land clearing in Queensland are unsustainable. Australia has become one of the deforestation hotspots in the world – the only advanced economy to be named in the 12 deforestation hotspots in the world.

“[It’s] because Queensland has returned to the bad old days of bulldozing hundreds of thousands of hectares of woody and remnant vegetations in order to make way particularly for pasture for cows,” she said…
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/05/alarming-rise-in-queensland-tree-clearing-as-400000-hectares-stripped?CMP=share_btn_tw

-~<>~-

2. Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity: nature conservation and climate policy are mutually beneficial (Germany)

A new study has assessed the value of ecosystem-based approaches to mitigating climate changes and conserving biodiversity in Germany. The researchers highlight the trade-offs and synergies between climate adaptation and nature conservation and suggest that effective ecosystem-based climate policy requires improved coordination between different sectors, such as agriculture, forestry and energy.

Source: Wüstemann, H., Bonn, A., Albert, C., et al. (2017). Synergies and trade-offs between nature conservation and climate policy: Insights from the “Natural Capital Germany – TEEB DE” study. Ecosystem Services. 24:2280-2287. DOI:10.1016/j.ecoser.2017.02.008

-~<>~-

3. All systems go for Lord Howe Island rat eradication

An historic decision has been made for Australia’s World Heritage-listed Lord Howe Island, they are going to get rid of the rats. The decision was not taken lightly, it follows years of exhaustive research, environmental impact trials, human health assessments, economic cost and benefit analysis.
“The project will be the single biggest conservation action to date to protect and enhance the World Heritage values of Lord Howe Island,” says Lord Howe Island Board CEO, Penny Holloway.
Lord Howe Island is home to many threatened, endemic and migratory species. Rodents have previously caused the extinction of five bird and 13 invertebrate species on the island and currently threaten another 70 species.

https://invasives.org.au/blog/lord-howe-island-rat-eradication/

-~<>~-

4. National Carbon Offset Standard for buildings and precincts launched

The National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS) is a voluntary standard to manage greenhouse gas emissions and to achieve carbon neutrality. It provides best-practice guidance on how to measure, reduce, offset, report and audit emissions for organisations, products and services, events, precincts and buildings. The standard can be used in a number of ways. Organisations can use the standard to better understand and manage their carbon emissions, to credibly claim carbon neutrality and to seek carbon neutral certification. Expanding the standard to the property sector has been done in close partnership with the Green Building Council of Australia and National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) Administrator.

http://www.environment.gov.au/climate-change/government/carbon-neutral/ncos
[Editor’s note: If only a biodiversity offset was so tractable.]
-~<>~-

5. It’s The Habitat Destruction, Stupid
Suzanne Milthorpe on the TSC’s claim that wide-scale destruction of habitat isn’t a ‘key’ threat to our wildlife:
“The Federal Government’s Threatened Species Commissioner, Gregory Andrews, told ABC Radio last Friday that wide-scale destruction of habitat isn’t a ‘key’ threat to our wildlife. The science says he’s demonstrably, dangerously wrong, writes Suzanne Milthorpe. Australia deserves a Threatened Species Commissioner that tells the truth about what’s killing our native animals, and a Federal Government that has a plan to actually stop their extinction. Gregory Andrews comments came one day after shocking new deforestation and land-clearing figures came out of Queensland, where 395,000 hectares of trees were bulldozed last year…”

https://newmatilda.com/2017/10/10/its-the-habitat-destruction-stupid/

-~<>~-

EDG News

RMIT Node: Georgia Garrard and colleagues on Biodiversity Sensitive Urban Design
Cities are increasingly considered important places for biodiversity conservation because they can harbor threatened species and because conservation in cities represents an opportunity to reconnect people with nature and the range of health and well-being benefits it provides. However, urbanization can be catastrophic for native species, and is a well-known threat to biodiversity worldwide. Urbanization impacts can be mitigated by urban design and development improvements, but take-up of these practices has been slow. There is an urgent need to incorporate existing ecological knowledge into a framework that can be used by planners and developers to ensure that biodiversity conservation is considered in decision-making processes. Here, we distill the urban biodiversity literature into five principles for biodiversity sensitive urban design (BSUD), ranging from creating habitat and promoting dispersal to facilitating community stewardship. We then present a framework for implementing BSUD aimed at delivering onsite benefits to biodiversity, and that is applicable across a range of urban development types and densities. We illustrate the application of the BSUD framework in two case studies focusing on the: (1) protection of an endangered vegetation remnant in a new low-density subdivision; and (2) persistence of an endangered reptile in an established suburban environment.
Ref: Garrard, G. E., Williams, N. S. G., Mata, L., Thomas, J. and Bekessy, S. A. (2017), Biodiversity Sensitive Urban Design. CONSERVATION LETTERS. doi:10.1111/conl.12411
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/enhanced/exportCitation/doi/10.1111/conl.12411

ANU Node: Heather Keith and colleagues on money can’t buy me love, but you can put a price on a tree
Heather Keith, David Lindenmayer and Michael Vardon on environmental accounts and Victoria’s Central Highlands (in The Conversation):
“What is something worth? How do you put a dollar value on something like a river, a forest or a reef? When one report announces that the Great Barrier Reef is worth A$56 billion, and another that it’s effectively priceless, what does it mean and can they be reconciled? This contrast points to fundamentally different notions of value. Environmental accounting is a way of recognising and comparing multiple sources of value, in order to better weigh competing priorities in resource management. In practice it is sometimes crude, but it’s been standardised internationally and its scope is expanding to include social, cultural, and intrinsic benefits…”
https://theconversation.com/money-cant-buy-me-love-but-you-can-put-a-price-on-a-tree-84357#comment_1424623

UWA Node: How well do conservation auctions perform in achieving landscape level outcomes? A comparison of auction formats and bid selection criteria.

This paper studies the performance of auction design features regarding pricing mechanisms and bid selection criteria for securing wildlife zones across different holdings. We compare two pricing mechanisms: a discriminatory-price auction and a uniform-price ascending auction, and four bid selection criteria on the basis of: total bid, bid-per-value ratio, bid-per-area ratio and a mixed criterion where bids are formed on the basis of cost but they are selected based on the bid-per-value ratio. We develop a best-response group-bidding model for a discriminatory-price auction where bidders form optimal group bids for individual wildlife zones. In the uniform-price ascending auction, individual landholders respond to prices, which are successively raised by the auctioneer and whenever all the landholders from a single zone agree to participate (i.e. the first zone is formed), the auction stops. Based on numerical simulations using a bio-economic model of malleefowl conservation, we observe that the discriminatory-price auction is more cost-effective than the uniform-price ascending auction. However, the budgetary cost-effectiveness of a discriminatory-price auction is sensitive to bidder uncertainty about the number of competing bidder groups and the highest cost of establishing a wildlife zone among these groups. In terms of bid selection, the mixed bid selection criterion performs best. We discuss the policy implications of these findings.

Ref: Iftekhar, M. S. and Latacz-Lohmann, U. (2017). How well do conservation auctions perform in achieving landscape level outcomes? A comparison of auction formats and bid selection criteria. Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 61, pp 557–575. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8489.12226
UMelb news: Cindy Hauser on the 14th Annual Elith Culinary Competition

Each year the Melbourne-based QAECO & CEBRA labs team up to hold the Jane Elith cooking competition. It’s a chance to interact with colleagues from a sister group and eat far too much (often ecology-themed) food. Cindy Hauser does a wrap-up every year of the illustrious event: https://cindyehauser.wordpress.com/2017/10/03/14th-annual-jane-elith-culinary-competition/

UQ News: Ruben Venegas-Li and colleagues on 3D Spatial Conservation Prioritisation: Accounting for depth in marine environments.
Both marine biodiversity and human activities in the ocean vary three-dimensionally. This might give rise to circumstances in which vertical zoning of the ocean might be feasible, where we could protect biodiversity at certain depths while allowing human activities at other depths. In a recent paper in Methods in Ecology and Evolution, CEED researchers show a new method for spatially prioritising conservation actions both horizontally and vertically, with the use of an existing tool MARXAN, and taking into account the core principles of systematic conservation planning.
Ref: Venegas-Li, R., Levin, N., Possingham, H. and Kark, S. (2017), 3D Spatial Conservation Prioritisation: Accounting for depth in marine environments. Methods Ecol Evol. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/2041-210X.12896
https://buff.ly/2xID0xT

-~<>~-

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/

Advertisements

Dbytes #306 (5 October 2017)

“If public servants could just ‘talk like normal people’ more often, the administrative side of government might start to gain more respect in the eyes of the public.”
Gordon de Brouwer, outgoing Secretary for the Dept of the Environment and Energy in his parting address.

General News

1. Twenty years of ecosystem services: How far have we come?
2. Funding for new invasive species research centre
3. For whom the bell tolls: cats kill more than a million Australian birds every day
4. Australian miners back ethical supply of minerals as illegal mining in Africa impacts gorilla habitat
5.
Graduate Student’s Guide to Necessary Skills for Nonacademic Conservation Careers

EDG News

UQ Node: Megan Evans and colleagues on embrace complexity to improve conservation decision making
ANU Node: Luke O’Loughlin and colleagues on: Review of historic stock routes may put rare stretches of native plants and animals at risk
UWA Node: Marit Kragt and colleagues on motivations and barriers for WA broad-acre farmers to adopt carbon farming
Umelb Node: Lucie Bland and colleagues on using multiple lines of evidence to assess the risk of ecosystem collapse

-~<>~-

General News

1. Twenty years of ecosystem services: How far have we come?

It has been 20 years since two seminal publications about ecosystem services came out: an edited book by Gretchen Daily and an article in Nature by a group of ecologists and economists on the value of the world’s ecosystem services. Both of these have been very highly cited and kicked off an explosion of research, policy, and applications of the idea, including the establishment of this journal. This article traces the history leading up to these publications and the subsequent debates, research, institutions, policies, on-the-ground actions, and controversies they triggered. It also explores what we have learned during this period about the key issues: from definitions to classification to valuation, from integrated modelling to public participation and communication, and the evolution of institutions and governance innovation. Finally, it provides recommendations for the future. In particular, it points to the weakness of the mainstream economic approaches to valuation, growth, and development. It concludes that the substantial contributions of ecosystem services to the sustainable wellbeing of humans and the rest of nature should be at the core of the fundamental change needed in economic theory and practice if we are to achieve a societal transformation to a sustainable and desirable future.

Ref: Costanza et al (2017). Twenty years of ecosystem services: How far have we come and how far do we still need to go? Ecosystem Services
http://www.robertcostanza.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/2017_J_Costanza-et-al.-20yrs.-EcoServices.pdf
-~<>~-

2. Funding for new invasive species research centre

Funding of $20 million has been provided through phase two of the National Landcare Program for a new Centre for Invasive Species Solutions, that will follow on from the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre. The CRC has been funded for ten years under the Cooperative Research Centres program. The research of the new centre will fall into two broad groups:
•Prevention, incursions response and eradication
•Integrated landscape management to protect assets from established pests.

https://www.environmentreport.com.au/single-post/2017/10/03/Funding-for-new-invasive-species-research-centre

-~<>~-

3. For whom the bell tolls: cats kill more than a million Australian birds every day
Woinarski et al in The Conversation

Cats kill more than a million birds every day across Australia, according to our new estimate – the first robust attempt to quantify the problem on a nationwide scale. By combining data on the cat population, hunting rates and spatial distribution, we calculate that they kill 377 million birds a year. Rates are highest in Australia’s dry interior, suggesting that feral cats pose a serious and largely unseen threat to native bird species.

https://theconversation.com/for-whom-the-bell-tolls-cats-kill-more-than-a-million-australian-birds-every-day-85084

-~<>~-

4. Australian miners back ethical supply of minerals as illegal mining in Africa impacts gorilla habitat

Gorilla habitat under threat from mining: Extracting ‘conflict minerals’ in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda means loss of endangered mountain and other gorillas and destruction of their habitats. The global thirst for the minerals needed for new technologies has unearthed the unethical practices of miners in some African countries. The demand for batteries for smart phones, tablets, laptop computers and battery storage is fuelling a tech-metals boom. Exploration and mining of lithium, vanadium, graphite, cobalt, silver, tantalum, rare earths and the hybrid metal called coltan is only set to in increase. Coltan is short for a combined columbite-tantalite ore that, when refined, produces becomes metallic tantalum which is used in capacitors. However there is growing concern that it is also fuelling the unethical practices by miners in some African countries.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2017-09-11/door-opens-for-aussie-miners-to-replace-conflict-minerals/8874774?WT.mc_id=newsmail&WT.tsrc=Newsmail

-~<>~-

5. Graduate Student’s Guide to Necessary Skills for Nonacademic Conservation Careers
[Recommended by Mick McCarthy]

Graduate education programs in conservation science generally focus on disciplinary training and discipline-specific research skills. However, nonacademic conservation professionals often require an additional suite of skills. This discrepancy between academic training and professional needs can make it difficult for graduate students to identify the skills and experiences that will best prepare them for the conservation job market. We analyzed job advertisements for conservation-science positions and interviewed conservation professionals with experience hiring early-career conservation scientists to determine what skills employers of conservation professionals seek; whether the relative importance of skills varies by job sector (government, nonprofit, and private); and how graduate students interested in careers in conservation science might signal competency in key skills to potential employers. In job advertisements, disciplinary, interpersonal, and project-management skills were in the top 5 skills mentioned across all job sectors. Employers’ needs for additional skills, like program leadership, conflict resolution and negotiation, and technical and information technology skills, varied across sectors. Our interview results demonstrated that some skills are best signaled to employers via experiences obtained outside thesis or dissertation work. Our findings suggest that graduate students who wish to be competitive in the conservation job market can benefit by gaining skills identified as important to the job sector in which they hope to work and should not necessarily expect to be competent in these skills simply by completing their chosen degree path.
Ref: BLICKLEY, J. L., DEINER, K., GARBACH, K., LACHER, I., MEEK, M. H., PORENSKY, L. M., WILKERSON, M. L., WINFORD, E. M. and SCHWARTZ, M. W. (2013), Graduate Student’s Guide to Necessary Skills for Nonacademic Conservation Careers. Conservation Biology, 27: 24–34. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2012.01956.x
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2012.01956.x/abstract

-~<>~-

EDG News

UQ Node: Megan Evans and colleagues on embrace complexity to improve conservation decision making
From Megan: You may be interested in this piece I just published with colleagues in Nature Ecology & Evolution, which you can read for free with this link: http://rdcu.be/wnPv
Here we respond to a recent piece by Bill Sutherland and Claire Wordley (http://dx.doi.org/10.1038%2Fs41559-017-0244-1), which suggested that “evidence complacency” is leading to poor conservation outcomes. We argue that viewing poor conservation outcomes as simply the result of a deficit of evidence is counterproductive, and overlooks the complex social, political and institutional processes which lead to decisions being made. We suggest that in addition to ensuring decision makers have access to relevant evidence, we need to understand and embrace these complexities if we hope to improve on-ground conservation outcomes.
And there’s a blog on the Luc Hoffman Institute website too:

http://luchoffmanninstitute.org/2017/10/evidence-based-conservation-is-more-complex-than-you-might-think/

ANU Node: Luke O’Loughlin and colleagues on: Review of historic stock routes may put rare stretches of native plants and animals at risk
Since the 19th century, Australian drovers have moved their livestock along networks of stock routes. Often following traditional Indigenous pathways, these corridors and stepping-stones of remnant vegetation cross the heavily cleared wheat and sheep belt in central New South Wales. The publicly owned Travelling Stock Reserve network of New South Wales is now under government review, which could see the ownership of much of this crown land move into private hands. But in a study published today in the Australian Journal of Botany we suggest that privatising stock routes may endanger vital woodlands and put vulnerable species at risk.
https://theconversation.com/review-of-historic-stock-routes-may-put-rare-stretches-of-native-plants-and-animals-at-risk-84049

UWA Node: Marit Kragt and colleagues on motivations and barriers for WA broad-acre farmers to adopt carbon farming
Farmers in Western Australia were surveyed about climate change mitigation practices. Few farmers were participating in formal carbon farming policy schemes. Perceptions of co-benefits were important drivers of adoption. A lack of information and policy uncertainties were the main barriers. Demonstrating environmental, socio-economic and financial benefits could help increase engagement.
Ref: Marit E. Kragt, Nikki P. Dumbrell, Louise Blackmore (2017). Motivations and barriers for Western Australian broad-acre farmers to adopt carbon farming, In Environmental Science & Policy, Volume 73, 2017, Pages 115-123, ISSN 1462-9011

https://authors.elsevier.com/sd/article/S1462901116307894

Umelb Node: Lucie Bland and colleagues on using multiple lines of evidence to assess the risk of ecosystem collapse
Effective ecosystem risk assessment relies on a conceptual understanding of ecosystem dynamics and the synthesis of multiple lines of evidence. Risk assessment protocols and ecosystem models integrate limited observational data with threat scenarios, making them valuable tools for monitoring ecosystem status and diagnosing key mechanisms of decline to be addressed by management. We applied the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems criteria to quantify the risk of collapse of the Meso-American Reef, a unique ecosystem containing the second longest barrier reef in the world. We collated a wide array of empirical data (field and remotely sensed), and used a stochastic ecosystem model to backcast past ecosystem dynamics, as well as forecast future ecosystem dynamics under 11 scenarios of threat. The ecosystem is at high risk from mass bleaching in the coming decades, with compounding effects of ocean acidification, hurricanes, pollution and fishing. The overall status of the ecosystem is Critically Endangered (plausibly Vulnerable to Critically Endangered), with notable differences among Red List criteria and data types in detecting the most severe symptoms of risk. Our case study provides a template for assessing risks to coral reefs and for further application of ecosystem models in risk assessment.
Ref: Lucie M. Bland, Tracey J. Regan, Minh Ngoc Dinh, Renata Ferrari, David A. Keith, Rebecca Lester, David Mouillot, Nicholas J. Murray, Hoang Anh Nguyen, Emily Nicholson (2017)
http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/284/1863/20170660

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 #305 (21 September 2017)

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

“One of the strongest areas of debate during the course of this review concerned the adequacy of the national system in addressing biosecurity risks impacting on biodiversity and the environment. Incursions of exotic organisms harmful to Australia’s environment and social amenity are a regular occurrence and have been the focus of recent emergency responses, but national environmental pest and disease risks are yet to be systematically identified, prioritised and planned for.”
Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity Review (see item 1)

[Editors Note: I’m going wreck leave so there will be no Dbytes next week.]

General News

1. Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity Review
2. Australia’s introduced animals: Eradication programs under the spotlight
3. Productivity Commission releases draft report on National Water Reform
4. Hot and Dry: Australia’s Weird Winter
5. The Montreal Protocol’s 30th birthday

EDG News

UMelb Node: Worth a read: Perverse metrics and lost scientific integrity
UQ Node: Antarctica x 3: J Shaw co-organiser on Antarctic Science Symposium; M Houghton wins Phil Carne Prize and J Lee co-organises the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) Oceania Symposium
ANU Node: Heather Keith and colleagues on Ecosystem accounts define explicit and spatial trade-offs for managing natural resources
RMIT Node: Policy brief for Privately Protected Areas Futures 2017: Supporting the long-term stewardship of privately protected areas

UWA Node: Emerging approaches to successful restoration

-~<>~-

General News

1. Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity Review
The final report of the independent review of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity has just been released. It was prepared by an independent panel of three headed by former National Farmers’ Federation head, Wendy Craik.
http://www.agriculture.gov.au/biosecurity/partnerships/nbc/intergovernmental-agreement-on-biosecurity/igabreview#final-report

And see the editorial on this review from the Invasive Species Council
https://invasives.org.au/blog/equalising-the-environment/

-~<>~-

2. Australia’s introduced animals: Eradication programs under the spotlight
[ABC News story]

“Are feral animals in Australia’s north really pests that need to be eradicated, or is the nation automatically pulling the trigger on non-native creatures without thinking?

Is the world being denied the last vestiges of wild creatures that may benefit the environment? These questions occupy the mind of Dr Arian Wallach, an ecologist originally from Israel who has lived in Australia for the past 10 years. Dr Wallach, who now works at the University of Technology Sydney’s Centre for Compassionate Conservation, says Australia and New Zealand stand out on the world stage when it comes to concentrating conservation actions on killing introduced animals.”
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-12/should-australia-rethink-eradication-programs-of-feral-animals/8830998?WT.mc_id=newsmail&WT.tsrc=Newsmail
-~<>~-

3. Productivity Commission releases draft report on National Water Reform
[Recommended by Nadeem Samnakay]

Excerpt from summary on environmental management
The focus for the next phase of reform must be to ensure that all environmental water is managed efficiently and effectively to get the best outcomes possible. Key areas include:
– increasing the focus on outcomes through the integrated management of environmental water and waterways, as water is only one of many things that affect ecosystem health
– establishing fit-for-purpose governance arrangements for entitlement-based environmental water, particularly where managers are responsible for the use, financial management and trade of significant entitlement holdings
– strengthening arrangements for monitoring, evaluation, reporting and adaptive management to build community confidence, ensure accountability, inform water planning and improve environmental water management over time.

http://apo.org.au/system/files/106906/apo-nid106906-431056.pdf

-~<>~-

4. Hot and Dry: Australia’s Weird Winter

Climate Change made Australia’s warmest winter on record an astounding 60 times more likely, a new Climate Councile report highlights. The “Hot & Dry: Australia’s Weird Winter,” report shows the nation experienced its warmest winter on record (for average maximum temperatures), while more than 260 heat and low rainfall records were also broken throughout the season.

http://www.climatecouncil.org.au/2017-weird-winter

-~<>~-

5. The Montreal Protocol’s 30th birthday
Last weekend marked the 30th birthday of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer – celebrated every year as the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer (16 September). After 30 years of unified global action to protect and restore the ozone layer more than 99% of ozone-depleting substances have now been phased out. The hard work is paying off and the ozone layer has started to recover.

https://theconversation.com/after-30-years-of-the-montreal-protocol-the-ozone-layer-is-gradually-healing-84051

-~<>~-

EDG News

Umelb Node: Worth a read: Perverse metrics and lost scientific integrity
Earlier this year it was my turn to suggest a paper for our lab’s Reading Group. I chose this excellent piece by Edwards and Roy (2017) on the importance of maintaining scientific integrity in the 21st century climate of perverse incentives and hyper-competition. I’m sure we all come across with stories about scientific misconduct at some point of our academic careers. And every now and there are public discussions about how harmful it is to use simple metrics such as the number of publications and various citation metrics to measure the performance of scientists and institutions. But what I particularly liked about this paper was that it really succeeded in painting the bigger picture. That misconduct is not restricted to just few incidental cases but that it is an actual increasing problem that has ramifications far beyond the academic bubble we scientists like to wrap ourselves into. It was an excellent, shocking and thought-provoking read, and I highly recommend it to everyone working in research.
https://hkujalaresearch.wordpress.com/2017/04/05/worth-a-read-perverse-metrics-and-lost-scientific-integrity/

UQ Node: Antarctica x 3: J Shaw co-organiser on Antarctic Science Symposium; M Houghton wins Phil Carne Prize and J Lee co-organises the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) Oceania Symposium
1. Justine Shaw – co-organised the Theo Murphy – Frontiers of Antarctic Science Symposium for Early & Mid Career Researcher in Hobart last week. Initiated by the Academy of Science the symposium targeted researchers who are within 6 months of PhD submission to 15 years post PhD. The symposium spanned two days and saw 70 selected EMCRs from Australia congregate in Hobart to share their science, from ice sheets to sea level to new technologies to Antarctic conservation. It was the first ever symposium bringing Antarctic Early -Mid career researchers together in Australian, and was a resounding success.
https://www.science.org.au/news-and-events/events/antarctic-frontier-developing-research-extreme-environment
2. UQ PhD Student Melissa Houghton was the 2017 winner of the Phil Carne prize. It was announced this week at the Australian Entomological Society conference in NSW where Melissa presented her research on Antarctic biosecurity and invertebrate monitoring on Macquarie Island.
https://www.austentsoc.org.au/Web/Awards/The_Phil_Carne_Prize.aspx
3. UQ PhD student Jasmine Lee co-organised the inaugural Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) Oceania Symposium in Melbourne on the 18th-19th of September 2017. The symposium brought together early-career polar scientists from across Australia and New Zealand to discuss future challenges to the Antarctic region. The symposium was supported by Monash University, The Australian Antarctic Division and APECS International. It was organised by early career researchers from CBCS (UQ), University of Tasmania, Gateway Antarctica (NZ) and Federation University. https://apecsoceania.com/

ANU Node: Heather Keith and colleagues on Ecosystem accounts define explicit and spatial trade-offs for managing natural resources
Decisions about natural resource management are frequently complex and vexed, often leading to public policy compromises. Discord between environmental and economic metrics creates problems in assessing trade-offs between different current or potential resource uses. Ecosystem accounts, which quantify ecosystems and their benefits for human well-being consistent with national economic accounts, provide exciting opportunities to contribute significantly to the policy process. We advanced the application of ecosystem accounts in a regional case study by explicitly and spatially linking impacts of human and natural activities on ecosystem assets and services to their associated industries. This demonstrated contributions of ecosystems beyond the traditional national accounts. Our results revealed that native forests would provide greater benefits from their ecosystem services of carbon sequestration, water yield, habitat provisioning and recreational amenity if harvesting for timber production ceased, thus allowing forests to continue growing to older ages.
Ref: Keith H, M Vardon, JA Stein, JL Stein & DB Lindenmayer (2017). Ecosystem accounts define explicit and spatial trade-offs for managing natural resources. Nature Ecology and Evolution http://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-017-0309-1#Abs1

RMIT Node: Policy brief for Privately Protected Areas Futures 2017: Supporting the long-term stewardship of privately protected areas

Recently, the IUCN Privately Protected Areas (PPAs) Specialist Group met in Germany to develop best practice guidelines, which will serve as a guide to how PPAs are implemented in the future. On request from meeting participants, RMIT Node members Matthew Selinske, Mat Hardy, and Ascelin Gordon provided a policy brief outlining stewardship considerations for developing and existing PPA programs. This policy brief explores the key drivers of landowner participation in PPA programs (i.e. covenants, easements, servitudes and other long-term agreements with individuals or groups of landowners) and the program mechanisms that maintain successive generations of landowners to be engaged and committed to long-term stewardship. It also considers the challenges faced by PPA programs in developing and maintaining strong collaborative arrangements between the stakeholders involved in these programs.
Ref: Selinske, M., Hardy, M., Gordon, A., & Knight, A. (2017, August 17). Policy brief for Privately Protected Areas Futures 2017: Supporting the long-term stewardship of privately protected areas. osf.io/znsdq


UWA Node: Emerging approaches to successful restoration
Ecological restoration has moved on from its site-based, vegetation-focused roots to consider, inter alia, the implications of trophic interactions, soil nutrient relations, landscape scale implementation, and large-scale environmental change. Although conceptual frameworks debating and synthesizing these issues have been widely shared, practical tests can be lacking, and alignment of theoretical research with field application is sometimes absent. This background motivated contributions to a recent Special Issue in Restoration Ecology “Beyond conceptual frameworks: Emerging approaches to successful restoration”, guest-edited by Elise Gornish and Kris Hulvey.
In one contribution to the Special Issue, led by Stephanie Schelfhout of the Forest & Nature Lab (ForNaLab), Ghent University, and with participation from Michael Perring (ForNaLab and adjunct researcher in the Ecosystem Restoration and Intervention Ecology Research Group, UWA) and Paul Gibson-Roy, from Greening Australia and the University of Melbourne, the need for theoretical and practical alignment was directly tackled. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/rec.12531/abstract)
By comparing soil and vegetation data from grasslands under restoration with reference Nardus grasslands in Belgium, Stephanie and co-authors showed that a traditional restoration practice, involving mowing and late season grazing, has failed. Restoration was particularly problematic because of excess residual phosphorus (P) in the soil from fertilization during past intensive land use. Based on measures of actual P removal with current mowing management, it would take many decades to restore the desired P-poor soil conditions. The P removal rate by mowing was then theoretically compared with P-mining, an adjusted agricultural technique to increase the rate of P removal by fertilizing with other nutrients to promote P uptake. Calculations, based on practical tests of P-mining, showed that restoration would still take decades on many sites, with the time taken depending on the depth to which excess P had accumulated. Stephanie then combined these insights to develop a decision support system. This decision support system allows practitioners to make informed choices of restoration goals depending on the soil nutrient properties of parcels, and which techniques to use to achieve restoration. It also allows for alternative targets where challenging, and changing, environmental conditions prevent restoration to a historical reference.

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 #304 (14 September 2017)

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

“September 7 is National Threatened Species Day in Australia. The date commemorates the death of the last known thylacine (or Tasmanian tiger, Thylacinus cynocephalus) in 1936. It is believed to have died from the cold after being locked out of its sleeping quarters in Hobart Zoo. Although neglect killed the last individual, the species had already received its death sentence despite being common in Tasmania before European settlement in 1803.”
From a Parliamentary-Library explanation of ‘National Threatened Species Day’ explaining the rationale of the day and what the Federal Government is doing about species decline [it came out last Thursday just after I sent out last week’s Dbyes – Ed]

General News

1. Bumblebees endorsed for Tasmania
2. Discovering urban threatened species

3. Conservation Triage Falls Short Because Conservation Is Not Like Emergency Medicine
4. Enquiry on green tape – environmental assessment and approvals
5. Academy releases expert review of Australia’s climate science capability

EDG News

UWA Node: Keren Raiter and colleagues on the cumulative development footprint the Great Western Woodland
Umelb Node: Chris Baker reflects on his PhD papers on invasive species control
UQ Node: Truly Santika and colleagues on the heterogeneous impacts of community forest management in Indonesia in avoiding deforestation.
ANU Node: David Lindenmayer coauthor on effects of peat swamp logging and agricultural expansion on species richness of native mammals in Peninsular Malaysia
RMIT Node: Alex Kusmanoff and colleagues on the decline of the term ‘biodiversity’ (and the rise of economic language in Australian conservation policy discourse)

-~<>~-

General News

1. Bumblebees endorsed for Tasmania

A Senate environment committee that endorsed the commercial use of Tasmanian feral bumblebees seemed oblivious to the serious impacts this invasive species can have on the natural environment. It is well known that the large earth bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) is an efficient pollinator of crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers and eggplants. This was one of the reasons the tomato industry has repeatedly applied to import the bumblebee into Australia, three times in the past 20 years, to avoid the need for costly hand-pollination. Each time the application has been rejected due to the high likelihood of environmental harm…”

https://invasives.org.au/blog/tasmanian-bumblebee-decision-defies-the-evidence/

-~<>~-

2. Discovering urban threatened species

A new web application allows urban threatened species to be easily discovered. You can search or browse 98 Australian cities to discover a list of threatened species found there, or species that have been lost from the area. Engaging urban residents with the nature in their everyday lives is a key focus of the CAUL Hub’s research.

http://www.nespurban.edu.au/data/threatened-species/
-~<>~-

3. Conservation Triage Falls Short Because Conservation Is Not Like Emergency Medicine

Conservation triage, as a concept, seems to have been born from analogizing circumstances that characterize conservation with triage, as the concept applies to emergency medicine. Careful consideration—facilitated through the aid of formal argumentation—demonstrates the critical limitations of the analogy. Those limitations reveal how the concept of conservation triage falls short. For example, medical triage presupposes that resources available for an emergency are limited and fixed. By contrast, the resources available for conservation are not fixed. Moreover, the ethics of prioritization in medical triage is characterized by there being universal agreement on the moral value of the patients. However, in conservation there is not universal agreement on the value of various objects of conservation concern. The looming importance of those features of conservation—disputed values and unfixed resources—make conservation triage a largely un-useful concept.

Ref: Vucetich et al (2017)
Front. Ecol. Evol., 23 May 2017 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2017.00045
-~<>~-

4. Enquiry on green tape – environmental assessment and approvals

Senate Committee into red tape. As part of its inquiry into the effect of red tape on the economy and community, the committee will examine the effect of red tape on environmental assessment and approvals. Deadlines for submissions has passed but there are 14 submissions from various stakeholders (mainly development oriented groups) that can be accessed from their website.

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Red_Tape/Environment

-~<>~-

5. Academy releases expert review of Australia’s climate science capability

The Australian Academy of Science report recommends that government consider mechanisms to ensure better coordination of climate research across Australia’s universities and climate agencies. It also recommends increasing climate science capability in a number of critical areas, amounting to around 80 new research positions over the next four years. The review surveyed all of Australia’s climate research agencies and centres, including the Bureau of Meteorology, the CSIRO, the Australian Antarctic Division and universities to identify how many Australian researchers are working across the various disciplines and sub-disciplines of climate science, and how well these different areas are performing.

https://www.science.org.au/news-and-events/news-and-media-releases/academy-releases-review-australias-climate-science-capability
-~<>~-

EDG News

UWA Node: Keren Raiter and colleagues on the cumulative development footprint the Great Western Woodland
“If you put all the roads in the largest, relatively intact, temperate woodland on earth end to end… How far would they take you? From Kalgoorlie to Norseman and back, via Southern Cross? Around the planet? What about four times around? Keren Raiter, Suzanne Prober, Richard Hobbs and Hugh Possingham, in their paper just published in Landscape Ecology, quantified the development footprint of infrastructure in the mineral-rich Great Western Woodlands and discovered that while the cumulative footprint of mine pits, waste rock dumps, and other ‘hub’ infrastructure is substantial, it pales in comparison to the cumulative footprint of the roads, tracks, and other linear infrastructure that pervades the otherwise largely natural landscapes in between. What’s more, most of this linear infrastructure has never been mapped, and while exact information is lacking about its edge effects, they are estimated to be huge – even up to 100% of landscapes where there is a lot of mining activity.
Ref: Raiter KG, SM Prober, RJ Hobbs & HP Possingham (2017). Lines in the sand: quantifying the cumulative development footprint in the world’s largest remaining temperate woodland. Landscape Ecol.
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10980-017-0558-z

Umelb Node: Chris Baker reflects on his PhD papers on invasive species control
“My final PhD paper is finally out! So, I think this is the perfect time to post an overview of what I did & lessons learnt. While all of the papers focus on invasive species control, they vary from being quite theoretical to applied:

Chapter 1: Spatial control of invasive species in conservation landscapes

Chapter 2: Placing invasive species management in a spatiotemporal context
Chapter 3: Target the Source: Optimal Spatiotemporal Resource Allocation for Invasive Species Control
Chapter 4: Modelling tropical fire ant (Solenopsis geminata) dynamics and detection to inform an eradication project
https://cbakerresearch.wordpress.com/2017/08/17/phd-papers/


UQ Node: Truly Santika and colleagues on the heterogeneous impacts of community forest management in Indonesia in avoiding deforestation.
Community forest management has been identified as a win-win option for reducing deforestation while improving the welfare of rural communities in developing countries. Despite considerable investment in community forestry globally, systematic evaluations of the impact of these policies at appropriate scales are lacking. We assessed the extent to which deforestation has been avoided as a result of the Indonesian government’s community forestry scheme, Hutan Desa (Village Forest). We used annual data on deforestation rates between 2012 and 2016 from two rapidly developing islands: Sumatra and Kalimantan. Performance was assessed relative to a counterfactual likelihood of deforestation in the absence of Hutan Desa tenure. We found that Hutan Desa management has successfully achieved avoided deforestation overall, but performance has been increasingly variable through time. Hutan Desa performance was influenced by anthropogenic and climatic factors, as well as land use history. Hutan Desa allocated on watershed protection forest or limited production forest typically led to a less avoided deforestation regardless of location. Conversely, Hutan Desa granted on permanent or convertible production forest had variable performance across different years and locations. The amount of rainfall during the dry season in any given year was an important climatic factor influencing performance. Extremely dry conditions during drought years pose additional challenges to Hutan Desa management, particularly on peatland, due to increased vulnerability to fire outbreaks. This study demonstrates how the performance of Hutan Desa in avoiding deforestation is fundamentally affected by biophysical and anthropogenic circumstances over time and space. Our study improves understanding on where and when the policy is most effective with respect to deforestation, and helps identify opportunities to improve policy implementation.
Ref: Santika, T., Meijaard, E., Budiharta, S., Law, E.A., Kusworo, A., Hutabarat, J.A.,
Indrawan, T.P., Struebig, M., Raharjo, S., Huda, I., Ekaputri, A.D., Trison, S., Stigner, M. & Wilson, K.A. (2017) Community forest management in Indonesia: Avoided deforestation in the context of anthropogenic and climate complexities. Global Environmental Change 46, 60-71. Full text available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378016305933

ANU Node: David Lindenmayer coauthor on effects of peat swamp logging and agricultural expansion on species richness of native mammals in Peninsular Malaysia
The biodiversity inhabiting tropical peat swamp forests in Southeast Asia is currently threatened by commercial logging and agricultural expansion. The occurrence of mammals in such forests is often poorly known and the factors influencing their occurrence in these ecosystems have rarely been quantified. We aim to determine the key habitat and landscape drivers of mammal species richness in fragmented peat swamp reserves. We conducted camera trap surveys in the North Selangor Peat Swamp Forest (NSPSF), the last remaining area of peat swamp forest on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. We also measured vegetation structure and landscape metrics to investigate the relationship between these factors and mammal richness. We recorded a total of 16 mammal species from 45 sampling sites using camera traps located in peat swamp forest reserves. Mammal species richness increased with the abundance of large trees and distance away from roads. Species richness decreased significantly with canopy cover and height, the abundance of fallen trees, the abundance of forest palms and saplings, distance away from rivers, and a measure of landscape compositional heterogeneity. Our findings underscore the high conservation value of logged peat swamp forests and the urgent need to halt further deforestation. We recommend: (1) protecting riparian habitat; (2) avoiding further forest conversion particularly areas supporting large trees into oil palm plantations; and (3) limiting road development within and around the NSPSF.
Ref: Adila, N., Selvadurai, S., Kamarudin, N., Puan, C.L., Azhar, B., and Lindenmayer, D.B. (2017). Effects of peat swamp logging and agricultural expansion on species richness of native mammals in Peninsular Malaysia. Basic and Applied Ecology, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.baae.2017.04.002.


RMIT Node: Alex Kusmanoff and colleagues on the decline of the term ‘biodiversity’ (and the rise of economic language in Australian conservation policy discourse)
We analysed environment policy related media releases of the Australian Government and Australian Conservation Foundation from 2003 to 2014. We found that the term ‘biodiversity’ has become less prevalent over this time, while use of economic language has increased. In addition, the use of ecosystem services framing indicates that this is now a mainstream concept. We speculate that this may be a strategic response by communicators, but that this may also have unintended or adverse effects for biodiversity conservation.
Ref: Alexander M. Kusmanoff, Fiona Fidler, Ascelin Gordon, Sarah A. Bekessy, Decline of ‘biodiversity’ in conservation policy discourse in Australia, Environmental Science & Policy, Volume 77, November 2017, Pages 160-165, ISSN 1462-9011, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2017.08.016.

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 #303 (7 September 2017)

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

“Melissa Price, the Liberal member for Durack, represents 359 threatened species, or about 20% of Australia’s total.”
Watson et al in a Conversation editorial celebrating Threatened Species Day.
[See the UQ Node News]

General News

1. Science Policy Internships
2. Threatened Species Commissioner job advertised
3. Draft Plan to improve quality of water flowing to the Great Barrier Reef
4. Semi-automated detection of eagle nests
5. Calling citizen scientists to log local echidna sightings


EDG News

RMIT Node: Laura Mumaw and colleagues on strengthening wellbeing through wildlife gardening
UWA Node:
Richard Hobbs on challenges for restoration in a fast-changing world
UMelb Node: Guru Guillera-Arroita on uncertainties in Species Occurrence Data: How to deal with False Positives and False Negatives
UQ Node: Just ten MPs represent more than 600 threatened species in their electorates
ANU Node: David Lindenmayer and colleagues on Regional Forest Agreements fail to meet their aims

-~<>~-

General News

1. Science Policy Internships

The Australian Academy of Science is currently accepting applications to undertake a three month internship within the science policy team. You will gain exposure to a range of science policy and public policy issues. Applicants should ideally have completed, or are close to completing, a higher degree with a substantial research component at an Australian University. Applications close 15 September and internships can begin in October/November 2017 or January/February 2018.

-~<>~-

2. Threatened Species Commissioner job advertised
“The Threatened Species Commissioner, sitting within the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy, champions the development and implementation of practical conservation actions designed to secure priority national threatened species in the wild for at least the next 100 years. The Commissioner is responsible for bringing a national focus and effort to address the growing number of plants and animals in Australia that are facing extinction.”
http://environment.gov.au/about-us/employment/current-vacancies

-~<>~-

3. Draft Plan to improve quality of water flowing to the Great Barrier Reef

The Australian and Queensland Governments have released the draft Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan 2017-2022 for consultation. The renewed five-year plan details how industry, government and the community will continue to work together to improve the quality of water flowing to the Great Barrier Reef. The draft plan is an update of the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan and supports delivery of the $2 billion Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan. The plan has an expanded scope and addresses all land-based sources of water pollution including run-off from urban, industrial and public lands, while recognising the majority of pollution comes from agricultural activities. It includes social, cultural and economic values for the first time. More information is in the joint Ministerial media release.
-~<>~-

4. Semi-automated detection of eagle nests
This study developed image processing techniques to identify sea eagle nests from high resolution aerial photography. Eagles are sensitive to disturbances at the nest site, so identifying and protecting those locations is an important part of protecting the species. Population monitoring can also be conducted at nest locations, so having automated tools to develop a nest inventory can improve monitoring. The image processing strategies developed are likely to be broadly useful for wildlife monitoring with image data, among other applications.
Ref: Andrew, M.E. and J.M. Shephard. (2017). Semi-automated detection of eagle nests: An application of very high resolution image data and advanced image analyses to wildlife surveys. Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation. 3:66-80. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/rse2.38; and see the press release: http://media.murdoch.edu.au/using-technology-to-find-sea-eagles

-~<>~-

5. Calling citizen scientists to log local echidna sightings

[Recommended by Peter Ramshaw]
The University of Adelaide are are asking you to help document sightings of echidnas and their scats to better our understanding of these iconic Australian creatures.
https://cosmosmagazine.com/society/calling-citizen-scientists-to-log-local-echidna-sightings

-~<>~-

EDG News

RMIT Node: Laura Mumaw and colleagues on strengthening wellbeing through wildlife gardening
Experiencing nature, alone or with others in urban green spaces, is known to improve personal wellbeing. Wellbeing benefits are also reported from volunteering in environmental improvement projects. But what are the wellbeing impacts from participating in gardening to conserve municipal native biodiversity? In their recent paper, Strengthening wellbeing in urban communities through wildlife gardening, Mumaw et al. investigate a municipal wildlife gardening program run by a community group-local government collaboration in Melbourne. They find that participants report experiential, social, and eudemonic (e.g. gaining skills, making a meaningful contribution) wellbeing benefits from their involvement, including strengthened connections with nature, place and community. The paper recommends that the wellbeing and environmental outcomes from community programs seeking to foster biodiversity be recognised and further explored in both conservation and wellbeing policy and program approaches.
Ref: Mumaw, Laura M.; Maller, Cecily; and Bekessy, Sarah (2017) Strengthening Wellbeing in Urban Communities Through Wildlife Gardening. Cities and the Environment (CATE): Vol. 10: Iss. 1, Article 6.

Available at: http://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/cate/vol10/iss1/6

UWA Node: Richard Hobbs on challenges for restoration in a fast-changing world
Richard Hobbs considers the current status and future of restoration in a paper arising from the Restore, Revegetate, Regenerate conference held in Armidale in February. Ecological restoration provides hope and the opportunity for positive action in the face of ongoing rapid environmental change. Restoration techniques and approaches are improving, and restoration is seen as an important element of conservation management and policy from local to global scales. Motivations for undertaking restoration are numerous, and resources available for this enterprise vary greatly from case to case. Restoration encompasses everything from multinational companies restoring minesites or offsets to comply with environmental regulations to local bushcare groups doing voluntary work in their local patch of bush. The financial and human resources available largely determine the extent and type of restoration activities that are possible. An important task is increasing the resources available for these activities, but it is also important to recognise that resources will continue to fall well short of what is actually required into the foreseeable future. In addition, the need for restoration will only increase with ongoing development and changing environments. In this scenario, how then, should decisions be made about what types of restoration activities are appropriate and possible? How do we ensure that the good intentions behind restoration management and policy translate into good outcomes? Challenges for restoration include not only improving the techniques and approaches but also tackling hard questions about what restoration goals are appropriate and engaging in open discussion of hidden assumptions and values behind decisions.
Reference: Hobbs, R.J. 2017. Where to from here? Challenges for restoration and revegetation in a fast-changing world. The Rangeland Journal, https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ17053

UMelb Node: Guru Guillera-Arroita on uncertainties in Species Occurrence Data: How to deal with False Positives and False Negatives
“Monitoring is a fundamental step in the management of any species. The collection and careful analysis of species data allows us to make informed decisions about management priorities and to critically evaluate our actions. There are many aspects of a natural system that we can measure and, when it comes to monitoring the status of species, occurrence is a commonly used metric…
…we must remember that most survey methods are imperfect. There are two ways in which species occurrence records can be mistaken…”
https://methodsblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/17/false-positives-false-negatives/


UQ Node: Just ten MPs represent more than 600 threatened species in their electorates
James Watson and colleagues have written an editorial on which Federal electorates hold the most threatened species:
“A member of parliament’s primary job, besides being a party member and parliamentarian, is to speak up for local interests. Data from the Species of National Environmental Significance shows that every federal electorate contains at least one threatened species, so every single federally elected politician has a role to play in abating species extinction. We’ve used that data to create an interactive map that shows the number of threatened species in each federal electorate, along with details of the local MP and their party. It’s obvious from a glance that a handful electorates contain most of Australia’s threatened species. (You can click on an electorate to view information on the local member, and to download its threatened species lists.)
https://theconversation.com/just-ten-mps-represent-more-than-600-threatened-species-in-their-electorates-83500

ANU Node: David Lindenmayer and colleagues on Regional Forest Agreements fail to meet their aims
David Lindenmayer and colleagues have just release an ESA Hot Topic on RFAs in which they point out:
-The 20-year Regional Forest Agreements between State and Commonwealth governments are due for renewal. They aim to allow native forest harvesting while providing for conservation and future industry.
-RFA legislative framing precludes important federal legislation, reducing protection for native species of conservation concern.
-RFAs have comprehensively failed to achieve their key aims. Instead, vertebrate species declines, timber overharvesting, and forest instability is evident. Industry future is uncertain.
https://www.ecolsoc.org.au/hot-topics/regional-forest-agreements-fail-meet-their-aims

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 #302 (31 August 2017)

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

“I have always been terrified by people in politics who are absolutely sure they are right, have God on their side or tell me they are ‘men of principle’. Such people seem able to blind themselves to their own hypocrisy and humbuggery – and are dangerous.”
John Kerin, former government minister (as reported in a Pannell Discussion on John Kerin’s just released memoirs)

General News

1. Tree-clearing kills 68 million animals in Queensland in two years
2. ABS releases land use on farms data
3. National Environmental-Economic Accounting Workshop
4. What does my cat really get up to outdoors?
5. Big Outback Plans for 2 Million Acres Under Aboriginal Ownership

EDG News

ANU Node: Ben Scheele and colleagues on disease-associated change in an amphibian life-history trait
RMIT Node:
The RMIT lab has been renovated
UWA Node: Agricultural Land Restoration Research Strategy

UMelb Node: Culling animals ‘ethically’
UQ Node: Viv Tulloch and colleagues on modelling to quantify the impact of historical whaling on Southern Hemisphere baleen whales
-~<>~-

General News

1. Tree-clearing kills 68 million animals in Queensland in two years

A new WWF-Australia report estimates tree-clearing in Queensland has killed 68 million animals between mid-2013 and mid-2015. Wildlife habitat destruction tripled after the previous Queensland government weakened tree protection. WWF-Australia conservation scientist Dr Martin Taylor said in the first two years following the changes, bulldozers destroyed the habitat of an estimated 1.8 million mammals, 5.2 million birds and 61.2 million reptiles.

http://www.wwf.org.au/news/news/2017/tree-clearing-kills-68-million-animals-in-queensland-in-two-years#gs.af5Hn8k

-~<>~-

2. ABS releases land use on farms data

http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4627.0?OpenDocument

-~<>~-

3. National Environmental-Economic Accounting Workshop

The Department of the Environment and Energy and the Victorian Government recently co-hosted a national workshop on environmental-economic accounting in Melbourne. The workshop brought together approximately 100 key stakeholders from environment and natural resource management organisations, academia, business, and government to share experiences and build a better understanding of the context for a national approach to environmental-economic accounting, as well as the potential benefits and uses for different sectors. The workshop showcased some of the work underway across governments and sectors, and facilitated the sharing of ideas and knowledge. The discussions held over the event provided valuable insight and diverse perspectives which will be used in the development of a strategy for a common national approach to environmental-economic accounting. This strategy will deliver on the commitment by Environment Ministers to collaborate across governments on an common approach to environmental-economic accounting which improves our understanding of the condition of the environment and its relationship with the economy and our standard of living, and increases our ability to track environmental outcomes in specific locations and across state and territory boundaries.
-~<>~-

4. What does my cat really get up to outdoors?

A survey of cat owners in 2016 showed that 34% of cats are currently kept only indoors, while 7% are kept only outdoors and 59% are allowed to wander between the two. If you are one of the majority who lets your cat outdoors, have you ever stopped to wonder what your cat really gets up to?

Blog on Indoor Kitties Australia
https://indoorkittiesau.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/what-does-my-cat-really-get-up-to-outdoors/amp/

-~<>~-

5. Big Outback Plans for 2 Million Acres Under Aboriginal Ownership

By Barry Traill and Daniel Lewis

Returning to tropical Queensland tract, Olkola aim to unlock its scientific, economic, and conservation potential.

In 2014, ownership of five big Cape York cattle stations was handed back to their Traditional Owners, the Olkola. Together with cattle leasehold country they also manage, the Olkola—who call themselves the ‘Freshwater People’—are now the custodians of more than 800,000 hectares (nearly 2 million acres) of Australia’s tropical Outback.

http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/compass-points/2017/08/21/big-outback-plans-for-2-million-acres

-~<>~-

EDG News

ANU Node: Ben Scheele and colleagues on disease-associated change in an amphibian life-history trait
Emerging pathogens can drive evolutionary shifts in host life-history traits, yet this process remains poorly documented in vertebrate hosts. Amphibian chytridiomycosis, caused by infection with the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is the worst recorded wildlife disease and has caused the extinction of over 100 species across multiple continents. A similar number of additional species have experienced mass declines and Bd remains a major source of mortality in many populations of declined species now persisting with the pathogen. Life-history theory predicts that increased extrinsic mortality in Bd-infected populations may alter amphibian life-history traits, but this has not been examined. Here, we investigate whether population Bd status is associated with age and size at maturity by comparing long-exposed Bd-infected populations, Bd-free populations, and museum specimens collected prior to Bd emergence for the endangered Australian frog Litoria verreauxii alpina. We show that Bd-infected populations have a higher proportion of males that mature at 1 year of age, and females that mature at 2 years of age, compared to Bd-free populations. Earlier maturation was associated with reduced size at maturity in males. Consistent with life-history theory, our findings may represent an adaptive evolutionary shift towards earlier maturation in response to high Bd-induced mortality. To our knowledge, this study provides the first evidence for a post-metamorphic Bd-associated shift in an amphibian life-history trait. Given high mortality in other Bd-challenged species, we suggest that chytridiomycosis may be a substantial new selection pressure shaping life-history traits in impacted amphibian species across multiple continents.
Ref: Benjamin C. Scheele, Lee F. Skerratt, David A. Hunter, Sam C. Banks, Jennifer C. Pierson, Don A. Driscoll, Philip G. Byrne, Lee Berger (2017). Disease-associated change in an amphibian life-history trait. Oecologia 184, Issue 4,  pp 825–833.
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00442-017-3911-7?wt_mc=alerts.TOCjournals

RMIT Node: The RMIT lab has been renovated
The RMIT lab has been renovated over the past few weeks. We now have a few break-out spaces, some lovely new hot-desks and plenty of room for EDG visitors. And soon there’ll be a host of plants to bring in some greenery. Goodbye drab hospital grey, hello natural light, timber finishes and charcoal-coloured flooring!

UWA Node: Agricultural Land Restoration Research Strategy
Last week Maksym Polyakov from UWA participated in the South West Agricultural Land Restoration Research Strategy Workshop organised by the Western Australia Biodiversity Science Institute (WABSI, http://wabsi.org.au/ ). One of the key research priorities identified by WABSI is restoring ecosystems in fragmented landscapes and changing climate of the south west. It is a complex and challenging problem requiring a transdisciplinary approach. Workshop participants represented a broad range of disciplines, such as ecology, conservation planning, and economics, and are engaged in different areas of restoration, such as research, planning, and implementation. They helped to identify and prioritise key issues and knowledge gaps that are limiting the ability to achieve large scale restoration in South-Western Australia. This work is the first step in the development of a research strategy addressing the challenges of ecosystems restoration.

UMelb Node: Culling animals ‘ethically’
“In the reading group earlier this month Linda Riquelme led a discussion on the issue of wildlife culling. This is something that relates to projects a few of us in the lab work on. For example, the management of endangered Buloke Woodlands in the Victorian Mallee, which involves an annual kangaroo cull at Wyperfeld National Park in north-western Victoria. Not all wildlife management strategies involve culling, though it is used in many situations: kangaroo culls in eastern Australia to manage grazing, badger culls in the UK to control bovine tuberculosis, culling of exotic brushtail possums in New Zealand, the list goes on. A paper published earlier this year by Dubois and colleagues proposed a list of seven stepwise “principles for ethical wildlife control”. These principles came about as a result of a 2-day workshop held in 2015 that brought together 20 international experts from academia, industry, and non-governmental organisations. The aim of the workshop was to develop a set of steps that managers could work through to determine whether it was possible to mitigate a problem by changing human behaviour, or if not, whether a problem was serious enough to warrant a cull.”
https://qaeco.com/2017/08/21/culling-animals-ethically/

UQ Node: Viv Tulloch and colleagues on modelling to quantify the impact of historical whaling on Southern Hemisphere baleen whales
“Many baleen whales were commercially harvested during the 20th century almost to extinction. Reliable assessments of how this mass depletion impacted whale populations, and projections of their recovery, are crucial but there are uncertainties regarding the status of Southern Hemisphere whale populations. We developed a Southern Hemisphere spatial “Model of Intermediate Complexity for Ecosystem Assessments” (MICE) for phytoplankton, krill (Euphausia superba) and five baleen whale species, to estimate whale population trajectories from 1890 to present. To forward project to 2100, we couple the predator–prey model to a global climate model. We used the most up to date catch records, fitted to survey data and accounted for key uncertainties. We predict Antarctic blue (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia), fin (Balaenoptera physalus) and southern right (Eubalaena australis) whales will be at less than half their pre-exploitation numbers (K) even given 100 years of future protection from whaling, because of slow growth rates. Some species have benefited greatly from cessation of harvesting, particularly humpbacks (Megaptera novaeangliae), currently at 32% of K, with full recovery predicted by 2050. We highlight spatial differences in the recovery of whale species between oceanic areas, with current estimates of Atlantic/Indian area blue (1,890, <1% of K) and fin (16,950, <4% of K) whales suggesting slower recovery from harvesting, whilst Pacific southern right numbers are <7% of K (2,680). Antarctic minke (Balaenoptera bonaerensis) population trajectories track future expected increases in primary productivity. Population estimates and plausible future predicted trajectories for Southern Hemisphere baleen whales are key requirements for management and conservation.
Ref: Tulloch VJD, Plagányi ÉE, Matear R, Brown CJ, Richardson AJ. Ecosystem modelling to quantify the impact of historical whaling on Southern Hemisphere baleen whales. Fish Fish. 2017;00:1–21. https://doi.org/10.1111/faf.12241

[And see Viv interviewed on a segment on Sunrise morning show athttps://twitter.com/sunriseon7/status/900107710590468096]

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 #301 (24 August 2017)

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

“I don’t think anyone’s ever saved a species from behind a desk,” Dejan Stojanovic SMH

General News

1. Experimental Environmental-Economic Accounts for the Great Barrier Reef
2. The fence of sorrow and hope [Mulligan’s Flat Woodland Sanctuary]
3. Collaborative environmental governance: Achieving collective action in social-ecological systems
4. Resilience 2017: Care, knowledge and agency as a basic for ecosystem stewardship
5. RFA’s extended for another 20 years in Tasmania

EDG News

UQ Node: Trade-offs in triple-bottom-line outcomes when recovering fisheries
ANU Node:
Martin Westgate named as 2017 Wiley Next Generation Ecologist Award
RMIT Node: Mat Hardy delivers presentation on uptake of private land conservation
UWA Node: Predicting behaviour change by farmers
UMelb Node: Cindy Hauser and Tracy Rout on adaptive management improves decisions about where to search for invasive species

-~<>~-

General News

1. Experimental Environmental-Economic Accounts for the Great Barrier Reef

The ABS has released the publication Experimental Environmental-Economic Accounts for the Great Barrier Reef, 2017

Experimental Environmental-Economic Accounts for the Great Barrier Reef, 2017

-~<>~-

2. The fence of sorrow and hope [Mulligan’s Flat Woodland Sanctuary]
An evocative reflection on the role of a conservation fence by John Dargavel

“I think it an ugly thing. Punched through a patch of scruffy bush outside Canberra, its steel gates and electric wire look like a prison of sorts, which it is. It jars me to find it in a nature reserve and it tells me of a sad history. But it is also story of recovery. Heroic or forlorn? I don’t know.

It skewers a remnant scrap of grassy woodland that once stretched far and wide; a land of sustenance with plants for every purpose, kangaroos and possums for feast and skin, and with quolls, bettongs, and echidnas scuttering about. A hard land, but it had homes for all and grew its people for millennia…”

https://everydayfutures.com.au/project/fence-sorrow-hope/

-~<>~-

3. Collaborative environmental governance: Achieving collective action in social-ecological systems
[Recommended by Angela Guerrero]

By its nature, environmental governance requires collaboration. However, studies have shown that various types of stakeholders often lack the willingness to deliberate and contribute to jointly negotiated solutions to common environmental problems. Bodin reviews studies and cases that elucidate when, if, and how collaboration can be effective and what kind of environmental problems are most fruitfully addressed in this way. The piece provides general conclusions about the benefits and constraints of collaborative approaches to environmental management and governance and points out that there remain substantial knowledge gaps and key areas where more research is needed.

Ref: Bodin O (2017). Collaborative environmental governance: Achieving collective action in social-ecological systems. Science 18 Aug 2017: Vol. 357, Issue 6352.
http://science.sciencemag.org/content/357/6352/eaan1114

-~<>~-

4. Resilience 2017: Care, knowledge and agency as a basic for ecosystem stewardship
A blog commentary by Joern Fischer

Research on stewardship has increased over the last 27 years, especially with respect to “action” and “outcomes” – and these, in turn, were mostly published in natural science articles. In contrast, “ethics” initially took up approximately a third of the existing literature, but accounts for a substantially smaller fraction of current research on stewardship. Given such disparity in focus within the theme of stewardship, how can the different themes – outcomes, actions, motivation, ethics – be bridged?

https://ideas4sustainability.wordpress.com/2017/08/21/resilience-2017-care-knowledge-and-agency-as-a-basic-for-ecosystem-stewardship/

-~<>~-

5. RFA’s extended for another 20 years in Tasmania

“The Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) has been extended for another two decades. The RFAs are 20-year agreements between state and federal governments that allow for the logging of native forests on public land, and provide an exemption to Commonwealth environment laws. They were designed to bring certainty for the timber industry while enabling nature conservation efforts and providing recreation opportunities. Visiting a timber mill near Launceston, Mr Turnbull greeted workers and told them he hoped the extension of the agreement would keep them in work for a long time. After signing the agreement, Mr Turnbull proclaimed it as “a great day for Tasmanian forestry. Renewable, sustainable … fantastic…”

[On the other hand]

“Jenny Weber from the Bob Brown Foundation said it would lead to further destruction of forests. “We’re devastated by this move by the Federal and State Governments to continue to drive extinction of species, loss of carbon stocks out there in Tasmania’s unique forests and committing Tasmania to a failed agreement,” she said. “We’ve seen the Regional Forest Agreement fail for the past 20 years and what an astounding move to be signing us up to 20 years more of devastation in Tasmania’s forests.” Ms Weber said it would affect the survival of the swift parrot.”
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-18/tasmanian-regional-forest-agreements-to-be-extended/8818838?pfmredir=sm
-~<>~-

EDG News

UQ Node: Trade-offs in triple-bottom-line outcomes when recovering fisheries
“Almost all environmental management comes at an economic cost that may not be borne equitably by all stakeholders. Here, we investigate how heterogeneity in catch and profits among fishers influences the trade-off among the triple-bottom-line objectives of recovering a fish population, maximizing its economic value and distributing restrictions equitably across fishers. As a case-study, we examine management reform of an ecologically and economically important coral reef fishery operating within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Using a simulation model, we find that total profitability of the fishing industry is 40% lower if recovery plans are equitable when compared to the most economically efficient plan. However, efficient recovery plans were typically highly inequitable because they required some fishers to cease fishing. Equity was defined according to different norms, and the efficiency loss was greatest when catch losses were shared equally across fishers rather than in proportion to their historical catch. We then varied key social, economic and biological parameters to identify cases when equity and efficient recovery would trade-off most strongly. Recovery plans could be both efficient and equitable when heterogeneity in fisher’s catches and individual catch efficiencies was lower. If fishers were homogenous then equitable plans could have maximal economic efficiency. These results emphasize the importance of considering heterogeneity in individual fishers when designing recovery plans. Recovery plans that are inequitable may often fail to gain stakeholder support, so in fisheries with high heterogeneity we should temper our expectations for marked increases in profits.”
Ref: Brown CJ, Althor G, Halpern BS, Benjamin S Halpern, Sayed Iftekhar, Carissa J Klein, Simon Linke, Elizabeth C Pryde, Steven Schilizzi, James E M Watson, Becky Twohey, Hugh P Possingham (2017). Trade-offs in triple-bottom-line outcomes when recovering fisheries. Fish Fish. 2017;00:1–10. https://doi.org/10.1111/faf.12240

ANU Node: Martin Westgate named as 2017 Wiley Next Generation Ecologist Award
Congratulations to Dr Martin Westgate who recently received the 2017 Wiley Next Generation Ecologist Award for his work, which includes a $3000 professional development grant. From the press release:
“A Canberra researcher is developing a way for scientists to keep up with the ever-increasing number of academic papers. ‘The rate of publication of scientific articles and other information sources makes it impossible for scientists to be fully aware of developments in their field,’ says Dr Martin Westgate, a post-doctoral researcher at the Australian National University. ‘This applies particularly in my field of biodiversity conservation where we are urgently trying to save species from extinction.’ Scientific publisher Springer Nature estimates that there are more than 4,000 academic papers published every day. ‘There is far too much research on biodiversity loss for anyone to be able to sensibly distil that information. Additionally, researchers sometimes use words in different ways, making it even more difficult to locate relevant data’ says Dr Westgate. ‘I am taking language tools designed to classify documents and applying them to conservation biology. We hope that this “text mining” will help scientists track the published literature in their field and remove some of the sub-conscious biases that we often have.’”
https://www.ecolsoc.org.au/word-games-help-scientists-save-animals-extinction

RMIT Node: Mat Hardy delivers presentation on uptake of private land conservation
Mat Hardy gave a presentation on “Improving the knowledge and uptake of private land conservation in Australia” to the Australian Land Conservation Alliance on Thursday last week. The presentation is based on a report currently under development, providing a literature review and a series of case studies on how private land conservation is currently implemented in Australia.
More info: Mathew Hardy mat.hardy@rmit.edu.au

UWA Node: Predicting behaviour change by farmers
David Pannell has a new paper out describing a tool for predicting the uptake by farmers of new practices, including environmental practices. The tool predicts the speed and level of adoption by a particular population of farmers, based on insights from hundreds of studies that have looked at this issue. Criteria include the environmental effectiveness of the practice, and the environmental orientation of the farmer, but these things have to compete for influence with 20 other criteria. The paper in the journal Agricultural Systems is freely available (Open Access) here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308521X16304541. And the tool itself, called ADOPT, is available here: https://research.csiro.au/software/adopt/ Also see http://www.ruralpracticechange.net/ for a set of videos on the topic of farmers adopting new practices.
Ref: G. Kuehne et al. (2017). Predicting farmer uptake of new agricultural practices: A tool for research, extension and policy Agricultural Systems, vol 156 p115-125. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2017.06.007

UMelb Node: Cindy Hauser and Tracy Rout on adaptive management improves decisions about where to search for invasive species
“In our new paper we apply optimal adaptive management to a simple model of searching for an invasive plant. We wanted to see whether an adaptive approach would find more plants than intuitive rules of thumb, and it did. We also found that a passive adaptive approach performed almost as well as an active adaptive approach. Passive adaptive strategies can be calculated in a spreadsheet (no complicated SDP needed), so there’s potential to calculate these for more realistic search problems, such as searching for an invasive plant across large numbers of sites in a landscape.”
Ref: Rout TM*, Hauser CE*, McCarthy MA, and Moore JL, 2017, Adaptive management improves decisions about where to search for invasive species, Biological Conservation 212: 249-255. *Contributed equally.
(By the way, if you love optimal adaptive management or want to learn how to do it you should also check out Chadès et al., 2017,Optimization methods to solve adaptive management problems, Theoretical Ecology 10(1): 1-20.)

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/