Dbytes #508 (27 January 2022)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“as species disappear, ancient knowledge built up over thousands of years also fades away – and fragments of our culture are lost forever.”
Goolmeer et al [see item 1]



In this issue of Dbytes

1. Ancient knowledge is lost when a species disappears. It’s time to let Indigenous people care for their country, their way
2. Measuring comprehensive carbon prices of national climate policies
3. 50 shades of green – what shade of sustainability do you practice?
4. Beyond Forests: Reducing the EU’s footprint on all natural ecosystems
5. Mitigating social-ecological risks from the surge in China’s overseas investment: an Indonesian profile
6. Use of citizen science datasets to test effects of grazing exclusion and replanting on Australian woodland birds
7. Conservation frontiers: understanding the geographic expansion of conservation

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1. Ancient knowledge is lost when a species disappears. It’s time to let Indigenous people care for their country, their way

Indigenous people across Australia place tremendous cultural and customary value on many species and ecological communities. The very presence of a plant or animal species can trigger an Indigenous person to recall and share knowledge. This is crucial to maintaining culture and managing Country.

https://theconversation.com/ancient-knowledge-is-lost-when-a-species-disappears-its-time-to-let-indigenous-people-care-for-their-country-their-way-172760

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2. Measuring comprehensive carbon prices of national climate policies

We measure the comprehensive carbon price from 2008 to 2019 resulting from climate policies imposed by 25 high-polluting countries that represent 82 percent of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2019. Comprehensive carbon prices build upon previous notions—including explicit, effective, and implicit carbon prices—by incorporating a broad range of policies that reduce carbon emissions.

Full article: Measuring comprehensive carbon prices of national climate policies (tandfonline.com)

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3. 50 shades of green – what shade of sustainability do you practice?

I believe ‘sustainability’ is important. But I think what I practice is a form of broad and weak sustainability. And for that to work, I need to be an extremely optimistic techno-idealogue (who doesn’t read the news). But enough about me; what type of sustainability are you into?

50 shades of green – what shade of sustainability do you practice?

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4. Beyond Forests: Reducing the EU’s footprint on all natural ecosystems

The EU could jeopardise its chances to effectively tackle biodiversity loss and global climate change if non-forest ecosystems aren’t included in new deforestation legislation from the start, a new WWF report underscores.

Beyond Forests: Reducing the EU’s footprint on all natural ecosystems | WWF

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5. Mitigating social-ecological risks from the surge in China’s overseas investment: an Indonesian profile

Our paper highlights how social-ecological risks of Belt and Road Initiatives investments can be mitigated or amplified by host country standards and practices. We use Indonesia as an exemplar case study, where poor and convoluted governance of BRI projects reduces accountability, weakens controls, and increases the risk of fraudulent misconduct, which can ultimately lead to adverse impacts on biodiversity and Indigenous livelihoods surrounding BRI projects. Furthermore, national policies aimed at streamlining business and environmental management permitting pose an additional threat to the due diligence necessary for reducing the impacts of development activities on people and nature. Indonesia’s new Omnibus Law is a prime example, as it eliminates several environmental regulations, increases the ease of development approval, and reduces the role of local government and civil society in the planning process. We focus on Indonesia, but these issues are relevant to many other BRI countries.

Mitigating social-ecological risks from the surge in China’s overseas investment: an Indonesian profile | SpringerLink

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6. Use of citizen science datasets to test effects of grazing exclusion and replanting on Australian woodland birds

Around the world, woodlands have been cleared for agricultural production and their bird communities are in decline. To reverse these declines and foster bird community resilience, government agencies, non-government organizations, and private landholders have implemented restoration actions, commonly including grazing exclusion and replanting. These actions are rarely implemented in an experimental framework, making it difficult to measure their effectiveness. However, ecological monitoring datasets, and citizen science datasets in particular, can provide useful opportunities for measuring effects of restoration actions and act as a baseline upon which adaptive management can be built. We examined the effect of revegetation actions on the terrestrial bird community in Australia’s south-eastern temperate woodlands using long-term, community-collected monitoring datasets. We explored the response of bird abundance, species richness, and a newly developed index of ecological community condition, to grazing exclusion and replanting over a 20-year period using an uneven control-impact study design. Grazing exclusion plus replanting had strong positive effects on all three bird community metrics, which increased with time, compared to control sites where neither action occurred. Bird abundance, but not species richness or community condition, increased over time with grazing exclusion alone, while control sites with continued grazing and no replanting showed no change in all three measures. We demonstrate that citizen science datasets with imperfect study designs can be used to gain insights on conservation action effectiveness and highlight the value of metrics that capture information about community condition more precisely than just abundance or species richness.

Use of citizen science datasets to test effects of grazing exclusion and replanting on Australian woodland birds – Gibson – – Restoration Ecology – Wiley Online Library

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7. Conservation frontiers: understanding the geographic expansion of conservation

To better understand the geographies of conservation, connecting conservation with tools used widely in Land System Science – particularly the frontier concept – allows assessing the patterns, actors, and drivers of conservation. We propose that land conservation can be analysed through three different perspectives. First, conservation can be framed as efforts to slow or stop other frontiers. Second, the expansion of conservation could itself be described as a frontier process, similarly leading to institutional and cultural reorganization, and sometimes conflicts (e.g. green grabbing). Third, frontiers can be seen as spaces where multiple land uses, including conservation, interact. Analysing conservation through these perspectives could be particularly powerful to thoroughly consider the social-ecological contexts in which conservation happens, and thus to bridge the disciplines of Land System Science and Conservation Science.

Full article: Conservation frontiers: understanding the geographic expansion of conservation (tandfonline.com)

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.
Or you could subscribe to the WordPress version by visiting https://ozdbytes.wordpress.com/

and click the ‘follow’ button.

David Salt
and you can follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt or @GWFWater

Dbytes #507 (20 January 2022)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“The governments and corporations enabling these projects urge us not to be concerned, as each project is subjected to a rigorous environmental impact assessment (EIA) to ensure there is no lasting harm to nature. Yet the alarming fact is, many EIAs are of limited value and some are virtually useless.”
William Laurance [see item 4]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Understanding the Rights of Nature
2. BCA criticisms: “discounting is bad”
3. Does a ‘duty of care’ to future children make any difference to environmental approvals?
4. Why environmental impact assessments often fail
5. Assessing the status of existing and tentative marine World Heritage areas reveals opportunities to better achieve World Heritage Convention goals
6. Pushing the frontiers of social-ecological resilience
7. Rolling covenants to protect coastal ecosystems in the face of sea-level rise

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1. Understanding the Rights of Nature

Rivers, landscapes, whole territories: these are the latest entities environmental activists have fought hard to include in the relentless expansion of rights in our world. But what does it mean for a landscape to have rights? Why would anyone want to create such rights, and to what end? Is it a good idea, and does it come with risks? This book presents the logic behind giving nature rights and discusses the most important cases in which this has happened, ranging from constitutional rights of nature in Ecuador to rights for rivers in New Zealand, Colombia, and India. Mihnea Tanasescu offers clear answers to the thorny questions that the intrusion of nature into law is sure to raise.

https://www.transcript-publishing.com/978-3-8376-5431-8/understanding-the-rights-of-nature/?number=978-3-8394-5431-2&c=411000239

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2. BCA criticisms: “discounting is bad”

Number 3 in David Pannell’s series on criticisms of Benefit: Cost Analysis (BCA) addresses discounting, the procedure used to compare benefits and costs that occur at different points in time. Sometimes people are critical of discounting because they feel it leads to objectionable BCA results.

362. BCA criticisms 3: “discounting is bad” – Pannell Discussions

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3. Does a ‘duty of care’ to future children make any difference to environmental approvals?

In practice it seems that the duty of care to children is just one more box to tick and doesn’t change anything. But the implications extend beyond a mere box-ticking exercise.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/  

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4. Why environmental impact assessments often fail

The environmental impact assessment (EIA) is a nearly universal instrument intended to limit or to offset the environmental tolls of development projects.  Here, I describe some of the key shortcomings of EIAs in terms of their real-world application, especially in developing nations that harbor much of the world’s imperiled biodiversity.  A surprisingly large number of EIAs suffer from major inaccuracies and some are green-lighting projects that will have serious environmental and societal costs.  I summarize by proposing eight strategies to help improve the conservation capacities of EIAs.

Why environmental impact assessments often fail | Laurance | THERYA (unam.mx)

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5. Assessing the status of existing and tentative marine World Heritage areas reveals opportunities to better achieve World Heritage Convention goals

Threats and geographic biases are prevalent in marine World Heritage areas (mnWHA).
Most marine ecoregions and at-risk species are not represented in existing mnWHAs.
Cumulative human impacts are increasing in 73% of existing mnWHAs.
In most tentative mnWHAs, impacts remain high but are increasing at a lower rate.
Strategic listing of tentative sites could close representation and conservation gaps.

Assessing the status of existing and tentative marine World Heritage areas reveals opportunities to better achieve World Heritage Convention goals – ScienceDirect

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6. Pushing the frontiers of social-ecological resilience

-Researchers recognize the importance of transformational resilience for sustainable futures
-Social and ecological systems are truly intertwined and evolve together and, their co-evolutionary governance can help build resilient communities
-A tipping point in one social-ecological system can trigger a tipping point in another

https://www.stockholmresilience.org/research/research-news/2021-12-02-pushing-the-frontiers-of-social-ecological-resilience.html

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7. Rolling covenants to protect coastal ecosystems in the face of sea-level rise

‘In the paper, we explore how rolling covenants can be used to permit the productive use of land in the short term, while ensuring land use can shift over time to allow for coastal ecosystem migration and in the long term. Rolling covenants can provide opportunities for coastal wetlands to be maintained and even enhanced, thereby delivering important ecosystem services (e.g., blue carbon) into the future.’

https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/csp2.593

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.
Or you could subscribe to the WordPress version by visiting https://ozdbytes.wordpress.com/about/ , scroll to the bottom of the page and ‘follow’ Dbytes.

David Salt
and you can follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

Dbytes #506 (15 December 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“This tragic. Back in 1990s, western fuels association— a coal industry trade group— targeted Bowling Green to test climate denial marketing.”
Naomi Oreskes on the recent tornado disaster in the US (in which the town of Bowling Green was completely destroyed).

“Without facts, you can’t have truth. Without truth, you can’t have trust. Without trust, we have no shared reality, no democracy, and it becomes impossible to deal with our world’s existential problems: climate, COVID, the battle for truth.”
Maria Ressa, in her Nobel Lecture on winning this year’s Nobel Peach Prize


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Death of the Bogong – another icon of nature bites the dust
2. Principles of Effective Policy Reform: Lessons for Australia’s Climate Change Policy Impasse
3. Nature is hiding in every nook of Australia’s cities – just look a little closer and you’ll find it
4. Benefit Cost Analysis criticism 2: “too much uncertainty”
5. Widespread homogenization of plant communities in the Anthropocene
6. Ecological knowledge of local populations more accurate than 10 years of conventional scientific monitoring
7. An introduction to decision science for conservation

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1. Death of the Bogong – another icon of nature bites the dust

The collapse of biodiversity never seems to be a high priority with any government. But the demise of the Bogong moth is especially poignant. The idea that we will see Bogongs no more is an assault to our very identity.

“Since the 1980s, scientists have detected steady declines in numbers of Bogong moths. Then, in 2017 and 2018, their numbers crashed. Ecologists visiting caves at Mount Gingera in 2018 near Canberra reported that this site that had been known to house millions of the moths (17,000 moths per square metre), now only contained three moths! Not three thousand or three million, just three moths. Searches of another 50 known sites have turned up similar catastrophic absences.”

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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2. Principles of Effective Policy Reform: Lessons for Australia’s Climate Change Policy Impasse
Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia

It has been often observed that climate change has proven to be one of the most politically difficult and fraught policy issues to have faced Australia in recent decades. Proposals for policy reform, or even for arguing climate change as a serious issue, have been vigorously contested and politically dangerous—Australia is caught in a climate change policy impasse. This discussion paper seeks to improve our understanding of that impasse, not through a focus on climate change directly, but through lessons and insights gathered from other experiences of policy reform that might inform how this impasse might be addressed.

This edited volume presents ten policy reform case studies – from regional forestry agreements to activity-based funding in Victorian hospitals – to identify critical factors that may be relevant to Australia’s current climate policy impasse.

Principles of Effective Policy Reform: Lessons for Australia’s Climate Change Policy Impasse | Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia

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3. Nature is hiding in every nook of Australia’s cities – just look a little closer and you’ll find it

just because you live in a city, it doesn’t mean you can’t observe, learn about and contribute to scientific understanding of the natural world. Sometimes, it just means looking a little closer. However, our recent study revealed in Australia, the number and diversity of urban ecology citizen science projects is relatively low. This is despite cities being important places of conservation and discovery. There’s enormous value in citizen science projects that encourage urbanites to learn about what is often, quite literally, on their doorsteps.

Nature is hiding in every nook of Australia’s cities – just look a little closer and you’ll find it (theconversation.com)

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4. Benefit Cost Analysis criticism 2: “too much uncertainty”
A Pannell Discussion

David Pannell: “I argue that high uncertainty about a project is an additional reason in favour of doing a BCA, not an argument against it.”

357. BCA criticisms 2: “too much uncertainty” – Pannell Discussions

Plus, also see from David Pannell:
358. High-quality Benefit: Cost Analysis template, for free – Pannell Discussions

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5. Widespread homogenization of plant communities in the Anthropocene

Native biodiversity decline and non-native species spread are major features of the Anthropocene. Both processes can drive biotic homogenization by reducing trait and phylogenetic differences in species assemblages between regions, thus diminishing the regional distinctiveness of biotas and likely have negative impacts on key ecosystem functions. However, a global assessment of this phenomenon is lacking. Here, using a dataset of >200,000 plant species, we demonstrate widespread and temporal decreases in species and phylogenetic turnover across grain sizes and spatial extents. The extent of homogenization within major biomes is pronounced and is overwhelmingly explained by non-native species naturalizations. Asia and North America are major sources of non-native species; however, the species they export tend to be phylogenetically close to recipient floras. Australia, the Pacific and Europe, in contrast, contribute fewer species to the global pool of non-natives, but represent a disproportionate amount of phylogenetic diversity. The timeline of most naturalisations coincides with widespread human migration within the last ~500 years, and demonstrates the profound influence humans exert on regional biotas beyond changes in species richness.

Widespread homogenization of plant communities in the Anthropocene | Nature Communications

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6. Ecological knowledge of local populations more accurate than 10 years of conventional scientific monitoring

A new study published in Methods in Ecology and Evolution has found that the ecological knowledge of local populations in the Amazon is more accurate than 10 years of conventional scientific monitoring for animal abundance.

Ecological knowledge of local populations more accurate than 10 years of conventional scientific monitoring – British Ecological Society

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7. An introduction to decision science for conservation

Biodiversity conservation decisions are difficult, especially when they involve differing values, complex multidimensional objectives, scarce resources, urgency, and considerable uncertainty. Decision science embodies a theory about how to make difficult decisions and an extensive array of frameworks and tools that make that theory practical. We sought to improve conceptual clarity and practical application of decision science to help decision makers apply decision science to conservation problems. We addressed barriers to the uptake of decision science, including a lack of training and awareness of decision science; confusion over common terminology and which tools and frameworks to apply; and the mistaken impression that applying decision science must be time consuming, expensive, and complex. To aid in navigating the extensive and disparate decision science literature, we clarify meaning of common terms: decision science, decision theory, decision analysis, structured decision-making, and decision-support tools. Applying decision science does not have to be complex or time consuming; rather, it begins with knowing how to think through the components of a decision utilizing decision analysis (i.e., define the problem, elicit objectives, develop alternatives, estimate consequences, and perform trade offs). This is best achieved by applying a rapid-prototyping approach. At each step, decision-support tools can provide additional insight and clarity, while decision-support frameworks (e.g., priority threat management and systematic conservation planning) can aid navigation of multiple steps of a decision analysis for particular contexts. We summarize key decision-support frameworks and tools and describe to which step of a decision analysis, and to which contexts, each is most useful to apply. Our introduction to decision science will aid in contextualizing current approaches and new developments and help decision makers begin to apply decision science to conservation problems.

https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13868

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.
Or you could subscribe to the WordPress version by visiting https://ozdbytes.wordpress.com/about/ , scroll to the bottom of the page and ‘follow’ Dbytes.

David Salt
follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

Dbytes #505 (8 December 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“The scale of burning we’re now seeing astounds us – almost as much as the lack of interest they generate.”
Fisher and Burrows [see item 1.2]


In this issue of Dbytes

1.1. Australia’s Black Summer of fire was not normal – and we can prove it
1.2. We are professional fire watchers, and we’re astounded by the scale of fires in remote Australia right now
2. Could anything be ‘New’ About Capitalism and the Environment?
3. Upping the ante? The effects of “emergency” and “crisis” framing in climate change news
4. One in six Australian birds are now threatened, landmark action plan finds
5. Designing and managing biodiverse streetscapes: key lessons from the City of Melbourne
6. Sensing, feeling, thinking: Relating to nature with the body, heart and mind
7. Conflict and climate change are big barriers for Africa’s Great Green Wall

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1.1. Australia’s Black Summer of fire was not normal – and we can prove it

Were these fires unprecedented? You might remember sceptics questioning the idea that the Black Summer fires really were worse than conflagrations like the 1939 Black Friday fires in Victoria. We can now confidently say that these fires were far from normal. Our new analysis of Australian forest fire trends just published in Nature Communications confirms for the first time the Black Summer fires are part of a clear trend of worsening fire weather and ever-larger forest areas burned by fires.

Australia’s Black Summer of fire was not normal – and we can prove it (theconversation.com)

And also see
1.2. We are professional fire watchers, and we’re astounded by the scale of fires in remote Australia right now
We are professional fire watchers, and we’re astounded by the scale of fires in remote Australia right now (theconversation.com)

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2. Could anything be ‘New’ About Capitalism and the Environment?

‘Environmental debt’ is a useful concept, conveying clearly that we have borrowed someone else’s share of nature (the ‘someone else’ being future generations) and must pay it back. But the term hasn’t been used much in our political discourse, perhaps because it is potentially so powerful and, to my mind, policy-specific.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3. Upping the ante? The effects of “emergency” and “crisis” framing in climate change news

News organizations increasingly use the terms “climate emergency” and “climate crisis” to convey the urgency of climate change; yet, little is known about how this terminology affects news audiences. This study experimentally examined how using “climate emergency,” “climate crisis,” or “climate change” in Twitter-based news stories influences public engagement with climate change and news perceptions, as well as whether the effects depend on the focus of the news (i.e., on climate impacts, actions, or both impacts and actions) and on participants’ political ideology. Results showed no effect of terminology on climate change engagement; however, “climate emergency” reduced perceived news credibility and newsworthiness compared to “climate change.” Both climate engagement and news perceptions were more consistently affected by the focus of the stories: news about climate impacts increased fear, decreased efficacy beliefs and hope, and reduced news credibility compared to news about climate actions. No interactions with political ideology were found.

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10584-021-03219-5

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4. One in six Australian birds are now threatened, landmark action plan finds

Once-in-a-decade study finds 216 out of 1,299 species are in danger – up from 195 in 2011

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/dec/01/one-in-six-australian-birds-are-now-threatened-landmark-action-plan-finds

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5. Designing and managing biodiverse streetscapes: key lessons from the City of Melbourne

This paper describes how the City of Melbourne collaborated with researchers from the University of Melbourne to develop and test a suite of understorey plant species to increase streetscape biodiversity. To do so, we selected species using criteria from a horticultural planting guide which guided the design and creation of four streetscape plantings within the municipality. Here, we document the process and discuss lessons learnt from this project to assist other cities to design, construct and maintain streetscapes with successful, cost-effective plantings that improve urban biodiversity and aesthetic value. Key to the long-term success of these biodiverse plantings was thorough soil preparation and weed management before planting, and the implementation of a clear, ecologically sensitive management plan. To support this plan, suitably qualified and experienced landscape maintenance staff were essential, particularly those with horticultural knowledge and experience with indigenous and native plant species. Our project highlights the often conflicting needs of local authorities and ecological researchers and the necessary trade-offs needed to meet realistic goals and achieve successful project outcomes for creating more biodiverse urban landscapes.

Designing and managing biodiverse streetscapes: key lessons from the City of Melbourne (springer.com)

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6. Sensing, feeling, thinking: Relating to nature with the body, heart and mind

The cultural ecosystem services (CES) construct has evolved to accommodate multiple worldviews, knowledge systems and conceptualizations of nature and values, including relational and mental health values. Cultural ecosystem services research and practice has mostly focused on cognitive ways of constructing and expressing intangible values of, and relationships with, nature. But our non-material relationships with nature are not exclusively cognitive: sensory and affective processes are fundamental to how we build, enact and experience these relationships. Building on the core ideas of relational values, embodied experiences and connectedness with nature, we present a simple framework to explore the sensory, affective and cognitive dimensions of human–nature interactions, as well as the settings and activities that frame them.

We demonstrate its use in a case study in the Peruvian Andes, where we applied an inductive, exploratory approach to elicit personal imageries and imaginings related to nature, place and recreation. The narratives shared were rich with symbolism and personal sensory experiences, emotions and memories, which the interviewees linked with general assertions about people, place and nature. We discuss the usefulness of such a perspective for CES research, and for human well-being, environmental justice and landscape management.

https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/pan3.10286

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7. Conflict and climate change are big barriers for Africa’s Great Green Wall

Fourteen years since the launch of Africa’s Great Green Wall project, only 4% of the 100 million hectares (247 million acres) of land targeted for restoration in the Sahel region has actually been restored. Billions of dollars in new funding announced this year have raised hopes that the initiative to combat desertification will gain momentum, but experts and the reality on the ground point to money being far from the only hurdle. Funding restoration activities will cost $44 billion, with every dollar invested generating $1.20 in returns, a recent study in Nature Sustainability calculates.

But experts have echoed concerns captured in the research that conflict and climate change are complicating efforts on the ground, with nearly half of the area identified as viable for restoration falling within the orbit of conflict zones.

https://news.mongabay.com/2021/11/conflict-and-climate-change-are-big-barriers-for-africas-great-green-wall/

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.
Or you could subscribe to the WordPress version by visiting https://ozdbytes.wordpress.com/about/ , scroll to the bottom of the page and ‘follow’ Dbytes.

David Salt
follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

Dbytes #504 (1 December 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“a common thread that emerges across the reviewed literature [on why climate mitigation is proving ineffective] is the central role of power, manifest in many forms, from a dogmatic political-economic hegemony and influential vested interests to narrow techno-economic mindsets and ideologies of control.”
Stoddard et al, see item 3


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Urban resilience for local government: concepts, definitions and qualities
2. Leaving habitats unburnt for longer could help save little mammals in northern Australia
3. Three Decades of Climate Mitigation: Why Haven’t We Bent the Global Emissions Curve?
4. Five big ideas: how Australia can tackle climate change while restoring nature, culture and communities
5. The slippery slopes of failed environmental governance: Who accounts for the regulators?
6. ‘Lawless’ loggers
7. Revealed: the places humanity must not destroy to avoid climate chaos

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1. Urban resilience for local government: concepts, definitions and qualities

Resilience-building focuses on processes and approaches to designing, delivering and evaluating urban systems and programs, to ensure sustainable cities can persist, adapt and transform in the face of growing ecological, economic and social uncertainty. A framework for urban resilience consisting of the definition, characteristics and qualities provides the basis for implementing resilience across local government policy, projects and operations, and in partnership with communities and stakeholders.

apo-nid315253.pdf

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2. Leaving habitats unburnt for longer could help save little mammals in northern Australia

Native small mammals such as bandicoots, tree-rats and possums have been in dire decline across Northern Australia’s vast savannas for the last 30 years – and we’ve only just begun to understand why. Feral cats, livestock, wildfires, and the complex ways these threats interact, have all played a crucial role. But, until now, scientists have struggled to pinpoint which factor was the biggest threat. Our new research points to fire.

https://theconversation.com/photos-from-the-field-leaving-habitats-unburnt-for-longer-could-help-save-little-mammals-in-northern-australia-171500

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3. Three Decades of Climate Mitigation: Why Haven’t We Bent the Global Emissions Curve?

Despite three decades of political efforts and a wealth of research on the causes and catastrophic impacts of climate change, global carbon dioxide emissions have continued to rise and are 60% higher today than they were in 1990. Exploring this rise through nine thematic lenses—covering issues of climate governance, the fossil fuel industry, geopolitics, economics, mitigation modeling, energy systems, inequity, lifestyles, and social imaginaries—draws out multifaceted reasons for our collective failure to bend the global emissions curve. However, a common thread that emerges across the reviewed literature is the central role of power, manifest in many forms, from a dog[1]matic political-economic hegemony and influential vested interests to narrow techno-economic mindsets and ideologies of control. Synthesizing the various impediments to mitigation reveals how delivering on the commitments enshrined in the Paris Agreement now requires an urgent and unprecedented transformation away from today’s carbon- and energy-intensive development paradigm.

Three Decades of Climate Mitigation: Why Haven’t We Bent the Global Emissions Curve? (annualreviews.org)

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4. Five big ideas: how Australia can tackle climate change while restoring nature, culture and communities

Australia’s plan to reach net zero emissions by 2050 relies heavily on unproven technologies to sequester carbon from the atmosphere, among other things. But we already have solutions based in restoring nature and Country. In fact, nature-based solutions can deliver one third of promised global cuts in emissions. Our new report, which brings together expertise from across Australia, reveals how we can make this happen using proven approaches.

https://theconversation.com/5-big-ideas-how-australia-can-tackle-climate-change-while-restoring-nature-culture-and-communities-172156

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5. The slippery slopes of failed environmental governance: Who accounts for the regulators?

With the best will in the world, it’s not enough to believe our environmental regulators can be left alone, out of sight, to get on with the job. Their accountability, transparency and capacity to operate at arm’s length from companies they regulate all need to be constantly reviewed and tested.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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6. ‘Lawless’ loggers

Water from the Thomson catchment doesn’t require intensive, man-made filtering. And it’s one reason why laws exist to regulate logging on these steep mountain-sides, so that the water remains clean and uncontaminated. However, high-resolution spatial data and information obtained as part of an ABC investigation have sparked allegations that the timber corporation, VicForests, is putting this vital process at risk through widespread and systemic illegal logging of the region’s steepest slopes.

ABC News

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7. Revealed: the places humanity must not destroy to avoid climate chaos

Tiny proportion of world’s land surface hosts carbon-rich forests and peatlands that would not recover before 2050 if lost

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/nov/18/revealed-the-places-humanity-must-not-destroy-to-avoid-climate-chaos

-~<>~-

About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.
Or you could subscribe to the WordPress version by visiting https://ozdbytes.wordpress.com/about/ , scroll to the bottom of the page and ‘follow’ Dbytes.

David Salt
follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

Dbytes #503 (24 November 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“Biodiversity risk should be tackled with the same level of urgency, ambition and momentum as climate change. Biodiversity loss is accelerating, and this creates material risks and opportunities for investors based on companies’ dependencies and impacts on biodiversity.”
Louise Davidson, CEO, Australian Council of Superannuation Investors [see item6]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Australia’s native wildlife in grip of unprecedented attack
2. The Global Fishing Index 2021
3. The COVID-19 pandemic is intricately linked to biodiversity loss and ecosystem health
4. Deforestation can raise local temperatures by up to 4.5
– and heat untouched areas 6km away
5. ‘Fire regimes that cause biodiversity decline’ as a key threatening process – Comment on listing assessment
6. Climate lessons help investors tackle biodiversity loss
7. And for my next environmental trick …

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1. Australia’s native wildlife in grip of unprecedented attack

Australia is in the grip of an unprecedented alien attack on its native wildlife and environment, with experts warning more of our unique flora and fauna is in danger of disappearing by 2050 unless urgent action is taken.

A new report, ‘Fighting plagues and predators Australia’s path to a pest and weed-free future’, released today, reveals the environment is facing a “sliding doors” moment, with two possible futures for Australia, depending on the decisions made today.

Australia’s native wildlife in grip of unprecedented attack – CSIRO

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2. The Global Fishing Index 2021

-49% of assessed stocks are overfished, with nearly 1 in 10 stocks on the brink of collapse
-over half of the global fisheries catch lacks sufficient data to determine their status

20211120-global-fishing-index-2021-report.pdf (minderoo.org)

-~<>~-

3. The COVID-19 pandemic is intricately linked to biodiversity loss and ecosystem health

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, caused by zoonotic SARS-CoV-2, has important links to biodiversity loss and ecosystem health. These links range from anthropogenic activities driving zoonotic disease emergence and extend to the pandemic affecting biodiversity conservation, environmental policy, ecosystem services, and multiple conservation facets. Crucially, such effects can exacerbate the initial drivers, resulting in feedback loops that are likely to promote future zoonotic disease outbreaks. We explore these feedback loops and relationships, highlighting known and potential zoonotic disease emergence drivers (eg, land-use change, intensive livestock production, wildlife trade, and climate change), and discuss direct and indirect effects of the ongoing pandemic on biodiversity loss and ecosystem health. We stress that responses to COVID-19 must include actions aimed at safeguarding biodiversity and ecosystems, in order to avoid future emergence of zoonoses and prevent their wide-ranging effects on human health, economies, and society. Such responses would benefit from adopting a One Health approach, enhancing cross-sector, transboundary communication, as well as from collaboration among multiple actors, promoting planetary and human health.

The COVID-19 pandemic is intricately linked to biodiversity loss and ecosystem health – ScienceDirect

-~<>~-

4. Deforestation can raise local temperatures by up to 4.5– and heat untouched areas 6km away

Forests directly cool the planet, like natural evaporative air conditioners. So what happens when you cut them down? In tropical countries such as Indonesia, Brazil and the Congo, rapid deforestation may have accounted for up to 75% of the observed surface warming between 1950 and 2010. Our new research took a closer look at this phenomenon.

Deforestation can raise local temperatures by up to 4.5℃ – and heat untouched areas 6km away (theconversation.com)

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5. ‘Fire regimes that cause biodiversity decline’ as a key threatening process – Comment on listing assessment

You are invited to provide your views and supporting reasons on the eligibility of ‘Fire regimes that cause biodiversity decline’ for inclusion on the list of key threatening processes under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and whether if listed, a threat abatement plan is a feasible, effective and efficient way of abating the process. Responses are required to be submitted by 10 January 2022

‘Fire regimes that cause biodiversity decline’ as a key threatening process – DAWE

-~<>~-

6. Climate lessons help investors tackle biodiversity loss

Biodiversity loss will wipe up to A$27 billioni from the Australian economy annually by 2050 based on current estimates. It presents a material financial risk to investors and companies unless they seize opportunities to protect Australia’s natural systems. A new report commissioned by the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI), Biodiversity: unlocking natural capital value for Australian Investors, sets out how biodiversity loss presents physical, transition and systemic risks to businesses.

The report, authored by EY Australia, summarises critical biodiversity related financial risks for investors, emerging tools and frameworks for investment analysis, current industry and company disclosures and sets out a five-point investor action plan for tackling biodiversity.

Climate lessons help investors tackle biodiversity loss | ACSI

-~<>~-

7. And for my next environmental trick …

Will the federal government engage in real environmental reform with the EPBC Act before the election?

While, on paper, there’s a timeline for substantive environmental reforms to come later, in reality, nothing happens until Parliament passes the necessary legislation.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

-~<>~-

About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.
Or you could subscribe to the WordPress version by visiting https://ozdbytes.wordpress.com/about/ , scroll to the bottom of the page and ‘follow’ Dbytes.

David Salt
follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

Dbytes #502 (17 November 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“Truly, though, there is no country in the world that does climate delay quite like Australia. The hammy nationalism, the role of fantasy and trickery in its climate and energy rhetoric, and the total absence of shame in defending its role as a key cause of significant physical damage to Earth. It’s only going to escalate as the next federal election inches closer.”
Ketan Joshi [See item 1]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Scott Morrison’s net zero modelling reveals a slow, lazy and shockingly irresponsible approach to ‘climate action’
2. I’m an expert in what makes good policy, and the Morrison government’s net-zero plan fails on 6 crucial counts
3. From natural capital accounting to natural capital banking
4. Rabbits threaten more native wildlife than cats or foxes
5. The lies of the land – Who suffers when truth lies bleeding?
6. The ‘Ringo Starr’ of birds is now endangered – here’s how we can still save our drum-playing palm cockatoos
7. Wall Street’s Latest Scheme Is Monetizing Nature Itself

-~<>~-

1. Scott Morrison’s net zero modelling reveals a slow, lazy and shockingly irresponsible approach to ‘climate action’

Fundamentally, what McKinsey has laid out for us is that if you take the laziest, slowest and most bad-faith approach to climate action, it’s very cheap and not immediately disruptive. Take credit for technological advancements that occur in other countries, continue extracting and emitting in the interim, and slap it all with a counterfeit climate action label to avoid scrutiny. Being a tech free rider while worsening the problem you claim to be solving is a wonderfully tempting climate philosophy.

Of course, McKinsey’s modelling buries an important caveat in the guts of the PDF: the physical consequences of climate change are not included in their modelling. That means they count the benefits of falling back to slower action and worse emissions, and ignore the consequences.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/nov/13/scott-morrisons-net-zero-modelling-reveals-a-slow-lazy-and-shockingly-irresponsible-approach-to-climate-action?

-~<>~-

2. I’m an expert in what makes good policy, and the Morrison government’s net-zero plan fails on 6 crucial counts

A rudimentary evaluation of the plan shows the governments intentions are spin. The plan assumes emissions reduction will occur while we continue with business as usual. The many critiques of the plan are well justified, and the absence of good policy processes substantiate these. After years of dismissing climate science and global warming, it would be quite a rapid awakening for the Coalition government to be truly responsive to its citizens’ concerns on climate change. Adopting good practice policy-making processes would show it’s now taking the matter seriously.

https://theconversation.com/im-an-expert-in-what-makes-good-policy-and-the-morrison-governments-net-zero-plan-fails-on-6-crucial-counts-171595?

-~<>~-

3. From natural capital accounting to natural capital banking

Natural capital accounting will confirm what we know — without change, we are headed for environmental disaster resulting from economic growth. We propose a natural capital bank, a new institution to help maintain natural capital adequacy and chart a course to a sustainable future via accounting.

Nature Sustainability

-~<>~-

4. Rabbits threaten more native wildlife than cats or foxes

Rabbits are a key threat to 322 species of Australia’s at-risk plants and animals — more than twice the number of species threatened by cats or foxes. They efficiently strip vegetation and prevent regeneration. Being prey to the feral predators they allow them to greatly increase in number.

https://www.bushheritage.org.au/blog/rabbits-threaten-more-natives-than-cats-or-foxes

-~<>~-

5. The lies of the land – Who suffers when truth lies bleeding?

What is the cost if governments win the elections based on lies? What is the cost of political leaders pulling down the blinds on transparency, junking accountability and dismissing integrity because it’s simply easier to get by with a lie? They might grease the way to an election win but they don’t deliver a sustainable future.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

-~<>~-

6. The ‘Ringo Starr’ of birds is now endangered – here’s how we can still save our drum-playing palm cockatoos

Australia’s largest parrot, the palm cockatoo, is justifiably famous as the only non-human animal to craft tools for sound. They create drumsticks to make a rhythmic beat. Sadly, the “Ringo Starr” of the bird world is now threatened with extinction – just as many other parrots are around the world.

The ‘Ringo Starr’ of birds is now endangered – here’s how we can still save our drum-playing palm cockatoos (theconversation.com)

-~<>~-

7. Wall Street’s Latest Scheme Is Monetizing Nature Itself

A month before the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (known as COP26) kicked off in Scotland, a new asset class was launched by the New York Stock Exchange that will “open up a new feeding ground for predatory Wall Street banks and financial institutions that will allow them to dominate not just the human economy, but the entire natural world.”

Called a natural asset company, or NAC, the vehicle will allow for the formation of specialized corporations “that hold the rights to the ecosystem services produced on a given chunk of land, services like carbon sequestration or clean water.” These NACs will then maintain, manage and grow the natural assets they commodify, with the end goal of maximizing the aspects of that natural asset that are deemed by the company to be profitable.

Ellen Brown: Wall Street’s Latest Scheme Is Monetizing Nature Itself – scheerpost.com

-~<>~-


About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.
Or you could subscribe to the WordPress version by visiting https://ozdbytes.wordpress.com/about/ , scroll to the bottom of the page and ‘follow’ Dbytes.

David Salt
follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

Dbytes #501 (10 November 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“New fossil fuel projects under development in Australia would result in 1.7 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year – equivalent annual emissions of over 200 coal-fired power stations, twice as much as global aviation.”
Ogge et al, see item 2

In this issue of Dbytes

1. Management of threatened species and ecological communities
2. Undermining climate action: the Australian way
3. Social tipping processes towards climate action: A conceptual framework
4. Emergent properties in the responses of tropical corals to recurrent climate extremes
5. Countries’ climate pledges built on flawed data, Post investigation finds
6. Looking for little gems: Senate Environmental Estimates, October 2021
7. Academic stereotypes: where are the positive stories?

-~<>~-

1. Management of threatened species and ecological communities

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) is currently assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of the management of threatened species and ecological communities under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. If you would like to make a submission, please visit the website.

The ANAO proposes to examine:
-Is the administration of the listing process effective and efficient?
-Have effective and efficient arrangements been established to develop and implement plans and advice?
-Does measurement, monitoring and reporting support the achievement of desired outcomes?
Contributions should be in by Sunday 14 November 2021

https://www.anao.gov.au/work/performance-audit/management-threatened-species-and-ecological-communities-under-the-epbc-act

-~<>~-

2. Undermining climate action: the Australian way

Despite the urgent need to reduce emissions to fight climate change, the Australian government is aggressively pursuing the expansion of fossil fuel production rather than a planned transition away from them.

Undermining climate action: the Australian way (apo.org.au)

-~<>~-

3. Social tipping processes towards climate action: A conceptual framework

Societal transformations are necessary to address critical global challenges, such as mitigation of anthropogenic climate change and reaching UN sustainable development goals. Recently, social tipping processes have received increased attention, as they present a form of social change whereby a small change can shift a sensitive social system into a qualitatively different state due to strongly self-amplifying (mathematically positive) feedback mechanisms. Social tipping processes with respect to technological and energy systems, political mobilization, financial markets and sociocultural norms and behaviors have been suggested as potential key drivers towards climate action. Drawing from expert insights and comprehensive literature review, we develop a framework to identify and characterize social tipping processes critical to facilitating rapid social transformations. We find that social tipping processes are distinguishable from those of already more widely studied climate and ecological tipping dynamics. In particular, we identify human agency, social-institutional network structures, different spatial and temporal scales and increased complexity as key distinctive features underlying social tipping processes. Building on these characteristics, we propose a formal definition for social tipping processes and filtering criteria for those processes that could be decisive for future trajectories towards climate action. We illustrate this definition with the European political system as an example of potential social tipping processes, highlighting the prospective role of the FridaysForFuture movement.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0921800921003013?dgcid=author

-~<>~-

4. Emergent properties in the responses of tropical corals to recurrent climate extremes

Sequences of climate-driven disturbances have unexpected emergent properties. Thermal thresholds for coral bleaching vary depending on interactions among events. Repeat episodes of extreme temperatures create and later reduce spatial refuges. Shrinking return times between disturbances are eroding ecological resilience.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0960982221014901

-~<>~-

5. Countries’ climate pledges built on flawed data, Post investigation finds

Across the world, many countries underreport their greenhouse gas emissions in their reports to the United Nations, a Washington Post investigation has found. An examination of 196 country reports reveals a giant gap between what nations declare their emissions to be versus the greenhouse gases they are sending into the atmosphere. The gap ranges from at least 8.5 billion to as high as 13.3 billion tons a year of underreported emissions — big enough to move the needle on how much the Earth will warm. The plan to save the world from the worst of climate change is built on data. But the data the world is relying on is inaccurate.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/interactive/2021/greenhouse-gas-emissions-pledges-data/

-~<>~-

6. Looking for little gems: Senate Environmental Estimates, October 2021

Government priorities revealed in the detail of evidence from officials.
Whether it’s climate, environment protection or Indigenous heritage, with this Government it’s politics all the way down with little priority on good policy reform.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

-~<>~-

7. Academic stereotypes: where are the positive stories?

Watching The Chair just compounded my frustration at the persistently negative narratives about universities and academic life that dominate popular culture and social media. I’m not talking about genuine grievances. I’m talking about the stereotypes, memes, jokes, comics, opinions and anecdotes that get passed around as accurate representations of all academia.

Academic stereotypes: where are the positive stories? – Ecology is not a dirty word

-~<>~-

About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.
Or you could subscribe to the WordPress version by visiting https://ozdbytes.wordpress.com/about/ , scroll to the bottom of the page and ‘follow’ Dbytes.

David Salt
follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

Dbytes #500 (3 November 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“Agriculture and mining have an enormous impact on Australia’s unique environment. Yet it is mining who has the biggest interaction with the EPBC Act. A review by the former head of National Farmers Federation Wendy Craik found that farmers currently have little interaction with the EPBC Act. Of the 6,000 referrals made between 2000 and 2018 only 165 related to agriculture and only 2 of these were rejected.”
Amelia Young, TWS, in
Barnaby Joyce’s net-zero EPBC bid a sovereign risk to Australia’s biodiversity and a poison chalice for agriculture sector


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Themes from the Australian National Audit Office’s recent environmental audit coverage
2. Entering the Absurdicene as the Anthropocene loses its relevance
3. Building Australia’s natural capital
4. Draft NSW Government park management plan ‘flawed’ and ignores damage caused by feral horses
5. Bushfires and fuel reduction burning
6. Governments need to address inevitable risks of losses and damages from climate change, says OECD
7. Measuring wellbeing

-~<>~-

1. Themes from the Australian National Audit Office’s recent environmental audit coverage

The ANAO’s recent coverage of environmental matters as part of its performance audit program has highlighted several themes across the Australian Government’s delivery of programs and regulatory functions. The ANAO’s performance audits have identified:
– weaknesses in management of probity and conflicts of interest;
– variability in the maturity of risk-based frameworks for the delivery of regulatory functions; and
– scope to improve performance measurement frameworks to determine the impact and effectiveness of the Australian Government’s environmental programs and regulatory functions.

Themes from the Australian National Audit Office’s recent environmental audit coverage | Australian National Audit Office (anao.gov.au)

-~<>~-

2. Entering the Absurdicene as the Anthropocene loses its relevance

Forget the Anthropocene – Australia’s ‘bold plan’ for net zero by 2050 marks the beginning of an amazing new geological epoch: The Absurdicene, the age where the ridiculous and the self-serving trumps evidence and science. As our children are discovering, it’s not a great time for hope.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

-~<>~-

3. Building Australia’s natural capital

Nature can be protected and restored through improved measurement and investment.

Building Australia’s natural capital – ClimateWorks (climateworksaustralia.org)

-~<>~-

4. Draft NSW Government park management plan ‘flawed’ and ignores damage caused by feral horses

An open letter to the NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean published today calls on the NSW Government to work towards removing all feral horses from every NSW protected area. The letter from the Australian Academy of Science has 69 signatories including Fellows of the Academy, other researchers and seven science organisations. It says all feral horses must be removed to protect the native Australian plants, animals and ecosystems of Kosciuszko National Park and other national parks affected by feral horses in NSW, such as Barrington Tops, Guy Fawkes, Oxley Wild Rivers and the Blue Mountains.

https://www.science.org.au/news-and-events/news-and-media-releases/draft-nsw-government-park-management-plan-flawed-ignores-damage-caused-by-feral-horses

-~<>~-

5. Bushfires and fuel reduction burning

Following major bushfires in the past twenty years, public and political attention has been drawn to the potential for fuel reduction burning to reduce bushfire risk and damage. This paper provides a major update to a 2002 Parliamentary Library publication examining the issue. It incorporates the findings of recent research and the numerous inquiries published since then.

Bushfires and fuel reduction burning – Parliament of Australia (aph.gov.au)

-~<>~-

6. Governments need to address inevitable risks of losses and damages from climate change, says OECD

The Managing Climate Risks, Facing up to Losses and Damages report says the risks of further impacts on economies, ecosystems, businesses and people are unavoidable and will increase with the extent of warming. These risks are unevenly distributed across countries and people, disproportionately affecting the poorest and most vulnerable, which is a compelling reason to act now. These risks flow from three types of climate hazards, each subject to uncertainties: increasingly frequent and intense extreme weather events, more gradual changes, such as sea level rises, and from the potentially dramatic global effects of crossing critical thresholds in the climate system. The risk of losses and damages depends not only on the hazards but also on the exposure and vulnerability of people, assets and ecosystems to those hazards.

https://www.oecd.org/environment/governments-need-to-address-inevitable-risks-of-losses-and-damages-from-climate-change.htm

-~<>~-

7. Measuring wellbeing

When economists evaluate a project or a policy, the way we measure benefits is essentially aimed at measuring the effect on human wellbeing. However, the way we do it treats wellbeing as a black box.

355. Wellbeing – Pannell Discussions

-~<>~-

About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list. Or you could subscribe to the WordPress version by visiting https://ozdbytes.wordpress.com/about/ , scroll to the bottom of the page and ‘follow’ Dbytes.

David Salt
follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

Dbytes #499 (28 October 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“The offsets scheme is looking more and more like a scheme for extinction than one meant to halt and reverse biodiversity decline,”
MLC Cate Faehrmann, Chair of the NSW Govt Inquiry into Environmental offset policies
see NSW environmental offsets failing to halt wildlife decline
[and see item 5]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Koalas, quokkas make 100 threatened species list but hundreds more miss out
2. Will Australia follow the UK’s lead on significant biodiversity policy reform?
3. ‘Overlooked’: 14,000 invertebrate species lost habitat in Black Summer bushfires
4. From counting birds to speaking out: how citizen science leads us to ask crucial questions
5. ‘Cynical and grotesque’: NSW coalmine allowed to use future pit rehabilitation as offset for habitat destruction
6. BCA criticisms: “any result you want”
7. Eight years, 20 policies: how Australia’s leaders have fumbled and dithered on climate
8. Notes on the history and future of Dbytes’


-~<>~-

1. Koalas, quokkas make 100 threatened species list but hundreds more miss out

A list of 100 threatened species of native wildlife, including koalas and quokkas, will be prioritised for protection under a 10-year federal government strategy that experts warn needs more funding and puts about 1700 plants and animals that didn’t make the cut at risk.

https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/koalas-quokkas-make-100-threatened-species-list-but-hundreds-more-miss-out-20211022-p592dl.html

-~<>~-

2. Will Australia follow the UK’s lead on significant biodiversity policy reform?

Australia has now moved to commit to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. But it has displayed no interest in the Dasgupta Review or in making serious biodiversity commitments more generally.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

-~<>~-

3. ‘Overlooked’: 14,000 invertebrate species lost habitat in Black Summer bushfires, study finds

Scientists say the animals are vital to ecosystem and true number affected is probably far higher

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/oct/20/overlooked-14000-invertebrate-species-lost-habitat-in-black-summer-bushfires-study-finds

-~<>~-

4. From counting birds to speaking out: how citizen science leads us to ask crucial questions

Every day, thousands of birdwatchers enter data about birds they’ve seen into apps. This collective undertaking can become almost addictive for the user. On a mass scale, it allows us to produce maps showing where species are present, where they are not, and in some cases their abundance. This citizen-collected data is exactly the kind we need for better spatial planning and environmental regulations. Collecting this data across large areas quickly would be almost impossible without the help of citizen scientists.

https://theconversation.com/from-counting-birds-to-speaking-out-how-citizen-science-leads-us-to-ask-crucial-questions-166673

-~<>~-

5. ‘Cynical and grotesque’: NSW coalmine allowed to use future pit rehabilitation as offset for habitat destruction

Environment groups decry plan to use site regeneration years after operations end at Glencore’s Mangoola mine as offsets

‘Cynical and grotesque’: NSW coalmine allowed to use future pit rehabilitation as offset for habitat destruction | Environment | The Guardian


And see
NSW environmental offsets to be reformed after ‘appalling practices’ revealed, minister says

-~<>~-

6. BCA criticisms: “any result you want”

By David Pannell

Over the years, I’ve had a number of conversations with people who made negative comments about Benefit: Cost Analysis (BCA) or certain aspects of it. In addition, there are various published critiques of BCA. In my view, some of the criticisms offered are not unreasonable, but some are off the beam. If one is doing BCAs, it is worth understanding the criticisms you are likely to encounter so that you are prepared for conversations about them and know what to do (if anything) to address them.

https://www.pannelldiscussions.net/2021/10/354-any-result-you-want/

-~<>~-

7. Eight years, 20 policies: how Australia’s leaders have fumbled and dithered on climate

How did we get here? And how much has actually changed? Before we look forward to 2050, let’s take a look back …

Eight years, 20 policies: how Australia’s leaders have fumbled and dithered on climate | Australian politics | The Guardian

-~<>~-

8. Notes on the history and future of Dbytes’

As Dbytes approaches issue #500, I need to consider how it is produced and distributed.

Dbytes began around 10 years ago. I created it as an internal newsletter of the Environmental Decisions Group, a network of conservation scientists (led by Hugh Possingham at UQ). It became quite popular and subscriptions were opened to anyone with an interest in better environmental decision making. Dbytes’ network grew to around 800 subscribers; including academics, policy makers and conservation managers.

The Environmental Decisions Group formally concluded at the end of 2018 with the end of funding of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) which was the main sponsor of Dbytes over its life till then. However, I decided to continue on with Dbytes as my own project. I did this because I enjoy collating the information I include in each issue, I am still very interested in environmental decision science, and the feedback I get from many people who receive Dbytes suggests it does make a difference to conservation in Australia (and in other countries). As one example, several colleagues have told me they use Dbytes in their university teaching.

Dbytes is not a big thing. I don’t promote it much and it runs on the smell of an oily rag. In spite of this, it has retained much of its audience (currently over 600 subscribers) and I still get regular requests to add subscribers.

In recent months, however, I have had feedback that Dbytes is being increasingly blocked by uni spam filters as unis everywhere attempt to make their IT environments more secure. I have attempted to modify things on the Mailchimp platform that sends out Dbytes but my efforts so far have not been very effective (possibly a reflection of my age and lack of IT capacity).

I will continue to work on this but thought I should briefly describe the situation. I will run this note over several issues. Of course, people who like Dbytes but are having it blocked may never see this note but I’m hoping word will get around.

One alternative people might consider is subscribing to the WordPress version of Dbytes. I established the WordPress version of Dbytes several years ago as a backup web version. You can subscribe to this site by visiting https://ozdbytes.wordpress.com/about/ Go to the bottom of the page and become a follower (I have 70 followers at the moment, mainly people who have randomly stumbled over Dbytes). Followers are sent an email whenever I post a new issue. That email contains the whole contents of Dbytes, it just looks a little different to the Mailchimp version. So far, WordPress emails are not being blocked by uni filters (to the best of my knowledge).

Who knows, the age of electronic newsletters may be coming to a close, and Dbytes is possibly a dinosaur watching an asteroid streak overhead. But this dinosaur still has a few issues left in it. With luck, we might even reach that magical issue #500.

David
Sept/Oct 2021

-~<>~-

About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list. Or you could subscribe to the WordPress version by visiting https://ozdbytes.wordpress.com/about/ , scroll to the bottom of the page and ‘follow’ Dbytes.

David Salt
follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

Dbytes #498 (20 October 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“As one of only seventeen ‘megadiverse’ countries in the world, Australia understands the value of biodiversity.”
Environment Minister Sussan Ley’s claim made at COP-15 CBD


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2020
2
. Impact Indicators for Biodiversity Conservation Research: Measuring Influence within and beyond Academia
3. Climate polarity – when it comes to carbon emissions it’s the super-rich versus the world
4.
Indigenous knowledge and the persistence of the ‘wilderness’ myth
5. Natural Disasters estimated to cost Australia $73 billion per year by 2060
6. Australian Academy of Science statement on biodiversity conservation
7. Virtual issues of AJARE on climate change
8. Notes on the history and future of Dbytes’
-~<>~-

1. Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2020

A report by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network finds that about 14 per cent of the world’s coral, more than all the coral living in Australia, was lost between 2009 and 2018, with coral bleaching events caused by increased sea surface temperatures the biggest factor behind coral loss. At the same time reef algae, which grows when coral is under stress, increased by 20 per cent between 2010 and 2019. However, the report also found that many reefs are resilient and could recover under the right conditions, particularly if local pressures are reduced and immediate actions are taken to halt global warming.

https://gcrmn.net/2020-report/

-~<>~-

2. Impact Indicators for Biodiversity Conservation Research: Measuring Influence within and beyond Academia

Measuring, reporting, and forecasting research impact beyond academia has become increasingly important to demonstrate and understand real-world benefits. This is arguably most important in crisis disciplines such as medicine, environmental sustainability and biodiversity conservation, where application of new knowledge is urgently needed to improve health and environmental outcomes. Increasing focus on impact has prompted the development of theoretical guidance and practical tools tailored to a range of disciplines, but commensurate development of tools for conservation is still needed. In the present article, we review available tools for evaluating research impact applicable to conservation research. From these, and via a survey of conservation professionals, we compiled and ranked a list of 96 impact indicators useful for conservation science. Our indicators apply to a logic chain of inputs, processes, outputs, outcomes, and impacts. We suggest the list can act as a clear guide to realize and measure potential impacts from conservation research within and beyond academia.

Impact Indicators for Biodiversity Conservation Research: Measuring Influence within and beyond Academia | BioScience | Oxford Academic (oup.com)

-~<>~-

3. Climate polarity – when it comes to carbon emissions it’s the super-rich versus the world

Unfortunately, when it comes to government action on climate change, it seems the beliefs of Australia’s richest woman are more important than the suffering of coming generations.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

-~<>~-

4. Indigenous knowledge and the persistence of the ‘wilderness’ myth

In a recent paper for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, we demonstrate how many iconic “wilderness” landscapes – such as the Amazon, forests of Southeast Asia and the western deserts of Australia, are actually the product of long-term management and maintenance by Indigenous and local peoples.

https://theconversation.com/indigenous-knowledge-and-the-persistence-of-the-wilderness-myth-165164 

-~<>~-

5. Natural Disasters estimated to cost Australia $73 billion per year by 2060

Deloitte has released a report estimating the economic costs of natural disasters in Australia under different climate change scenarios.

https://www.iag.com.au/newsroom/community/natural-disasters-estimated-cost-australia-73-billion-year-2060?utm_source=miragenews&utm_medium=miragenews&utm_campaign=news

-~<>~-

6. Australian Academy of Science statement on biodiversity conservation

Currently, Australia is failing to halt, slow or reverse biodiversity loss and species decline. Current legislative and regulatory instruments are not fit to deal with the conservation of known threatened species, let alone the many undiscovered species in Australia.8 To know whether attempts to halt and reverse biodiversity loss are effective, national and international monitoring networks need to be strengthened, the scientific infrastructure needed to monitor, understand and manage biodiversity need to be enhanced, and scientific evaluation of the drivers of biodiversity loss must continue.

Biodiversity Conservation | Australian Academy of Science

-~<>~-

7. Virtual issues of AJARE on climate change

From David Pannell: The Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics (AJARE) has introduced a new system of “virtual” issues, pulling together articles on a particular theme from recent issues. I’ve agreed to curate these virtual issues, and the first two are now available online. One nice thing is that they are freely accessible to all, not just subscribers, at least until 15 December 2021.

The first curated issue is on “Climate Change and Agriculture“. Agriculture is one of the sectors most affected by climate change, but also a sector with high greenhouse gas emissions. This curated issue brings together papers on various economic aspects of climate change and agriculture. It encompasses research on the economic impacts of climate change in agriculture, the potential for adaptation to climate change, the costs to farmers of complying with climate change policies, and the effects of policy programs on farmers’ adoption of new practices.

The other issue is about “Climate Change Policy“. Climate change has prompted a multitude of policy responses, many of which are based on economic incentives. This issue includes papers on the evaluation of renewable energy policies, the vulnerability of regional communities to the impacts of climate change, the determination of an appropriate mix of climate policies over time, and the importance of extremely unlikely events when considering options for climate policy.

353. Virtual issues of AJARE on climate change – Pannell Discussions

-~<>~-

8. Notes on the history and future of Dbytes’

As Dbytes approaches issue #500, I need to consider how it is produced and distributed.

Dbytes began around 10 years ago. I created it as an internal newsletter of the Environmental Decisions Group, a network of conservation scientists (led by Hugh Possingham at UQ). It became quite popular and subscriptions were opened to anyone with an interest in better environmental decision making. Dbytes’ network grew to around 800 subscribers; including academics, policy makers and conservation managers.

The Environmental Decisions Group formally concluded at the end of 2018 with the end of funding of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) which was the main sponsor of Dbytes over its life till then. However, I decided to continue on with Dbytes as my own project. I did this because I enjoy collating the information I include in each issue, I am still very interested in environmental decision science, and the feedback I get from many people who receive Dbytes suggests it does make a difference to conservation in Australia (and in other countries). As one example, several colleagues have told me they use Dbytes in their university teaching.

Dbytes is not a big thing. I don’t promote it much and it runs on the smell of an oily rag. In spite of this, it has retained much of its audience (currently over 600 subscribers) and I still get regular requests to add subscribers.

In recent months, however, I have had feedback that Dbytes is being increasingly blocked by uni spam filters as unis everywhere attempt to make their IT environments more secure. I have attempted to modify things on the Mailchimp platform that sends out Dbytes but my efforts so far have not been very effective (possibly a reflection of my age and lack of IT capacity).

I will continue to work on this but thought I should briefly describe the situation. I will run this note over several issues. Of course, people who like Dbytes but are having it blocked may never see this note but I’m hoping word will get around.

One alternative people might consider is subscribing to the WordPress version of Dbytes. I established the WordPress version of Dbytes several years ago as a backup web version. You can subscribe to this site by visiting https://ozdbytes.wordpress.com/about/ Go to the bottom of the page and become a follower (I have 70 followers at the moment, mainly people who have randomly stumbled over Dbytes). Followers are sent an email whenever I post a new issue. That email contains the whole contents of Dbytes, it just looks a little different to the Mailchimp version. So far, WordPress emails are not being blocked by uni filters (to the best of my knowledge).

Who knows, the age of electronic newsletters may be coming to a close, and Dbytes is possibly a dinosaur watching an asteroid streak overhead. But this dinosaur still has a few issues left in it. With luck, we might even reach that magical issue #500.

David
Sept/Oct 2021

-~<>~-

About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list. Or you could subscribe to the WordPress version by visiting https://ozdbytes.wordpress.com/about/ , scroll to the bottom of the page and ‘follow’ Dbytes.

David Salt
follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

Dbytes #497 (13 October 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“Please be very careful about information spread on an emotional basis, or tied to money, or egos or power-seekers.”
Gina Rinehart in SMH story Gina Rinehart warns of ‘propaganda’ in climate denial video to students
[Editor’s note: This note, from Australia’s richest woman, should be referenced against item 4.]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Australia could ‘green’ its degraded landscapes for just 6% of what we spend on defence
2. Projecting biodiversity benefits of conservation behavior-change programs
nature-based solutions the silver bullet for social & environmental crises?
4. Born into the climate crisis
5. Leaders and laggards: The Dasgupta Review of Economics of Biodiversity
6. The English language dominates global conservation science – which leaves 1 in 3 research papers virtually ignored
7. Comparing projects of different lifespans in BCA
8. Notes on the history and future of Dbytes’


-~<>~-

1. Australia could ‘green’ its degraded landscapes for just 6% of what we spend on defence

The health of many Australian ecosystems is in steep decline. Replanting vast tracts of land with native vegetation will prevent species extinctions and help abate climate change – but which landscapes should be restored, and how much would it cost? Our latest research sought answers to these questions. We devised a feasible plan to restore 30% of native vegetation cover across almost all degraded ecosystems on Australia’s marginal farming land. By spending A$2 billion – about 0.1% of Australia’s gross domestic product – each year for about 30 years, we could restore 13 million hectares of degraded land without affecting food production or urban areas.

https://theconversation.com/australia-could-green-its-degraded-landscapes-for-just-6-of-what-we-spend-on-defence-168807 

-~<>~-

2. Projecting biodiversity benefits of conservation behavior-change programs

Biodiversity loss is driven by human behavior, but there is uncertainty about the effectiveness of behavior-change programs in delivering benefits to biodiversity. To demonstrate their value, the biodiversity benefits and cost-effectiveness of behavior changes that directly or indirectly affect biodiversity need to be quantified. We adapted a structured decision-making prioritization tool to determine the potential biodiversity benefits of behavior changes. As a case study, we examined 2 hypothetical behavior-change programs– wildlife gardening and cat containment– by asking experts to consider the behaviors associated with these programs that directly and indirectly affect biodiversity. We assessed benefits to southern brown bandicoot (Isoodon obesulus) and superb fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus) by eliciting from experts estimates of the probability of each species persisting in the landscape given a range of behavior-change scenarios in which uptake of the behaviors varied. We then compared these estimates to a business-as-usual scenario to determine the relative biodiversity benefit and cost-effectiveness of each scenario. Experts projected that the behavior-change programs would benefit biodiversity and that benefits would rise with increasing uptake of the target behaviors. Biodiversity benefits were also predicted to accrue through indirect behaviors, although experts disagreed about the magnitude of additional benefit provided. Scenarios that combined the 2 behavior-change programs were estimated to provide the greatest benefits to species and be most cost-effective. Our method could be used in other contexts and potentially at different scales and advances the use of prioritization tools to guide conservation behavior-change programs.

https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cobi.13845

-~<>~-

3. Are nature-based solutions the silver bullet for social & environmental crises?

In the months leading up to the global climate conference in Glasgow this November, the term “nature-based solutions” has gained global prominence in the climate change mitigation discourse. Praise for NBS has mainly come from the U.N., policymakers, international conservation organizations and corporations, while grassroots movements and civil society groups have voiced concerns over the concept. Critics warn that NBS can be used as a tool to finance destructive activities by corporations and greenwash ongoing carbon emissions and destruction of nature.

https://news.mongabay.com/2021/10/are-nature-based-solutions-the-silver-bullet-for-social-environmental-crises/ 

-~<>~-

4. Born into the climate crisis

New research into the frequency of climate-induced disasters reveals children worldwide will experience up to 24 times more extreme weather events in their lifetimes, compared to older generations, unless drastic action to curb emissions is taken. Launched ahead of global climate talks in Glasgow, this report reveals the devastating impact the climate crisis will have on children and their rights if nations do not work together to limit warming to 1.5C as a matter of the greatest urgency. In Australia, children born in 2020 can expect to experience four times as many heatwaves, three times as many droughts, as well as 1.5 times as many bushfires and river floods, under current trajectory of global emissions.

Born into the climate crisis (apo.org.au)

Plus see Intergenerational inequities in exposure to climate extremes
Intergenerational inequities in exposure to climate extremes (science.org)

-~<>~-

5. Leaders and laggards: The Dasgupta Review of Economics of Biodiversity

The Dasgupta Review on the Economics of Biodiversity is one of the most significant reports on global biodiversity and policy ever produced. Will it show us the way forward? Check out our guide.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

-~<>~-

6. The English language dominates global conservation science – which leaves 1 in 3 research papers virtually ignored

English is considered the language of international science. But our new research reveals how important scientific knowledge in other languages is going untapped. This oversight squanders opportunities to help improve the plight of the one million species facing extinction.

The English language dominates global conservation science – which leaves 1 in 3 research papers virtually ignored (theconversation.com)

-~<>~-

7. Comparing projects of different lifespans in BCA

One of the uses of Benefit: Cost Analysis (BCA) is to compare different projects to see which should be given priority for funding. What if the projects to be compared have different lifespans – different time durations over which their benefits and costs are generated? How should we account for that when comparing them? I’ve recently looked at over 50 BCA textbooks and government guidelines, and it’s striking how inconsistent their advice is on this question.

352. Comparing projects of different lifespans in BCA – Pannell Discussions

-~<>~-

8. Notes on the history and future of Dbytes’
[This is a repeat note. I will repeat it up till #499]

As Dbytes approaches issue #500, I need to consider how it is produced and distributed.

Dbytes began around 10 years ago. I created it as an internal newsletter of the Environmental Decisions Group, a network of conservation scientists (led by Hugh Possingham at UQ). It became quite popular and subscriptions were opened to anyone with an interest in better environmental decision making. Dbytes’ network grew to around 800 subscribers; including academics, policy makers and conservation managers.

The Environmental Decisions Group formally concluded at the end of 2018 with the end of funding of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) which was the main sponsor of Dbytes over its life till then. However, I decided to continue on with Dbytes as my own project. I did this because I enjoy collating the information I include in each issue, I am still very interested in environmental decision science, and the feedback I get from many people who receive Dbytes suggests it does make a difference to conservation in Australia (and in other countries). As one example, several colleagues have told me they use Dbytes in their university teaching.

Dbytes is not a big thing. I don’t promote it much and it runs on the smell of an oily rag. In spite of this, it has retained much of its audience (currently over 600 subscribers) and I still get regular requests to add subscribers.

In recent months, however, I have had feedback that Dbytes is being increasingly blocked by uni spam filters as unis everywhere attempt to make their IT environments more secure. I have attempted to modify things on the Mailchimp platform that sends out Dbytes but my efforts so far have not been very effective (possibly a reflection of my age and lack of IT capacity).

I will continue to work on this but thought I should briefly describe the situation. I will run this note over several issues. Of course, people who like Dbytes but are having it blocked may never see this note but I’m hoping word will get around.

One alternative people might consider is subscribing to the WordPress version of Dbytes. I established the WordPress version of Dbytes several years ago as a backup web version. You can subscribe to this site by visiting https://ozdbytes.wordpress.com/about/ Go to the bottom of the page and become a follower (I have 70 followers at the moment, mainly people who have randomly stumbled over Dbytes). Followers are sent an email whenever I post a new issue. That email contains the whole contents of Dbytes, it just looks a little different to the Mailchimp version. So far, WordPress emails are not being blocked by uni filters (to the best of my knowledge).

Who knows, the age of electronic newsletters may be coming to a close, and Dbytes is possibly a dinosaur watching an asteroid streak overhead. But this dinosaur still has a few issues left in it. With luck, we might even reach that magical issue #500.

David
Sept/Oct 2021

-~<>~-

About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list. Or you could subscribe to the WordPress version by visiting https://ozdbytes.wordpress.com/about/ , scroll to the bottom of the page and ‘follow’ Dbytes.

David Salt
follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

Dbytes #496 (6 October 2021)


Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“The wording of recovery plans is often vague and non-prescriptive, which gives the minister flexibility to approve projects that will harm a threatened species.”
Stephen Garnett [see item 1]

In this issue of Dbytes

1. Australia’s threatened species protections are being rewritten. But what’s really needed is money and legal teeth
2. Australia’s climate change policy is a marketing slogan!
3. Ivory-billed woodpecker officially declared extinct, along with 22 other species
4. Insights from the Australian Native Seed Report: low capacity for upscaled ecological restoration
5. Mangrove restoration done right has clear economic, ecological benefits
6. Adoption and Behaviour Change in Agricultural Policy
7. They’re territorial’: can birds and drones coexist?
8. Notes on the history and future of Dbytes’


-~<>~-

1. Australia’s threatened species protections are being rewritten. But what’s really needed is money and legal teeth

The federal government has proposed replacing almost 200 recovery plans to improve the plight of threatened species and habitat with “conservation advice”, which has less legal clout. While critics have lamented the move, in reality it’s no great loss. Recovery plans are the central tool available to the federal government to prevent extinctions. They outline a species population and distribution, threats such as habitat loss and climate change, and actions needed to recover population numbers.

https://theconversation.com/australias-threatened-species-protections-are-being-rewritten-but-whats-really-needed-is-money-and-legal-teeth-168262 

-~<>~-

2. Australia’s climate change policy is a marketing slogan!

It appears that lobbying fossil fuel companies have hijacked climate policy from the Australian people.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

-~<>~-

3. Ivory-billed woodpecker officially declared extinct, along with 22 other species

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s move underscores what scientists say is an accelerating rate of extinction worldwide, given climate change and habitat loss

https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/09/29/endangered-species-ivory-billed-woodpecker/

-~<>~-

4. Insights from the Australian Native Seed Report: low capacity for upscaled ecological restoration

The Australian native seed sector is underpinned by a small and under resourced workforce which presents a risk to all users of native seed. Various issues constrain the sector, including that future demand for seed will be difficult to meet from wild harvest, that the market is unwilling to pay for the true cost of seed collection/seed production, that there is a lack of seed available from a broad range of species. Central to sector improvement are actions that better incentivize the uptake of restoration (in its various forms) on lands where it is most required.

Australian native seed sector characteristics and perceptions indicate low capacity for upscaled ecological restoration: insights from the Australian Native Seed Report – Gibson‐Roy – 2021 – Restoration Ecology – Wiley Online Library
and
Australian native seed sector practice and behavior could limit ecological restoration success: further insights from the Australian Native Seed Report – Gibson‐Roy – 2021 – Restoration Ecology – Wiley Online Library

From a special issue of Restoration Ecology focussing on the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration
Restoration Ecology: Vol 29, No 7 (wiley.com)

-~<>~-

5. Mangrove restoration done right has clear economic, ecological benefits

Much research has been done on the impact of mangrove restoration projects, but because such studies typically have their own distinct contexts, their results are not easily generalized. To determine the ecological and economic benefits of mangrove restoration across studies, researchers analyzed 188 peer-reviewed articles from 22 regions, mostly in East and Southeast Asia. They found the ecosystem functions of restored mangroves to be higher than bare tidal flats, but lower than natural mangroves. They also concluded that the economic benefits of mangrove restoration projects largely outweighed their costs, even at high discount rates.

Mangrove restoration done right has clear economic, ecological benefits (mongabay.com)

-~<>~-

6. Adoption and Behaviour Change in Agricultural Policy

An ability to understand and predict adoption of new farming practices is useful for agricultural policy in several ways, including: assessing additionality, selecting policy mechanisms, targeting policy to practices, farmer types or regions, and assessing likely policy success.

351. Adoption and Behaviour Change in Agricultural Policy – Pannell Discussions

-~<>~-

7. They’re territorial’: can birds and drones coexist?

Drones can boost conservation efforts and reduce carbon emissions via low-energy deliveries. But that doesn’t mean birds welcome them

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/01/theyre-territorial-can-birds-and-drones-coexist

-~<>~-

8. Notes on the history and future of Dbytes’

As Dbytes approaches issue #500, I need to consider how it is produced and distributed.

Dbytes began around 10 years ago. I created it as an internal newsletter of the Environmental Decisions Group, a network of conservation scientists (led by Hugh Possingham at UQ). It became quite popular and subscriptions were opened to anyone with an interest in better environmental decision making. Dbytes’ network grew to around 800 subscribers; including academics, policy makers and conservation managers.

The Environmental Decisions Group formally concluded at the end of 2018 with the end of funding of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) which was the main sponsor of Dbytes over its life till then. However, I decided to continue on with Dbytes as my own project. I did this because I enjoy collating the information I include in each issue, I am still very interested in environmental decision science, and the feedback I get from many people who receive Dbytes suggests it does make a difference to conservation in Australia (and in other countries). As one example, several colleagues have told me they use Dbytes in their university teaching.

Dbytes is not a big thing. I don’t promote it much and it runs on the smell of an oily rag. In spite of this, it has retained much of its audience (currently over 600 subscribers) and I still get regular requests to add subscribers.

In recent months, however, I have had feedback that Dbytes is being increasingly blocked by uni spam filters as unis everywhere attempt to make their IT environments more secure. I have attempted to modify things on the Mailchimp platform that sends out Dbytes but my efforts so far have not been very effective (possibly a reflection of my age and lack of IT capacity).

I will continue to work on this but thought I should briefly describe the situation. I will run this note over several issues. Of course, people who like Dbytes but are having it blocked may never see this note but I’m hoping word will get around.

One alternative people might consider is subscribing to the WordPress version of Dbytes. I established the WordPress version of Dbytes several years ago as a backup web version. You can subscribe to this site by visiting https://ozdbytes.wordpress.com/about/ Go to the bottom of the page and become a follower (I have 70 followers at the moment, mainly people who have randomly stumbled over Dbytes). Followers are sent an email whenever I post a new issue. That email contains the whole contents of Dbytes, it just looks a little different to the Mailchimp version. So far, WordPress emails are not being blocked by uni filters (to the best of my knowledge).

Who knows, the age of electronic newsletters may be coming to a close, and Dbytes is possibly a dinosaur watching an asteroid streak overhead. But this dinosaur still has a few issues left in it. With luck, we might even reach that magical issue #500.

David
Sept/Oct 2021

-~<>~-

About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list. Or you could subscribe to the WordPress version by visiting https://ozdbytes.wordpress.com/about/ , scroll to the bottom of the page and ‘follow’ Dbytes.

David Salt
follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

Dbytes #495 (29 September 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“The age of electronic newsletters may be coming to a close, and Dbytes is possibly a dinosaur watching an asteroid streak overhead. But this dinosaur still has a few issues left in it. With luck, we might even reach that magical issue #500.”
The Editor, Dbytes [see item 8]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Changing how we engage social norms in behavior change interventions
2. Policy solutions to facilitate restoration in coastal marine environments
3. A tale of two Ramsar wetlands – what a difference a minister makes
4. Conservationists say rocket launch site could push endangered southern emu-wren to extinction
5. Models – what are they good for?
6. Serious Integrity Concerns Around Australia’s ‘Junk’ Carbon Credits
7. They Knew: How the U.S. Government Helped Cause the Climate Crisis
8. Notes on Dbytes’ history and future

-~<>~-

1. Changing how we engage social norms in behavior change interventions

While seeking to change individual conservation behaviors via social norm messaging can be effective, it is limited to those contexts where there is a favorable existing norm. Learning how to initiate social processes to shift unfavorable norms towards those which support key conservation behaviors would enhance the repertoire of conservationists seeking to harness the power of social influence.

Changing how we engage social norms in behavior change interventions – Please keep to the path

-~<>~-

2. Policy solutions to facilitate restoration in coastal marine environments

A range of barriers exist for successful marine restoration in Australia, including legislative complexity and a lack of enabling policy. For example, marine restoration in Australia is regulated through a framework designed to limit environmental harm, rather than through a process aimed at achieving net environmental benefit. For example, certain marine restoration projects may trigger the same permitting process as an infrastructure development project. We reviewed the regulatory frameworks for marine restoration projects in North America and Europe to uncover the regulatory and policy settings that support restoration of marine ecosystems. We identified a range of strategies that could better facilitate restoration in marine and coastal environments in Australia, including:
-Clearer guidance on the regulatory frameworks for restoration;
-A more structured approach to risk management in marine restoration;
-Including marine ecosystem restoration in regional and state coastal management planning;
-Better national coordination for restoration projects that can address large scale issues (e.g. climate mitigation).

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308597X21004000?dgcid=author

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3. A tale of two Ramsar wetlands – what a difference a minister makes

In both cases the federal environment department advised the minister that the projects should be rejected upfront as ‘clearly unacceptable’, without going through the full EIA process. One minister ignored the advice.

https://bit.ly/2MsmLyX

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4. Conservationists say rocket launch site could push endangered southern emu-wren to extinction

An Adelaide firm’s plans for permanent facilities at Whaler’s Bay on the Eyre Peninsula could wipe out prime habitat, environment group warns

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/28/conservationists-say-rocket-launch-site-could-push-endangered-southern-emu-wren-to-extinction?

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5. Models – what are they good for?

The key, to paraphrase Einstein, is to make the models as simple as possible, but no simpler. That is easy to say, but it is perhaps the most challenging thing to deliver.

Models are everywhere at the moment! Everyone in Australia will have heard of the Doherty model, which has helped set Australia’s path out of the pandemic. Modelling from the Burnett Institute is helping to steer both New South Wales and Victoria out of their lockdowns. But what are scientific models, and why are they useful? Answering these questions is not easy. Sure, there are various answers to the questions. But the answers are not always easy to communicate, and secondly, the answers depend on the purpose of the models. While models are used for a range of reasons including synthesis, explanation, estimation, experimental design, etc., I will focus here on models that are used for prediction…

https://mickresearch.wordpress.com/2021/09/24/models-what-are-they-good-for/

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6. Serious Integrity Concerns Around Australia’s ‘Junk’ Carbon Credits

One in five carbon credits issued by the Federal Government’s $4.5 billion Emission Reduction Fund (ERF) do not represent real abatement and are essentially ‘junk’ credits, according to new research by the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Australia Institute Climate & Energy Program.

Serious Integrity Concerns Around Australia’s ‘Junk’ Carbon Credits – The Australia Institute

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7. They Knew: How the U.S. Government Helped Cause the Climate Crisis

How seven successive U.S. administrations failed to take effective action on halting greenhouse gas emissions and encouraged the extraction and use of fossil fuels.

They Knew: How the U.S. Government Helped Cause the Climate Crisis – Yale E360

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8. Notes on Dbytes’ history and future

Dbytes began around 10 years ago. I created it as an internal newsletter of the Environmental Decisions Group, a network of conservation scientists (led by Hugh Possingham at UQ). It became quite popular and subscriptions were opened to anyone with an interest in better environmental decision making. Dbytes’ network grew to around 800 subscribers; including academics, policy makers and conservation managers.

The Environmental Decisions Group formally concluded at the end of 2018 with the end of funding of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) which was the main sponsor of Dbytes over its life till then. However, I decided to continue on with Dbytes as my own project. I did this because I enjoy collating the information I include in each issue, I am still very interested in environmental decision science, and the feedback I get from many people who receive Dbytes suggests it does make a difference to conservation in Australia. As one example, several colleagues have told me they use Dbytes in their university teaching.

Dbytes is not a big thing. I don’t promote it much and it runs on the smell of an oily rag. In spite of this, it has retained much of its audience (currently over 600 subscribers) and I still get regular requests to add subscribers.

In recent months, however, I have had feedback that Dbytes is being increasingly blocked by uni spam filters as unis everywhere attempt to make their IT environments more secure. I have attempted to modify things on the Mailchimp platform that sends out Dbytes but my efforts so far have not been very effective (a reflection of my age and lack of IT capacity).

I will continue to work on this but thought I should briefly describe the situation. I will run this note over several issues. Of course, people who like Dbytes but are having it blocked may never see this note but I’m hoping word will get around.

One alternative people might consider is subscribing to the WordPress version of Dbytes. I established the WordPress version of Dbytes several years ago as a backup web version. You can subscribe to this site by visiting https://ozdbytes.wordpress.com/about/ Go to the bottom of the page and become a follower (I have 70 followers at the moment, many of whom are people who have randomly stumbled over Dbytes). Followers are sent an email whenever I post a new issue. That email contains the whole contents of Dbytes, it just looks a little different to the Mailchimp version. So far, WordPress emails are not being blocked by uni filters (to the best of my knowledge).

Who knows, the age of electronic newsletters may be coming to a close, and Dbytes is possibly a dinosaur watching an asteroid streak overhead. But this dinosaur still has a few issues left in it. With luck, we might even reach that magical issue #500.

Regards

David

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #494 (22 September 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“We understand the proposed changes would see only 238 – just 12% – of Australia’s 1,900 threatened species and ecological communities continue to be supported by a recovery plan.”
Brendan Sydes, ACF (see item 2)


In this issue of Dbytes

1. The costs and benefits of restoring a continent’s terrestrial ecosystems
2. Proposed changes to conservation planning decisions (Minister decides that a recovery plan is not required)
3. Destroying vegetation along fences and roads could worsen our extinction crisis — yet the NSW government just allowed it
4. Measuring social preferences for conservation management in Australia
5. The new private space race is as unsustainable as it is unfair
6. ‘Like nothing in my lifetime’: researchers race to unravel the mystery of Australia’s dying frogs
7. What the Mauritius kestrel can teach us about wildlife reintroductions
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1. The costs and benefits of restoring a continent’s terrestrial ecosystems

We find that spending approximately AU$2 billion (0.1% of Australia’s 2019 Gross Domestic Product) annually for 30 years could restore 13 million ha of degraded land without affecting intensive agriculture and urban areas. This initiative would result in almost all (99.8%) of Australia’s degraded terrestrial ecosystems reaching 30% vegetation coverage, enabling a trajectory to recover critical ecological functions, abate almost one billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent and produce AU$12–46 billion net present value in carbon offset revenue. The carbon market revenue is estimated to cover up to 111% of the investment required for the restoration. Our research shows that the recovery of degraded ecosystems in Australia is both attainable and affordable.

Key points:
– Creates a nationwide plan to restore degraded ecosystems while sequestering carbon on marginal farming land
– Costs 0.1% of GDP each year for 30 years restoring every habitat type to 30%
– It would meet one-sixth of Australia’s Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Climate Agreement
– Cumulative carbon abatement of almost 1 billion tonnes of CO2e
– De-bugs myth we can’t have a healthy environment and strong economy

https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2664.14008

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2. Proposed changes to conservation planning decisions (Minister decides that a recovery plan is not required)

The public is invited to provide comment to the Minister on the Minister’s proposed subsequent decision (to not have a recovery plan) for 28 ecological communities and 157 species (comprising 104 plant, 14 mammal, 19 bird, 3 fish, 3 frog, 6 invertebrate, and 8 reptile species).
Comments to the Minister can be made electronically or in writing and must be received by Tuesday 2 November 2021.

Proposed changes to conservation planning decisions | Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment

And see the ACF’s commentary on this proposal: Hundreds of threatened species abandoned by government

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3. Destroying vegetation along fences and roads could worsen our extinction crisis — yet the NSW government just allowed it

The NSW government last week made it legal for rural landholders to clear vegetation within 25 metres of their property boundaries, without approval. This radical measure is proposed to protect people and properties from fires, despite the lack of such an explicit recommendation from federal and state-based inquiries into the devastating 2019-20 bushfires.
This is poor environmental policy that lacks apparent consideration or justification of its potentially substantial ecological costs. It also gravely undermines the NSW government’s recent announcement of a plan for “zero extinction” within the state’s national parks, as the success of protected reserves for conservation is greatly enhanced by connection with surrounding “off-reserve” habitat.

https://theconversation.com/destroying-vegetation-along-fences-and-roads-could-worsen-our-extinction-crisis-yet-the-nsw-government-just-allowed-it-167801

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4. Measuring social preferences for conservation management in Australia

Conservation management is a rapidly evolving field in which scientific innovation and management practice can run ahead of social acceptability, leading to dispute and policy constraints. Here we use best-worst scaling (BWS) to explore the social preferences for two broad areas of threatened species management in Australia as well as support for extinction prevention as a whole. Of the 2430 respondents to an online survey among the Australian general public, 70% stated that extinction should be prevented regardless of the cost, a sentiment not fully reflected in existing policy and legislation. There was strong support for existing measures being taken to protect threatened species from feral animals, including explicit support for the killing of feral animals, but the demographic correlations with the results suggest approval is lower among women and younger respondents. There was a particularly high level of support for moving species to new places, which does not match current capabilities of managers responsible for assisted migration, suggesting messaging about the current limitations needs to be improved, or for resources to overcome them greatly increased. There was less support for genetic interventions than the feral animal control and other land management measures. A small majority of respondents thought it would be better for a species to cope without assistance than invasively alter their genome. This suggests that greater community consultation is desirable before applying genetic management approaches more interventionist than interbreeding subspecies.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S000632072100375X?via%3Dihub

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5. The new private space race is as unsustainable as it is unfair

The private space rockets of the 21st Century are acts of blind faith in the face of environmental collapse: ‘My faith is strong, my God will protect me, and here is my technological monument to prove it.’ The billionaire’s space club is the latest manifestation of the disconnection between the wealthy elite and the planet that supports them.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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6. ‘Like nothing in my lifetime’: researchers race to unravel the mystery of Australia’s dying frogs

After asking for public help with their investigations, scientists have received thousands of reports and specimens of dead, shrivelled frogs

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/19/like-nothing-in-my-lifetime-researchers-race-to-unravel-the-mystery-of-australias-dying-frogs

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7. What the Mauritius kestrel can teach us about wildlife reintroductions

Using decades of data, a recent study analyzed long-term population trends for the Mauritius kestrel, a bird of prey endemic to the island of Mauritius, which was once considered the rarest bird in the world. While an intensive recovery program for the kestrel helped increase the population to an estimated 400 individuals by the 1990s, scientists now estimate there are fewer than 250 in the wild. They link this decline to a halt in monitoring efforts, which occurred, ironically, after the species’ conservation status had improved and prompted conservation donors to stop funding the recovery efforts. Scientists say the key to wildlife reintroduction success is maintaining post-release monitoring efforts after captive rearing, a conservation tool that can be used for species beyond birds of prey.

https://news.mongabay.com/2021/09/what-the-mauritius-kestrel-can-teach-us-about-wildlife-reintroductions

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #492 (8 September 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“Making ecocide an international crime is an appropriate response to the gravity of this harm and could help prevent mass environmental destruction. But whether it does so will depend on how the crime is defined.”
Burke and Celermajer [see item 5]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. How you can help save nature
2. Street life ain’t easy for a stray cat, with most dying before they turn 1. So what’s the best way to deal with them?
3. Extinction is a process, not an event
4. Buried Queensland government report found Adani plan to protect black-throated finch was ‘superficial’
5. Human progress is no excuse to destroy nature. A push to make ‘ecocide’ a global crime must recognise this fundamental truth
6. Elon Musk’s SpaceX launch site threatens wildlife
7. Climate change means Australia may have to abandon much of its farming


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1. How you can help save nature

There are many behaviours and campaigns that promote things like energy saving, reduced water consumption, recycling, etc, but there are few that are specifically targeted at protecting biodiversity. To address this, Selinske et al. used a behavioural prioritization method to identify and rank individual ‘everyday’ behaviours that could help deliver benefits for biodiversity.

Blog: How you can help save nature – Please keep to the path
Paper: Identifying and prioritizing human behaviors that benefit biodiversity (wiley.com)

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2. Street life ain’t easy for a stray cat, with most dying before they turn 1. So what’s the best way to deal with them?

Odds are, if you’ve seen a cat prowling around your neighbourhood, it doesn’t have an owner. Australia is home to hordes of unowned cats, with an estimated 700,000 living without appropriate care in urban areas, around rubbish dumps or on farms.

Street life ain’t easy for a stray cat, with most dying before they turn 1. So what’s the best way to deal with them? (theconversation.com)

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3. Extinction is a process, not an event

Every year, the September 7 marks National Threatened Species Day. Why this day? September 7 is the day the last known Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger) died in the Hobart Zoo back in 1936. National Threatened Species Day is a time to reflect on all of the species currently facing extinction. It’s a day to raise awareness, and a call to action.

Setting aside a single day of the year for threatened species awareness posits extinction as an event. But extinction is a process. It’s a process that unfolds remarkably quickly in some cases, but usually one that plays out over many, many years. By seeing extinction as a process, it becomes a trajectory along which there are many opportunities for intervention.

https://www.rememberthewild.org.au/threatened-species-day-is-an-event-but-extinction-is-a-process/

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4. Buried Queensland government report found Adani plan to protect black-throated finch was ‘superficial’

Scientific panel finds Adani’s conservation aims for the endangered black-throated finch ‘do not meet the content requirements of an acceptable plan’

The Queensland government commissioned, mostly ignored, and then tried to keep secret the findings of an independent scientific panel that concluded Adani’s conservation plans for the endangered black-throated finch were “superficial” and not backed by evidence.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/sep/02/buried-queensland-government-report-found-adani-plan-to-protect-black-throated-finch-was-superficial

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5. Human progress is no excuse to destroy nature. A push to make ‘ecocide’ a global crime must recognise this fundamental truth

Scientists recently confirmed the Amazon rainforest is now emitting more carbon dioxide than it absorbs, due to uncontrolled burning and deforestation. It brings the crucial ecosystem closer to a tipping point that would see it replaced by savanna and trigger accelerated global heating. This is not an isolated example of nature being damaged at a mass scale. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change this month confirmed global heating is now affecting every continent, region and ocean on Earth. That includes Australia, which is a global deforestation hotspot and where the Great Barrier Reef is headed for virtual extinction.

In the face of such horrors, a new international campaign is calling for “ecocide” – the killing of ecology – to be deemed an international “super crime” in the order of genocide. The campaign has attracted high-profile supporters including French President Emmanuel Macron, Pope Francis and Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.

https://theconversation.com/human-progress-is-no-excuse-to-destroy-nature-a-push-to-make-ecocide-a-global-crime-must-recognise-this-fundamental-truth-164594

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6. Elon Musk’s SpaceX launch site threatens wildlife

The private space race is already causing concern about the potential climate impacts of the fuel needed to propel the rockets. But environmentalists on the ground in south Texas say SpaceX’s testing site is having more immediate impacts.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX launch site threatens wildlife, Texas environmental groups say | Texas | The Guardian

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7. Climate change means Australia may have to abandon much of its farming

The findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggest Australia may have to jettison tracts of the bush unless there is a massive investment in climate-change adaptation and planning. The potential impacts of climate change on employment and the livability of the regions have not been adequately considered. Even if emissions are curtailed, Australia likely faces billions of dollars of adaptation costs for rural communities.

Climate change means Australia may have to abandon much of its farming (theconversation.com)

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David

Dbytes #490 (25 August 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“Tragically, we have identified an additional three frog species that are very likely to be extinct. Another four species on our list are still surviving, but not likely to make it to 2040 without help.”
Gillespie et al [see item 5]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Dead, shrivelled frogs are unexpectedly turning up across eastern Australia. We need your help to find out why
2. Navigating Trade-Offs Between Dams and River Conservation
3. Administrative law: like the Curate’s egg, boring in parts, but environmentally useful nonetheless
4. Conservation needs to break free from global priority mapping
5. We name the 26 Australian frogs at greatest risk of extinction by 2040 — and how to save them
6. Land of opportunity: more sustainable Australian farming would protect our lucrative exports (and the planet)
7. Putting the cat before the wildlife: Exploring cat owners’ beliefs about cat containment as predictors of owner behavior
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1. Dead, shrivelled frogs are unexpectedly turning up across eastern Australia. We need your help to find out why

Over the past few weeks, we’ve received a flurry of emails from concerned people who’ve seen sick and dead frogs across eastern Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

Dead, shrivelled frogs are unexpectedly turning up across eastern Australia. We need your help to find out why (theconversation.com)

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2. Navigating Trade-Offs Between Dams and River Conservation

Connected and healthy rivers deliver diverse benefits that are often overlooked: freshwater fish stocks that improve food security for hundreds of millions of people, nutrient-rich sediment that supports agriculture and keeps deltas above rising seas, floodplains that help mitigate the impact of floods, and a wealth of biodiversity. Navigating Trade-Offs Between Dams And River Conservation, a new report in the journal, Global Sustainability, reveals that if all proposed hydropower dams are built, over 260,000 km of rivers (160,000 miles), including the Amazon, Congo, Irrawaddy, and Salween mainstem rivers, will lose free-flowing status.

Navigating Trade-Offs Between Dams and River Conservation (newsecuritybeat.org)

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3. Administrative law: like the Curate’s egg, boring in parts, but environmentally useful nonetheless

Anyone who has followed environmental issues through the courts will know that many court cases concerning the environment turn not on environment-specific principles (such as precaution or intergenerational equity), but on general principles of administrative law.

https://bit.ly/2MsmLyX

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4. Conservation needs to break free from global priority mapping

Global priority maps have been transformative for conservation, but now have questionable utility and may crowd out other forms of research. Conservation must re-engage with contextually rich knowledge that builds global understanding from the ground up.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-021-01540-x

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5. We name the 26 Australian frogs at greatest risk of extinction by 2040 — and how to save them

Our new study published today, identified the 26 Australian frogs at greatest risk, the likelihood of their extinctions by 2040 and the steps needed to save them. Tragically, we have identified an additional three frog species that are very likely to be extinct. Another four species on our list are still surviving, but not likely to make it to 2040 without help.

We name the 26 Australian frogs at greatest risk of extinction by 2040 — and how to save them (theconversation.com)

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6. Land of opportunity: more sustainable Australian farming would protect our lucrative exports (and the planet)

In addition to a substantial greenhouse gas footprint from agriculture, Australia also has a truly terrible record on biodiversity loss. The argument for farmers to adopt more sustainable practices – and for governments to help the shift – is growing ever more compelling. Not only would it safeguard our exports, it would cut emissions and help protect nature.

https://theconversation.com/land-of-opportunity-more-sustainable-australian-farming-would-protect-our-lucrative-exports-and-the-planet-166177

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7. Putting the cat before the wildlife: Exploring cat owners’ beliefs about cat containment as predictors of owner behavior

Free-roaming domestic cats pose risks to wildlife, domestic animals, humans, and importantly, the cats themselves. Behavior change campaigns that seek to minimize these risks by increasing cat containment require an understanding of the factors that predict cat owners’ containment behaviors. We conducted an online survey in Victoria, Australia (N = 1,024) to identify cat owners’ (N = 220) behaviors in containing their cats, explore beliefs and attitudes that predict containment behavior, and compare attitudes about cat containment with respondents that do not own cats (N = 804). We found that 53% of cat owning respondents do not allow any roaming. These respondents were more likely to hold concerns about risks to cats’ safety while roaming and less likely to perceive that cats have a right to roam. Concern about impacts to wildlife was not a significant predictor of containment behavior. Expectations that cat owners should manage cats’ roaming behavior was a social norm among cat owners and other respondents, and cat containers were more likely to indicate that they would try to change behaviors of their peers that they perceived to be harmful to the environment. Cat containment campaigns could be improved by appealing to owners’ concerns about cat well-being, engaging respected messengers that align with these concerns, including owners who already contain their cats.

The Society for Conservation Biology (wiley.com)

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #489 (18 August 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“We found invasive species now cost Australia around A$24.5 billion a year, or an average 1.26% of the nation’s gross domestic product. The costs total at least A$390 billion in the past 60 years.”
Corey Bradshaw and Andrew Hoskins [see item 7]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Scientific foundations for an ecosystem goal, milestones and indicators for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework
2. Three experts and a politician in a sandpit – who has the real insight on climate policy in a connected society
3.What’s a national park and why does it matter?
4. Advancing Social Equity in and Through Marine Conservation
5. The political effects of emergency frames in sustainability
6. Fossil fuel misinformation may sideline one of the most important climate change reports ever released
7. Pest plants and animals cost Australia around $25 billion a year – and it will get worse

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1. Scientific foundations for an ecosystem goal, milestones and indicators for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework

Despite substantial conservation efforts, the loss of ecosystems continues globally, along with related declines in species and nature’s contributions to people. An effective ecosystem goal, supported by clear milestones, targets and indicators, is urgently needed for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and beyond to support biodiversity conservation, the UN Sustainable Development Goals and efforts to abate climate change. Here, we describe the scientific foundations for an ecosystem goal and milestones, founded on a theory of change, and review available indicators to measure progress. An ecosystem goal should include three core components: area, integrity and risk of collapse. Targets—the actions that are necessary for the goals to be met—should address the pathways to ecosystem loss and recovery, including safeguarding remnants of threatened ecosystems, restoring their area and integrity to reduce risk of collapse and retaining intact areas. Multiple indicators are needed to capture the different dimensions of ecosystem area, integrity and risk of collapse across all ecosystem types, and should be selected for their fitness for purpose and relevance to goal components. Science-based goals, supported by well-formulated action targets and fit-for-purpose indicators, will provide the best foundation for reversing biodiversity loss and sustaining human well-being.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-021-01538-5

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2. Three experts and a politician in a sandpit – who has the real insight on climate policy in a connected society

A scientist, an economist and a lawyer take on a politician about climate action (in a sandpit).

Who wins?

It’s depends on the criticality of the sandpile.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3.What’s a national park and why does it matter?

With over 9 percent of NSW protected in national parks it’s easy to see how ‘national park’ has become shorthand for any protected area, or even areas of bushland, in the state. As usual, the reality is much more complicated, and there are many types of reserves and protected areas in NSW.

https://blog.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/whats-a-national-park-and-why-does-it-matter/

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4. Advancing Social Equity in and Through Marine Conservation

Though it is mandated by international law and central to conservation policy, less attention has been given to how to operationalize social equity in and through the pursuit of marine conservation. In this article, we aim to bring greater attention to this topic through reviewing how social equity can be better integrated in marine conservation policy and practice. Advancing social equity in marine conservation requires directing attention to: recognition through acknowledgment and respect for diverse peoples and perspectives; fair distribution of impacts through maximizing benefits and minimizing burdens; procedures through fostering participation in decision-making and good governance; management through championing and supporting local involvement and leadership; the environment through ensuring the efficacy of conservation actions and adequacy of management to ensure benefits to nature and people; and the structural barriers to and institutional roots of inequity in conservation.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2021.711538/full

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5. The political effects of emergency frames in sustainability

Emergency frames are mobilized in contemporary sustainability debates, both in response to specific events and strategically. The strategic deployment of emergency frames by proponents of sustainability action aims to stimulate collective action on issues for which it is lacking. But this is contentious due to a range of possible effects. We critically review interdisciplinary social science literature to examine the political effects of emergency frames in sustainability and develop a typology of five key dimensions of variation. This pinpoints practical areas for evaluating the utility of emergency frames and builds a shared vocabulary for analysis and decision-making.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-021-00749-9

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6. Fossil fuel misinformation may sideline one of the most important climate change reports ever released

This week’s landmark report on the state of the climate paints a sobering picture. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that, without deep and immediate cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, the world is very likely headed for climate catastrophe. In November, world leaders will gather in Glasgow for the latest round of United Nations climate talks. It’s the most crucial round of climate negotiations since those which led to the Paris Agreement in 2015. The question is: will governments around the world now listen to the climate science? Or will misinformation campaigns backed by vested interests continue to delay action?

https://theconversation.com/fossil-fuel-misinformation-may-sideline-one-of-the-most-important-climate-change-reports-ever-released-165887

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7. Pest plants and animals cost Australia around $25 billion a year – and it will get worse

Shamefully, Australia has one of the highest extinction rates in the world. And the number one threat to our species is invasive or “alien” plants and animals. But invasive species don’t just cause extinctions and biodiversity loss – they also create a serious economic burden. Our research, published today, reveals invasive species have cost the Australian economy at least A$390 billion in the last 60 years alone. Our paper – the most detailed assessment of its type ever published in this country – also reveals feral cats are the worst invasive species in terms of total costs, followed by rabbits and fire ants.

Pest plants and animals cost Australia around $25 billion a year – and it will get worse (theconversation.com)

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David

Dbytes #488 (11 August 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“This is a code red for humanity. The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable… This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet,” — UN Secretary General, António Guterres on the latest IPCC report.S


In this issue of Dbytes

1. A national-scale dataset for threats impacting Australia’s imperiled flora and fauna.
2. Six modes of co-production for sustainability
3. Feral honey bees and competition for natural cavities
4. The early Hawke Governments and the environment: 1983-1987
5. Do conservation covenants consider the delivery of ecosystem services?
6. US forest fires threaten carbon offsets as company-linked trees burn
7. Key factors for effective partner integration and governance for threatened species recovery

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1. A national-scale dataset for threats impacting Australia’s imperiled flora and fauna.

Using expert consultation, we compile the first complete, validated, and consistent taxon-specific threat and impact dataset for all nationally listed threatened taxa in Australia. We think this dataset will provide critical information to our work, including:
– help inform conservation and management strategies for Australia’s threatened species and threatening processes at local, regional, and national scales.
– help guide actions for abating existing threats to bushfire-impacted species to help aid recovery and avoid further declines.
– help infer the benefit of managing a particular threat and aid in recovery planning.
– used at the local scale, where decision-makers can use the severity score to decide which of the threats present in their jurisdiction are the most important and feasible to address.
– help to refine regulatory processes given the level of impact to particular taxa. For example, under the EPBC Act, actions associated with a particular development proposal or other activities that are likely to cause “significant impact” to a threatened taxon require special consideration. This dataset may aid decision-makers in determining “significant impact” of potential activities for each of Australia’s nationally listed threatened taxa.

http://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.7920

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2. Six modes of co-production for sustainability

The promise of co-production to address complex sustainability challenges is compelling. Yet, co-production, the collaborative weaving of research and practice, encompasses diverse aims, terminologies and practices, with poor clarity over their implications. To explore this diversity, we systematically mapped differences in how 32 initiatives from 6 continents co-produce diverse outcomes for the sustainable development of ecosystems at local to global scales. We found variation in their purpose for utilizing co-production, understanding of power, approach to politics and pathways to impact. A cluster analysis identified six modes of co-production: (1) researching solutions; (2) empowering voices; (3) brokering power; (4) reframing power; (5) navigating differences and (6) reframing agency. No mode is ideal; each holds unique potential to achieve particular outcomes, but also poses unique challenges and risks. Our analysis provides a heuristic tool for researchers and societal actors to critically explore this diversity and effectively navigate trade-offs when co-producing sustainability.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-021-00755-x

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3. feral honey bees and competition for natural cavities

Our new paper is out in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment (open access). We used a combined search of peer-reviewed literature and iNaturalist observations to determine what evidence is available on the use of natural cavities and hollows by feral (wild) western honey bees (Apis mellifera). Our paper addresses an important knowledge gap on how invasive honey bees compete with native species in their introduced range.

New paper: feral honey bees and competition for natural cavities – Ecology is not a dirty word

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4. The early Hawke Governments: 1983-1987

If the Hawke Government were an environmental policy student in 1985, its report card would start with an A+, followed by a string of D’s. The card would bear the teacher’s comment that ‘this talented student has lost interest and is skipping class’.

https://bit.ly/2MsmLyX
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5. Do conservation covenants consider the delivery of ecosystem services?

Conservation covenants promote the conservation of biodiversity and compatible ecosystem services. However, it is not clear whether ecosystem services co-benefits arise incidentally or through explicit policy design. We undertook a content analysis of conservation covenant documents and policy frameworks to examine this issue. We found that the requirements of conservation covenants did not widely consider the management ecosystem services. When covenant clauses did focus on ecosystem services, they primarily considered the ecosystem services flows. Conservation covenants can improve the delivery ecosystem services by considering ecosystem services supply and flows within the policy design process.

Do conservation covenants consider the delivery of ecosystem services? – ScienceDirect

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6. US forest fires threaten carbon offsets as company-linked trees burn

BP and Microsoft among groups that bought into projects designed to help achieve net-zero emissions targets.

https://www.ft.com/content/3f89c759-eb9a-4dfb-b768-d4af1ec5aa23

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7. Key factors for effective partner integration and governance for threatened species recovery

The common assumption that partnerships increase the effectiveness of threatened species conservation has never been tested. This question is complex, as there are many types of partnership, reasons to partner, and various costs incurred, and potential benefits received. Here we investigate the collaborative process of partnerships and how they can lead to better outcomes for threatened species conservation. We assess the conditions where partnerships have supported the solving of environmental problems, the activities carried out and the goals achieved, including whether ecological, economic and social objectives have been met. We did so by interviewing people from a cross-section of partnerships across Australia that have focused on threatened species or threatened ecological communities. We conducted 44 interviews with partners from 24 partnerships focused on 23 threatened species or threatened ecological communities. We attempted to interview two or more organisation types involved in each case study to capture differing sentiments. The semi-structured interviews were carried out over the phone, recorded and transcribed. A deductive coding method was used to identify common themes within the interview data and NVivo was used to code the data. The results of our thematic analysis of interviews provide an overview of the reasons why groups and individuals are embarking on partnerships for threatened species across Australia. We describe the aims and benefits of these partnerships, common challenges to be overcome and the key ingredients of partnerships if they are to achieve recovery objectives. We outline common pathways for partnership initiation, the roles and timeframes around which partnerships structure themselves and how these partnerships tend to be managed. Our study describes the circumstances where a partnership is likely to increase effectiveness, the roles partners play in threatened species recovery, and the costs associated with establishing and maintaining partnerships. The results of this study can help both practitioners developing programs for threatened species and ecological communities, and agencies, governments, conservation organisations, and land managers who make decisions on whether to invest in establishing and servicing partnerships to support threatened species conservation.

Skroblin, A., Currey, K., Grindrod, J., Nally, S., Morgain, R., Pandit, R., Garnett, S.T. (2020). Key factors for effective partner integration and governance for threatened species recovery. NESP Threatened Sprecies Recovery Hub Project 6.6 final report, Brisbane.

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David

Dbytes #487 (4 August 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“Even with that decline in air transport and the general slowdown in human movement [due to COVID], it generally didn’t have an overall impact on greenhouse gas emissions.”
Thomas Newsome [see item 7]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. A Comprehensive Overview of Technologies for Species and Habitat Monitoring and Conservation
2. Don’t make silver bullets policy priorities for climate change
3. Academic blogs: knowing where your work ends up
4. Environment officials questioned use of land government already owned as offset for western Sydney airport
5. Threatened Species Index has moved to TERN
6. Betting big on bioacoustics
7. Climate emergency not slowed by COVID-19 pandemic and planet’s ‘vital signs’ worsening, scientists say

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1. A Comprehensive Overview of Technologies for Species and Habitat Monitoring and Conservation

From José Lahoz-Monfort: We’ve just published an overview paper in journal BioScience, with the first comprehensive compilation of technologies for wildlife & habitat monitoring & conservation. No future promises: the technologies that are available today, from the well-established to the more forward-thinking, including terrestrial and aquatic environments. With 25 pages, it’s almost a small book on conservation tech, the first of its kind by the breadth of technologies covered (from sensors to AI, from airborne to animal-borne). We think it might be a good resource for those wanting to get into this field (including students) or on the lookout for different tech options, and we’ve made it open access.

https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/advance-article/doi/10.1093/biosci/biab073/6322306

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2. Don’t make silver bullets policy priorities for climate change

The Morrison Government is placing enormous faith in silver bullets to solve Australia’s biggest challenges. Selling silver bullets as policy solutions mean a failure to acknowledge the real problem, a diversion of resources away from solutions that do address the challenge, and the loss of critical time.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3. Academic blogs: knowing where your work ends up
By Manu Saunders

This week, a syndicated article appeared across a number of online media platforms under various different headlines. It covers the doomsday insect apocalypse narrative and appears to cast doubt on the issue of insect decline, largely blaming media and ‘activists’ for promoting the hype. The author links to my blog posts on the insect apocalypse, my BioScience paper co-authored with Jasmine Janes & James O’Hanlon, and my American Scientist article as evidence against the hype, and some sections paraphrase or directly quote from my work. To the average reader, it could appear that I have talked to the author, and that I endorse the article. I did not, I do not, and I was not aware the article was being written.

Academic blogs: knowing where your work ends up – Ecology is not a dirty word

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4. Environment officials questioned use of land government already owned as offset for western Sydney airport

Green group decries infrastructure department’s ‘dodgy offset’ plan to use government site that already had protections

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/aug/02/environment-officials-questioned-use-of-heritage-listed-land-as-offset-for-western-sydney-airport

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5. Threatened Species Index has moved to TERN

The Australian government’s National Environmental Science Program (NESP) funding for the Threatened Species Recovery Hub finished in June this year, but the future of one of its achievements, the Threatened Species Index (TSX), has been secured with TERN becoming the new custodian of the index project. With support from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment for the foreseeable future, TERN will ensure continued access for all stakeholders to data on changes in the abundance of 254 species of threatened Australian mammals, birds and plants. The first of its type in the world, the TSX provides reliable and robust measures of changes in the relative abundance of Australia’s threatened and near-threatened species at national, state and regional levels.

Threatened Species Index has moved to TERN – TERN Australia

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6. Betting big on bioacoustics

Lisa Yang is an investor and philanthropist who donated $24 million last month to establish the K. Lisa Yang Center for Conservation Bioacoustics at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Yang told Mongabay that she focused on bioacoustics due to the great potential for scaling the effectiveness of conservation efforts: “The technology can provide an effective way of assessing conservation practices.”

Betting big on bioacoustics: Q&A with philanthropist Lisa Yang (mongabay.com)

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7. Climate emergency not slowed by COVID-19 pandemic and planet’s ‘vital signs’ worsening, scientists say

Scientists have declared Earth’s “vital signs” are worsening, despite a change in habits because of COVID-19. Emissions have reached an all-time high even though air traffic has declined. Australia is an outlier in both setting targets and strategies to reduce emissions.

Climate emergency not slowed by COVID-19 pandemic and planet’s ‘vital signs’ worsening, scientists say – ABC News

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David

Dbytes #486 (28 July 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“This is history repeating itself. In 2015, I was asked to review a UNESCO report on climate change and World Heritage sites, which included the Great Barrier Reef. In the final report, all mention of the Reef was cut completely, after the Australian government successfully pressured UNESCO to remove any reference to it.”
Will Steffen on UNESCO decision not to list the GBR on ‘in danger’ list.
[and see item 4]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Natural Climate Solutions for Corporates
2. Fixing the Environment is the right thing to do? Isn’t it?
3. Nature’s Paris moment: does the global bid to stem wildlife decline go far enough?
4. Not declaring the Great Barrier Reef as ‘in danger’ only postpones the inevitable
5. The mismeasure of conservation
6. Amazonia as a carbon source linked to deforestation and climate change
7. Rapid increases and extreme months in projections of United States high-tide flooding

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1. Natural Climate Solutions for Corporates

A high-level guide to the credible use of natural climate solutions credits by corporate entities. From the Natural Climate Solutions Alliance.

http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_NCSA_NCS_for_Corporates_2021.pdf

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2. Fixing the Environment is the right thing to do? Isn’t it?
Beware the Siren’s call of populism

Why do we find ourselves stuck in reform gridlock? Could it be the rise of neoliberalism is pushing out ‘capital C’ Conservatism? While material wealth is up, it’s just as important to note that commitment-driven behaviour, such as church-going, volunteering and even sticking with one football team for life, is down.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3. Nature’s Paris moment: does the global bid to stem wildlife decline go far enough?

There are concerns a new UN biodiversity framework is not ambitious enough and calls for Australia to take a leading role

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/24/natures-paris-moment-does-the-global-bid-to-stem-wildlife-decline-go-far-enough

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4. Not declaring the Great Barrier Reef as ‘in danger’ only postpones the inevitable

After much anticipation, the World Heritage Committee on Friday decided against listing the Great Barrier Reef as “in danger”. The decision ignored the recommendation of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre — a recommendation based on analyses by Australian scientific experts of the reef’s declining condition.

https://theconversation.com/not-declaring-the-great-barrier-reef-as-in-danger-only-postpones-the-inevitable-164867

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5. The mismeasure of conservation

A key role of area-based conservation is saving biodiversity or achieving conservation impact by avoiding loss and/or promoting recovery.
Conservation measures commonly used as policy targets, such as extent of protection and representation of ecosystems and species, are unreliable guides to conservation impact.
Most evaluations of the impact of area-based measures have been retrospective, but with lessons for future decisions.
Recent developments in impact evaluation show the feasibility of predicting conservation impact as a basis for setting targets and priorities, applicable to a wide range of area-based measures.
The post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework has the potential to guide jurisdictions in achieving quantitative targets for impact instead of targets based on measures that could cause area-based conservation interventions to fail in protecting imperiled biodiversity.

The mismeasure of conservation – ScienceDirect
&
Measuring conservation in a way that counts – ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (coralcoe.org.au)

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6. Amazonia as a carbon source linked to deforestation and climate change

Amazonia hosts the Earth’s largest tropical forests and has been shown to be an important carbon sink over recent decades1,2,3. This carbon sink seems to be in decline, however, as a result of factors such as deforestation and climate change1,2,3. Here we investigate Amazonia’s carbon budget and the main drivers responsible for its change into a carbon source. We performed 590 aircraft vertical profiling measurements of lower-tropospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide at four sites in Amazonia from 2010 to 20184. We find that total carbon emissions are greater in eastern Amazonia than in the western part, mostly as a result of spatial differences in carbon-monoxide-derived fire emissions. Southeastern Amazonia, in particular, acts as a net carbon source (total carbon flux minus fire emissions) to the atmosphere.

Amazonia as a carbon source linked to deforestation and climate change | Nature

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7. Rapid increases and extreme months in projections of United States high-tide flooding

Coastal locations around the United States will experience significantly more frequent and intense high-tide flooding during the mid-2030s due to the combined effects of climate change-induced sea level rise and the nodal cycle. The nodal cycle, described as a “moon wobble” that occurs on an 18.6 year cycle, causes higher-than-usual tides.

Rapid increases and extreme months in projections of United States high-tide flooding | Nature Climate Change

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #485 (21 July 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“A key challenge is getting acceptance in society that protecting natural capital is a higher priority than achieving economic growth.”
Michael Vardon et al [see item 3]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. A New Global Framework for Managing Nature Through 2030
2. The blue carbon wealth of nations
3. From natural capital accounting to natural capital banking
4. Forget charisma, save our insects!
5. Artificial refuges for wildlife conservation: what is the state of the science?
6. Repeating mistakes: why the plan to protect the world’s wildlife falls short
7. New research reveals how Australia and other nations play politics with World Heritage sites

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1. A New Global Framework for Managing Nature Through 2030

The Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has released the first draft of a new global biodiversity framework, to guide actions worldwide through 2030, to preserve and protect nature and its essential services to people.

https://www.cbd.int/article/draft-1-global-biodiversity-framework

[and see item 6]

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2. The blue carbon wealth of nations

Carbon sequestration and storage in mangroves, salt marshes and seagrass meadows is an essential coastal ‘blue carbon’ ecosystem service for climate change mitigation. Here we offer a comprehensive, global and spatially explicit economic assessment of carbon sequestration and storage in three coastal ecosystem types at the global and national levels. We propose a new approach based on the country-specific social cost of carbon that allows us to calculate each country’s contribution to, and redistribution of, global blue carbon wealth. Globally, coastal ecosystems contribute a mean ± s.e.m. of US$190.67 ± 30 bn yr−1 to blue carbon wealth. The three countries generating the largest positive net blue wealth contribution for other countries are Australia, Indonesia and Cuba, with Australia alone generating a positive net benefit of US$22.8 ± 3.8 bn yr−1 for the rest of the world through coastal ecosystem carbon sequestration and storage in its territory.

The blue carbon wealth of nations | Nature Climate Change

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3. From natural capital accounting to natural capital banking

Natural capital accounting will confirm what we know — without change, we are headed for environmental disaster resulting from economic growth. We propose a natural capital bank, a new institution to help maintain natural capital adequacy and chart a course to a sustainable future via accounting.
From natural capital accounting to natural capital banking | Nature Sustainability
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4. Forget charisma, save our insects!

Never underestimate the politics swirling around charismatic megafauna because they always get the biggest chunk of the tiny conservation pie. Sadly it’s a powerful political reflex.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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5. Artificial refuges for wildlife conservation: what is the state of the science?

Artificial refuges are used across the globe to mitigate the impacts of a variety of threats on wildlife, such as habitat loss and degradation. However, there is little understanding of the science underpinning artificial refuges, and what comprises best practice for artificial refuge design and implementation for wildlife conservation. We address this gap by undertaking a systematic review of the current state of artificial refuge research for the conservation of wildlife.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/brv.12776

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6. Repeating mistakes: why the plan to protect the world’s wildlife falls short

This week the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity released a draft of its newest ten-year global plan. Often considered to be the Paris Agreement of biodiversity, the new plan aims to galvanise planetary scale action to achieve a world “living in harmony with nature” by 2050. But if the plan goes ahead in its current form, it will fall short in safeguarding the wonder of our natural world. This is primarily because it doesn’t legally bind nations to it, risking the same mistakes made by the last ten-year plan, which didn’t stop biodiversity decline.

https://theconversation.com/repeating-mistakes-why-the-plan-to-protect-the-worlds-wildlife-falls-short-164497

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7. New research reveals how Australia and other nations play politics with World Heritage sites

Some places are considered so special they’re valuable to all humanity and must be preserved for future generations. These irreplaceable gems – such as Machu Picchu, Stonehenge, Yosemite National Park and the Great Barrier Reef – are known as World Heritage sites. When these places are threatened, they can officially be placed on the “List of World Heritage in Danger”. This action brings global attention to the natural or human causes of the threats. It can encourage emergency conservation action and mobilise international assistance. However, our research released today shows the process of In Danger listings is being manipulated for political gain. National governments and other groups try to keep sites off the list, with strategies such as lobbying, or partial efforts to protect a site. Australian government actions to keep the Great Barrier Reef off the list are a prime example.

https://theconversation.com/new-research-reveals-how-australia-and-other-nations-play-politics-with-world-heritage-sites-142918

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #484 (14 July 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“More than seven in ten (72%) Australians support UNESCO’s recommendation to add the Great Barrier Reef to the World Heritage ‘in danger’ list, just 11% oppose. Furthermore, Queenslanders are most likely (50%) to think that climate change is the largest threat to the Great Barrier Reef and least likely (4%) to think that the health of the Great Barrier Reef is not threatened.”
The Australia Institute


In this issue of Dbytes

1. ‘Environmental accounting’ could revolutionise nature conservation, but Australia has squandered its potential
2. Ecological insights into a charismatic bird using different citizen science approaches
3. ‘Heat dome’ probably killed 1bn marine animals on Canada coast, experts say
4. Seen to be green? Research reveals how environmental performance shapes public perceptions of our leaders
5. Biodiversity and climate change Workshop Report (IPBES & IPCC)
6. Will your grandchildren have the chance to visit Australia’s sacred trees? Only if our sick indifference to Aboriginal heritage is cured
7. Environmental law’s extinction problem


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1. ‘Environmental accounting’ could revolutionise nature conservation, but Australia has squandered its potential

Environmental accounting, for which Australia has a national strategy, seeks to integrate environmental and economic data to ensure sustainable decision making. Last month, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released the country’s first national land account under the strategy, describing it as “experimental”. Environmental accounting could be a game changer for conserving nature, but the account released by the ABS falls flat. It’s yet another example of Australia’s environmental policy culture: we develop or adopt good ideas, but then just tinker with them, or even discard them.

This kind of “high potential, low ambition” approach to environmental policy is something of a trademark for this government.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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2. Ecological insights into a charismatic bird using different citizen science approaches

Citizen science projects provide valuable ecological data owing to their capacity to collect a wide variety of data at scales that would be difficult to achieve through traditional methods. A trade-off exists between the complexity of data collected and participation, with projects typically falling into a continuum between documenting the presence of species at a location, through to the collection of detailed ecological data using complex protocols. Researchers must balance an approach that suits their aims with maximising participation. However, the ability of different citizen science approaches to collected detailed ecological data for a target species is poorly understood. We compared the number of participants and amount of data collected from the three projects to explore different citizen science approaches for focal species research. We examine data for the Australian brush-turkey (Alectura lathami) from two open survey citizen science projects and one focal species project: iNaturalist, eBird and BrushTurkeys. Over a period of 18 months, eBird recorded the greatest number of participants (= 1861) and presence records of brush-turkeys (= 17810). Across the three projects participation varied significantly with an average of 1.95 (range = 1–65), 9.6 (range = 1–389) and 4.7 (range = 1–331) reports per citizen scientist, respectively. The targeted BrushTurkeys project collected specific ecological data including counts, sex and behaviours in a higher proportion of sightings and recorded the largest number of nest mound reports compared with eBird and iNaturalist. We confirm that engaging an active group of participants produced the largest amount of data (eBird), including reports per participant. Ecologically, the most detailed information on habitat use and behaviours came from the focal citizen science project (BrushTurkeys). We conclude that seeking opportunities to grow and actively engage existing citizen science communities to report more detailed ecological information is likely to produce more detailed and informative data set.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/aec.13062?campaign=wolearlyview

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3. ‘Heat dome’ probably killed 1bn marine animals on Canada coast, experts say

British Columbia scientist says heat essentially cooked mussels: ‘The shore doesn’t usually crunch when you walk’

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/08/heat-dome-canada-pacific-northwest-animal-deaths?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other  

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4. Seen to be green? Research reveals how environmental performance shapes public perceptions of our leaders

In recent months, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has faced pressure both domestically and internationally to do more on climate change. In contrast, state governments have been applauded for adopting more ambitious emissions reduction targets. Data from the Australian Leadership Index suggests these differences may have electoral consequences. It found environmental outcomes increasingly shape how voters view their political leaders. And alarmingly for the Morrison government, the public has well and truly registered its lack of action on climate change.

Seen to be green? Research reveals how environmental performance shapes public perceptions of our leaders (theconversation.com)

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5. Biodiversity and climate change Workshop Report (IPBES & IPCC)

In December 2020, 50 of the world’s leading biodiversity and climate experts, selected by a 12-person Scientific Steering Committee assembled by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), participated in a four-day virtual workshop to examine the synergies and trade-offs between biodiversity protection and climate change mitigation and adaptation. This represents the first-ever collaboration between the two intergovernmental science-policy bodies. The workshop further developed the emerging state of knowledge involving climate change and biodiversity with the objective to inform decision making, highlight options for action, and to identify knowledge gaps to be filled by scientific research. The report finds that previous policies have largely tackled biodiversity loss and climate change independently of each other, and that addressing the synergies between mitigating biodiversity loss and climate change, while considering their social impacts, offers the opportunity to maximize benefits and meet global development goals. The Scientific Outcome includes seven sections, and is freely available online: https://ipbes.net/sites/default/files/2021-06/20210609_workshop_report_embargo_3pm_CEST_10_june_0.pdf

The Launch of IPBES-IPCC Co-Sponsored Workshop Report on Biodiversity and Climate Change: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJZx_hYJgdQ

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6. Will your grandchildren have the chance to visit Australia’s sacred trees? Only if our sick indifference to Aboriginal heritage is cured

Trees have always been a point of conflict between colonisers and Indigenous people.

Will your grandchildren have the chance to visit Australia’s sacred trees? Only if our sick indifference to Aboriginal heritage is cured (theconversation.com)

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7. Environmental law’s extinction problem

The extinction of species and ecological systems is occurring more quickly than any other time in human history. Our social and cultural institutions and the concepts and framings that underpin them are key contributors to modern extinctions. In this paper we ask how engaging explicitly with extinction enables a critical and hopeful rethinking of environmental law. We explore the potential of this question by summarising and categorising the literature that discusses how extinction provides a useful frame and moral compass for interrogating environmental law rules, systems and ambitions. Through an evaluation of biodiversity-related multilateral environmental agreements we illustrate the potential of our approach. We demonstrate that if law is to effectively address mass extinction then we need to also interrogate the values and worldviews perpetuated by existing and potential future legal instruments. Drawing on the papers from this special issue we argue that there is much scope for scholarship to develop critical and hopeful approaches for environmental law to address the ecological, social and ethical challenges of extinction.

Environmental law’s extinction problem: Griffith Law Review: Vol 0, No 0 (tandfonline.com)

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #483 (7 July 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“One winter storm does not negate more than a century of human-caused global warming.”
Nerilie Abram et al


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Is Australia really doing enough for the Great Barrier Reef? Why criticisms of UNESCO’s ‘in danger’ recommendation don’t stack up
2. Extinction, law and thinking emotionally about invertebrates
3. Legal experts worldwide draw up ‘historic’ definition of ecocide
4. Playing by the rules? How community actors use experts and evidence to oppose coal seam gas activity in Australia
5. The blue economy as a boundary object for hegemony across scales
6. Peatlands worldwide are drying out, threatening to release 860 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year
7. It takes more than words and ambition: here’s why your city isn’t a lush, green oasis yet


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1. Is Australia really doing enough for the Great Barrier Reef? Why criticisms of UNESCO’s ‘in danger’ recommendation don’t stack up

Ley also suggests Australia is doing everything it can to protect the reef — but is it really? UNESCO certainty doesn’t think so. The draft decision from UNESCO, which will be considered next month by the World Heritage Committee, noted that interventions to reduce inshore pollution over the past five years have been “largely deficient”.

Is Australia really doing enough for the Great Barrier Reef? Why criticisms of UNESCO’s ‘in danger’ recommendation don’t stack up (theconversation.com)

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2. Extinction, law and thinking emotionally about invertebrates

The extinction of a species can provoke deep feelings of sadness, injustice, compassion and empathy for the individuals lost. In this paper we argue that law, as a governance institution, does not allow decision-makers the use of emotions such as compassion or empathy, when making decisions relevant to the possible extinction of species, despite evidence to suggest that such emotions elevate the importance of moral concerns, and so may be utilised to halt the extinction process. Further, we argue that law can impact our ability to feel compassion and empathy for species heading towards extinction, as it creates a narrative of apathy. This is particularly exacerbated when it comes to the potential extinction of invertebrates, whose needs and interests are often already subject to people’s negative emotional pre-dispositions. By analysing the recent legal decisions surrounding the approval of the Yeelirrie Uranium mine in Western Australia, we highlight the nature of this problem and what it means for the conservation of invertebrate species, and argue that environmental law’s commitment to utilitarian and rational traditions will continue to challenge how we react to, and allow, the extinction of invertebrate.

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10383441.2020.1938798?journalCode=rlaw20

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3. Legal experts worldwide draw up ‘historic’ definition of ecocide

Draft law is intended to prosecute offences against the environment

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jun/22/legal-experts-worldwide-draw-up-historic-definition-of-ecocide

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4. Playing by the rules? How community actors use experts and evidence to oppose coal seam gas activity in Australia

Using the conflict over Coal Seam Gas development in New South Wales, Australia, we explored community actors’ interpretations and use of evidence and expertise in seeking to make their voices heard and their knowledge count. Analysis of qualitative interviews found community actors seemed compelled to conform with expectations of policy influence, producing and using technical knowledge and evidence, and drawing on scientific expertise and evidence, presenting these in a rational and objective way. This research also finds a complicated relationship between different forms of knowledge, with local knowledge enhancing technical expertise. Emotions, though deeply felt by the community actors in our research, were not seen as convincing to policy decision makers. The Evidence-Based Policy Making paradigm seems to be constraining what community actors feel they must contribute to be seen as legitimate actors, as well as how they contribute it.

Playing by the rules? How community actors use experts and evidence to oppose coal seam gas activity in Australia – ScienceDirect

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5. The blue economy as a boundary object for hegemony across scales

The blue economy has become an influential concept in international and national marine governance discourse. Various contested interpretations exist, and different actors choose to emphasise different aspects of the triple goal of environmental, economic, and social improvements. However, despite disagreement over its interpretations, the blue economy finds support in many different arenas. This paper explores the position of dominance that the blue economy has reached, and examines how supporters of the concept maintain and employ power to keep it relevant.

Findings show that in international discourse, the blue economy obtains and maintains its influence through persuasion and through the construction of a ‘common sense’ and productive way forward, capable of achieving triple wins. Within this narrative, oceans are undergoing a reconfiguration as economic frontiers, and the blue economy places economic growth from oceans centrally within contemporary environmental governance. Maintaining the blue economy as a powerful concept on the ground is done through social power relations: the blue economy functions as a boundary object, contributing to depoliticisation of discussions about a shared vision. Depoliticisation allows Seychelles to continue using the concept despite simmering dissent among policy makers, practitioners, and resource users. Dominance of the blue economy on the international stage means that associating with it brings Seychelles visibility and influence. The usefulness of the concept in eliding tensions makes it difficult for counter-hegemony to arise, although alternatives are emerging elsewhere, such as blue justice. However, fundamental change is needed to re-politicise environmental decision-making and explicitly discuss values and images attached to the blue economy.

The blue economy as a boundary object for hegemony across scales – ScienceDirect

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6. Peatlands worldwide are drying out, threatening to release 860 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year

Peatlands, such as fens, bogs, marshes and swamps, cover just 3% of the Earth’s total land surface, yet store over one-third of the planet’s soil carbon. That’s more than the carbon stored in all other vegetation combined, including the world’s forests.

But peatlands worldwide are running short of water, and the amount of greenhouse gases this could set loose would be devastating for our efforts to curb climate change.

https://theconversation.com/peatlands-worldwide-are-drying-out-threatening-to-release-860-million-tonnes-of-carbon-dioxide-every-year-162438

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7. It takes more than words and ambition: here’s why your city isn’t a lush, green oasis yet

Has your city actually turned into a lush oasis yet? No, neither has ours. Our new research looked at what’s holding back greening in our cities. And we found the issue is often internal — cities just aren’t really set up to deliver their plans. Fortunately, this is a very fixable problem.

https://theconversation.com/it-takes-more-than-words-and-ambition-heres-why-your-city-isnt-a-lush-green-oasis-yet-163727

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #482 (1 July 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“The fact we can’t even meet a target of making sure there’s up-to-date recovery plans and conservation advice for species, let alone implement it, that’s concerning.”
Ayesha Tulloch [see item 2.]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. The government’s idea of ‘national environment standards’ would entrench Australia’s global pariah status
2. Coalition fails to meet endangered species targets to stem decline of birds, mammals and plants
3. The wicked problem of complexity on the Great Barrier Reef
4. A Cold War deal on ice: The Antarctic Treaty at 60
5. ‘Historic moment’: Legal experts unveil new definition of ecocide
6. A lone tree makes it easier for birds and bees to navigate farmland, like a stepping stone between habitats
7. How best to serve young people with evidence?

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1. The government’s idea of ‘national environment standards’ would entrench Australia’s global pariah status

A growing global push to halt biodiversity decline, most recently agreed at the G7 on Sunday, leaves Australia out in the cold as the federal government walks away from critical reforms needed to protect threatened species. The centrepiece recommendation in a landmark independent review of Australia’s national environment law was to establish effective National Environment Standards. These standards would have drawn clear lines beyond which no further environmental damage is acceptable, and established an independent Environment Assurance Commissioner to ensure compliance. But the federal government has instead pushed ahead to propose its own, far weaker set of standards and establish a commissioner with very limited powers. The bill that paves the way for these standards is currently before parliament.

https://theconversation.com/the-governments-idea-of-national-environment-standards-would-entrench-australias-global-pariah-status-163082

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2. Coalition fails to meet endangered species targets to stem decline of birds, mammals and plants

Ecology experts say failure to hit five-year goals concerning although feral cat progress promising

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jun/26/coalition-fails-to-meet-endangered-species-targets-to-stem-decline-of-birds-mammals-and-plants

And see
Australia’s threatened species plan has failed on several counts. Without change, more extinctions are assured

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3. The wicked problem of complexity on the Great Barrier Reef

Rather than focus at the minutiae of this ‘in danger’ listing, let’s reflect on the bigger lessons provided by how we’re dealing with the decline of the Great Barrier Reef. Our systems of governance simply don’t handle complexity very well.https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

and see
Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 2019

The 2019 report [only released this year] is the third comprehensive report in the series, and identifies the Great Barrier Reef Region still faces significant pressures ranging in scale from local to global. The report finds the greatest threat to the Reef is still climate change. The other main threats are associated with coastal development, land-based run-off, and direct human use (such as illegal fishing).

GBRMPA – Outlook Report 2019

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4. A Cold War deal on ice: The Antarctic Treaty at 60

The remarkable resilience of what evolved into the Antarctic Treaty System cannot be an excuse for complacency. The treaty has evolved over the years into what is commonly referred to as the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS), which encompasses additional instruments such as the 1972 Seals Convention, 1980 Marine Living Resources Convention, and 1991 Madrid Protocol. Each has in their own way been a success, though debate over adoption of the Madrid Protocol came at the end of a tumultuous period when core treaty parties lead by Australia and France abandoned a negotiated minerals treaty.

A Cold War deal on ice: The Antarctic Treaty at 60 (lowyinstitute.org)

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5. ‘Historic moment’: Legal experts unveil new definition of ecocide

Authors of draft law want ICC members to adopt it in order to hold big polluters, including world leaders and corporate bosses, to account.

‘Historic moment’: Legal experts unveil new definition of ecocide | Climate News | Al Jazeera

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6. A lone tree makes it easier for birds and bees to navigate farmland, like a stepping stone between habitats

Vast, treeless paddocks and fields can be dangerous for wildlife, who encounter them as “roadblocks” between natural areas nearby. But our new research found even one lone tree in an otherwise empty paddock can make a huge difference to an animal’s movement. We focused on the Atlantic Forest in Brazil, a biodiversity hotspot with 1,361 different known species of wildlife, such as jaguars, sloths, tamarins and toucans. Habitat loss from expanding and intensifying farmland, however, increasingly threatens the forest’s rich diversity of species and ecosystems. We researched the value of paddock trees and hedges for birds and bees, and found small habitat features like these can double how easily they find their way through farmland.

https://theconversation.com/a-lone-tree-makes-it-easier-for-birds-and-bees-to-navigate-farmland-like-a-stepping-stone-between-habitats-162083

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7. How best to serve young people with evidence?

This paper makes the case for evidence-based policy, before recapping the history of the What Works movement and its particular structure in the United Kingdom. The remainder of the paper considers the advantages and disadvantages of greater integration and collaboration between centres, and concludes with some recommendations for how this might be achieved.
How best to serve young people with evidence? (apo.org.au)

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #481 (23 June 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“Changing the Great Barrier Reef’s World Heritage status to ‘in danger’ equates to emergency authorities cranking up the fire danger rating to catastrophic,”
Lesley Hughes [see item 2]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Sustainable oceans and coasts national strategy 2021-2030
2. Great Barrier Reef in danger zone
3. A pathway for reforming national environmental law
4. Crunch time for reform of national environmental law
5. Brokerage at the science–policy interface: from conceptual framework to practical guidance
6. Are experts complicit in making their advice easy for politicians to ignore?
7. Preserving Australia’s biodiversity is crucial and needs creative programs

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1. Sustainable oceans and coasts national strategy 2021-2030

A ten-year strategy launched today by Future Earth Australia, a program of the Australian Academy of Science, presents a national implementation plan to ensure healthy coasts and oceans for a just and environmentally sustainable future.

Cooperation, grassroots action and First Peoples’ knowledge will unlock Australia’s blue economy | Australian Academy of Science

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2. Great Barrier Reef in danger zone

THE UNESCO World Heritage Committee’s intention to change the Great Barrier Reef’s status to ‘in danger’ brings shame on the federal government, which is standing by as the Reef declines rather than fighting to protect it. The situation is dire, and our response should match that. The Reef has been severely damaged by three marine heatwaves in the past five years alone.

Great Barrier Reef in Danger Zone | Climate Council

and see
Australian government was ‘blindsided’ by UN recommendation to list Great Barrier Reef as in-danger. But it’s no great surprise

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3. A pathway for reforming national environmental law

The Australian Government has released A pathway for reforming national environmental law accompanied by a proposed timeline that outlines the Government’s intended timing for reform and further engagement with stakeholders.
Immediate reform priorities
$10.6 million to support the delivery of single touch approvals with states and territories.
$9 million to establish and operate an Environment Assurance Commissioner to independently audit and monitor the operation of single touch approvals with states and territories, as well as Commonwealth assessments and approvals under the EPBC Act.
$2.7 million to develop a pilot regional plan for a priority development region in partnership with a willing state or territory. Regional planning will help to identify and protect important environmental assets, leading to better environmental outcomes. It will also give business greater certainty and clarity of their environmental approval requirements, by helping to identify the most appropriate areas for development.
$0.5 million to support the government’s commitment to continue stakeholder engagement on modernising and strengthening the protection of Indigenous cultural heritage.

Environmental law reform | Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment

[and see item 4]

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4. Crunch time for reform of national environmental law

This week is crunch time for reform of Australia’s national environmental law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The government has put forward a pathway forward. The problem with this pathway is that it contains very little of substance beyond what has already been put on the table.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

For an excellent backgrounder on the EPBC review process see the Bill Digest prepared by the Parliamentary Library on the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Standards and Assurance) Bill 2021

ParlInfo – Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Standards and Assurance) Bill 2021 (aph.gov.au)

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5. Brokerage at the science–policy interface: from conceptual framework to practical guidance

This article analyses the conceptual framework of brokerage at the science–policy interface as an important boundary function to support trusted and transparent government decision-making. Policymaking involves a broad range of considerations, but science advice and evidence is critical to help inform decisions. However, mechanisms for requesting and receiving advice from the scientific community are not straightforward, considering that the knowledge needed generally spans multiple disciplines of the natural and social sciences. Once evidence has been appropriately synthesized, there remains the need to ensure an effective and unbiased translation to the policy and political community. The concept of knowledge brokerage revolves around an understanding of the ontologies, cultures and languages of both the policy community and the science community, in order to effectively link the two bidirectionally. In practical terms, this means ensuring that the information needs of the former are understood, and that the type and form of information offered by the latter aligns with those needs. Ideally, knowledge brokers act at the interface between researchers/experts and decision-makers to present evidence in a way that informs policy options but does not determine policy development. Conceptually, negotiating this interface involves acknowledging that values are embedded in the scientific process and evidentiary synthesis, and in particular, in considering the inferential risks inherent in making evidence claims. Brokers are faced with navigating complex policy dynamics and balancing information asymmetries between research providers and users. Building on the conceptual analysis and examination of the nuances of brokerage observed in practice, we propose a set of guidelines to translate the concepts of brokerage to practical application.

Brokerage at the science–policy interface: from conceptual framework to practical guidance | Humanities and Social Sciences Communications (nature.com)

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6. Are experts complicit in making their advice easy for politicians to ignore?

The role of experts in policymaking and debates over the extent to which politicians are being ‘led by the science’ have become prominent in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, Christiane Gerblinger argues that, rather than being a simple case of politicians disregarding sound advice, experts should attend to the way in which this advice is communicated and the elements inherent to particular forms of advice that make it easy for politicians to ignore or divert to different ends. 

Are experts complicit in making their advice easy for politicians to ignore? | Impact of Social Sciences (lse.ac.uk)

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7. Preserving Australia’s biodiversity is crucial and needs creative programs

Vital programs such as the National Action Plan for Australia’s Most Imperilled Plants will enable an understanding and advocacy for the survival of these species. As engineers and scientists, we need to be committed to developing and delivering quality environmental and social outcomes that balance the short-term needs of projects with the long-term needs of the environment.

Preserving Australia’s biodiversity is crucial and needs creative programs | The Fifth Estate

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #480 (16 June 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“Human brains hate probability, they hate ambiguity, they hate the uncertainty. We’re just not wired to deal with this sort of thing very well.”
Regina Nuzzo [see items 5 and 3]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Becoming #GenerationRestoration: Ecosystem Restoration for People, Nature and Climate
2. Valuing multiple threatened species and ecological communities in Australia
3. Risky business: When dealing with complexity, it all comes down to trust?
4. A healthy environment as a human right
5. Fat Chance: Writing about Probability
6. Factors affecting success of conservation translocations of terrestrial vertebrates: A global systematic review

7. The teaching-research ‘balance’ as an ECR

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1. Becoming #GenerationRestoration: Ecosystem Restoration for People, Nature and Climate
This report presents the case for why we all must throw our weight behind a global restoration effort. Drawing on the latest scientific evidence, it explains the crucial role played by ecosystems from forests and farmland to rivers and oceans, and charts the losses that result from our poor stewardship of the planet.

ERPNC.pdf (unep.org)

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2. Valuing multiple threatened species and ecological communities in Australia
Australia has more than 1,700 species and ecological communities that are known to be threatened and at risk of extinction. Given the large number of species to protect and limited funding, there needs to be an understanding of the values that Australians place on threatened species to assist decision makers in how to appropriately invest in conservation actions.  Apart from threat status, the costs and benefits of an investment play an important part in assessing proposed investments to ensure our decisions are good value for money. Up to now, there was only a few estimates available for the species listed in the Australian Government’s Threatened Species Strategy (TSS). This major gap was contributing to poor investment choice in conservation. Using accepted economic theories, this research has determined a set of benefit estimates for 14 species including: birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, plants, and two ecological communities. The team has developed and populated a database of market and non-market values of threatened species and developed guidelines for use.  The estimates can be used in setting management priorities, assessing proposed investments on species conservation projects, informing environmental accounting, and conducting benefit-cost-analysis and benefit transfer for conservation projects.

The new estimates for the 14 species are listed in the report.  The results of two case studies showed an aggregate value of benefits for conserving Superb parrot (i.e. moving from the current risk level to lowest risk level) is AU$ 8.8 million per year for 20 years, and for the Painted Honeyeater the aggregate value of benefitsis AU$ 5.8 million per year for 20 years.

Ref: Gunawardena, A., Burton, M., Pandit, R., Garnett, S.T., Zander, K.K., and Pannell, D. (2020).Valuing multiple threatened species and ecological communities in Australia. Final report to the National Environment Science Program, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, Brisbane. 15 December 2020.

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3. Risky business: When dealing with complexity, it all comes down to trust?

At the very time we should be placing a premium on trust and cooperation to help us navigate the choppy waters ahead, our political leaders seem instead hell bent on ramping up prejudice and tribal fear. Populism and nationalism seem to be winning formula, trust seems to be the victim.

If we believed in the integrity our elected leaders then we would all be in a much better position when it came to making our own decisions in the face of enormous (and often growing) uncertainty and risk.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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4. A healthy environment as a human right

UN recognition would strengthen legal arguments for preserving nature

A healthy environment as a human right (knowablemagazine.org)

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5. Fat Chance: Writing about Probability

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, almost every choice we have made in our day-to-day lives has required careful consideration of the odds. How dangerous is going to the supermarket at peak time? Is it safe to see friends after getting one vaccine shot? Will children get sick, or spread the virus to others, if they go back to school?

https://www.theopennotebook.com/2021/05/11/fat-chance-writing-about-probability/

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6. Factors affecting success of conservation translocations of terrestrial vertebrates: A global systematic review

Translocation—moving individuals for release in different locations—is among the most important conservation interventions for increasing or re-establishing populations of threatened species. However, translocations often fail. To improve their effectiveness, we need to understand the features that distinguish successful from failed translocations. We assembled and analysed a global database of translocations of terrestrial vertebrates (n = 514) to assess the effects of various design features and extrinsic factors on success. We analysed outcomes using standardised metrics: a categorical success/failure classification; and population growth rate. Probability of categorical success and population growth rate increased with the total number of individuals released but with diminishing returns above about 20–50 individuals. Positive outcomes—categorical success and high population growth—were less likely for translocations in Oceania, possibly because invasive species are a major threat in this region and are difficult to control at translocation sites. Rates of categorical success and population growth were higher in Europe and North America than elsewhere, suggesting the key role of context in positive translocation outcomes. Categorical success has increased throughout the 20th century, but that increase may have plateaued at about 75% since about 1990. Our results suggest there is potential for further increase in the success of conservation translocations. This could be best achieved by greater investment in individual projects, as indicated by total number of animals released, which has not increased over time.

Factors affecting success of conservation translocations of terrestrial vertebrates: A global systematic review – ScienceDirect

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7. The teaching-research ‘balance’ as an ECR

This blog is not to whinge. I love my job, I love teaching and I really love the units I teach. I am not the only academic to experience teaching fatigue. But it is unsustainable and new staff members, particularly early career researchers, seem to suffer this most. Yet it’s a ‘too hard basket’ problem that most academics don’t know what to do about.

The teaching-research ‘balance’ as an ECR – Ecology is not a dirty word

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #479 (9 June 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“Key conclusion: the wealthier an individual household (and the country they live in) is, the less climate change is rated as a concern.”
Sarah Ann Wheeler


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Biodiversity, natural capital and the economy: a policy guide for finance, economic and environment ministers
2. Understanding biodiversity offsets
3. Human rights must be at heart of new biodiversity framework, experts say
4.
Sharma v Minister for the Environment (Duty of care over a coal mine approval)
5. The pandemic has undone South Africa’s national parks
6. A Nonprofit Promised to Preserve Wildlife. Then It Made Millions Claiming It Could Cut Down Trees.
7. ‘Bad science’: Planting frenzy misses the grasslands for the trees


-~<>~-

1. Biodiversity, natural capital and the economy: a policy guide for finance, economic and environment ministers

This report, prepared by the OECD as an input to the United Kingdom’s G7 Presidency in 2021, provides policy guidance for finance, economic and environment ministries to underpin transformative domestic and international action to halt and reverse biodiversity loss.

The analysis focuses on four priority action areas for governments. First, adapting measures of national performance to better reflect natural capital, and mainstreaming biodiversity into strategies, plans, policies and projects. Second, better leveraging fiscal policy and economic instruments to support the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, including in COVID-19 recovery packages. Biodiversity-related tax revenues, for example, account for just 0.9% of all environmentally related tax revenues. Third, embedding nature-related dependencies, risks and impacts into the financial sector. Fourth, improving biodiversity outcomes linked to trade, including by reforming environmentally harmful and market distorting government support, which stands at more than USD $800 billion per year.


Biodiversity, natural capital and the economy: a policy guide for finance, economic and environment ministers

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2. Understanding biodiversity offsets

Biodiversity offset policies & practices are complicated. The decisions we make about offsets may seem abstract but make a big difference to biodiversity outcomes. This series of 9 short, plain-language videos helps explain key concepts and challenges.

https://www.impactmitigation.org/videos

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3. Human rights must be at heart of new biodiversity framework, experts say

A new study by the ICCA Consortium, an international association, says human rights must be included in conservation policies to save the world’s vanishing biodiversity. The study focuses on 17 Indigenous and local communities worldwide, showing how their traditional practices and unique governance systems protect ecosystems and biomes better than states or other bodies. Researchers insist that human rights be central to the he post-2020 global biodiversity framework expected to be adopted in October at COP15, where world leaders will sign a new 10-year commitment to protect biodiversity in the midst of what scientists call the Earth’s sixth mass extinction.

Human rights must be at heart of new biodiversity framework, experts say (mongabay.com)

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4. Sharma v Minister for the Environment (Duty of care over a coal mine approval)

The Minister lost and owes children a duty of care when considering approval of a coal mine. But the finding is adventurous and may be overturned.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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5. The pandemic has undone South Africa’s national parks

Without tourism, the funding that sustains some of the world’s most treasured wildlife has atrophied.

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2021/06/covid-19-tourism-conservation-south-africa/619091/

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6. A Nonprofit Promised to Preserve Wildlife. Then It Made Millions Claiming It Could Cut Down Trees.

The Massachusetts Audubon Society has managed its land as wildlife habitat for years. Here’s how the carbon credits it sold may have fuelled climate change.

https://www.propublica.org/article/a-nonprofit-promised-to-preserve-wildlife-then-it-made-millions-claiming-it-could-cut-down-trees

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7. ‘Bad science’: Planting frenzy misses the grasslands for the trees

Planting trees by the millions has come to be considered one of the main ways of reining in runaway carbon emissions and tackling climate change. But experts say many tree-planting campaigns are based on flawed science: planting in grasslands and other non-forest areas, and prioritizing invasive trees over native ones. Experts point out that not all land is meant to be forested, and that planting trees in savannas and grasslands runs the risk of actually reducing carbon sequestration and increasing air temperature. The rush to reforest has also led to fast-growing eucalyptus and acacia becoming the choice of tree for planting, despite the fact they’re not native in most planting areas, and are both water-intensive and fire-prone.

‘Bad science’: Planting frenzy misses the grasslands for the trees (mongabay.com)

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #478 (2 June 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“In essence, the [new Threatened Species] strategy sends a few extra ambulances to the bottom of the cliff, rather than installing a fence at the top to stop species tumbling over.”
Euan Ritchie et al {See item 2]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Scientists propose urgent $824m mission to document Australia’s undiscovered plants and animals
2. Australia’s threatened species plan sends in the ambulances but ignores glaring dangers
3. Setting robust biodiversity goals
4. Out of control with a smidgen of humility
5. Fostering local involvement for biodiversity conservation in tropical regions: Lessons from Madagascar during the COVID-19 pandemic

6. These birds will soon go extinct. But their disappearance need not be in vain.
7. What to Save? Climate Change Forces Brutal Choices at National Parks.


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1. Scientists propose urgent $824m mission to document Australia’s undiscovered plants and animals

The Australian Academy of Science says some $824m will be needed over the next 25 years to complete a mammoth task becoming more urgent as the climate crisis puts more species at risk of extinction. Economic research commissioned by the academy and released today argues every dollar spent on the taxonomy mission could deliver between $4 and $35 in benefits.

The Guardian

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2. Australia’s threatened species plan sends in the ambulances but ignores glaring dangers

The ten-year plan builds on the first strategy launched in 2015, and contains welcome changes. But there remain serious questions about how the plan will be funded and implemented – and quite possibly undermined by other federal government policies. In essence, the strategy sends a few extra ambulances to the bottom of the cliff, rather than installing a fence at the top to stop species tumbling over.

https://theconversation.com/australias-threatened-species-plan-sends-in-the-ambulances-but-ignores-glaring-dangers-161407

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3. Setting robust biodiversity goals

The new global biodiversity framework (GBF) being developed under the Convention on Biological Diversity must drive action to reverse the ongoing decline of the Earth’s biodiversity. Explicit, measurable goals that specify the outcomes we want to achieve are needed to set the course for this action. However, the current draft goals and targets fail to set out these clear outcomes. We argue that distinct outcome goals for species, ecosystems, and genetic diversity are essential and should specify net outcomes required for each. Net outcome goals such as “no net loss” do, however, have a controversial history, and loose specification can lead to perverse outcomes. We outline seven general principles to underpin net outcome goal setting that minimize risk of such perverse outcomes. Finally, we recommend inclusion of statements of impact in action targets that support biodiversity goals, and we illustrate the importance of this with an example from the draft GBF action targets. These modifications would help reveal the specific contribution each action would make to achieving the outcome goals and provide clarity on whether the successful achievement of action targets would be adequate to achieve the outcome goals and, in turn, the 2050 vision: living in harmony with nature.

https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/conl.12816

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4. Out of control with a smidgen of humility

People in wealthier countries perceive a greater sense of control over climate change impacts

“Don’t tell us what to do,” our national government effectively said. “We’re in control, we’ve got it covered.” Of course, as events were to show, they didn’t.

Sustainability Bites: https://bit.ly/2MsmLyX

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5. Fostering local involvement for biodiversity conservation in tropical regions: Lessons from Madagascar during the COVID-19 pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has challenged existing conservation structures and management but provides an opportunity to re-examine strategies and research approaches across the tropics to build resilience for future crises. Based on the personal experiences of conservation leaders, managers, and researchers from Madagascar during this period, we discuss the coping strategies of multiple biodiversity conservation organizations during the coronavirus pandemic. We highlight the vital role of local communities in building and maintaining resilient conservation practices that are robust to global disruptions such as the COVID-19 crisis. We argue that the integration of local experts and communities in conservation, research, and financial decision-making is essential to a strong foundation for biodiversity conservation in developing countries to stand up to future environmental, political, and health crises. 

Fostering local involvement for biodiversity conservation in tropical regions: Lessons from Madagascar during the COVID‐19 pandemic – Razanatsoa – – Biotropica – Wiley Online Library

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6. These birds will soon go extinct. But their disappearance need not be in vain.

Even under moderate climate warming, models predict a severe loss of suitable climate for these birds within the next 50 years – dramatically heightening their risk of extinction.

These birds will soon go extinct. But their disappearance need not be in vain. (cam.ac.uk)

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7. What to Save? Climate Change Forces Brutal Choices at National Parks.

For decades, the core mission of the Park Service was absolute conservation. Now ecologists are being forced to do triage, deciding what to safeguard — and what to let slip away.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/18/climate/national-parks-climate-change.html

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #477 (26 May 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“From a policy point of view, there is a complete disconnect between the size of the problem (enormous) and the approach to the solution (narrow focus, tiny resources). Governments are not irrational; when they do something that seems irrational it’s usually because they are actually solving a different problem. In this case, I think the problem they are solving is the political problem of being seen to be doing something credible about a problem that they either don’t acknowledge or don’t want to engage with.”
Peter Burnett on the new Threatened Species Strategy [see items 1 & 2]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Threatened Species Strategy 2021-2031
2. Words are cheap, but conservation is expensive
3. The 50 beautiful Australian plants at greatest risk of extinction — and how to save them
4. Climate adaptation interventions for iconic fauna
5. Arctic assessment report shows faster rate of warming
6. Impact of feral deer, pigs and goats in Australia

7. Native forest logging makes bushfires worse – and to say otherwise ignores the facts

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1. Threatened Species Strategy 2021-2031

The Threatened Species Strategy is the Australian Government’s way forward for prioritising action and investment, setting the direction for efforts to recover our threatened plants, animals and ecological communities over the next ten years.

The Threatened Species Strategy 2021-2031 will be underpinned by consecutive 5‑year Action Plans. These Action Plans will identify priority species and places, concrete actions and practical, measurable targets to assess progress. A new Action Plan for 2021 to 2026 is now in preparation. Commencing from June 2021, the department will seek feedback from stakeholders on the new Action Plan.

http://environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/strategy-home

ACF commentary on the new strategy:
“Our governments have an appalling record on protecting Australia’s unique species. Even some animals that are officially honoured are actually neglected. Victoria’s faunal emblem, Leadbeater’s Possum, is critically endangered. In 2015 the federal government promised ‘a revised Recovery Plan will be completed by mid-2016, driving action to turn around the decline of the Leadbeater’s Possum.’ Six years later, we are still waiting. Under this new strategy, funding for threatened species falls well short of what’s required.”

and see item 2

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2. Words are cheap, but conservation is expensive

What is it the Government is trying to achieve with its new Threatened Species Strategy? It’s stated aim, as its title suggests, is saving threatened species. However, if you consider the evidence it’s hard not to conclude its real aim is something very different.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3. The 50 beautiful Australian plants at greatest risk of extinction — and how to save them

To help prevent the loss of any native plant species, we’ve assembled a massive evidence base for more than 750 plants listed as critically endangered or endangered. Of these, we’ve identified the 50 at greatest risk of extinction. The good news is for most of these imperilled plants, we already have the knowledge and techniques needed to conserve them. We’ve devised an action plan that’s relatively easy to implement, but requires long-term funding and commitment.

https://theconversation.com/the-50-beautiful-australian-plants-at-greatest-risk-of-extinction-and-how-to-save-them-160362

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4. Climate adaptation interventions for iconic fauna

Climate adaptation is an emerging practice in biodiversity conservation, but little is known about the scope, scale, and effectiveness of implemented actions. Here, we review and synthesize published reports of climate adaptation interventions for iconic fauna. We present a systematic map of peer-reviewed literature databases (Web of Science and Scopus); however, only nine climate adaptation actions targeting iconic fauna were returned. In the grey and informal literature, there were many instances of practical intervention within our scope, that were not uncovered during traditional systematic search methods. The richness of actions reported in commercial news, government and non-government organization media outlets and other online sources vastly outweighs the limited studies that have been robustly evaluated and reported in the scientific literature. From our investigation of this emerging field of conservation practice, we draw insights and pen a series of recommendations for the field moving forward. Key recommendations for future adaptation interventions include: the sharing and publishing of climate-related conservation interventions, the use of standardized metrics for reporting outcomes, the implementation of experimental controls for any actions undertaken, and reporting and evaluation of both failures and successes.

https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/csp2.434

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5. Arctic assessment report shows faster rate of warming

New observations show that the increase in Arctic average surface temperature between 1979 and 2019 was three times higher than the global average during this period – higher than previously reported – according to the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP).

Arctic assessment report shows faster rate of warming | World Meteorological Organization (wmo.int)

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6. Impact of feral deer, pigs and goats in Australia

Key findings:
-All jurisdictions to remove impediments to feral deer control on private and public lands.
-The elimination of feral deer from all World Heritage Areas and other areas of environmental significance.
-Implementation, supported by long-term funding, of a national pig and deer action plan.
-Feral deer and pig coordinators to report yearly to national, state and territory parliaments.
-Listing of feral deer as a key threatening process under federal environmental law.
-Provision of funding beyond 2022 for the research body Centre for Invasive Species Solutions.
-The Commonwealth to hold a Productivity Commission inquiry into invasive species management.

Impact of feral deer, pigs and goats in Australia – Parliament of Australia (aph.gov.au)

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7. Native forest logging makes bushfires worse – and to say otherwise ignores the facts

Taking timber from forests dramatically changes their structure, making them more vulnerable to bushfires. And, crucially for the Black Summer bushfires, logged forests are more likely to burn out of control. Naturally, the drivers of the fires were widely debated during and after the disaster. Research published earlier this month, for example, claimed native forest logging did not make the fires worse. We believe these findings are too narrowly focused and in fact, misleading. They overlook a vast body of evidence that crown fire – the most extreme type of bushfire behaviour, in which tree canopies burn – is more likely in logged native forests.

Native forest logging makes bushfires worse – and to say otherwise ignores the facts (theconversation.com)

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #476 (19 May 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“We’re not seeing the resources invested into recovering species. We estimate that, in Australia, we spend less than a tenth of what we would need to spend in order to recover the species that are on our threatened species list. We spend less than a tenth of what is spent in the United States to deal with the much smaller list that they have. Their legislation mandates that, when a species is listed, funding will be made available to its recovery, and that’s determined by expert groups and agreed with the agencies. That funding is made available. They have recovered species, and they do routinely recover species. We don’t.”
Professor Brendan Wintle
[see item 1 and 2]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Senate enquiry into Standards and Assurance for the EPBC Act
2. Environment department tried to bury research that found huge underspend on Australian threatened species
3. A Victorian logging company just won a controversial court appeal. Here’s what it means for forest wildlife
4. More of everything – putting the Swedish forestry model under the microscope
5. From Babel to babble and back again
6. Misinformation in and about science
7. Australian mouse plague: ‘napalming’ rodents could kill native and domestic animals too

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1. Senate enquiry into Standards and Assurance for the EPBC Act

At the beginning of May the Senate took statements from various expert stakeholders on Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Standards and Assurance) Bill 2021, the Bill setting out how the government will address biodiversity conservation (and the problem of threatened species).

This is a great transcript for anyone interested in the ongoing debate on Australian conservation policy (both in general and specific policy terms).

In regards to threatened species, here are a couple of quotes from Prof Brendan Wintle, Director of NESP Hub for Threatened Species Recovery (a Hub that the government is closing down this year; and see item 2).

“We’ve lost three species to extinction since the inception of the [EPBC] act and two more have gone extinct in the wild. We’re seeing declines in threatened species all over the country. As I mentioned before, we’ve seen a 50 per cent decline in threatened bird populations since 1985. We’ve seen more than a 20 per cent decline in mammal populations in the same time period. We’ve seen up to 70 per cent declines across plant populations. We are in the middle of a dramatic ecosystem decline. We are world leaders in extinction. We are responsible for 30 per cent of the world’s modern mammal extinctions. The evidence is on the table in journals like Nature and Science. Australia has been identified as the world’s leading developed nation in terms of biodiversity loss and the second-highest biodiversity loss on the planet.”

“When I talk about 10 per cent of what the US spends on threatened species, we’re not talking about a lot of money here. We could actually increase our investment to $1.5 billion a year, we estimate, and actually secure our threatened species. $1.5 billion a year sounds like a lot of money, until you reflect on the fact that we spend $13 billion as a nation on our pets. We spend $4.5 billion a year as a nation just on our cats. We spend about $1.5 billion a year just on trinkets—little diamante collars and things—to put on our pets. Can we not afford $1.5 billion a year to save our natural heritage, to actually ensure our cultural heritage and to endow something to the next generation?”

ParlInfo – Environment and Communications Legislation Committee : 04/05/2021 : Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Standards and Assurance) Bill 2021 (aph.gov.au)

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2. Environment department tried to bury research that found huge underspend on Australian threatened species

The federal government tried to stop the publication of an academic paper that found it needed to drastically increase its spending on threatened Australian wildlife. Internal documents released to Guardian Australia under freedom of information laws show senior officials in the federal environment department spent months pressuring the scientists from the government-funded Threatened Species Recovery Hub. The scientists had drafted a paper in 2019 that compared Australian threatened species funding with that in the US. They found Australia was spending just a tenth of what the US dedicated to trying to recover endangered wildlife.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/may/14/environment-department-tried-to-bury-research-that-found-huge-underspend-on-australian-threatened-species?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

[Editor’s note: see the related Australian scientists say logging, mining and climate advice is being suppressed]

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3. A Victorian logging company just won a controversial court appeal. Here’s what it means for forest wildlife

Australia’s forest-dwelling wildlife is in greater peril after last week’s court ruling that logging — even if it breaches state requirements — is exempt from the federal law that protects threatened species.

https://theconversation.com/a-victorian-logging-company-just-won-a-controversial-court-appeal-heres-what-it-means-for-forest-wildlife-160103

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4. More of everything – putting the Swedish forestry model under the microscope

With this film, we want to nuance and debunk the green saga that is spread about the Swedish forestry model. Because if the forest industries claims are not true, continuing to use and spread the model could jeopardize the climate and the ecosystems on which we all depend. In this film, a number of prominent, and independent scientists and experts are helping us examine the claims that the forest industry is spreading about the Swedish forestry model and the bio-economy

https://moreofeverything.org/

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5. From Babel to babble and back again

Knowledge is power but without trust it’s as useless (and dangerous) as babble. Writ large we see this modern babble weaponized by leaders and malicious actors all around the world. These days our many information sources all contain some degree of fake news, conspiracy thinking and fear mongering. It’s used to polarize, obfuscate and delegitimize the people outside of the tribe.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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6. Misinformation in and about science

Humans learn about the world by collectively acquiring information, filtering it, and sharing what we know. Misinformation undermines this process. The repercussions are extensive. Without reliable and accurate sources of information, we cannot hope to halt climate change, make reasoned democratic decisions, or control a global pandemic. Most analyses of misinformation focus on popular and social media, but the scientific enterprise faces a parallel set of problems—from hype and hyperbole to publication bias and citation misdirection, predatory publishing, and filter bubbles. In this perspective, we highlight these parallels and discuss future research directions and interventions.

https://www.pnas.org/content/118/15/e1912444117

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7. Australian mouse plague: ‘napalming’ rodents could kill native and domestic animals too

NSW government lodges emergency request to deploy powerful bait currently outlawed for use in fields

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/may/13/mice-napalm-to-combat-plague-could-also-kill-native-and-domestic-animals-experts-warn

Editor’s note: See Anticoagulant rodenticide use, non-target impacts and regulation: A case study from Australia
and
Academic warns new $50m mouse plague package will put other animals at risk – CSU News

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #475 (12 May 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“This budget sees a marginal increase of $16m on last year’s spending for on-ground biodiversity work, but spending on these programs has declined by 39% since the Coalition came to office in 2013. Over the forward estimates (through to 2025) this budget projects a decline of 55% for on-ground biodiversity work from 2013.”
Australian Conservation Foundation [and see item 5]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Global policy for assisted colonization of species
2. Cross-boundary collaboration for action-based conservation in the Himalayas
3. Confronting Grief and Finding Hope in the Future of Conservation.
4. The Fraser Government 1975-1982: Greener than you might think
5. Coalition government spent just 16 cents on climate crisis out of every $100, analysis finds
6. Rock removal associated with agricultural intensification will exacerbate loss of reptile diversity
7. Scientists sound alarm about Australia’s 26 most endangered butterflies

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1. Global policy for assisted colonization of species

Negotiations in advance of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in October 2021 will set the course of international conservation for the next several decades, providing a critical opportunity to harmonize policy and set priorities for species conservation and climate change adaptation. The CBD is the foundational intergovernmental agreement on biodiversity conservation and drives both government actions and donor priorities. However, the treaty itself and its existing strategic framework (the “Aichi targets”) were agreed on some time ago (1992 and 2010, respectively) and so need to match advances in knowledge and evidence on the immediate and devastating impacts of climate change. Over just the past few years, the frequency and severity of extreme weather events have accelerated. By one recent estimate, one-third of species may now have an increased risk of extinction from climate change

Global policy for assisted colonization of species | Science (sciencemag.org)

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2. Cross-boundary collaboration for action-based conservation in the Himalayas

This video presents the importance of cross-boundary collaboration for biodiversity and ecosystem conservation in the Indian sub-continent and the Himalayas. The work is part of an ongoing joint Nepal-India-Australia project, and represents an international collaboration between the Biodiversity Research Group at the University of Queensland (Australia), the Center for Molecular Dynamics Nepal, Kathmandu University (Nepal), the National Centre for Biological Sciences (India), the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and international colleagues.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBP4vFzOVpU

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3. Confronting Grief and Finding Hope in the Future of Conservation.

Biodiversity conservation can be a difficult topic to study when catastrophic projections and bad news is ever-present, combined with the intense urgency to act. Soulé (1985) referred to it as a ‘crisis discipline’, while terms such as ‘eco-anxiety’ and ‘ecological grief’ are gaining popularity and relevance. Fischer and Riechers (2021) therefore try to understand how conservation professionals can change their inner worlds and perspectives, in order to confront feelings of grief, and channel these to more empowering and hopeful visions of the future.

Confronting Grief and Finding Hope in the Future of Conservation. – SCIENCE FOR SUSTAINABILITY (wordpress.com)

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4. The Fraser Government 1975-1982: Greener than you might think

Although they couldn’t bring themselves to stop the Franklin Dam by legislation, the Fraser government presided over an active environment agenda and a significant expansion of the federal environmental role. They were particularly strong on World Heritage. [Whereas today, see item 5]

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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5. Coalition government spent just 16 cents on climate crisis out of every $100, analysis finds

Australian Conservation Foundation calls for reform to tackle Australia’s declining environment funding ahead of this year’s budget

Coalition government spent just 16 cents on climate crisis out of every $100, analysis finds | Australia news | The Guardian

[Editor’s Note: This story was in the lead up to this year’s budget. On yesterday’s budget announcement:
– the AAS noted that “The Budget contains no significant new funding for fundamental discovery science and no initiatives to stem the loss of university science jobs”
-the Nature Conservation Council noted that the budget “slashes $32m from nature conservation, sinks another $265m into carbon capture and storage”
-the Greens note that again there is no funding for a new federal ICAC [a major weakness given the way this government spends money]
-and the ACF noted that: “The budget includes $29.3m over four years to implement the stalled reforms to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. There is no funding to help the states and territories assume national responsibilities for environmental approvals, as proposed by the Morrison government. Nor is there any funding to develop strong national environmental standards or to develop and implement a comprehensive response to Graeme Samuel’s independent review of the EPBC Act.”]

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6. Rock removal associated with agricultural intensification will exacerbate loss of reptile diversity

The conservation of reptiles in agricultural landscapes requires appropriate management and retention of surface rocks. Potential yield increases from destroying rock habitat to intensify or expand cropland will not compensate for the net loss of reptile populations dependent on non‐renewable resources. Financial incentives to prevent the expansion and transformation of non‐arable landscapes to cropland is required to prevent ongoing loss of biodiversity.

https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1365-2664.13897?campaign=wolacceptedarticle

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7. Scientists sound alarm about Australia’s 26 most endangered butterflies

There’s a very good chance of recovery for most species – if their habitat is protected

Scientists sound alarm about Australia’s 26 most endangered butterflies | Rural Australia | The Guardian

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #474 (5 May 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“This reinsurance fund has really only got enough in it for two cyclone seasons. This leaves them wide open to unexpected natural disasters – events we are seeing more and more of.”
Allan Manning, the executive chairman of LMI Group
Coalition’s $10bn scheme to curb rising insurance premiums in Queensland may not improve affordability [and see item 1]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. The economics of climate change
2. A US ban on kangaroo leather would be an animal welfare disaster – and a missed farming opportunity
3. Reef snapshot 2020-21 released: relief for the Great Barrier Reef this summer
4. What Spurs People to Save the Planet? Stories or Facts?
5. Soil carbon is a highly flawed climate policy, Part 2
6. Limited fishing zones support reef conservation
7. Conservation status of the world’s skinks

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1. The economics of climate change

Climate change poses the biggest long-term risk to the global economy. No action is not an option.

A new report by Swiss Re—the worlds largest reinsurer—states that climate change poses the biggest long-term risk to the global economy and that by mid-century, the world stands to lose around 10 per cent of total economic value from climate change if temperature increases stay on the current trajectory and the Paris Agreement and 2050 net-zero emissions targets are not met. The reinsurer produced a climate economics index stress test, which shows how climate risks will impact 48 countries representing 90 per cent of the world economy. Australia ranked 33 out of 48 in terms of impact on GDP and 13 in terms of adaptive capacity with a total index rank of 14. The lower the ranking, the higher a countries’ exposure to climate risk.

The economics of climate change | Swiss Re

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2. A US ban on kangaroo leather would be an animal welfare disaster – and a missed farming opportunity

We have a combined 80 years experience in kangaroo management. In our view, this proposal is one of the most comprehensive own goals in history of improving kangaroo welfare. Our research shows the kangaroo industry leads to better kangaroo welfare, more stable populations and improved conservation outcomes.

A US ban on kangaroo leather would be an animal welfare disaster – and a missed farming opportunity (theconversation.com)

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3. Reef snapshot 2020-21 released: relief for the Great Barrier Reef this summer

This year, mild conditions during the recent summer months provided an opportunity for recovery for Australia’s best-loved natural icon, the Great Barrier Reef.

https://www.aims.gov.au/news-and-media/reef-snapshot-2020-21-released-relief-great-barrier-reef-summer

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4. What Spurs People to Save the Planet? Stories or Facts?

Johns Hopkins study finds it depends on whether you’re Republican or Democrat.

What Spurs People to Save the Planet? Stories or Facts? « News from The Johns Hopkins University (jhu.edu)

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5. Soil carbon is a highly flawed climate policy, Part 2

Ensuring additionality becomes even more difficult as time passes. Once the program is in place, it is impossible to know what participating farmers would have done without the program. If the practices that sequester carbon are as good for farm production as some advocates claim, you’d have to expect that many farmers would eventually adopt them anyway, even without payments. That’s exactly what happened with no-till/stubble retention. Early on in its adoption process in Australia, no-till would have looked like a great thing to support with incentive payments, but now we know that, from a climate-change perspective, it would have been a waste of money. Farmers would have been happy to get payments, of course, but the program would have made no genuine contribution to mitigating climate change because no-till was going to be adopted anyway.

347. Soil carbon is a highly flawed climate policy, Part 2 – Pannell Discussions

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6. Limited fishing zones support reef conservation
A world first study within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park has found limited fishing zones (yellow zones) are still important conservation and fisheries management tools when paired with no-fishing zones.

Limited fishing zones support reef conservation – ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (coralcoe.org.au)

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7. Conservation status of the world’s skinks

20% of skink species are threatened with extinction, and nine species are extinct. Key threats to skinks are agriculture, invasive species and biological resource use.

Conservation status of the world’s skinks (Scincidae): Taxonomic and geographic patterns in extinction risk – ScienceDirect
RRR

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #473 (28 April 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“Climate change inaction is now the greatest threat to human security. Fossil fuels are the primary cause of the climate crisis yet expansion of oil, gas and coal continues.”
Laureate Professor Peter Doherty [see item 1 & 3]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Dalai Lama and Australia’s Peter Doherty among 101 Nobel Laureates Calling for End to Coal, Gas Expansion
2. Soil carbon is a highly flawed climate policy
3. Nine reasons to make more of an effort on climate change, PM
4. Scientific integrity and public policy in the post-truth world of Australian water reform
5. Rivers as living beings: rights in law, but no rights to water?
6. Opportunities for improving recognition of coastal wetlands in global ecosystem assessment frameworks
7. The Concept of Resilience in Recent Sustainability Research

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1. Dalai Lama and Australia’s Peter Doherty among 101 Nobel Laureates Calling for End to Coal, Gas Expansion

A global coalition of 101 Nobel Laureates, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Australia’s Professor Peter Doherty, are calling out the continued expansion of the fossil fuel industry as “unconscionable” in an open letter to political leaders on the eve of US President Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate. The Nobel Laureates – including economics, physics, peace, medicine, chemistry and literature prize winners – call for an end to coal, gas and oil development.

Dalai Lama and Australia’s Peter Doherty among 101 Nobel Laureates Calling for End to Coal, Gas Expansion | The Australia Institute

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2. Soil carbon is a highly flawed climate policy

David Pannell: The idea of paying farmers to sequester carbon in agricultural soils has once again become politically prominent. It is still an idea with little potential benefit for farmers.

346. Soil carbon is a highly flawed climate policy, Part 1 – Pannell Discussions


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3. Nine reasons to make more of an effort on climate change, PM
And if you can’t see the sense of this, then speak to your wife

Prime Minister, if you dismiss this chorus of pleas for greater effort (from world-leading and nation-leading scientists and institutions) then please have a chat with your wife, Jenny. You have repeatedly claimed she and your children are at the centre of your world yet your government’s inaction on climate change is destroying their future.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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4. Scientific integrity and public policy in the post-truth world of Australian water reform

Politicians come and go but ‘facts’ stand eternal. But how do we know which facts are ‘true’ in a post-truth world? In the past we’ve turned to scientists and the scientific method to determine which facts can be relied upon but there is growing evidence to suggest that not all scientists are ‘honest brokers’ and that in some situations there is ‘administrative capture’ of science. Scientific integrity is the keystone to our trust in science and it’s under attack. Matt Colloff, Quentin Grafton and John Williams examine the impediments to scientific integrity with an analysis of the water science-policy interface for the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB), Australia. They highlight the dangers to the public interest of ‘administrative capture’ of science and discuss how scientific integrity can be better protected.

https://globalwaterforum.org/2021/04/27/scientific-integrity-and-public-policy-in-the-post-truth-world-of-australian-water-reform/

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5. Rivers as living beings: rights in law, but no rights to water?

Since 2017, some of the most beloved and iconic rivers in the world have been recognised in law as legal persons and/or living entities, with a range of legal rights and protections. These profound legal changes can transform the relationship between people and rivers, and are the result of ongoing leadership from Indigenous peoples and environmental advocates. This paper uses a comparative analysis of the legal and/or living personhood of rivers and lakes in Aotearoa New Zealand, India, Bangladesh, Colombia to identify the legal status of specific rivers, and highlight the disturbing trend of recognising rivers as legal persons and/or living entities whilst also denying rivers the right to flow. Rather than empowering rivers in law to resist existential threats, the new legal status of rivers may thus make it even more difficult to manage rivers to prevent their degradation and loss. This paper highlights an ‘extinction problem’ for rivers that environmental law has exacerbated, by recognising new non-human living beings whilst simultaneously denying them some of the specific legal rights they need to remain in existence. The paper also shows how a pluralist analysis of the status of rivers can help to identify some potential ways to address this problem.

https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/UKMEPXMAIGDCYFMYXAMH/full?target=10.1080/10383441.2020.1881304

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6. Opportunities for improving recognition of coastal wetlands in global ecosystem assessment frameworks

Global ecosystem assessments inform conservation funding priorities. Seagrass, saltmarsh and mangroves are under-recognized in global assessments. Ecosystem assessments often overlook important functions, like fishery nurseries. Synthesis could fill gaps in data for global scale assessments. We recommend priorities for filling gaps in global assessments.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1470160X21003599?via%3Dihub

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7. The Concept of Resilience in Recent Sustainability Research

The concept of resilience gained increased attention in sustainability science, with a notable spike from 2014 onwards. However, resilience is a multifaceted concept with no unanimous definition, making applications in the context of sustainability, a similarly multifarious term, a challenge. Here, we examine the use of resilience in well-cited sustainability literature in the period from 2014 to 2018. Based on our analysis, resilience as a concept proves its analytical strength through a diverse set of frameworks, indicators, and models, while its usefulness as boundary object is less clear. Most of the examined publications do not cite one of the well-established resilience definitions as a conceptual basis. The normativity of resilience is often implicit and rarely critically questioned, and strong participatory approaches are lacking. A multivariate statistical full-text bibliographic analysis of 112 publications reveals four distinct research clusters with partial conceptual proximity but hardly any overlap. While the majority of publications consider human well-being as an integral factor in their research, some research marginalizes this concept. Resilience to climate change dominates the discourse in the literature investigated, which signifies a need to broaden research efforts to other equally pressing—but in terms of the concept, widely neglected—sustainability challenges.

Sustainability | Free Full-Text | The Concept of Resilience in Recent Sustainability Research | HTML (mdpi.com)

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #472 (21 April 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“I think ecosystem accounts could have something in common with lasers: when first discovered, nobody knew quite what to do with them, but over time they have become indispensable.”
Peter Burnett [see item 4]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Species on the move around the Australian coastline: a continental scale review of climate‐driven species redistribution in marine systems
2. ‘Enormous sum of money’: $40m windfall from NSW environmental offsets sparks calls for inquiry
3. Victoria’s new feral horse plan could actually protect the high country. NSW’s method remains cruel and ineffective
4. At last, an international standard for ecosystem accounting! Now what?
5. New WWF analysis shows huge potential for river restoration through barrier removal in Europe
6. WMO: State of the Global Climate 2020
7. An informed thought experiment exploring the potential for a paradigm shift in aquatic food production

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1. Species on the move around the Australian coastline: a continental scale review of climate‐driven species redistribution in marine systems

Climate‐driven changes in the distribution of species are a pervasive and accelerating impact of climate change, and despite increasing research effort in this rapidly emerging field, much remains unknown or poorly understood. We lack a holistic understanding of patterns and processes at local, regional and global scales, with detailed explorations of range shifts in the southern hemisphere particularly under‐represented. Australian waters encompass the world’s third largest marine jurisdiction, extending from tropical to sub‐Antarctic climate zones, and have waters warming at rates twice the global average in the north and two‐four times in the south. Here, we report the results of a multi‐taxon continent‐wide review describing observed and predicted species redistribution around the Australian coastline, and highlight critical gaps in knowledge impeding our understanding of, and response to, these considerable changes. Since range shifts were first reported in the region in 2003, 198 species from nine Phyla have been documented shifting their distribution, 87.3% of which are shifting poleward. However, there is little standardisation of methods or metrics reported in observed or predicted shifts, and both are hindered by a lack of baseline data. Our results demonstrate the importance of historical datasets and underwater visual surveys, and also highlight that approximately one‐fifth of studies incorporated citizen science. These findings emphasise the important role the public has had, and can continue to play, in understanding the impact of climate change. Most documented shifts are of coastal fish species in sub‐tropical and temperate systems, while tropical systems in general were poorly explored. Moreover, most distributional changes are only described at the poleward boundary, with few studies considering changes at the warmer, equatorward range limit. Through identifying knowledge gaps and research limitations, this review highlights future opportunities for strategic research effort to improve the representation of Australian marine species and systems in climate‐impact research.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/gcb.15634?utm_sq=gphhy1yel4&campaign=wolacceptedarticle

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2. ‘Enormous sum of money’: $40m windfall from NSW environmental offsets sparks calls for inquiry

Consultants from a company that advised government on western Sydney development bought land in the area and profited from taxpayer-funded offsets

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/apr/16/enormous-sum-of-money-40m-windfall-from-nsw-environmental-offsets-sparks-calls-for-inquiry?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

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3. Victoria’s new feral horse plan could actually protect the high country. NSW’s method remains cruel and ineffective

Feral horses are a catastrophic problem for the environment, particularly in the high country that crosses the New South Wales and Victoria border. To deal with this growing issue, the Victorian government has released a draft feral horse action plan, which is open for comment until April 23. It comes after Victoria’s old action plan from 2018 proved ineffective, with feral horse numbers increasing in the most recent counts in 2019. This is similar to New South Wales’ current performance, where feral horses are legally protected and numbers are essentially unmanaged.

https://theconversation.com/victorias-new-feral-horse-plan-could-actually-protect-the-high-country-nsws-method-remains-cruel-and-ineffective-158317

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4. At last, an international standard for ecosystem accounting! Now what?

A backgrounder on the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting – Ecosystem Accounts.

The adoption of the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting – Ecosystem Accounts (SEEA EA) is a big deal. It should mean that national statisticians, treasury departments and other key government agencies will accept statistics derived from ecosystem accounts as being just as authoritative as mainstream economic statistics, which are derived from the National Accounts.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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5. New WWF analysis shows huge potential for river restoration through barrier removal in Europe

A new report published today by WWF demonstrates the massive potential of barrier removal to restore free-flowing rivers in Europe. The report analyses a sample of 30,000 barriers, such as dams and weirs, on large and medium-sized rivers in Europe and assesses their reconnection potential, providing a breakdown for Europe, the EU27, and by country.

https://www.wwf.eu/?2898441/New-WWF-analysis-shows-huge-potential-for-river-restoration-through-barrier-removal-in-Europe

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6. WMO: State of the Global Climate 2020

“It has been 28 years since the World Meteorological Organization issued the first state of the climate report in 1993, due to the concerns raised at that time about projected climate change. While understanding of the climate system and computing power have increased since then, the basic message remains the same and we now have 28 more years of data that show significant temperature increases over land and sea as well as other changes like sea level rise, melting of sea ice and glaciers and changes in precipitation patterns.  This underscores the robustness of climate science based on the physical laws governing the behaviour of the climate system,” said WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas.

Climate change indicators and impacts worsened in 2020 | World Meteorological Organization (wmo.int)

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7. An informed thought experiment exploring the potential for a paradigm shift in aquatic food production

Neolithic and Blue Revolutions comparison to explore two narratives: an aquaculture transition or coexistence with fisheries.
Environmental and cultural similarities provide support for a more ubiquitous transition from fishing to aquaculture.
Human advancements impact the trajectory, rate of change and/or potential replacement of fisheries by aquaculture in society.
Society can now choose the balance between fisheries and aquaculture through proactive governance mechanisms.

An informed thought experiment exploring the potential for a paradigm shift in aquatic food production – ScienceDirect

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David

Dbytes #471 (14 April 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“Our baseline model indicates that anthropogenic climate change has reduced global agricultural total factor productivity by about 21% since 1961, a slowdown that is equivalent to losing the last 7 years of productivity growth.”
Ortiz-Bobea et al, Nature Climate Change 2021


In this issue of Dbytes

1. The report: Risks to Australia of a 3°C warmer world
2. If 80% of Australians care about climate action, why don’t they vote like it?
3. Dead in the water
4. Applications open for Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot
5. Five great new green innovations – from pop-up rodent tents to tyre dust traps
6. Feral horse plan advocates shooting brumbies to save Victoria’s ‘vulnerable’ alpine region
7. Potential ecological impacts of climate intervention by reflecting sunlight to cool Earth

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1. The report: Risks to Australia of a 3°C warmer world

This report synthesises the observed impacts of climate change on Australia and the risk to our future of the current global trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions. It focuses on the consequences of 3°C of global warming in the absence of greater mitigation strategies for four areas of importance to Australia’s future: our ecosystems, food production, cities and towns, and health and wellbeing. The impacts of those changes on the lives and wellbeing of Australians are discussed in detail.

https://www.science.org.au/supporting-science/science-policy-and-analysis/reports-and-publications/risks-australia-three-degrees-c-warmer-world

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2. If 80% of Australians care about climate action, why don’t they vote like it?

what determines someone’s climate change attitude, and how does it translate into voting?

https://theconversation.com/if-80-of-australians-care-about-climate-action-why-dont-they-vote-like-it-157050

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3. Dead in the water

Earlier this year Richard Beasley, Senior Counsel Assisting at the Murray-Darling Royal Commission, published a book, Dead in the water, on what the Royal Commission found. You should read it. It should also be mandatory reading for anyone interested in the failure of our environmental law and policy.

Many angry texts have been written about how our environment has been let down by government but this book stands head and shoulders above them all in terms of forensic rage. Dead in the water takes readers on a whistle stop tour of the ill-fated Basin Plan, one of our Nation’s biggest environmental investments. The Plan was supposed to repair the mighty Murray Darling River system but is instead enabling (and probably accelerating) its continued degradation and desecration.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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4. Applications open for Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot

Under this pilot, farmers across six Natural Resource Management (NRM) regions will now be able to apply to receive a biodiversity payment in addition to what they would receive under the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) if they use regional specific planting protocols and comply with ERF methodologies.

Applications open for Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot | Ministers (awe.gov.au)

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5. Five great new green innovations – from pop-up rodent tents to tyre dust traps

The Earth Optimism 2021 summit is showcasing practical conservation solutions. We look at the ways technology is making a difference

Five great new green innovations – from pop-up rodent tents to tyre dust traps | Conservation | The Guardian

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6. Feral horse plan advocates shooting brumbies to save Victoria’s ‘vulnerable’ alpine region

A new draft plan to control feral horses rules out mustering, roping and re-homing the animals. The plan has been deemed cruel by some animal welfare groups, but the RSPCA supports it. Parks Victoria says vast areas of native animal habitats were lost to the bushfires and must be protected

Feral horse plan advocates shooting brumbies to save Victoria’s ‘vulnerable’ alpine region – ABC News

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7. Potential ecological impacts of climate intervention by reflecting sunlight to cool Earth

As the effects of anthropogenic climate change become more severe, several approaches for deliberate climate intervention to reduce or stabilize Earth’s surface temperature have been proposed. Solar radiation modification (SRM) is one potential approach to partially counteract anthropogenic warming by reflecting a small proportion of the incoming solar radiation to increase Earth’s albedo. While climate science research has focused on the predicted climate effects of SRM, almost no studies have investigated the impacts that SRM would have on ecological systems. The impacts and risks posed by SRM would vary by implementation scenario, anthropogenic climate effects, geographic region, and by ecosystem, community, population, and organism. Complex interactions among Earth’s climate system and living systems would further affect SRM impacts and risks. We focus here on stratospheric aerosol intervention (SAI), a well-studied and relatively feasible SRM scheme that is likely to have a large impact on Earth’s surface temperature. We outline current gaps in knowledge about both helpful and harmful predicted effects of SAI on ecological systems. Desired ecological outcomes might also inform development of future SAI implementation scenarios. In addition to filling these knowledge gaps, increased collaboration between ecologists and climate scientists would identify a common set of SAI research goals and improve the communication about potential SAI impacts and risks with the public. Without this collaboration, forecasts of SAI impacts will overlook potential effects on biodiversity and ecosystem services for humanity.

https://www.pnas.org/content/118/15/e1921854118

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #470 (7 April 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“At 3℃ of global warming by 2100, oceans are projected to absorb five times more heat than the observed amount accumulated since 1970. Being far more acidic than today, ocean oxygen levels will decline at ever-shallower depths, affecting the distribution and abundance of marine life everywhere. At 1.5-2℃ warming, the complete loss of coral reefs is very likely.”
Ove Hoegh-Guldberg & Lesley Hughes [see item 1]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Seriously ugly: here’s how Australia will look if the world heats by 3℃ this century
2. One of Earth’s biggest carbon sinks has been overestimated
3. Solar Geoengineering: Ineffective, Risky, and Unnecessary
4. White Paper on the future of weather and climate forecasting (WMO)

5. Identifying a Safe and Just Corridor for People and the Planet
6. The nine boundaries humanity must respect to keep the planet habitable
7. The lost lizards of Christmas Island: A retrospective assessment of factors driving the collapse of a native reptile community

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1. Seriously ugly: here’s how Australia will look if the world heats by 3℃ this century

Imagine, for a moment, a different kind of Australia. One where bushfires on the catastrophic scale of Black Summer happen almost every year. One where 50℃ days in Sydney and Melbourne are common. Where storms and flooding have violently reshaped our coastlines, and unique ecosystems have been damaged beyond recognition – including the Great Barrier Reef, which no longer exists. Frighteningly, this is not an imaginary future dystopia. It’s a scientific projection of Australia under 3℃ of global warming – a future we must both strenuously try to avoid, but also prepare for.

https://theconversation.com/seriously-ugly-heres-how-australia-will-look-if-the-world-heats-by-3-this-century-157875?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=bylinetwitterbutton

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2. One of Earth’s biggest carbon sinks has been overestimated

The results contradict a widely accepted assumption in climate models that biomass and soil carbon will increase in tandem in the coming decades and highlight the importance of grasslands in helping to draw down carbon.

https://earth.stanford.edu/news/one-earths-biggest-carbon-sinks-has-been-overestimated#gs.xl0921

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3. Solar Geoengineering: Ineffective, Risky, and Unnecessary

Some people are proposing to counteract climate change by artificially dimming the Sun. But it’s largely ineffective. It’s potentially risky. And it’s unnecessary. Instead, we should focus on real-world solutions that work.

https://globalecoguy.org/solar-geoengineering-ineffective-risky-and-unnecessary-2d9850328fab

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4. White Paper on the future of weather and climate forecasting (WMO)

The White Paper traces the development of the weather enterprise and examines challenges and opportunities in the coming decade. It examines three overarching components of the innovation cycle: infrastructure, research and development, and operation.

White Paper on the future of weather and climate forecasting | World Meteorological Organization (wmo.int)

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5. Identifying a Safe and Just Corridor for People and the Planet

For the first time in human history, we are now forced to consider the real risk of destabilizing our home, planet Earth. This is an existential risk, as we all need a planet that can sustain life and provide the basis for the well‐being of all people. Here, we outline a conceptual framework for a global‐scale “safe and just corridor” that delivers on these goals for people and the planet. The recently formed Earth Commission will use this framework to map key functions that regulate the state of the Earth system and provide life support to us humans, including processes such as biodiversity and nutrient cycling. It will also analyze the related justice components, for each of these Earth system target domains, in terms of how such ranges can be defined and how nature’s contributions to people can be justly shared. Furthermore, social transformations that meet safe and just targets for all people and how the global‐scale targets can be translated to targets for actors at other scales will be explored.

https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2020EF001866

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6. The nine boundaries humanity must respect to keep the planet habitable

All life on Earth, and human civilization, are sustained by vital biogeochemical systems, which are in delicate balance. However, our species — due largely to rapid population growth and explosive consumption — is destabilizing these Earth processes, endangering the stability of the “safe operating space for humanity.”

https://news.mongabay.com/2021/03/the-nine-boundaries-humanity-must-respect-to-keep-the-planet-habitable/

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7. The lost lizards of Christmas Island: A retrospective assessment of factors driving the collapse of a native reptile community

Until recently, the reptile fauna of Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean comprised five endemic species (two skinks, two geckos, and one snake) and one native, non‐endemic skink. Four of these species were common and widespread until at least 1979, but by 2012 had disappeared from the wild. During the years of decline, little research was undertaken to examine why the species were disappearing. Here, we use a retrospective expert elicitation to rank potential factors that contributed to the loss of Christmas Island’s reptiles and to assess the likelihood of re‐establishing populations of two species now listed as Extinct in the Wild. We additionally considered why one endemic lizard, the Christmas Island giant gecko (Cyrtodactylus sadleiri), and three introduced lizards remain common. Experts considered that the introduced common wolf snake (Lycodon capucinus) was the most likely cause of decline, as its temporal and spatial spread across the island closely matched patterns of lizard disappearances. An Asian co‐occurrence in recent evolutionary timeframes of the common wolf snake with the Christmas Island giant gecko and three introduced reptiles was the most marked point of difference between the extant and lost lizard species. The demise in less than 20 years of 80% of Christmas Island’s native lizard assemblage highlights the vulnerability of island fauna to invading species.

https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/csp2.358

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #469 (31 March 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“I believe it is time to recognize there is no such thing as a natural disaster – we’re doing it to ourselves. The world is losing ground in the battle to reduce disaster losses.”
Mami Mizutori, Head of UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction


In this issue of Dbytes

1. We Can’t Say We Weren’t Warned – A reader’s guide to the climate-change bookshelf
2. Threats of global warming to the world’s freshwater fishes
3. Does climate change challenge our concept of moral responsibility?
4. Where wildlife and traffic collide: Roadkill rates change through time in a wildlife-tourism hotspot
5. Yes, Australia is a land of flooding rains. But climate change could be making it worse
6. Environment as Quality of Life: The Whitlam Government 1972-1975
7. Threatened Australian shark and skates at ‘extreme risk’ of being wiped out

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1. We Can’t Say We Weren’t Warned – A reader’s guide to the climate-change bookshelf

Whether you are a believer or a denier, how much do you really know about climate change? Have you ever read a book on the subject? If not, a small army of authors is here to help.

https://calexan.substack.com/p/we-cant-say-we-werent-warned

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2. Threats of global warming to the world’s freshwater fishes

Climate change poses a significant threat to global biodiversity, but freshwater fishes have been largely ignored in climate change assessments. Here, we assess threats of future flow and water temperature extremes to ~11,500 riverine fish species. In a 3.2 °C warmer world (no further emission cuts after current governments’ pledges for 2030), 36% of the species have over half of their present-day geographic range exposed to climatic extremes beyond current levels. Threats are largest in tropical and sub-arid regions and increases in maximum water temperature are more threatening than changes in flow extremes. In comparison, 9% of the species are projected to have more than half of their present-day geographic range threatened in a 2 °C warmer world, which further reduces to 4% of the species if warming is limited to 1.5 °C. Our results highlight the need to intensify (inter)national commitments to limit global warming if freshwater biodiversity is to be safeguarded.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-21655-w

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3. Does climate change challenge our concept of moral responsibility?

Climate change is often described as being a “wicked problem” – a problem whose causes are fabulously complex and non-linear; a problem that implicates (almost) all of us, but for which none of us can straightforwardly take responsibility; a problem that requires mass action, but for just that reason invites “free-riding”; a problem whose sacrifices are immediate and unevenly apportioned, and whose benefits are disparate and far into the future. On each count, the climate change seems to defy attempts to take the problem “personally”, and therefore to embrace our own moral agency in trying to address it.

https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/theminefield/climate-change-and-moral-responsibility/13253978

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4. Where wildlife and traffic collide: Roadkill rates change through time in a wildlife-tourism hotspot

Understanding when and where roadkill is most likely to occur is vital to reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions. However, little is known about how roadkill rates change through time and whether or not the key influences on roadkill also change. Understanding changes in roadkill will facilitate the best implementation of mitigation measures. We aimed to determine how roadkill rates have changed between two distinct time periods and assess whether the spatial and temporal drivers of roadkill rates may have changed: with a view to informing taxon-specific mitigation strategies. We assess the spatial and temporal factors that influence road mortalities in two periods (1998–1999 and 2014) at the same site for multiple taxa. Bi-weekly surveys were undertaken from February to May 1998 and 1999 and again from February to June 2014. In total 2479 individual roadkill were recorded throughout the surveys, with 1.59 roadkill per km per month in the 1990s, increasing to 2.39 per km per month in 2014. Roadkill rates increased primarily with road speed limit with mortalities peaking at moderate (60–80 km/h) speeds, however, the structural complexity of roadside vegetation influenced roadkill rates for some taxa but not others. We show that roadkill rates have changed through time with shifts in both the temporal and spatial influences on these roadkill rates. These changes are likely associated with changes in the abundance of taxa and increased vehicle traffic. The spatial and temporal drivers of roadkill rates were found to be taxon specific, and although mitigation measures exist, assessment of their efficacy remains a priority.

Where wildlife and traffic collide: Roadkill rates change through time in a wildlife-tourism hotspot – ScienceDirect

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5. Yes, Australia is a land of flooding rains. But climate change could be making it worse

The recent flooding in New South Wales is consistent with what we might expect as climate change continues. Australia’s natural rainfall patterns are highly variable. This means the influence climate change has on any single weather event is difficult to determine; the signal is buried in the background of a lot of climatic “noise”. But as our planet warms, the water-holding capacity of the lower atmosphere increases by around 7% for every 1℃ of warming. This can cause heavier rainfall, which in turn increases flood risk.

Yes, Australia is a land of flooding rains. But climate change could be making it worse (theconversation.com)

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6. : Environment as Quality of Life: The Whitlam Government 1972-1975

Environment had become a ‘thing’ by 1972, and Australia’s then Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, was all for it. However, in many ways his government’s approach was cast in terms of ‘quality of life’ rather than ‘environment’ per se. He did however make specific environmental commitments relating to urban tree-planting, national parks, water conservation and heritage.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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7. Threatened Australian shark and skates at ‘extreme risk’ of being wiped out

At least four species of shark and skates unique to Australia are at an extreme risk of extinction unless urgent protections are put in place, according to a new report from conservationists. All four species – the whitefin swellshark, Sydney skate, grey skate and greeneye spurdog – spend their lives on the ocean floor but get caught in trawl nets.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/mar/15/threatened-australian-shark-and-skates-at-extreme-risk-of-being-wiped-out?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #468 (24 March 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“Australia is widely viewed as an international climate laggard. In the 2020 Climate Change Performance Index, it received the lowest rating of 57 countries and the European Union. It also ranked second-worst on climate action, out of 177 countries, in the 2020 UN Sustainable Development Report.”
Lesley Hughes et al, in The Conversation
[see item 4]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Standards and Assurance) Bill 2021: What you need to know
2. Only the lonely: an endangered bird is forgetting its song as the species dies out
3. Why ‘technology, not taxes’ is such a bad idea
4. Wake up, Mr Morrison: Australia’s slack climate effort leaves our children 10 times more work to do
5. Australian climate politics from the outside in
6. We don’t know how extreme fire impacts Australian invertebrates
7. Bottom trawling releases as much carbon as air travel, landmark study finds

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1. Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Standards and Assurance) Bill 2021: What you need to know

The government has completely ignored a central thesis of the Samuel report – that standards should define environmental outcomes, not simply dictate process. To demonstrate it in simple terms, an outcome-oriented national environmental standard for threatened species would say critical habitats must be defined, identified and protected. A process-type standard would simply say critical habitats would need to be accounted for in any assessment of impacts. They may sound similar, but they clearly mean very different things.

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Standards and Assurance) Bill 2021: What you need to know – Australian Conservation Foundation (acf.org.au)

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2. Only the lonely: an endangered bird is forgetting its song as the species dies out

Just as humans learn languages, animals learn behaviours crucial for survival and reproduction from older, experienced individuals of the same species. In this way, important “cultures” such as bird songs are passed from one generation to the next. But global biodiversity loss means many animal populations are becoming small and sparsely distributed. This jeopardises the ability of young animals to learn important behaviours.

https://theconversation.com/only-the-lonely-an-endangered-bird-is-forgetting-its-song-as-the-species-dies-out-156950

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3. Why ‘technology, not taxes’ is such a bad idea

It’s a morally bankrupt and false argument on so many levels. A thin tissue of obfuscation, lies and smoke designed to kick the can down the road.

From the promise of technology to the ‘tragedy of the commons’

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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4. Wake up, Mr Morrison: Australia’s slack climate effort leaves our children 10 times more work to do

Our report, released today, pinpoints the emissions reduction burden Australians will bear in future decades if our Paris targets are not increased. Alarmingly, people living in the 2030s and 2040s could be forced to reduce emissions by ten times as much as people this decade, if Australia is to keep within its 2℃ “carbon budget”.

https://theconversation.com/wake-up-mr-morrison-australias-slack-climate-effort-leaves-our-children-10-times-more-work-to-do-157136

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5. Australian climate politics from the outside in

For over ten years – as I progressed from student, to activist, to public servant and back to student – I have watched powerful people shred my future while feeling increasingly desperate to understand why effective climate change action seems impossible. Only since September 2020, however, have I been divorced from the toxic environment of Australian climate politics and policy. Marooned in the UK, watching UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson bumble his way toward hosting COP26 in Glasgow later this year, I have realised that when it comes to climate change, Australia is not like other countries.

Australian climate politics from the outside in (thefifthestate.com.au)

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6. We don’t know how extreme fire impacts Australian invertebrates

After last year’s catastrophic megafires, the world’s attention rightly turned to the devastating impacts on our ecosystems and wildlife. We present an evidence-based perspective to show how invertebrates, and the ecosystems they support, face major threats as fire severity and frequency intensifies in response to global climate change. Our capacity to make effective decisions about ecosystem recovery and restoration funding after bushfires is hampered by the lack of knowledge on how invertebrates are impacted by fire, directly and indirectly, and how invertebrate communities influence ecosystem recovery.

New paper: we don’t know how extreme fire impacts Australian invertebrates – Ecology is not a dirty word

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7. Bottom trawling releases as much carbon as air travel, landmark study finds

Dragging heavy nets across seabed disturbs marine sediments, world’s largest carbon sink, scientists report.

Bottom trawling releases as much carbon as air travel, landmark study finds | Marine life | The Guardian

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #467 (17 March 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“As the developed country that stands to lose the most from inaction, we [Australians] also stand to gain the most from bold climate action.”
Former Wallaby, David Pocock in Game, Set, Match: calling time on climate inaction (Climate Council)


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Environmental ‘Standards’ in name only?
2. Custodians of the globe’s blue carbon assets
3. COVID-19 wasn’t just a disaster for humanity – new research shows nature suffered greatly too
4. Humans control majority of freshwater ebb and flow on Earth
5. Temperature check: Greening Australia’s warming cities
6. Attribution of the Australian bushfire risk to anthropogenic climate change
7. Butterflies on the brink: identifying the Australian butterflies (Lepidoptera) most at risk of extinction

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1. ‘Standards’ in name only?
The government’s National Environmental Standards don’t do what you might expect

Last month the federal government introduced the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Standards and Assurance) Bill 2021 (the Standards and Assurance Bill). The standards should set hard environmental bottom lines, but if this bill goes through, they won’t. They open up a giant back door to ‘trade-off’ decisions, the very antithesis of meeting standards.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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2. Custodians of the globe’s blue carbon assets

This report is a first assessment of blue carbon assets across the UNESCO marine World Heritage sites, revealing their outsized role as custodians of globally relevant blue carbon resources, including the largest areas of seagrass and mangroves in the ocean. Despite representing less than 1% of the global ocean area, marine World Heritage sites and their immediate surrounding areas for which data was available comprise at least 21% of the global area of blue carbon ecosystems and 15% of global blue carbon assets. These carbon stores are equivalent to about 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2018. Investing in the conservation and restoration of UNESCO marine World Heritage sites offers significant opportunities to mitigate climate change, meet the goals of the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change by including these assets in Nationally Determined Contributions, and finance conservation, at least in part, through the resulting carbon credits.

https://ioc.unesco.org/index.php/news/unesco-marine-world-heritage-custodians-globes-blue-carbon-assets

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3. COVID-19 wasn’t just a disaster for humanity – new research shows nature suffered greatly too

It’s one year since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic. While the human and economic toll have been enormous, new findings show the fallout from the virus also seriously damaged nature. Conservation is often funded by tourism dollars – particularly in developing nations. In many cases, the dramatic tourism downturn brought on by the pandemic meant funds for conservation were cut. Anti-poaching operations and endangered species programs were among those affected.

https://theconversation.com/covid-19-wasnt-just-a-disaster-for-humanity-new-research-shows-nature-suffered-greatly-too-156838

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4. Humans control majority of freshwater ebb and flow on Earth, study finds

Humans have made a remarkable impact on the planet, from clearing forests for agriculture and urbanization to altering the chemistry of the atmosphere with fossil fuels. Now, a new study in the journal Nature reveals for the first time the extent of human impact on the global water cycle.

https://phys.org/news/2021-03-humans-ups-downs-freshwater-storage.html?utm_campaign=coschedule&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=H2OAlliance

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5. Temperature check: Greening Australia’s warming cities

A report commissioned by the Australian Conservation Foundation and prepared by Monash University researchers finds that increasing urban vegetation will become essential in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane by 2060–2080 to reduce the impacts of serious heatwaves. Summer temperatures are expected to “regularly” exceed 40°C in Melbourne and Brisbane and reach up to 50°C in Sydney. The urban heat island effect will likely “add several degrees on top of this”, the authors caution.

Temperature check: Greening Australia’s warming cities – Australian Conservation Foundation (acf.org.au)

6. Attribution of the Australian bushfire risk to anthropogenic climate change

The study reveals the complexity of the 2019/20 bushfire event, with some but not all drivers showing an imprint of anthropogenic climate change. Finally, the study concludes with a qualitative review of various vulnerability and exposure factors that each play a role, along with the hazard in increasing or decreasing the overall impact of the bushfires.

https://nhess.copernicus.org/articles/21/941/2021/

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7. Butterflies on the brink: identifying the Australian butterflies (Lepidoptera) most at risk of extinction

The diversity and abundance of native invertebrates is declining globally, which could have significant consequences for ecosystem functioning. Declines are likely to be at least as severe as those observed for vertebrates, although often are difficult to quantify due to a lack of historic baseline data and limited monitoring effort. The Lepidoptera are well studied in Australia compared with other invertebrates, so we know that some species are imperilled or declining. Despite this, few butterfly taxa are explicitly listed for protection by legislation. Here we aim to identify the butterfly taxa that would most benefit from listing by determining the Australian butterflies at most immediate risk of extinction. We also identify the research and management actions needed to retain them. For 26 taxa identified by experts and various conservation schedules, we used structured expert elicitation to estimate the probability of extinction within 20 years (i.e. by 2040) and to identify key threatening processes, priority research and management needs. Collation and analysis of expert opinion indicated that one taxon, the laced fritillary (Argynnis hyperbius inconstans), is particularly imperilled, and that four taxa (Jalmenus eubulusJalmenus aridusHypochrysops piceatus and Oreisplanus munionga larana) have a moderate–high (>30%) risk of extinction by 2040. Mapped distributions of the 26 butterflies revealed that most are endemic to a single state or territory, and that many occupy narrow ranges. Inappropriate fire regimes, habitat loss and fragmentation (through agricultural practices), invasive species (mostly through habitat degradation caused by weeds and rabbits) and climate change were the most prevalent threats affecting the taxa considered. Increased resourcing and management intervention will be required to prevent these extinctions. We provide specific recommendations for averting such losses.

Butterflies on the brink: identifying the Australian butterflies (Lepidoptera) most at risk of extinction – Geyle – – Austral Entomology – Wiley Online Library

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #466 (10 March 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“It’s official. 34 mammal species have been lost from Australia and as these species are found nowhere else, we’ve also lost them from the planet and from all of time. There’s not another country, rich or poor, that has anything like this record.”
Suzanne Milthorpe, the Wilderness Society
[and see item 2 & 5]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Online survey: the future of (open-source) acoustic monitoring technology
2. Minister signs extinction certificates for 13 species
3. Re-conceptualizing the role(s) of science in biodiversity conservation
4. Revisiting Biodiversity Research and Action
5. How good is Australia?!!
6. Minister Ley to face legal challenge on refusal to grant access to documents about controversial ‘fast tracked’ projects
7. Vast majority of sharks caught in Great Barrier Reef drum lines died, despite tribunal’s orders

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1. Online survey: the future of (open-source) acoustic monitoring technology

Interested in acoustic monitoring of biodiversity and natural environments? We want to hear from you!

I’m José Lahoz-Monfort, researcher at the University of Melbourne and president of the Conservation Technology Working Group of the Society for Conservation Biology. We are conducting a short online survey (about 10 minutes) to understand the future needs of acoustic monitoring technology applied to the study of biodiversity in terrestrial and aquatic environments. By participating in this survey, you will be contributing to the development of a roadmap for acoustic monitoring technology, a publicly available document to support strategic and long-term planning of future open-source acoustic devices. We also aim to understand how willing people are to learn about open-source hardware and associated software to be able to customize their equipment.
Please pass along this survey to anyone who may be interested. We aim to get as many respondents as possible from all over the planet to better reflect the technology needs of the bio/ecoacoustics community. We’re particularly keen to hear the voice of those often underrepresented (e.g. Africa, South & Central America, Asia).
The survey will close on Friday 26th of March, and we’ll present the summarised results in this Wildlabs page. Take the survey: your needs and priorities for (open-source) acoustic monitoring technology | WILDLABS.NET

http://survey.alchemer.eu/s3/90316767/OpenSourceAcousticDevices

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2. Minister signs extinction certificates for 13 species

This latest update cements Australia’s reputation as the mammal extinction capital of the world with 34 extinct mammal species. The next nearest nation is Haiti with 9 extinct mammal species.

Minister signs extinction certificates for 13… | Wilderness Society
 and see
Australia confirms extinction of 13 more species, including first reptile since colonisation | Extinct wildlife | The Guardian

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3. Re-conceptualizing the role(s) of science in biodiversity conservation

Megan Evans reviewed the literature, found 10 existing reviews of conservation science, and found that although the diversification of ideas and frames predicted by Mace in 2014 was collectively apparent, review authors typically didn’t explicitly acknowledge the existence of multiple conservation goals or worldviews. There was also a lack of clarity over the role(s) of science. She includes a framework and some definitions in her paper to help clarify things in future.

Her take home message is, let’s take the time to think and reflect on the assumptions and worldviews we each bring to our work, and to seek to understand those of others. This can help to “open up” new pathways and roles for science in biodiversity conservation, and clarify pathways and roles for other actors, institutions and knowledges. Also, there’s space for everyone and their ideas and conceptualisations of science and conservation. So the next time you read a paper saying, for example, that scientists “should” or “shouldn’t” engage in protests, or “the” goal of conservation is X, please refer to her paper.

Re-conceptualizing the role(s) of science in biodiversity conservation | Environmental Conservation | Cambridge Core

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4. Revisiting Biodiversity Research and Action

Addressing interconnected challenges of environmental degradation and social justice requires revisiting the foundations of biodiversity research and action.

Revisiting Biodiversity Research and Action | Ideas for Sustainability (wordpress.com)

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5. How good is Australia?!!
How deep have we stuck our head in the sand when it comes to the environment?

Given our sad record of environmental decline and wretched environmental stewardship, our repeated and growing failure to protect those natural values we told ourselves and the world we would look after, the assertion that Australia is ‘good’ borders on the obscene; and yet it constantly goes unchallenged.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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6. Minister Ley to face legal challenge on refusal to grant access to documents about controversial ‘fast tracked’ projects

The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) will today file a case at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) challenging Environment Minister Sussan Ley’s refusal to release documents requested under Freedom of Information laws about 15 ‘fast tracked’ environmental approvals. ACF’s case will challenge the Government’s use of ‘national cabinet’ exemptions to avoid FOI disclosures. Legal advice obtained by ACF last year found it was not clear whether or not national cabinet documents would automatically attract the cabinet exemption.

Minister Ley to face legal challenge on refusal to grant access to documents about controversial ‘fast tracked’ projects – Australian Conservation Foundation (acf.org.au)

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7. Vast majority of sharks caught in Great Barrier Reef drum lines died, despite tribunal’s orders

Humane Society International, which won legal action against Queensland government last year, says 80% of sharks caught are still dying

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/mar/09/vast-majority-of-sharks-caught-in-great-barrier-reef-drum-lines-died-despite-tribunals-orders?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #465 (3 March 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“Making peace with nature is the defining task of the 21st century. It must be the top priority for everyone, everywhere.”
António Guterres, secretary general of the UN, in The Guardian
[and see item 1]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Making peace with nature
2. Australian scientists warn urgent action needed to save 19 ‘collapsing’ ecosystems
3. Climate Change is Weakening the Ocean Currents That Shape Weather on Both Sides of the Atlantic
4. How Australia began dealing with this thing called ‘the Environment’?
5. Let’s talk about standards for scholarly opinion articles
6. What Scientists Have Learned from 100 Years of Bird Banding
7. The world’s forgotten fishes: Freshwater fish in ‘catastrophic’ decline

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1. Making peace with nature

A scientific blueprint to tackle the climate, biodiversity and pollution emergencies

This report outlines how climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution can be tackled jointly within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals. The report serves to translate the current state of scientific knowledge into crisp, clear and digestible facts-based messages that the world can relate to and follow up on. It first provides an Earth diagnosis of current and projected human-induced environmental change, by putting facts and interlinkages in perspective, including by using smart infographics. In building on this diagnosis, the report identifies the shifts needed to close gaps between current actions and those needed to achieve sustainable development.

The analysis is anchored in current economic, social and ecological reality and framed by economics and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. By synthesising the latest scientific findings from the global environmental assessments, the report communicates the current status of the world’s urgent issues and opportunities to solve them.

Making peace with nature (apo.org.au)

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2. Australian scientists warn urgent action needed to save 19 ‘collapsing’ ecosystems

A ‘confronting and sobering’ report details degradation of coral reefs, outback deserts, tropical savanna, Murray-Darling waterways, mangroves and forests

https://theconversation.com/existential-threat-to-our-survival-see-the-19-australian-ecosystems-already-collapsing-154077
and
Australian scientists warn urgent action needed to save 19 ‘collapsing’ ecosystems | Conservation | The Guardian

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3. Climate Change is Weakening the Ocean Currents That Shape Weather on Both Sides of the Atlantic

The change in the main ocean heat pump could bring more heat waves to Europe, increase sea level rise in North America and force fish to move farther north.

Climate Change is Weakening the Ocean Currents That Shape Weather on Both Sides of the Atlantic – Inside Climate News

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4. How Australia began dealing with this thing called ‘the Environment’?

A
toe in the water: Australia gets its first Federal environment minister (1971) and the world comes together in Stockholm (1972)

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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5. Let’s talk about standards for scholarly opinion articles

I’ve written a lot of posts here about how frustrating it is to try and publish conceptual or expert opinion-style articles in peer reviewed journals. Most journals have very few standards for this article category, and peer reviewers often don’t seem to have the guidance to know how to review them fairly.

Let’s talk about standards for scholarly opinion articles – Ecology is not a dirty word

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6. What Scientists Have Learned from 100 Years of Bird Banding

A rich archive of data has illuminated the secret lives of birds

What Scientists Have Learned from 100 Years of Bird Banding – Scientific American

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7. The world’s forgotten fishes: Freshwater fish in ‘catastrophic’ decline

Freshwater fishes are dazzlingly diverse. And they are critical for societies, economies & ecosystems…but they are undervalued and under threat.

https://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/wwfintl/freshwater_fishes_report/index.php#/p/1

and see

Extinction: Freshwater fish in ‘catastrophic’ decline
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-56160756

-~<>~-

About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #464 (24 February 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making


“The fundamental conundrum of silviculture: to manage today’s forests, which have been shaped by yesterday’s decisions, to meet tomorrow’s objectives.”
Patrick Baker, University of Melbourne


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Are we burning in ignorance?
2. Gambling with Australia’s future – casinos before unis?
3. Our turtle program shows citizen science isn’t just great for data, it makes science feel personal
4. The stories we tell about biodiversity
5. ‘Development should stop’: serious flaws in offsets plan for new western Sydney airport
6. Reef Water Quality Report Card 2019
7. Teaming up for turtles

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1. Are we burning in ignorance?

This corner of Australia is recognised as a biodiversity hotspot. Now scientists are warning it’s becoming collateral damage from WA’s prescribed burn regime.

WA’s prescribed burning plan is putting rare South West ecosystems at risk – ABC News

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2. Gambling with Australia’s future – casinos before unis?

Building a resilient future requires supporting our higher education/research sector. But when a global disturbance in the form of a pandemic threatens to rip asunder our society, the Government finds a new way to disable the uni sector: by ignoring it.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3. Our turtle program shows citizen science isn’t just great for data, it makes science feel personal

We’ve found the benefits of citizen science extend well beyond data collection. In a new research paper, we show how our environmental citizen science program TurtleSAT is not only an important source of knowledge and skill development, but also influences participants’ attitudes and behaviours towards the environment.

https://theconversation.com/our-turtle-program-shows-citizen-science-isnt-just-great-for-data-it-makes-science-feel-personal-155142

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4. The stories we tell about biodiversity

In this review paper, the authors identify and discuss in detail archetypal biodiversity narratives and counter-narratives, and call for research to further explore these narratives and their transformative potential for biodiversity.

Louder, E. & Wyborn, C. (2020) Biodiversity narratives: stories of the evolving conservation landscape. Environmental Conservation.

The stories we tell about biodiversity – Please keep to the path

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5. ‘Development should stop’: serious flaws in offsets plan for new western Sydney airport

The site chosen to offset the massive Badgerys Creek project was already earmarked for protection. Experts accuse the government of ‘double-dipping.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/feb/17/development-should-stop-serious-flaws-in-offsets-plan-for-new-western-sydney-airport?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

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6. Reef Water Quality Report Card 2019

Results show progress in some areas, particularly at a regional and catchment level with improved practices leading to pollutant reductions. However, faster uptake of improved land management practices is required to meet the water quality targets.

Reef Water Quality Report Card | Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan (reefplan.qld.gov.au)

And see
Great Barrier Reef found to be in failing health as world heritage review looms
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/feb/18/great-barrier-reef-found-to-be-in-failing-health-amid-calls-for-urgent-action?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

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7. Teaming up for turtles

Cloud and AI automate and accelerate turtle nest monitoring and predator tracking, allowing Indigenous rangers from Cape York, Australia, to take swift, smart action.

Teaming up for turtles – CSIRO

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #463 (17 February 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making


“In exposing a genuine conspiracy, first you find the evidence, then you make the claim. In alleging a conspiracy theory, first you make the claim, then you look for evidence.”
George Monbiot



In this issue of Dbytes

1. Australia must control its killer cat problem. A major new report explains how, but doesn’t go far enough
2. Our national water policy is outdated, unfair and not fit for climate challenges: major new report
3. ‘It’s an ecological wasteland’: offsets for Sydney toll road were promised but never delivered
4. Did farmers do the ‘heavy lifting’ under Kyoto?
5. Implications of the 2019–2020 megafires for the biogeography and conservation of Australian vegetation
6. Country-based rate of emissions reductions should increase by 80%
7. Preparing for a 3°C warmer future: the ideological shift and institutional response Australia will need.

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1. Australia must control its killer cat problem. A major new report explains how, but doesn’t go far enough

A recent parliamentary inquiry into the problem of feral and pet cats in Australia has affirmed the issue is indeed of national significance. The final report, released last week, calls for a heightened, more effective, multi-pronged and coordinated policy, management and research response. As ecologists, we’ve collectively spent more than 50 years researching Australia’s cat dilemma. We welcome most of the report’s recommendations, but in some areas it doesn’t go far enough, missing major opportunities to make a difference.

https://theconversation.com/australia-must-control-its-killer-cat-problem-a-major-new-report-explains-how-but-doesnt-go-far-enough-154931

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2. Our national water policy is outdated, unfair and not fit for climate challenges: major new report

A report by the Productivity Commission released today says the policy must be updated. It found the National Water Initiative is not fit for the challenges of climate change, a growing population and our changing perceptions of how we value water. The report’s findings matter to all Australians, whether you live in a city or a drought-ravaged town. If governments don’t manage water better, on our behalf, then entire communities may disappear. Agriculture will suffer and nature will continue to degrade. It’s time for a change.

https://globalwaterforum.org/2021/02/15/our-national-water-policy-is-outdated-unfair-and-not-fit-for-climate-challenges-major-new-report/

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3. ‘It’s an ecological wasteland’: offsets for Sydney toll road were promised but never delivered

The M7 was supposed to be offset by environmental protection 15 years ago. Leaked documents show that never happened.

‘It’s an ecological wasteland’: offsets for Sydney toll road were promised but never delivered | Environment | The Guardian

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4. Did farmers do the ‘heavy lifting’ under Kyoto?

The answer is ‘no’, because nobody (in Australia) did any heavy lifting under Kyoto. It is certainly true however that environmental laws have had an impact on farmers and that this has been the cause of considerable grief over the years. Perhaps we should pay them for ecosystem services from their properties.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2021/02/16/did-farmers-do-the-heavy-lifting-under-kyoto/

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5. Implications of the 2019–2020 megafires for the biogeography and conservation of Australian vegetation

-The Black Summer fires burnt more than seven million hectares of eucalypt forests and woodlands and more than 300,000 ha of rainforest.
-An estimated 816 vascular plant species had more than 50 per cent of their populations or ranges burn.
-More than 150 species of native vascular plants are estimated to have experienced fire across 90 per cent or more of their ranges.
-Species particularly vulnerable to the bushfires include epiphytic orchids, which grow on trees, and fire-sensitive rainforest species.
-More than three quarters of rainforest communities were burnt in parts of New South Wales. These contain many ancient Gondwanan plant lineages that are now only found in small, fragmented ranges.

Implications of the 2019–2020 megafires for the biogeography and conservation of Australian vegetation was published today in Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-21266-5
Plants most at risk after black summer megafires – CSIRO

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6. Country-based rate of emissions reductions should increase by 80%

A new study in Nature has found that, if all countries meet their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement and continue to reduce emissions at the same rate after 2030, the probability of limiting warming to 2°C is 26 per cent. On current trends the probability of staying below 2°C is only five per cent, according to the study.

Country-based rate of emissions reductions should increase by 80% beyond nationally determined contributions to meet the 2 °C target | Communications Earth & Environment (nature.com)

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7. Preparing for a 3°C warmer future: the ideological shift and institutional response Australia will need.

Three things are obvious. The collective emission reduction efforts of nations will not avoid 3oC global warming by the century’s end. Therefore, national adaptation actions will need prepare for the worse than expected scale and impact from the effects of climate change. As a result, earlier ideological assumptions about governments will have to give way to policies that are interventionist and systemic.

Preparing for a 3°C warmer future: the ideological shift and institutional response Australia will need. – Pearls and IrritationsPearls and Irritations (johnmenadue.com)

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David

Dbytes #462 (10 February 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making


“We are not worried, or I’m certainly not worried, about what might happen in 30 years’ time,” Michael McCormack, Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the National Party (in The Guardian)

“Australians are five times more likely to be displaced by a climate change-fuelled disaster than someone living in Europe. In the Pacific, that risk is 100 times higher,”
Will Steffen (in The Climate Council’s new report: Hitting home: The compounding costs of climate inaction.)

Editor’s note: see item 7 on disasters


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Economics’ failure over destruction of nature presents ‘extreme risks’
2. The Adaptation Gap Report 2020 (and nature-based solutions)
3. To fix Australia’s environment laws, wildlife experts call for these 4 changes — all are crucial
4. Taking care of business: the private sector is waking up to nature’s value
5. Review of Indigenous engagement in the National Environmental Science Program
6. Emerging evidence that armed conflict and coca cultivation influence deforestation patterns
7. What a disaster – three recent reports on the growing frequency of ‘natural’ disaster and our inability to adapt to them

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1. Economics’ failure over destruction of nature presents ‘extreme risks’

New measures of success needed to avoid catastrophic breakdown, landmark Dasgupta Review finds

Economics’ failure over destruction of nature presents ‘extreme risks’ | Biodiversity | The Guardian

The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review can be found at
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/final-report-the-economics-of-biodiversity-the-dasgupta-review

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2. The Adaptation Gap Report 2020 (and nature-based solutions)

The Adaptation Gap Report 2020 found that 72 per cent of countries have adopted at least one national-level adaptation planning instrument, while a further 9 per cent are developing one. Most developing countries are preparing National Adaptation Plans.

More than half of countries have added nature-based solutions to their Nationally Determined Contributions – as climate pledges under the Paris Agreement are known. However, most of these describe broad goals and less than a third include measurable targets.

Adaptation Gap Report 2020 | UNEP – UN Environment Programme

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3. To fix Australia’s environment laws, wildlife experts call for these 4 changes — all are crucial

The independent review of Australia’s main environment law, released last week, provided a sobering but accurate appraisal of a dire situation. The review was led by Professor Graeme Samuel and involved consultation with scientists, legal experts, industry and conservation organisations. Samuel’s report concluded Australia’s biodiversity is in decline and the law (the EPBC Act) “is not fit for current or future environmental challenges”.

The findings are no surprise to us. As ecologists, we’ve seen first hand how Australia’s nature laws and governance failure have permitted environmental degradation and destruction to the point that species face extinction. Even then, continued damage is routinely permitted. And the findings aren’t news to many other Australians, who have watched wildlife and iconic places such as Kakadu and Kosciuszko national parks, and the Great Barrier Reef, decline at rates that have only accelerated since the act was introduced in 1999. Even globally recognisable wildlife, such as the platypus, now face a future that’s far from certain.

To fix Australia’s environment laws, wildlife experts call for these 4 changes — all are crucial (theconversation.com)

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4. Taking care of business: the private sector is waking up to nature’s value

For many businesses, climate change is an existential threat. Extreme weather can disrupt operations and supply chains, spelling disaster for both small vendors and global corporations. It also leaves investment firms dangerously exposed. Businesses increasingly recognise climate change as a significant financial risk. Awareness of nature-related financial risks, such as biodiversity loss, is still emerging.

My work examines the growth of private sector investment in biodiversity and natural capital. I believe now is a good time to consider questions such as: what are businesses doing, and not doing, about climate change and environmental destruction? And what role should government play?

https://theconversation.com/taking-care-of-business-the-private-sector-is-waking-up-to-natures-value-153786

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5. Review of Indigenous engagement in the National Environmental Science Program

The report and Appendices are over 430 pages, and provide a useful record of Indigenous engagement in the NESP over the period 2015 to 2020, and will provide a useful resource for the four new NESP Hubs that the Minister announced in December.

https://www.sgsep.com.au/projects/desk-top-review-of-indigenous-engagement-in-the-national-environmental-science-program

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6. Emerging evidence that armed conflict and coca cultivation influence deforestation patterns

The effect of armed conflict on deforestation in biodiverse regions across Earth remains poorly understood. Its association with factors like illegal crop cultivation can obscure its effect on deforestation patterns. We used Colombia, a global biodiversity hotspot with a complex political history, to explore the association of both armed conflict and coca cultivation with deforestation patterns. We generated spatial predictions of deforestation pressure based on the period 2000–2015 to understand how armed conflict and coca cultivation are associated with spatial patterns of deforestation and assess the spatial distribution of deforestation pressure induced by armed conflict and coca cultivation. Deforestation was positively associated with armed conflict intensity and proximity to illegal coca plantations.

Emerging evidence that armed conflict and coca cultivation influence deforestation patterns – ScienceDirect

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7. What a disaster – three recent reports on the growing frequency of ‘natural’ disaster and our inability to adapt to them

7.1. Exposure to natural hazard events unassociated with policy change for improved disaster risk reduction

Natural hazard events provide opportunities for policy change to enhance disaster risk reduction (DRR), yet it remains unclear whether these events actually fulfill this transformative role around the world. Here, we investigate relationships between the frequency (number of events) and severity (fatalities, economic losses, and affected people) of natural hazards and DRR policy change in 85 countries over eight years. Our results show that frequency and severity factors are generally unassociated with improved DRR policy when controlling for income-levels, differences in starting policy values, and hazard event types. This is a robust result that accounts for event frequency and different hazard severity indicators, four baseline periods estimating hazard impacts, and multiple policy indicators. Although we show that natural hazards are unassociated with improved DRR policy globally, the study unveils variability in policy progress between countries experiencing similar levels of hazard frequency and severity.

Exposure to natural hazard events unassociated with policy change for improved disaster risk reduction | Nature Communications

Editor’s note: Does it matter that we’re not learning from our experience with disasters? Of course it does, especially when you consider disasters are on the rise. Munich Re, one of the world’s leading reinsurers, has reported that natural catastrophes around the world resulted in losses of US$ 210 bn in 2020 (with insured losses of US$ 82 bn). This figure was up from US$ 166 bn losses in 2019, following a record hurricane season in the north Atlantic and historic wildfires in the western United States. Munich Re said that climate change “will play an increasing role in all of these hazards” and called on the global community to act to keep warming below 2°C.

7.2. Record hurricane season and major wildfires – The natural disaster figures for 2020

Record hurricane season: More storms in the North Atlantic than ever before
Historic wildfires in the western United States
Worldwide, natural disasters produced losses of US$ 210bn, with insured losses of US$ 82bn
Floods in China were responsible for the highest individual loss of US$ 17bn, only around 2% of which was insured

Five years after the Paris Climate Agreement: 2020 on the way to being the second warmest year on record

Record hurricane season and major wildfires – The natural disaster figures for 2020 | Munich Re

and also see the World Economic Forum’s
7.3 Global Risks Report 2021
Now in its 16th edition, the report finds that extreme weather, climate action failure and human-led environmental damage are among the highest likelihood risks over the next decade, with climate action failure considered “the most impactful and second most likely risk”.
WEF_The_Global_Risks_Report_2021.pdf (weforum.org)

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #461 (3 February 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making


“the Climate Change Authority [in 2014] recommended 2030 targets of at least 45% reduction on 2005 levels if Australia were to do its fair share of limiting global warming to well below 2°C. The current government’s target of 26-28% does not have its basis in any CCA or other science-based recommendation. It is a target that is not consistent with limiting global warming to well below 2°C.”
Climate Targets Panel, January 2021
ClimateTargetsPanelReport.pdf (unimelb.edu.au)


In this issue of Dbytes

1. A major report excoriated Australia’s environment laws. Sussan Ley’s response is confused and risky
2. Psychosocial drivers of land management behaviour: How threats, norms, and context influence deforestation intentions
3. Conservation Resource Allocation, Small Population Resiliency, and the Fallacy of Conservation Triage
4. Do academic book reviews deserve more credit?
5. Half a century of global decline in oceanic sharks and rays
6. Half a century of global decline of wetlands
7. University research funding: a quick guide

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1. A major report excoriated Australia’s environment laws. Sussan Ley’s response is confused and risky

You could hardly imagine a worse report on the state of Australia’s environment, and the law’s capacity to protect it, than that released yesterday. The review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity (EPBC) Act, by former competition watchdog chair Professor Graeme Samuel, did not mince words. Without urgent changes, most of Australia’s threatened plants, animals and ecosystems will become extinct.

Federal environment minister Sussan Ley released the report yesterday after sitting on it for three months. And she showed little sign of being spurred into action by Samuel’s scathing assessment. Her response was confusing and contradictory. And the Morrison government seems hellbent on pushing through its preferred reforms without safeguards that Samuel says are crucial.

A major report excoriated Australia’s environment laws. Sussan Ley’s response is confused and risky (theconversation.com)

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2. Psychosocial drivers of land management behaviour: How threats, norms, and context influence deforestation intentions

Understanding how private landholders make deforestation decisions is of paramount importance for conservation. Behavioural frameworks from the social sciences have a lot to offer researchers and practitioners, yet these insights remain underutilised in describing what drives landholders’ deforestation intentions under important political, social, and management contexts. Using survey data of private landholders in Queensland, Australia, we compare the ability of two popular behavioural models to predict future deforestation intentions, and propose a more integrated behavioural model of deforestation intentions. We found that the integrated model outperformed other models, revealing the importance of threat perceptions, attitudes, and social norms for predicting landholders’ deforestation intentions. Social capital, policy uncertainty, and years of experience are important contextual moderators of these psychological factors. We conclude with recommendations for promoting behaviour change in this deforestation hotspot and highlight how others can adopt similar approaches to illuminate more proximate drivers of environmental behaviours in other contexts.

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13280-020-01491-w

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3. Conservation Resource Allocation, Small Population Resiliency, and the Fallacy of Conservation Triage

Some conservation prioritization methods assume that conservation needs overwhelm current resources and not all species can be conserved; therefore, a “conservation triage” scheme (that is, when the system is overwhelmed, species should be divided into three groups based on likelihood of survival, and efforts should be focused on those species in the group with the best survival prospects and reduced or denied to those in the group with no survival prospects and to those in the group not needing special efforts for their conservation) is necessary to guide resource allocation. We argue that this decision‐making strategy is not appropriate because resources are not as limited as often assumed, and it is not evident that there are species that cannot be recovered. Small population size alone, as an example, does not doom a species to extinction, with examples from plants, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Although resources dedicated to conserving all threatened species are insufficient at present, the world’s economic resources are vast, and greater resources could be dedicated towards species conservation. The political framework for species conservation has improved, with initiatives such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals and other international agreements, funding mechanisms such as The Global Environment Facility, and the rise of many non‐governmental organizations with nimble, rapid response small grants programs. For a prioritization system to allow no extinctions, zero extinctions must be an explicit goal of the system. Extinction is not inevitable, and should not be acceptable. A goal of no human‐induced extinctions is imperative given the irreversibility of species loss.

https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/cobi.13696?campaign=wolacceptedarticle

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4. Do academic book reviews deserve more credit?

I’m currently collating my research outputs for a grant application, and I got to thinking about academic book reviews. I’m on the transition end of early career researchhood (where number of publications are counted and judged by funding bodies), and five of my ‘scholarly journal publications’ are book reviews – they appear in all the database publication lists, but you can’t technically count them as legitimate publications, because they aren’t peer reviewed.

Do academic book reviews deserve more credit? – Ecology is not a dirty word

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5. Half a century of global decline in oceanic sharks and rays

Overfishing is the primary cause of marine defaunation, yet declines in and increasing extinction risks of individual species are difficult to measure, particularly for the largest predators found in the high seas1,2,3. Here we calculate two well-established indicators to track progress towards Aichi Biodiversity Targets and Sustainable Development Goals4,5: the Living Planet Index (a measure of changes in abundance aggregated from 57 abundance time-series datasets for 18 oceanic shark and ray species) and the Red List Index (a measure of change in extinction risk calculated for all 31 oceanic species of sharks and rays). We find that, since 1970, the global abundance of oceanic sharks and rays has declined by 71% owing to an 18-fold increase in relative fishing pressure. This depletion has increased the global extinction risk to the point at which three-quarters of the species comprising this functionally important assemblage are threatened with extinction. Strict prohibitions and precautionary science-based catch limits are urgently needed to avert population collapse6,7, avoid the disruption of ecological functions and promote species recovery.

Half a century of global decline in oceanic sharks and rays | Nature

And see https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jan/27/sharks-rays-global-population-crashed-study

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6. Half a century of global decline of wetlands

World Wetlands Day & the Ramsar Convention – the good, the bad & the ugly
2nd of Feb should be a day of celebration for wetlands. However, 50 years on from its adoption, the Ramsar Convention, should also be a ‘call to arms’. Do more to protect them.
https://globalwaterforum.org/

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7. University research funding: a quick guide

This quick guide from the Parliamentary Library explains how Australian universities resource research activities. Based on key Australian Government data, it sets out the major sources and distribution of university research funding.

It shows, for example, that medical and health sciences get 30.6% of the available funding (in 2018) but environmental sciences gets only 3.5%; and the Go8 get two thirds of all available funding (while the other 35 unis battle for the remaining third).

University research funding: a quick guide – Parliament of Australia (aph.gov.au)

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #460 (27 January 2020)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making


“there’s little evidence the [national Threatened Species] strategy has had a significant impact on threatened species conservation to date.”
Ritchie et al [see item 1]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. It’s not too late to save them: 5 ways to improve the government’s plan to protect threatened wildlife
2. Saving the Environment in a Day

3. Do offsets and biobanking protect biodiversity?
4. Governing for “no net loss” of biodiversity over the long term: challenges and pathways forward
5. Biodiversity and ecosystem services in strategic environmental assessment: An evaluation of six Australian cases
6. How to choose a cost‐effective indicator to trigger conservation decisions?
7. From conversion to conservation to carbon: The changing policy discourse on mangrove governance and use in the Philippines

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1. It’s not too late to save them: 5 ways to improve the government’s plan to protect threatened wildlife

Australia’s Threatened Species Strategy — a five-year plan for protecting our imperilled species and ecosystems — fizzled to an end last year. A new 10-year plan is being developed to take its place, likely from March. It comes as Australia’s list of threatened species continues to grow. Relatively recent extinctions, such as the Christmas Island forest skink, Bramble Cay melomys and smooth handfish, add to an already heavy toll.

https://theconversation.com/its-not-too-late-to-save-them-5-ways-to-improve-the-governments-plan-to-protect-threatened-wildlife-147669

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2. Saving the Environment in a Day

You have 24 hours to save the planet! Your time starts now.

There are many arguments for and against the big day for the environment. They focus awareness on single issues but they can give the impression that major issues of environmental degradation are being addressed when in fact they’re being ignored.  

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3. Do offsets and biobanking protect biodiversity?

Biodiversity offsets have become a widely-accepted way to attempt to compensate for the destruction of endangered habitat and species in mining and other large scale development projects, but do they work?

Do offsets and biobanking protect biodiversity? – ABC News

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4. Governing for “no net loss” of biodiversity over the long term: challenges and pathways forward

Economic development is increasingly impacting biodiversity, leading to a rise in biodiversity offset policies globally that aim to compensate for biodiversity losses. Many developments generating offsets create long-term, irreversible losses of biodiversity and, therefore, require biodiversity gains from offsets to be retained over the long term to have any hope of achieving “no net loss” (NNL) of biodiversity. This raises important ecological and institutional challenges that current offset mechanisms, built for politico-economic systems with short-term policy horizons, do not sufficiently consider. We explore this issue and discuss several responses to the problem ranging from incremental changes for improving on-ground management, through to major governance shifts required to support the long-term social-ecological resilience of offset sites. We argue that without these changes, at best, NNL policies participate in temporarily reducing permanent biodiversity loss. At worst, they participate in a false promise, distracting institutions from the transformative changes needed to reverse biodiversity depletion.

https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1cSX29C%7EItrtIS

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5. Biodiversity and ecosystem services in strategic environmental assessment: An evaluation of six Australian cases

Criteria are derived from best practice principles to evaluate strategic assessments in Australia.
No net loss goals are poorly specified limiting effectiveness.
Evidence to demonstrate adequate application of the mitigation hierarchy is limited.
Ecosystem services integration is also limited.
Monitoring, auditing and evaluation activities lack detail.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195925521000020?dgcid=author

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6. How to choose a cost‐effective indicator to trigger conservation decisions?

1. Effective biodiversity conservation requires responding to threats in a timely fashion. This entails understanding the impacts of threats on biodiversity and when interventions to mitigate threats need to be implemented. However, most ecological systems face multiple threats, so monitoring to assess their impacts on biodiversity is a complex task. Indicators help simplify the challenge of monitoring but choosing the best indicator(s) to inform management is not straightforward.

2. We provide a decision framework that can help identify optimal indicators to trigger management in a system faced with multiple threats. The approach evaluates indicators based on criteria spanning monitoring efficiency, management outcomes and the economic constraints for decision‐making. Critical decision factors (or parameters) are identified and detailed in a six‐step process to estimate the cost‐effectiveness of alternate indicators, including threat impacts, sensitivity of indicators to detect change, and the benefits, costs and feasibility of alternative indicators and management actions.

3. Using the Kimberley as a case study, we evaluate eighteen indicators for informing management of three key threats in the region: fire and grazing, feral cat predation, and weeds. We show that indicator selection based on our approach can help improve the expected outcome of management decisions under limited resources. By accounting for multiple factors in estimating benefit and costs of monitoring, our approach improves on common approaches that select indicators based only on whether they are sensitive to change and/or cheap to monitor. We also identify how uncertainty in decision factors influences indicator selection.

4. Although cost‐effectiveness analyses are gaining popularity, ours is the first study to integrate multiple selection criteria using a return on investment framework to compare indicators for monitoring multiple threats and triggering management.

How to choose a cost‐effective indicator to trigger conservation decisions? – Bal – – Methods in Ecology and Evolution – Wiley Online Library

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7. From conversion to conservation to carbon: The changing policy discourse on mangrove governance and use in the Philippines

This article engages with the social ramifications of the “blue carbon” discourse. We trace the dominant representations of mangrove forest governance over a 50-year period in the Philippines. Three key framings are clearance and conversion, replantation and conservation, and carbon sink. Each produces different sets of policies that change the functions and meanings of mangroves. Amid these shifting trends, coastal dwellers’ livelihoods and resource tenure are at risk of being marginalized and displaced.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0743016721000085?via%3Dihub

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #459 (20 January 2020)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making


“Instead of doing a dry January, I should have just committed to have net zero drinks in 2050.”
Jamie Henn, Director of Fossil Free Media (@jamieclimate)


In this issue of Dbytes

1. More than ‘Indigenous Wisdom’ in the rights-of-nature debate
2. National Soil Strategy: submissions close 27 January 2020
3. Environmental activists in the dark as government refuses, delays access to information
4. Fifty countries, not including Australia, join global coalition at One Planet Summit vowing to protect 30 per cent of land and sea by 2030
5. Australia the only developed nation on world list of deforestation hotspots
6. Zero Attribution: Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology keeps silent on climate science
7. From Silent Spring to the Franklin and back to Lake Pedder?
8. Worried about Earth’s future? Well, the outlook is worse than even scientists can grasp

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1. More than ‘Indigenous Wisdom’ in the rights-of-nature debate

In 2017, in a world first, the Whanganui River in the North Island of New Zealand was given its own legal identity; with the rights, duties and liabilities of a legal person. Some believe that assigning ‘rights to nature’ is an important step towards acknowledging and protecting the many values of the natural environment, including an acknowledgement of Indigenous knowledge. However, as Virginia Marshall discusses here, the rights-of-nature approach is antithetical to First Nations’ rights and interests to control and manage the environment. It is a compromise that works against the central role of First Nations peoples in healing and restoring planet Earth.

https://globalwaterforum.org/2021/01/19/more-than-indigenous-wisdom-in-the-rights-of-nature-debate/

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2. National Soil Strategy: submissions close 27 January 2020

“Our vision: Australia’s soil resources are recognised and valued as a key national asset and are thus sustainably managed for the benefit of our, environment, economy, food and infrastructure security, health, and biodiversity – now and in the future.”

https://haveyoursay.awe.gov.au/national-soil-strategy

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3. Environmental activists in the dark as government refuses, delays access to information

An analysis of FOI statistics by the ACF has accused the federal transparency system of being “dysfunctional”, saying that information held in records of government decisions, correspondence, research and briefs was critical to environmental protection. But this information was too often withheld entirely or released too late or too heavily redacted to be of use.

The report Access Denied examined government FOI data for the past five years alongside the results of more than 130 of the ACF’s own FOI requests. It found FOI refusals by federal agencies with an environment-relevant portfolio had risen almost 50 per cent in that time while the number of requests released in full had nearly halved.

https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/environmental-activists-in-the-dark-as-government-refuses-delays-access-to-information-20210114-p56u2p.html

The Access Denied report can be found at:
https://www.acf.org.au/analysis_shows_government_is_stifling_access_to_information_about_the_environment

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4. Fifty countries, not including Australia, join global coalition at One Planet Summit vowing to protect 30 per cent of land and sea by 2030

At least 50 countries committed to protecting 30 per cent of the planet, including land and sea, over the next decade to halt species extinction and address climate change issues, during a global summit aimed at protecting the world’s biodiversity.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-01-12/50-countries-vow-to-protect-30-per-cent-of-land-and-sea-by-2030/13050048

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5. Australia the only developed nation on world list of deforestation hotspots

Australia remains one of the world’s hotspots for deforestation according to a new report by WWF, which finds an area six times the size of Tasmania has been cleared globally since 2004. The analysis identifies 24 “deforestation fronts” worldwide where a total of 43 million hectares of forest was destroyed in the period from 2004 until 2017.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jan/13/australia-the-only-developed-nation-on-world-list-of-deforestation-hotspots

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6. Zero Attribution: Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology keeps silent on climate science

Meteorological services around the world have embraced climate attribution science, which ascertains the effect of climate change on extreme weather events. Not so Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, which is remarkably coy about its work in this field.

Zero Attribution: Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology keeps silent on climate science – Michael West

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7. From Silent Spring to the Franklin and back to Lake Pedder?

Our inability to find a collaborative way of dealing with what are, after all, shared environmental problems, remains our heaviest policy shackle. Lessons from the book Silent Spring and the Franklin campaign.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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8. Worried about Earth’s future? Well, the outlook is worse than even scientists can grasp

Anyone with even a passing interest in the global environment knows all is not well. But just how bad is the situation? Our new paper shows the outlook for life on Earth is more dire than is generally understood.

https://theconversation.com/worried-about-earths-future-well-the-outlook-is-worse-than-even-scientists-can-grasp-153091

See the paper: Underestimating the Challenges of Avoiding a Ghastly Future
Frontiers | Underestimating the Challenges of Avoiding a Ghastly Future | Conservation Science (frontiersin.org)

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #457 (22 December 2020)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making


“10,000 years ago humans were in charge of only 0.1% of the Earth’s non-aquatic vertebrate biomass. Today it’s 98%. Mainly cows. I guess we showed them.”
Shaun Micallef


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Forest Bach
2. The 2020 Threatened Species Index
3. Red lines for green values – What ‘standards’ are we prepared to accept in an overhaul of Australia’s national environment protection laws?
4. Tropical cyclones and climate change
5. Recognising regulatory capture as a form of corruption in government water agencies
6. Human-made objects to outweigh living things
7. ‘I felt immense grief’: one year on from the bushfires, scientists need mental health support

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1. Forest Bach

[Dbytes wishes you a very merry xmas:]
An enormous xylophone in the woods of Kyushu, Japan, plays Bach’s ‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring’ when a wooden ball rolls down each note, with the sounds of the forest (water and birds) in the background..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMMCkFLICDo

(You can see the making of the xylophone here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VD44QhKuG1U&feature=youtu.be)

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2. The 2020 Threatened Species Index

Australia’s new Threatened Species Index (TSX) for birds, mammals and plants was released this month. According to the data released in the 2020 TSX, threatened plants have declined by 72% between 1995 and 2017 on average across all sites. At sites where conservation management actions were taken this decline is less pronounced, with a 60% average decline over the same time period. At sites with no known management, the average decline was 80%.

TSX – A threatened species index for Australia

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3. Red lines for green values – What ‘standards’ are we prepared to accept in an overhaul of Australia’s national environment protection laws?

Apart from being innovative in themselves, the ‘standards’ introduce policy concepts such as a ‘principle of non-regression’ and the ‘ecological feasibility’ of biodiversity offsets. They also give new recognition to some not-so-new concepts such as the need to consider the impacts of development proposals on a cumulative basis.

Environmental standards present the Aust Govt with a conundrum. The potential of the standards as a foundation for action is great. But implementing standards would require a major and costly upgrade of our regulatory infrastructure.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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4. Tropical cyclones and climate change

Tropical Cyclone Yasa, which ripped through Fiji’s northern island of Viti Levu on Thursday 17 December, displayed many of the characteristics we’ve been warned to expect of cyclones as the world warms. It was extraordinarily strong for this early in the season (the earliest category five South Pacific cyclone on record), it intensified very rapidly, it moved slowly (causing tremendous damage as it lingered for many hours over the western side of Vanua Levu), and brought extremely high winds and rainfall.

Fact Sheet: Tropical Cyclones and Climate Change | Climate Council

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5. Recognising regulatory capture as a form of corruption in government water agencies

A couple of weeks ago the Independent Commission Against Corruption found that the New South Wales Government was favouring irrigators over other water users in a manner that went against its own laws. And yet the Commission did not find that this was corrupt behaviour. Here, Bradley Moggridge, Emma Carmody and Erin O’Donnell discuss this finding, whose interests have been hurt, and the challenge of addressing regulatory capture.

https://globalwaterforum.org/

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6. Human-made objects to outweigh living things

Scientists say the weight of human-made objects will likely exceed that of living things by the end of the year. In other words, the combined weight of all the plastic, bricks, concrete and other things we’ve made in the world will outweigh all animals and plants on the planet for the first time.

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-55239668

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7. ‘I felt immense grief’: one year on from the bushfires, scientists need mental health support

One night in January 2020, I couldn’t sleep. I kept waking to check my phone for news from Kangaroo Island, off South Australia. Fires had already burned through several sites where I’d researched the island’s endangered glossy black cockatoos, and now it was tracking towards two critical habitat areas.

https://theconversation.com/i-felt-immense-grief-one-year-on-from-the-bushfires-scientists-need-mental-health-support-148251

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #456 (15 December 2020)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making


“The European bison and twenty-five other species recoveries documented in today’s IUCN Red List update demonstrate the power of conservation Yet the growing list of Extinct species is a stark reminder that conservation efforts must urgently expand. To tackle global threats such as unsustainable fisheries, land clearing for agriculture, and invasive species, conservation needs to happen around the world and be incorporated into all sectors of the economy.”
Bruno Oberle, IUCN Director General [see item 2]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Understanding Australia’s Kyoto Carryover Credits
2. European bison recovering, 31 species declared Extinct – IUCN Red List
3. 2040 foresight – humanity’s shifting niche in the Anthropocene
4. Indigenous and Local Knowledge in Environmental Management for Human-Nature Connectedness
5. A robust goal is needed for species in the Post‐2020 Global Biodiversity Framework
6. Tasmanian devils look set to conquer their own pandemic
7. A famous failure: Why were cane toads an ineffective biocontrol in Australia?

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1. Understanding Australia’s Kyoto Carryover Credits

The Australien Government was not allowed to speak at the latest Climate Summit, so it made an ad about its climate policy instead – and it’s surprisingly honest and informative.

[This very funny parody comes with a language warning. I highly recommend it as an excellent guide to our country’s duplicity over climate change. Think of it as my Christmas Card to you, which is why I rank it as item 1. The Editor]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92t8np88fEI

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2. European bison recovering, 31 species declared Extinct – IUCN Red List

The European bison (Bison bonasus), Europe’s largest land mammal, has moved from Vulnerable to Near Threatened thanks to continued conservation efforts, according to today’s update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. With this update, 31 species also move into the Extinct category, and all of the world’s freshwater dolphin species are now threatened with extinction.

European bison recovering, 31 species declared Extinct – IUCN Red List | IUCN

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3. 2040 foresight – humanity’s shifting niche in the Anthropocene
Banking on yesterday’s ‘normal’ is the worst form of denial

In Australia we are led by a Conservative government that is in profound denial of what the ‘new normal’ means. They place their faith in technology to deliver an endlessly growing economy in which no-one needs to sacrifice a scintilla of their way of life – it’s win win all the way. They believe the certainty of yesteryear will return with a few percentage points of extra productivity and maybe a slightly better resourced emergency services sector.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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4. Indigenous and Local Knowledge in Environmental Management for Human-Nature Connectedness

Indigenous peoples represent 5% of the world population. Although they play a key role in environmental management as they influence more than one quarter of the earth’s surface and hold unique indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) valuable for sustainable stewardship of nature, the consideration of ILK in environmental management is still limited. In their recent study, Burgos-Ayala et al. (2020) explore how environmental government institutions in Colombia have involved indigenous communities and their ILK in environmental management projects between 2004 and 2015. In order to identify where and how these projects fostered transformative change within indigenous territories, the authors applied a leverage points (LP) perspective.

Indigenous and Local Knowledge in Environmental Management for Human-Nature Connectedness: A Leverage Points Perspective – SCIENCE FOR SUSTAINABILITY (wordpress.com)

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5. A robust goal is needed for species in the Post‐2020 Global Biodiversity Framework

In 2010, Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 to address the loss and degradation of nature. Subsequently, most biodiversity indicators continued to decline. Nevertheless, conservation actions can make a positive difference for biodiversity. The emerging Post‐2020 Global Biodiversity Framework has potential to catalyze efforts to “bend the curve” of biodiversity loss. Thus, the inclusion of a goal on species, articulated as Goal B in the Zero Draft of the Post‐2020 Framework, is essential. However, as currently formulated, this goal is inadequate for preventing extinctions, and reversing population declines; both of which are required to achieve the CBD’s 2030 Mission. We contend it is unacceptable that Goal B could be met while most threatened species deteriorated in status and many avoidable species extinctions occurred. We examine the limitations of the current wording and propose an articulation with robust scientific basis. A goal for species that strives to end extinctions and recover populations of all species that have experienced population declines, and especially those at risk of extinction, would help to align actors toward the transformative actions and interventions needed for humans to live in harmony with nature.

The Society for Conservation Biology (wiley.com)

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6. Tasmanian devils look set to conquer their own pandemic

In the midst of a human pandemic, we have some good news about a wildlife one: our new research, published today in Science, shows Tasmanian devils are likely to survive despite the infectious cancer that has ravaged their populations.

Tasmanian devils look set to conquer their own pandemic (theconversation.com)

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7. A famous failure: Why were cane toads an ineffective biocontrol in Australia?

In 1935, cane toads (Rhinella marina) were brought to Australia to control insect pests. The devastating ecological impacts of that introduction have attracted extensive research, but the toads’ impact on their original targets has never been evaluated. Our analyses confirm that sugar production did not increase significantly after the anurans were released, possibly because toads reduced rates of predation on beetle pests by consuming some of the native predators of those beetles (ants), fatally poisoning others (varanid lizards), and increasing abundances of crop‐eating rodents (that can consume toads without ill‐effect). In short, any direct benefit of toads on agricultural production (via consumption of insect pests) likely was outweighed by negative effects that were mediated via the toads’ impacts on other taxa. Like the toad’s impacts on native wildlife, indirect ecological effects of the invader may have outweighed direct effects of toads on crop production.

The Society for Conservation Biology (wiley.com)

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David