Dbytes #557 (25 January 2023)

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


“Like rabbits and other vertebrate pests, carp are emblematic of our inability to deal with entrenched pest animals. There are no silver bullets.”
Stuart et al, The Conversation [see item]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. System to protect Australia’s threatened species from development ‘more or less worthless’
2. Half a century of rising extinction risk of coral reef sharks and rays
3. Offsetting Us Up To Fail: The myths of ‘nature markets’ explained
4. The Independent Review of Australian Carbon Credit Units
5. Past eight years confirmed to be the eight warmest on record
6. How to Conserve Wildlife Migrations in the American West
7. Exploding carp numbers are ‘like a house of horrors’ for our rivers. Is it time to unleash carp herpes?
8. Assessing ExxonMobil’s global warming projections

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1. System to protect Australia’s threatened species from development ‘more or less worthless’

Environment ministers’ decisions spanning 15 years made no difference to amount of habitat destroyed, researchers say

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/jan/24/system-to-protect-threatened-species-from-development-more-or-less-worthless-study-finds

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2. Half a century of rising extinction risk of coral reef sharks and rays

Sharks and rays are key functional components of coral reef ecosystems, yet many populations of a few species exhibit signs of depletion and local extinctions. The question is whether these declines forewarn of a global extinction crisis. We use IUCN Red List to quantify the status, trajectory, and threats to all coral reef sharks and rays worldwide. Here, we show that nearly two-thirds (59%) of the 134 coral-reef associated shark and ray species are threatened with extinction. Alongside marine mammals, sharks and rays are among the most threatened groups found on coral reefs. Overfishing is the main cause of elevated extinction risk, compounded by climate change and habitat degradation. Risk is greatest for species that are larger-bodied (less resilient and higher trophic level), widely distributed across several national jurisdictions (subject to a patchwork of management), and in nations with greater fishing pressure and weaker governance. Population declines have occurred over more than half a century, with greatest declines prior to 2005. Immediate action through local protections, combined with broad-scale fisheries management and Marine Protected Areas, is required to avoid extinctions and the loss of critical ecosystem function condemning reefs to a loss of shark and ray biodiversity and ecosystem services, limiting livelihoods and food security.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-35091-x

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3. Offsetting Us Up To Fail: The myths of ‘nature markets’ explained

Australian governments have committed to tackling the twin climate and biodiversity crises but continue to subsidise and approve fossil fuels and habitat destruction. While simple policy solutions exist, governments are instead relying on over-complicated market-based solutions to conceal the fundamental contradiction between support for fossil fuel production and promises to save the environment.

Summer Series – Offsetting Us Up To Fail: The myths of ‘nature markets’ explained [Webinar] – The Australia Institute

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4. The Independent Review of Australian Carbon Credit Units

The Independent Review of Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) has found that the ACCU scheme is fundamentally sound but needs improvement, particularly regarding governance, transparency, co-benefits, integrity and overall effectiveness. The final report made 16 recommendations to clarify the intention of the scheme, demarcate and separate governance roles, improve transparency, information and incentives, remove unnecessary restrictions on data sharing, and provide more support for regional communities and First Nations peoples to participate. The Government has accepted all 16 recommendations ‘in principle’ and stated it will work with stakeholders on implementation.

Independent Review of ACCUs Final Report | December 2022 (dcceew.gov.au)

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5. Past eight years confirmed to be the eight warmest on record

GENEVA, 12 January 2023 – The past eight years were the warmest on record globally, fueled by ever-rising greenhouse gas concentrations and accumulated heat, according to six leading international temperature datasets consolidated by the World Meteorological Organization.

The average global temperature in 2022 was about 1.15 [1.02 to 1.27] °C above the pre-industrial (1850-1900) levels. 2022 is the 8th consecutive year (2015-2022) that annual global temperatures have reached at least 1°C above pre-industrial levels, according to all datasets compiled by WMO. 2015 to 2022 are the eight warmest years on record. The likelihood of – temporarily – breaching the 1.5°C limit of the Paris Agreement is increasing with time.
Past eight years confirmed to be the eight warmest on record | World Meteorological Organization (wmo.int)

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6. How to Conserve Wildlife Migrations in the American West

This report is based on a synthesis, conducted by the Wyoming Migration Initiative on behalf of The Pew Charitable Trusts, of the growing body of science regarding the migration of western North America’s populations of mule deer, elk, pronghorn, and other ungulate species and identifies the most substantive threats to migrating wildlife.

The Pew Charitable Trusts

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7. Exploding carp numbers are ‘like a house of horrors’ for our rivers. Is it time to unleash carp herpes?

With widespread La Niña flooding in the Murray-Darling Basin, common carp (Cyprinus carpio) populations are having a boom year. Videos of writhing masses of both adult and young fish illustrate that all is not well in our rivers. Carp now account for up to 90% of live fish mass in some rivers. Concerned communities are wondering whether it is, at last, time for Australia to unleash the carp herpes virus to control populations – but the conversation among scientists, conservationists, communities and government bodies is only just beginning. Globally, the carp virus has been detected in more than 30 countries but never in Australia. There are valid concerns to any future Australian release, including cleaning up dead carp, and potential significant reductions of water quality and native fish. As river scientists and native fish lovers, let’s weigh the benefits of releasing the virus against the risks, set within a context of a greater vision of river recovery.
Exploding carp numbers are ‘like a house of horrors’ for our rivers. Is it time to unleash carp herpes? (theconversation.com)

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8. Assessing ExxonMobil’s global warming projections

In 2015, investigative journalists discovered internal company memos indicating that Exxon oil company has known since the late 1970s that its fossil fuel products could lead to global warming with “dramatic environmental effects before the year 2050.” Additional documents then emerged showing that the US oil and gas industry’s largest trade association had likewise known since at least the 1950s, as had the coal industry since at least the 1960s, and electric utilities, Total oil company, and GM and Ford motor companies since at least the 1970s. Scholars and journalists have analyzed the texts contained in these documents, providing qualitative accounts of fossil fuel interests’ knowledge of climate science and its implications. In 2017, for instance, we demonstrated that Exxon’s internal documents, as well as peer-reviewed studies published by Exxon and ExxonMobil Corp scientists, overwhelmingly acknowledged that climate change is real and human-caused. By contrast, the majority of Mobil and ExxonMobil Corp’s public communications promoted doubt on the matter.

Assessing ExxonMobil’s global warming projections | Science

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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 ARC 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 press the follow button.

David Salt
and you can follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt or the Global Water Forum on @GWFWater

Dbytes #556 (18 January 2023)

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


“We’re in a war!” proclaimed New York’s Governor, Kathy Hochul, during her Xmas day emergency news conference. “We’re at war with Mother Nature, and she’s been hitting us with everything she has.”
[and see item 3]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Transforming Conservation, A Practical Guide to Evidence and Decision Making
2. Biodiversity breakthrough or time to stop global environmental meetings altogether?
3. The first casualty – do we really want a war with Mother Nature?
4. The Anti-Shark Exhibit at the Australian Museum
5. Normalise the ‘wanting to quit’ feels in academia
6. Towards a transformative governance of the Amazon
7. Assessing the impact of referred actions on protected matters under Australia’s national environmental legislation


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1. Transforming Conservation, A Practical Guide to Evidence and Decision Making
Edited by William Sutherland, Open Book Publishers
Free to read online or download pdf or buy hard copy.
There are severe problems with the decision-making processes currently widely used, leading to ineffective use of evidence, faulty decisions, wasting of resources and the erosion of public and political support. In this book an international team of experts provide solutions.

Transforming Conservation: A Practical Guide to Evidence and Decision Making | Open Book Publishers

And see Bill Sutherland’s blog on the book and evidence based decision making here
Transforming Conservation: A Practical Guide to Evidence and Decision Making (wordpress.com)

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2. Biodiversity breakthrough or time to stop global environmental meetings altogether?

The big biodiversity conference in Montreal from 7-19 December was described as the event that will decide on the ‘fate of the entire living world’. Its outcome to protect 30% of the planet by 2030 is regarded by some as ‘historic’, but in reality promotes more business-as-usual. Have global environmental meetings reached the end of their usefulness? Or is hanging on to them worth it in the face of worsening environmental crises?

Biodiversity breakthrough or time to stop global environmental meetings altogether? – Undisciplined Environments

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3. The first casualty – do we really want a war with Mother Nature?

Our world is sinking; climate disruption is unpicking the very fabric of humanity’s identity; our belief in a future with certainty is withering. In response, people are calling for action, big action, revolutionary responses as only occur in a time of war, and the calls are growing more strident and desperate. But be careful about what you wish for. In war, society’s norms are thrown out the window. Truth is no longer regulated by our institutions, chaos reigns.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2023/01/17/the-first-casualty-do-we-really-want-a-war-with-mother-nature/

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4. The Anti-Shark Exhibit at the Australian Museum

“Never before have I seen a shark exhibit do so much damage to so many sharks in so casual a manner. The public is misinformed by this show, which is wrapped in pseudo-science from actual scientists. The flaws are many, but the fact is that the Australian Museum has put together one of the scariest exhibits on sharks in the past 20 years.”
Chris Pepin-Neff

https://pepin-neff.medium.com/review-the-anti-shark-exhibit-at-the-australian-museum-7572c217c14

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5. Normalise the ‘wanting to quit’ feels in academia

Manu Saunders: “We don’t talk enough about thinking about quitting academia. We tend to focus on the two extremes, the success stories in academia vs the reasons many people quit. But what about the more common middle ground?”

Normalise the ‘wanting to quit’ feels in academia – Ecology is not a dirty word

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6. Towards a transformative governance of the Amazon
Joana Castro Pereira & João Terrenas, Global Policy

The crises of the Anthropocene can neither be confronted incrementally nor through short-term, reductionist strategies. As the risk of severe, irreversible socioecological damage increases, transformative change towards achieving long-term sustainability becomes ever-pressing. Against this backdrop, we explore how transformative governance can help strengthen ecosystem resilience, empower vulnerable communities and ensure sustainable development in the Amazon. The article starts by briefly reviewing the concept of transformative governance, arguing that it provides an adequate framework for thinking about and responding to the challenges of the Anthropocene. It then looks at how extant governance practices are destroying and fragmenting the Amazon, eroding the resilience of regional ecosystems. It proceeds by investigating how the Andes–Amazon–Atlantic Corridor, a transnational project aligned with the normative commitments and operational principles of transformative governance, aimed at protecting, restoring and building socioecological connectivity in the region, can offer an alternative pathway for Amazonian development in the new geological epoch.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1758-5899.13163

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7. Assessing the impact of referred actions on protected matters under Australia’s national environmental legislation

The authors examine the vegetation loss that is referred to the Australian Government under the EPBC Act for consideration. They compared the threatened species, migratory species and ecological community habitat loss that occurs under “controlled action” and “not controlled action” determinations. Contrary to expectations, no significant difference could be found between the amount of habitat removed on average under the two referral types, after applying an index that considers the number of species impacted and the proportion of their ranges. The work highlights the importance of considering cumulative impacts and the need for quantitative thresholds when determining if a significant impact is likely.

https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/csp2.12860

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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 ARC 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 press the follow button.

David Salt
and you can follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt or the Global Water Forum on @GWFWater

Dbytes #555 (22 December 2022)

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


“Through examining the drivers of biodiversity loss in highly biodiverse countries, we show that it is not population driving the loss of habitats, but rather the growth of commodities for export, particularly soybean and oil-palm, primarily for livestock feed or biofuel consumption in higher income economies. Thus, inequitable consumption drives global biodiversity loss, whilst population is used to scapegoat responsibility.”
Hughes et al, 2023 [see item 2]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Threat-abatement framework confirms habitat retention and invasive species management are critical to conserve Australia’s threatened species
2. Smaller human populations are neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for biodiversity conservation
3. Fusion energy, if you look too close… you’ll go blind – miracle technology or miserable mirage?
4. Nature tech: the next big green finance growth area
5. Australia’s carbon sequestration potential
6. Australian Government has joined the Sustainable Critical Minerals Alliance
7. The consumer experience of green claims in Australia

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1. Threat-abatement framework confirms habitat retention and invasive species management are critical to conserve Australia’s threatened species

Threat classifications need complementary conservation responses to inform action. We develop a threat-abatement framework and apply it to Australian threatened species. The most important conservation action in Australia is to retain and restore habitat. Control of invasive species/diseases and improved fire management are also important. Greater emphasis on conservation responses is needed to redress the extinction crisis.

Threat-abatement framework confirms habitat retention and invasive species management are critical to conserve Australia’s threatened species – ScienceDirect

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2. Smaller human populations are neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for biodiversity conservation

Population is often mistakenly blamed as the main driver of biodiversity loss. However such arguments actually mis-apportion blame and hinder progress. Consumption patterns, largely from developed economies is a major driver of biodiversity loss. Maintaining global biodiversity will require reducing imported impacts. Sustainable supply chains and diets are crucial to counter current trends.

Smaller human populations are neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for biodiversity conservation – ScienceDirect

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3. Fusion energy, if you look too close… you’ll go blind – miracle technology or miserable mirage?

Even if fusion power was a reality in 20 years, it is not a solution we should be prioritizing. Climate disruption is with us today and already tearing apart the fabric of our society. We don’t have 20 years; we need to transition away from carbon-intensive energy now. To prioritize the ultra-expensive, highly risky idea of fusion energy as our salvation is really just one more form of climate denialism – we don’t need to change our ways because tomorrow’s technology will save us, so keep on consuming and polluting.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/12/21/fusion-energy-if-you-look-too-close-youll-go-blind-miracle-technology-or-miserable-mirage/

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4. Nature tech: the next big green finance growth area

Research tells us that nature can be one third of the climate solution required by 2030, if we are to meet the Paris Agreement goals. It is scalable, affordable and available now. Nature-based solutions (NbS) include green roofs, rain gardens, or constructed wetlands. They can minimize damaging runoff by absorbing stormwater, reducing flood risks and protecting fresh water supplies. Nature based solutions also include regenerative agriculture, tree planting, protecting forests and mangroves and seagrass, in fact any use of natural features and processes that help to tackle social and environmental challenges.

Nature tech: the next big green finance growth area – The Fifth Estate

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5. Australia’s carbon sequestration potential

An assessment of 12 carbon sequestration technologies for capturing and storing carbon dioxide and the role they could play in Australia’s decarbonisation pathway. The report, prepared for the Climate Change Authority (Authority) and Clean Energy Regulator, found that nature-based approaches such as permanent plantings, plantation and farm forestry, and soil carbon have considerable sequestration potential. Engineered technologies such as mineral carbonation and direct air capture, which will become increasingly important for drawing down atmospheric carbon, have significant potential but high costs and require further research and development. The report will inform the Authority’s advice to government on the role of carbon sequestration in supporting increasingly ambitious emissions reduction targets.

New CSIRO report assesses Australia’s carbon sequestration potential – CSIRO

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6. Australian Government has joined the Sustainable Critical Minerals Alliance

The Australian Government has joined the Sustainable Critical Minerals Alliance to promote sustainable mining and supply chain practices through environmental, social and governance standards as countries transition to net zero. The Alliance is led by Canada, with other founding members including France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. The voluntary alliance commits members to developing critical minerals industries that are nature-positive, support and respect local and Indigenous communities, restore ecosystems, build a circular economy, and foster ethical corporate practices.

Australia joins global commitment to ESG for critical minerals | Ministers for the Department of Industry, Science and Resources

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7. The consumer experience of green claims in Australia

At least half of Australian consumers are worried that claims about the green or sustainability features of a product are not true, according to a new report by the Consumer Policy Research Centre called “The consumer experience of green claims in Australia”. The report investigated the kind of green claims used, how often consumers see such claims, and their influence on consumers’ purchase decisions. Research found a sample of 122 green claims observed within 24 hours found that only 39 claims (31 per cent) had supporting evidence or verification. Nearly half of consumers said they would stop buying from a business found to have engaged in greenwashing.

The consumer experience of green claims in Australia – CPRC

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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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #553 (6 December 2022)

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


“There are three times as many threatened species on the edges of our suburbs compared to rural areas, so they are disproportionately important areas. There’s less than 1 per cent of the Victorian Volcanic Plains grasslands left, Sydney’s biodiverse Cumberland Plains Woodland is disappearing and in Greater Brisbane, 98 per cent of vegetation is threatened and expansion there just continues unabated.”
Sarah Bekessy [see item 5]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Finalising the post-2020 global biodiversity framework at COP15: a quick guide
2. Towards conservation and recovery of Victoria’s biodiversity – a report for changemakers
3. The fifth and final transformation: Restoring trust in decision-making
4. Mapping the planet’s critical natural assets
5. Will Australia’s cities continue to expand indefinitely?
6. Last week, a NSW court jailed me for 15 months for a peaceful climate protest. Hear my story
7. It’s natural to want to feed wildlife after disasters. But it may not help
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1. Finalising the post-2020 global biodiversity framework at COP15: a quick guide

This excellent briefing, prepared by the Parliamentary Library, is what is offered to the pollies as a backgrounder on this process.

“At Part Two of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to be held in Montreal, Canada, from 7 to 19 December 2022, Parties will seek to finalise the 10-year post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF).”

8907660.pdf (aph.gov.au)

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2. Towards conservation and recovery of Victoria’s biodiversity – a report for changemakers

This report and position paper from the Royal Society of Victoria (RSV) is released in the context of a new post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework being negotiated under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. The framework will define targets and pathways for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity for the next decade and beyond. Since early 2019, consultation workshops and meetings involving all stakeholders have been organised at the national, regional, and global levels before its planned adoption at the resumed session of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15), scheduled for 7–19 December 2022 in Montreal, Canada.

Towards Conservation & Recovery of Victoria’s Biodiversity – Report for Changemakers – The Royal Society of Victoria (rsv.org.au)

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3. The fifth and final transformation: Restoring trust in decision-making

One of the main findings of the Samuel Review of the EPBC Act was that it was not trusted, either by business nor by the wider community. Restoring trust requires a fundamental shift from process-based decision-making to outcome-based decisions. This requires standards supported by regional plans and stronger institutions, including information systems and compliance regimes. At the end of the day, people will only trust environmental laws that truly protect and conserve the environment.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/12/05/the-fifth-and-final-transformation-restoring-trust-in-decision-making/

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4. Mapping the planet’s critical natural assets

Sustaining the organisms, ecosystems and processes that underpin human wellbeing is necessary to achieve sustainable development. Here we define critical natural assets as the natural and semi-natural ecosystems that provide 90% of the total current magnitude of 14 types of nature’s contributions to people (NCP), and we map the global locations of these critical natural assets at 2 km resolution. Critical natural assets for maintaining local-scale NCP (12 of the 14 NCP) account for 30% of total global land area and 24% of national territorial waters, while 44% of land area is required to also maintain two global-scale NCP (carbon storage and moisture recycling). These areas overlap substantially with cultural diversity (areas containing 96% of global languages) and biodiversity (covering area requirements for 73% of birds and 66% of mammals). At least 87% of the world’s population live in the areas benefitting from critical natural assets for local-scale NCP, while only 16% live on the lands containing these assets. Many of the NCP mapped here are left out of international agreements focused on conserving species or mitigating climate change, yet this analysis shows that explicitly prioritizing critical natural assets and the NCP they provide could simultaneously advance development, climate and conservation goals.

Mapping the planet’s critical natural assets | Nature Ecology & Evolution

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5. Will Australia’s cities continue to expand indefinitely?

As Australia’s cities continue to grow outwards, the frictions between urban expansion and the encroachment upon native bushland and the environment have perhaps never been so precariously.

https://www.apimagazine.com.au/news/article/will-australias-cities-continue-to-expand-indefinitely

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6. Last week, a NSW court jailed me for 15 months for a peaceful climate protest. Hear my story

Violet Coco: “If you are reading this, then I have been sentenced to prison for peaceful environmental protest. I do not want to break the law. But when regular political procedure has proven incapable of enacting justice, it falls to ordinary people taking a stand to bring about change.”

Last week, a NSW court jailed me for 15 months for a peaceful climate protest. Hear my story – Pearls and Irritations (johnmenadue.com)

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7. It’s natural to want to feed wildlife after disasters. But it may not help

Think of the photos of thirsty koalas during the Black Summer fires, or the flood-hit mud-covered kangaroo. These images bring the hurt home to us in a way words can’t. It’s no surprise many of us have felt compelled to try and help these animals, offering food, water and shelter to try to help them survive. We celebrate when a flood-affected koala is returned to the wild. But it’s worth taking a look at whether our instinctive responses actually do what we hope. Unfortunately, there’s little scientific evidence these efforts help on a broad scale. It may help the animal in front of you – but the evidence is mixed on a species or ecosystem front. Sometimes, it can cause worse outcomes.

It’s natural to want to feed wildlife after disasters. But it may not help (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.
Or you could subscribe to the WordPress version by visiting https://ozdbytes.wordpress.com/ and press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #552 (30 November 2022)

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


“In the last 10 years, things have gone fundamentally awry. Rates of global hunger, numbers of migrants forced to move within countries and across borders, levels of political authoritarianism, violations of human rights and the occurrence of violent demonstrations and ongoing conflict — these measures of harm are all up, and in some cases by a lot. At the same time, the average human life expectancy dropped to 70.96 years in 2021, from an estimated 72.6 years in 2019, the first decline since the United Nations began tabulating such data in 1950.”
Thomas Homer Dixon [see item 2]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. National Ocean Accounts 2022
2. What Happens When a Cascade of Crises Collide?
3. Laying new foundations for environmental decisions: the fourth transformation
4. ‘Tangled mess of inaction’: hundreds of threatened species recovery plans expiring in next six months
5. Incorporating human behaviour into Earth system modelling
6. Community perceptions of carbon farming: A case study of the semi-arid Mulga Lands in Queensland, Australia
7. Scientists need help to save nature. With a smartphone and these 8 tips, we can get our kids on the case


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1. National Ocean Accounts 2022

Saltmarsh stored over 275 million tonnes of carbon in 2021, with carbon stores mostly held in the tropical regions of Queensland and the Northern Territory. This ecosystem has provided crucial protection services to over 150,000 people, safeguarding them from natural hazards such as storm surge associated flooding. With mangrove ecosystems also included, over 280,000 people are protected.
The publication [National Ocean Account] also highlighted the extent of saltmarsh and intertidal seagrass ecosystems, with approximately 388,000 hectares of intertidal seagrass existing across Australia in 2020.

Australia’s saltmarsh ecosystems provided protection to thousands | Australian Bureau of Statistics (abs.gov.au)

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2. What Happens When a Cascade of Crises Collide?

It seems as if the world is encountering a “perfect storm” of simultaneous crises: The coronavirus pandemic is approaching the end of its third year, the war in Ukraine is threatening to go nuclear, extreme climate events are afflicting North America, Europe, Asia and Africa, inflation is reaching rates unseen in decades and authoritarianism is on the march around the world. But the storm metaphor implies that this simultaneity is an unfortunate and temporary coincidence — that it’s humanity’s bad luck that everything seems to be going haywire all at once. In reality, the likelihood that the current mess is a coincidence is vanishingly small. We’re almost certainly confronting something far more persistent and dangerous. We can see the crises of the moment, but we’re substantially blind to the hidden processes by which those crises worsen one another — and to the true dangers that may be enveloping us all.

What Happens When a Cascade of Crises Collide? • Thomas Homer-Dixon (homerdixon.com)

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3. Laying new foundations for environmental decisions: the fourth transformation

The consequences of Australia’s long-term underfunding of our national environmental law, compounded in some cases by lack of political vision or will, are that many of the foundations of the current system of environmental protection and conservation provided for by the EPBC Act are either significantly under-done, or not done at all.

Although Tanya Plibersek has spoken +ve about implementing the Samuel reforms, there remains a significant risk that this government will repeat the mistake of the Howard government by enacting laws that are strong on paper but weak in practice.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/11/30/laying-new-foundations-for-environmental-decisions-the-fourth-transformation/

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4. ‘Tangled mess of inaction’: hundreds of threatened species recovery plans expiring in next six months

Hundreds of plans for the recovery of threatened species will reach their use-by date in the next six months as the government considers how to reform Australia’s flawed system of environmental protections. Documents released to Guardian Australia under freedom of information laws detail how underresourcing, disagreement with state governments, and the growing list of species threatened with extinction have constrained the federal environment department’s ability to get on top of a backlog of conservation work. Environment groups said the material showed a “tangled mess of inaction” over the past decade and failure by past governments to update recovery plans every five years as required under national laws.

‘Tangled mess of inaction’: hundreds of threatened species recovery plans expiring in next six months | Endangered species | The Guardian

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5. Incorporating human behaviour into Earth system modelling

Climate change and other challenges to the stability and functioning of natural and managed environmental systems are driven by increasing anthropogenic domination of the Earth. Models to forecast the trajectory of climate change and to identify pathways to sustainability require representation of human behaviour and its feedbacks with the climate system. Social climate models (SCMs) are an emerging class of models that embed human behaviour in climate models. We survey existing SCMs and make recommendations for how to integrate models of human behaviour and climate. We suggest a framework for representing human behaviour that consists of cognition, contagion and a behavioural response. Cognition represents the human processing of information around climate change; contagion represents the spread of information, beliefs and behaviour through social networks; and response is the resultant behaviour or action. This framework allows for biases, habituation and other cognitive processes that shape human perception of climate change as well as the influence of social norms, social learning and other social processes on the spread of information and factors that shape decision-making and behaviour. SCMs move beyond the inclusion of human activities in climate models to the representation of human behaviour that determines the magnitude, sign and character of these activities. The development of SCMs is a challenging but important next step in the evolution of Earth system models.

Incorporating human behaviour into Earth system modelling | Nature Human Behaviour

-~<>~-

6. Community perceptions of carbon farming: A case study of the semi-arid Mulga Lands in Queensland, Australia

Carbon farming can provide economic benefits to rural landholders. Economic incentives motivated adoption in the Mulga lands, despite community concerns. A mismatch in normative expectations and carbon farming has led to negative community impacts. There is mistrust and uncertainty around carbon farming in the Mulga Lands. Policy and planning should seek to manage carbon farming land use transitions.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0743016722002479?via%3Dihub

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7. Scientists need help to save nature. With a smartphone and these 8 tips, we can get our kids on the case

Citizen science is touted as a way for the general public to contribute to producing new knowledge. But citizen science volunteers don’t always represent a broad cross-section of society. Rather, they’re often white, male, middle-aged, educated and already interested in science. This lack of representation has several problems. It can undermine the potential of citizen science to bridge the divide between lay people and experts. It also means fewer people benefit from the chance to advance their informal science education and gain valuable life skills.

https://theconversation.com/scientists-need-help-to-save-nature-with-a-smartphone-and-these-8-tips-we-can-get-our-kids-on-the-case-192622

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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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #551 (23 November 2022)

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


“These researchers say that we should be studying both the science and the governance of solar geoengineering, with a focus on two questions: what would happen if we put particles into the stratosphere, and who would make the call?”
Bill McKibben [see item 3]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Flaws in Australia’s carbon credits schemes undermine transparency, new report finds
2. A connection with tomorrow’s citizens – calling for a Ministry for the Future
3. Dimming the Sun to Cool the Planet Is a Desperate Idea, Yet We’re Inching Toward It
4. BOM and the CSIRO State of the Climate 2022 report shows warming trends continue
5. The role of incentive mechanisms in promoting forest restoration
6. A toolkit for understanding and addressing climate scepticism
7. COP27: one big breakthrough but ultimately an inadequate response to the climate crisis

-~<>~-

1. Flaws in Australia’s carbon credits schemes undermine transparency, new report finds

Criticisms raised by a whistleblower who called Australia’s carbon credits “largely a sham” have been supported in a new report commissioned by the Albanese government. The study by the Australian Academy of Science, requested by the independent Chubb review, examined strengths and limitations of four methods used to generate Australian carbon credit units by reducing or avoiding emissions.

Flaws in Australia’s carbon credits schemes undermine transparency, new report finds | Australia news | The Guardian

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2. A connection with tomorrow’s citizens – calling for a Ministry for the Future

The boldest and most fundamental change being proposed in the book The Ministry for the Future is a combination of economics, technology and innovations in governance that, when combined, gave reason for people to invest in their future. For surely, that is the real challenge of our times. It seems unprecedented climate disruption, with the certain prospect of greater disruption with every passing year, is not enough for us to make this important shift.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/11/23/a-connection-with-tomorrows-citizens-calling-for-a-ministry-for-the-future/

-~<>~-

3. Dimming the Sun to Cool the Planet Is a Desperate Idea, Yet We’re Inching Toward It

The scientists who study solar geoengineering don’t want anyone to try it. But climate inaction is making it more likely.

Dimming the Sun to Cool the Planet Is a Desperate Idea, Yet We’re Inching Toward It | The New Yorker

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4. BOM and the CSIRO State of the Climate 2022 report shows warming trends continue

National and global temperatures continue to rise despite the COVID-induced blip in emissions. Australia’s climate has now warmed by about 1.5 degrees Celsius since national records began in 1910. There has been abundant rain in the south-east this year but long-term trends towards wet season drying in southern Australia remain.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-11-23/state-of-the-climate-report-2022-bom-csiro/101683628

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5. The role of incentive mechanisms in promoting forest restoration

The authors conducted a systematic literature review to investigate how incentive mechanisms are used to promote forest restoration, outcomes, and the biophysical and socio-economic factors that influence implementation and program success. They found that socio-economic factors such as governance, monitoring systems and the experience and beliefs of participants dominate whether or not an incentive mechanism is successful. They found further that approximately half of the studies report both positive ecological and socio-economic outcomes. However, reported adverse outcomes were more commonly socio-economic than ecological. The results reveal that achieving forest restoration at a sufficient scale to meet international commitments will require stronger assessment and management of socioeconomic factors that enable or constrain the success of incentive mechanisms.

The role of incentive mechanisms in promoting forest restoration | Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (royalsocietypublishing.org)

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6. A toolkit for understanding and addressing climate scepticism

Despite over 50 years of messaging about the reality of human-caused climate change, substantial portions of the population remain sceptical. Furthermore, many sceptics remain unmoved by standard science communication strategies, such as myth busting and evidence building. To understand this, we examine psychological and structural reasons why climate change misinformation is prevalent. First, we review research on motivated reasoning: how interpretations of climate science are shaped by vested interests and ideologies. Second, we examine climate scepticism as a form of political followership. Third, we examine infrastructures of disinformation: the funding, lobbying and political operatives that lend climate scepticism its power. Guiding this Review are two principles: (1) to understand scepticism, one must account for the interplay between individual psychologies and structural forces; and (2) global data are required to understand this global problem. In the spirit of optimism, we finish by describing six strategies for reducing the destructive influence of climate scepticism.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-022-01463-y

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7. COP27: one big breakthrough but ultimately an inadequate response to the climate crisis

For 30 years, developing nations have fought to establish an international fund to pay for the “loss and damage” they suffer as a result of climate change. As the COP27 climate summit in Egypt wrapped up over the weekend, they finally succeeded. While it’s a historic moment, the agreement of loss and damage financing left many details yet to be sorted out. What’s more, many critics have lamented the overall outcome of COP27, saying it falls well short of a sufficient response to the climate crisis.

https://theconversation.com/cop27-one-big-breakthrough-but-ultimately-an-inadequate-response-to-the-climate-crisis-194056

-~<>~-

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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #550 (16 November 2022)

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


“the G-20 allocated $3.2 trillion in fossil-fuel support over 2016-20. This quite substantial sum distorted prices, encouraged potentially wasteful use and production of fossil fuels, and resulted in investment into long-lived, emission-intensive equipment and infrastructure”
Climate Policy Factbook: COP27 Edition, Bloomberg NEF


In this issue of Dbytes

1. You are now one of 8 billion humans alive today. Let’s talk overpopulation – and why low income countries aren’t the issue
2. It’s ‘business as usual’, but at least there actually is plenty of business – Senate Budget Estimates November 2022
3. State of the Cryosphere 2022
4. Wins and missed opportunities from the Federal Budget 2022/23
5. As the planet warms, risks of geoengineering the climate mount
6. Ten Essential Climate Science Insights for 2022 presented at COP27 [from the WMO]
7. Climate of the nation 2022

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1. You are now one of 8 billion humans alive today. Let’s talk overpopulation – and why low income countries aren’t the issue

Today is the Day of Eight Billion, according to the United Nations. That’s an incredible number of humans, considering our population was around 2.5 billion in 1950. Watching our numbers tick over milestones can provoke anxiety. Do we have enough food? What does this mean for nature? Are more humans a catastrophe for climate change? The answers are counterintuitive. Because rich countries use vastly more resources and energy, greening and reducing consumption in these countries is more effective and equitable than calling for population control in low income nations. Fertility rates in most of the world have fallen sharply. As countries get richer, they tend to have fewer children. We can choose to adequately and equitably feed a population of 10 billion by 2050 – even as we reduce or eliminate global greenhouse gas emissions and staunch biodiversity loss.

You are now one of 8 billion humans alive today. Let’s talk overpopulation – and why low income countries aren’t the issue (theconversation.com)

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2. It’s ‘business as usual’, but at least there actually is plenty of business – Senate Budget Estimates November 2022

Australia’s environment department has been run down over the past decade. This month’s Estimate hearings reveals that the new Labor Government is putting extra resources towards environmental management. What does that mean? In terms of Indigenous heritage protection it’s a rare example of good news in the environment portfolio. In terms of biodiversity, the new government has made a small down payment, but on a veritable mountain of environmental debt.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/11/16/its-business-as-usual-but-at-least-there-actually-is-plenty-of-business/

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3. State of the Cryosphere 2022

“We cannot negotiate with the melting point of ice.”
The complete loss of Arctic summer sea-ice is now inevitable, even in the lowest emission pathways that see temperatures peaking at 1.6oC

State of the Cryosphere Report 2022 – ICCI – International Cryosphere Climate Initiative (iccinet.org)

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4. Wins and missed opportunities from the Federal Budget 2022/23

Since the Federal Budget dropped in late October, ACF has been busy investigating how the Albanese Government’s first budget stacks up against its election campaign commitments. The good news is the federal budget has backed up some significant nature and climate commitments with the resources needed to deliver them. The bad news is there’s some big, missed opportunities including continuing publicly funded subsidies for gas and other fossil fuel corporations.

Wins and missed opportunities from the Federal Budget 2022/23 – Australian Conservation Foundation (acf.org.au)

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5. As the planet warms, risks of geoengineering the climate mount

Because a climate-disrupted future remains possible, another danger needs our attention. As the impacts of warming become more extreme, countries are more likely to turn to riskier measures to combat them, including geoengineering. Geoengineering can entail modifying local weather conditions (such as seeding clouds to change rainfall), removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (separating it out and storing it) or managing solar radiation (reducing the amount of sunlight that can get trapped as heat in the atmosphere). These options have been discussed in climate circles for many years—at various times considered a last resort, a moral hazard that could delay decarbonisation of economies, or generally a dystopian nightmare.

As the planet warms, risks of geoengineering the climate mount | The Strategist (aspistrategist.org.au)

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6. Ten Essential Climate Science Insights for 2022 presented at COP27 [from the WMO]

1. Questioning the myth of endless adaptation
2. Vulnerability hotspots cluster in ‘regions at risk’
3. New threats on the horizon from climate-health interactions
4. Climate mobility: From evidence to anticipatory action
5. Human security requires climate security
6. Sustainable land use is essential to meeting climate targets
7. Private sustainable finance practices are failing to catalyse deep transitions
8. Loss and Damage: The urgent planetary imperative
9. Inclusive decision-making for climate-resilient development
10. Breaking down structural barriers and unsustainable lock-ins

Ten Essential Climate Science Insights for 2022 presented at COP27 | World Meteorological Organization (wmo.int)

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7. Climate of the nation 2022

Tracking Australia’s attitudes towards climate change and energy

Climate of the nation 2022 (apo.org.au)

-~<>~-


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

Dbytes #549 (9 November 2022)

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


“So why, in the 45 years since, has there been so little action in response? Why do we condemn today’s children and future generations to live on a dangerous and hostile planet?…
…The answer, we argue, rests on a prevailing assumption organised by corporate and political elites: that endless economic growth fuelled by fossil energy is so fundamental and commonsensical it cannot be questioned.”
Christopher Wright et al,
The Conversation

In this issue of Dbytes

1. The Acclimatisation Society was driven by misguided ideals about ‘fixing nature’ in Australia
2. A resilient world is built on humility
3. Exceeding 1.5°C global warming could trigger multiple climate tipping points
4. WMO and WHO launch ClimaHealth portal
5. Academia on social media
6. Unfinished business: Market-based instruments under the Alberta Land Stewardship Act
7. ‘8 Billion Day’ is on 15 November 2022: Briefing Note

-~<>~-

1. The Acclimatisation Society was driven by misguided ideals about ‘fixing nature’ in Australia

his year’s State of the Environment report showed there are now more foreign plant species in Australia than native ones. Worse, the number of threatened animals has risen eight per cent since 2016, the report said, with more extinctions expected. So how did Australia get here? Climate change and habitat loss have played a huge role in the problem. So have invasive species. Closely connected to their proliferation in Australia is a group called the Acclimatisation Society.It was a gathering of white settlers who wanted nature’s bounty to thrive in Australia.The problem is it did. Far too much.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-11-04/acclimatisation-society-introduced-species-history-listen/101588262

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2. A resilient world is built on humility

A resilient world would acknowledge our dependence on the ecosystems that support us, allow us to appreciate the limits of our mastery, accept we have much to learn, and ensure our people are well educated about resilience and our interconnection with the biosphere.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/11/08/a-resilient-world-is-built-on-humility/

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3. Exceeding 1.5°C global warming could trigger multiple climate tipping points

Climate tipping points are conditions beyond which changes in a part of the climate system become self-perpetuating. These changes may lead to abrupt, irreversible, and dangerous impacts with serious implications for humanity. Armstrong McKay et al. present an updated assessment of the most important climate tipping elements and their potential tipping points, including their temperature thresholds, time scales, and impacts. Their analysis indicates that even global warming of 1°C, a threshold that we already have passed, puts us at risk by triggering some tipping points. This finding provides a compelling reason to limit additional warming as much as possible.

Exceeding 1.5°C global warming could trigger multiple climate tipping points | Science

-~<>~-

4. WMO and WHO launch ClimaHealth portal

The first global knowledge platform dedicated to climate and health – ClimaHealth.info – has been launched by the World Meteorological Organization and World Health Organization Joint Office on climate and health, with support from the Wellcome Trust. It is in response to growing calls for actionable information to protect people from the health risks of climate change and other environmental hazards. Climate and health are inextricably linked. Climate change, extreme weather events and environmental degradation have a fundamental impact on human health and well-being. More people than ever before are exposed to increased risk, from poor water and air quality to infectious disease transmission to heat stress.

WMO and WHO launch ClimaHealth portal | World Meteorological Organization

-~<>~-

5. Academia on social media

“Twitter is different. It is outward facing and hyper connected – whenever I felt alone or excluded in my local discipline or institutional networks, I always felt welcomed and connected on Twitter. It helped me grow my blog audience, found me new collaborators and new ideas. It kept me up to date with local and global news and events. I’m an ecologist, but I’m also a person, and Twitter kept me connected with all the communities that I felt connected to, however indirectly – academic twitter, ecology twitter, ag twitter, landcare twitter, insect twitter, nature twitter, Australian twitter, climate twitter, conservation twitter, journalism twitter, writing twitter, politics twitter, history twitter, the list goes on… I feel really sad to see what is happening…I never thought I’d be so emotionally invested in a social media platform!”

Academia on social media – Ecology is not a dirty word

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6. Unfinished business: Market-based instruments under the Alberta Land Stewardship Act

In the first decade of the twenty-first century the Canadian province of Alberta was enjoying vigorous economic and demographic growth. To address concerns with cumulative impacts on the landscape and rising user conflicts the provincial government introduced a policy that articulated the need for regional planning and the greater use of market-based instruments to incent land stewardship. This was followed by enabling legislation called the Alberta Land Stewardship Act (ALSA). The policy instruments of conservation easements, conservation offsets, and transfer of development credits were identified as being of special interest and were enabled by ALSA. We review the development of policy for each of these instruments subsequent to the legislation and suggest that implementation has faltered in marked departure from the initial enthusiasm for the policy direction.

Unfinished business: Market-based instruments under the Alberta Land Stewardship Act – ScienceDirect

-~<>~-

7. ‘8 Billion Day’ is on 15 November 2022: Briefing Note

The United Nations predicts 15 November 2022 to be the day that the world population reaches eight billion. To mark this important milestone and to aid well-informed discussion, Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) has released a new Briefing Note: “8 Billion Day facts and myths”

https://population.org.au/media-releases/8-billion-day-briefing-note/?twclid=2-6u0juf07v2zamayx0s636b0df

-~<>~-

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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #548 (2 November 2022)

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


“In the market for biodiversity offset credits, the prices that buyers are willing to pay are not determined by how much the community cares about protecting or enhancing biodiversity. Instead, they are determined by how much money developers can make from their developments. There could be a big gap between the two.”
David Pannell [see item 1]


1. Biodiversity offset prices and biodiversity values
2. Drivers of global mangrove loss and gain in social-ecological systems
3. Simplicity, harmony and the third transformation of Australia’s environmental law
4. A War Over Feral Horses Has Descended Into Bomb Threats and Right-Wing Conspiracies
5. The government hopes private investors will help save nature. Here’s how its scheme could fail
6. Welcome to the world of the polycrisis
7. Fears of mass predator attacks for Mary River’s endangered ‘bum-breathing’ turtle

-~<>~-

1. Biodiversity offset prices and biodiversity values

Increasingly, governments require developers to buy credits to offset any losses of biodiversity caused by their developments. In some cases, biodiversity offset credits  can be traded in specially created markets. As a result of trade in these credits, we end up with a price being attached to biodiversity. Does that mean that, in some sense, the price of a credit represents the value of biodiversity?

384. Biodiversity offset prices and biodiversity values – Pannell Discussions

-~<>~-

2. Drivers of global mangrove loss and gain in social-ecological systems

Mangrove forests store high amounts of carbon, protect communities from storms, and support fisheries and biodiversity. Approximately a third of mangrove cover has been lost around the world, mainly from human land-use impacts. Identifying priorities for mangrove conservation and restoration in coupled social-ecological systems is necessary to reverse mangrove loss. We reveal that global mangrove losses and gains over the past 20 years can be attributed to socioeconomic and biophysical factors. Access to markets is a strong driver of loss, but economic growth is no longer associated with loss, and can be compatible with mangrove gains. However, there are still hotspots of loss caused by conversion to aquaculture ponds and agriculture, often occurring in protected areas. We also found that community forestry is promoting mangrove gains. Investment in community or collaborative management of mangrove forests are promising strategies for regaining mangrove cover and enforcing protected areas.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-33962-x

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3. Simplicity, harmony and the third transformation of Australia’s environmental law

Proposals for regulatory streamlining, and for the alignment of federal and state environmental assessment laws have been floated at various times over the last 30 years. Graeme Samuel’s review recommended a harmonising of both environmental processes and outcomes between federal and state jurisdictions. To do this we need to: Develop national standards; build a risk-based decision-making system; accredit states to take most of the decisions.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/11/01/simplicity-harmony-and-the-third-transformation/

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4. A War Over Feral Horses Has Descended Into Bomb Threats and Right-Wing Conspiracies

Photos of dead horses riddled with bullets, alongside the remains of an aborted foal, have pushed a rural community to the brink of violence.

https://www.vice.com/en/article/v7vxa3/australian-feral-horses-culture-war?fbclid=IwAR3Un9tMVCZxkYS-1SjpKAcSQrHTXtmgBwA2zaMbi4BTpTWVeQ6jrUgQK8U

-~<>~-

5. The government hopes private investors will help save nature. Here’s how its scheme could fail

This week’s federal budget reiterated the government’s plan to establish a new scheme for encouraging private investment in conservation, called a biodiversity market (now, rebranded to a “nature repair” market). A biodiversity market would see landholders granted certificates for restoring or managing local habitats. Landholders could then sell these certificates to, for instance, businesses. But the effectiveness of such schemes overseas and in Australia can at best be described as mixed.

https://theconversation.com/the-government-hopes-private-investors-will-help-save-nature-heres-how-its-scheme-could-fail-193010

-~<>~-

6. Welcome to the world of the polycrisis

A problem becomes a crisis when it challenges our ability to cope and thus threatens our identity. In the polycrisis the shocks are disparate, but they interact so that the whole is even more overwhelming than the sum of the parts. At times one feels as if one is losing one’s sense of reality. Is the mighty Mississippi really running dry and threatening to cut off the farms of the Midwest from the world economy? Did the January 6 riots really threaten the US Capitol? Are we really on the point of uncoupling the economies of the west from China? Things that would once have seemed fanciful are now facts. 

https://www.ft.com/content/498398e7-11b1-494b-9cd3-6d669dc3de33

-~<>~-

7. Fears of mass predator attacks for Mary River’s endangered ‘bum-breathing’ turtle

Mary River turtles are an endangered species. Thousands of hatchlings have been saved on land. It is now feared they have perished under water due to a predator, possibly the fork-tailed catfish.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-10-31/endangered-mary-river-turtle-fears-thousands-perished/101586082

-~<>~-

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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #547 (26 October 2022)

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


“Our point isn’t that climate change is not happening – it’s here, it’s now and it’s global in its devastation. But, our research shows climate change shouldn’t be used as a “get out of jail free” card to excuse bad decision-making and poor planning decisions.”
Quentin Grafton et al (see item 1)


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Excessive water extractions, not climate change, are most to blame for the Darling River drying
2. Resilience – the good, the bad and the ugly
3. Four Common Problems In Environmental Social Research Undertaken by Natural Scientists
4. ‘Gut-wrenching and infuriating’: why Australia is the world leader in mammal extinctions, and what to do about it
5. Professionalisation and the spectacle of nature: Understanding changes in the visual imaginaries of private protected area organisations in Australia
6. Encouraging undergraduate ecology students into insect research
7. Megafauna extinctions produce idiosyncratic Anthropocene assemblages

-~<>~-

1. Excessive water extractions, not climate change, are most to blame for the Darling River drying

Our new research investigated the effects of climate change and water resource development on the Darling River over the past 40 years. We found much of the recent decline of river (stream) flow has not been because of climate change, but almost certainly a result of increased water extractions. This is important, because naming climate change as the primary culprit for drying rivers may let water managers, ministers and irrigation lobbyists off the hook for failing to effectively control water consumption.

https://globalwaterforum.org/2022/10/25/excessive-water-extractions-not-climate-change-are-most-to-blame-for-the-darling-river-drying/

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2. Resilience – the good, the bad and the ugly

Some people have accused resilience thinking of being somewhat vague. Others have even suggested that this is deliberate and even important when it comes to framing complexity. For all the value and insight that comes with resilience thinking, it has collected some unfortunate baggage along the way. It can be clunky when it comes to implementation, and our political and corporate leaders are quick to hide behind the notion of resilience as a way of shirking responsibility.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/10/25/resilience-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/

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3. Four Common Problems In Environmental Social Research Undertaken by Natural Scientists

Why do natural scientists continue to conduct and review environmental social science research without training and experience in the social sciences? Perhaps they have come to realize that many of the environmental challenges we face are, fundamentally, human problems. Perhaps they assume that asking people questions is easy, or their well-intentioned efforts are attempts to address the long-standing calls for better integration of the social and natural sciences (Heberlein 1988, Mascia et al. 2003, Metzger and Zare 1999). Whatever the reason, rather than working with social scientists, many natural scientists continue to “[step] over disciplinary boundaries to conduct attitude studies. And, this is a problem.” (p. 583; Heberlein 2012). The problem is that when researchers do not have adequate training, knowledge, and experience, their social scientific studies are often poorly designed, neglect vast bodies of social scientific knowledge, and are full of methodological flaws. Ultimately, these problems lead to misinterpretation of the results and unsubstantiated conclusions.

https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/70/1/13/5638891?login=false

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4. ‘Gut-wrenching and infuriating’: why Australia is the world leader in mammal extinctions, and what to do about it

In fewer than 250 years, the ravages of colonisation have eroded the evolutionary splendour forged in this continent’s relative isolation. Australia has suffered a horrific demise of arguably the world’s most remarkable mammal assemblage, around 87% of which is found nowhere else. Being an Australian native mammal is perilous. Thirty-eight native mammal species have been driven to extinction since colonisation and possibly seven subspecies.

https://theconversation.com/gut-wrenching-and-infuriating-why-australia-is-the-world-leader-in-mammal-extinctions-and-what-to-do-about-it-192173

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5. Professionalisation and the spectacle of nature: Understanding changes in the visual imaginaries of private protected area organisations in Australia

Imaginaries of protected areas as state-based fortresses have been challenged by expansion of the global nature conservation estate on non-government lands, notably in contexts such as Australia where neoliberal reform has been strong. Little is known about the implications of this change for the meanings, purposes and practices of nature conservation. Images are central to public understandings of nature conservation. We thus investigate the visual communication of environmental non-government organisations (ENGOs) involved in private protected areas in Australia, with particular focus on Bush Heritage Australia (BHA). We employ a three-part design encompassing quantitative and qualitative methods to study the visual imaginaries underlying nature conservation in BHA’s magazines and the web homepages of it and four other ENGOs over 2004–2020. We find that visual imaginaries changed across time, as ENGOs went through an organisational process of professionalisation comprising three dynamics: legitimising, marketising, and differentiating. An imaginary of dedicated Western volunteer groups protecting scenic wilderness was replaced by the spectacle of uplifting and intimate individual encounters with native nature. Amenable to working within rather than transforming dominant political-economic structures, the new imaginary empowers professional ENGOs and their partners as primary carers of nature. It advertises a mediated access to spectacular nature that promises positive emotions and redemption for environmental wrongs to financial supporters of ENGOs. These findings reveal the role of non-government actors under neoliberal conditions in the use of visual representations to shift the meanings, purposes and practices of nature conservation.

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/25148486221129418

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6. Encouraging undergraduate ecology students into insect research

A few recent conversations got me thinking about whether the way we teach undergraduate ecology is doing enough to attract students into research pathways relevant to insect conservation. I’m not talking about entomology, the specialised science of insects, which generally attracts students with specific interests and skills. I’m talking about training ecologists and environmental scientists who want to work on insect-related conservation problems.

Encouraging undergraduate ecology students into insect research – Ecology is not a dirty word

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7. Megafauna extinctions produce idiosyncratic Anthropocene assemblages

The “trophic downgrading of planet Earth” refers to the systematic decline of the world’s largest vertebrates. However, our understanding of why megafauna extinction risk varies through time and the importance of site- or species-specific factors remain unclear. Here, we unravel the unexpected variability in remaining terrestrial megafauna assemblages across 10 Southeast Asian tropical forests. Consistent with global trends, every landscape experienced Holocene and/or Anthropocene megafauna extirpations, and the four most disturbed landscapes experienced 2.5 times more extirpations than the six least disturbed landscapes. However, there were no consistent size- or guild-related trends, no two tropical forests had identical assemblages, and the abundance of four species showed positive relationships with forest degradation and humans. Our results suggest that the region’s megafauna assemblages are the product of a convoluted geoclimatic legacy interacting with modern disturbances and that some megafauna may persist in degraded tropical forests near settlements with sufficient poaching controls.

Megafauna extinctions produce idiosyncratic Anthropocene assemblages | Science Advances

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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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #546 (19 October 2022)

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


“the distribution of warming impacts from emitters is highly unequal: high-income, high-emitting countries have benefited themselves while harming low-income, low-emitting countries, emphasizing the inequities embedded in the causes and consequences of historical warming.”
Christopher Callahan & Justin Mankin, [see item 6]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. How good are we at changing behaviour for nature? 300,000 papers later here is what we found.
2. Bending the curve: Simple but massive conservation action leads to landscape-scale recovery of amphibians
3. Almost 70% of animal populations wiped out since 1970
4. Climate change: why we can’t rely on regrowing coastal habitats to offset carbon emissions
5. Taking Indigenous knowledge and values seriously: The second transformation of national environmental law
6. National attribution of historical climate damages
7. Good practice principles for ethical behavioural science in public policy


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1. How good are we at changing behaviour for nature? 300,000 papers later here is what we found.

When it comes to looking at changing actual behaviour to conserve the environment the evidence base is limited as most studies do not measure actual behaviour. There was evidence that education, prompts and feedback interventions can result in positive behaviour change, although the evidence is highly skewed towards high income countries.

How good are we at changing behaviour for nature? 300,000 papers later here is what we found – Please keep to the path

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2. Bending the curve: Simple but massive conservation action leads to landscape-scale recovery of amphibians

The global decline of amphibians is part of the global freshwater biodiversity crisis. In human-dominated landscapes, amphibian population declines are driven by multiple stressors. A better understanding of the benefits of conservation action can contribute to the halting and reversal of population declines. Our analysis of 20 y of monitoring data shows that the large-scale construction of hundreds of new ponds in northern Switzerland has halted or even reversed declining trends for the majority of amphibian species, including multiple Red-Listed species undergoing declines at the national level. This conservation success suggests that increasing habitat availability benefits threatened amphibian species despite the continued presence of stressors known to negatively affect populations.

https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.2123070119

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3. Almost 70% of animal populations wiped out since 1970

Huge scale of human-driven loss of species demands urgent action, say world’s leading scientists

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/13/almost-70-of-animal-populations-wiped-out-since-1970-report-reveals-aoe

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4. Climate change: why we can’t rely on regrowing coastal habitats to offset carbon emissions

Removing several hundred billion tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere is now considered necessary to avert the worst effects of climate change. Using nature to help achieve that goal, by allowing habitats to regenerate, would seem to offer a win-win solution for the environment and the climate.
We are researchers who study how marine life, chemistry and the climate interact, and after examining the processes by which coastal habitats draw down (and release) planet-warming gases, we’re not convinced. Whether the climate benefits from restoring these habitats – by planting mangrove trees, for example – is far from certain, and there’s a real risk that the scale at which they can mitigate emissions has been massively oversold.

Climate change: why we can’t rely on regrowing coastal habitats to offset carbon emissions (theconversation.com)

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5. Taking Indigenous knowledge and values seriously: The second transformation of national environmental law

These reforms are not just politically ambitious, but resource-intensive. The political passion the PM displayed on election night will need to extend to opening the national wallet!

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/10/18/taking-indigenous-knowledge-and-values-seriously-the-second-transformation-of-national-environmental-law/

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6. National attribution of historical climate damages

A new study in Climatic Change has found that the top five emitters globally (the United States, China, Russia, Brazil, and India) have collectively caused US$6 trillion in income losses from their contributions to anthropogenic warming since 1990. The study combined historical climate, economic and population data with climate models to conduct scenarios to represent a world with and without greenhouse gas emissions. The study concludes that the distribution of warming impacts from emitters is highly unequal, with the benefits associated with emissions not corresponding to local impact from those historical emissions. Quantifying and attributing the impacts from climate change informs claims for loss and damage.

National attribution of historical climate damages | SpringerLink

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7. Good practice principles for ethical behavioural science in public policy

For the past decade, behavioural science has been influencing public policy by applying principles of psychology, cognitive and social sciences, neuroscience and economics, to put individuals at the forefront of policy goals, and with an accurate rather than imagined understanding of human behaviour. Like any policy-making tool, the use of behavioural insights must be subject to ethical considerations that can arise at any point from scoping to policy scaling. This good practice guide offers practitioners and policy-makers step-by-step guidance to prompt deliberations into how to use behavioural science ethically for public policy. It is designed to be a practical resource to promote the responsible use of behavioural science in the public sector.

Good practice principles for ethical behavioural science in public policy (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). 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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #545 (12 October 2022)

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


“climate policies over the past decades have often targeted low-income and low-emitter groups disproportionately, while leaving high emitters relatively unaffected”
Lucas Chancel [see item 5]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Do you care about New Interventions in Global Ocean Hotspots?
2. Climate change and the threat to civilization
3. To be or not to be? It’s really a question about whether we adapt or transform
4. New ‘ethics guidance’ for top science journals aims to root out harmful research – but can it succeed?
5. Global carbon inequality over 1990–2019
6. Fire-related threats and transformational change in Australian ecosystems
7. Protected areas and the future of insect conservation


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1. Do you care about New Interventions in Global Ocean Hotspots?

Take part in a ~15min global survey on how new interventions in ChangingOceans are proposed, managed and governed.

Qualtrics Survey | Qualtrics Experience Management

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2. Climate change and the threat to civilization

Although a body of scientific research exists on historical and archeological cases of collapse, discussions of mechanisms whereby climate change might cause the collapse of current civilizations has mostly been the province of journalists, philosophers, novelists, and filmmakers. We believe that this should change.

Climate change and the threat to civilization | PNAS

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3. To be or not to be? It’s really a question about whether we adapt or transform

Transformation is about creating a new and different system. Transformation is enormously challenging as the existing system has a lot of inertia and sunk investment. Transformation is one of the most overused and abused terms in the realm of sustainability. For transformation to occur, resilience thinking says there are three important factors needed: to get beyond denial, to have optional systems to move towards, and to have the capacity to normalize these options.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/10/11/to-be-or-not-to-be-its-really-a-question-about-whether-we-adapt-or-transform/

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4. New ‘ethics guidance’ for top science journals aims to root out harmful research – but can it succeed?

The British journal Nature was founded in 1869 and is one of the world’s most influential and prestigious outlets for scientific research. Its publisher, Nature Portfolio (a subsidiary of the academic publishing giant Springer Nature), also publishes dozens of specialised journals under the Nature banner, covering almost every branch of science. In August, the company published new ethics guidance for researchers. The new guidance is part of Nature’s “attempt to acknowledge and learn from our troubled deep and recent past, understand the roots of injustice and work to address them as we aim to make the scientific enterprise open and welcoming to all”. An accompanying editorial argues the ethical responsibility of researchers should include people and groups “who do not participate in research but may be harmed by its publication”.

New ‘ethics guidance’ for top science journals aims to root out harmful research – but can it succeed? (theconversation.com)

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5. Global carbon inequality over 1990–2019

All humans contribute to climate change but not equally. Here I estimate the global inequality of individual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions between 1990 and 2019 using a newly assembled dataset of income and wealth inequality, environmental input-output tables and a framework differentiating emissions from consumption and investments. In my benchmark estimates, I find that the bottom 50% of the world population emitted 12% of global emissions in 2019, whereas the top 10% emitted 48% of the total. Since 1990, the bottom 50% of the world population has been responsible for only 16% of all emissions growth, whereas the top 1% has been responsible for 23% of the total. While per-capita emissions of the global top 1% increased since 1990, emissions from low- and middle-income groups within rich countries declined. Contrary to the situation in 1990, 63% of the global inequality in individual emissions is now due to a gap between low and high emitters within countries rather than between countries. Finally, the bulk of total emissions from the global top 1% of the world population comes from their investments rather than from their consumption. These findings have implications for contemporary debates on fair climate policies and stress the need for governments to develop better data on individual emissions to monitor progress towards sustainable lifestyles.

Global carbon inequality over 1990–2019 | Nature Sustainability

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6. Fire-related threats and transformational change in Australian ecosystems

Most impacts of the 2019–2020 fires on ecosystems became apparent only when they were placed in the context of the whole fire regime and its interactions with other threatening processes, and were not direct consequences of the megafire event itself. Our mechanistic approach enables ecosystem-specific management responses for the most threatened ecosystem types to be targeted at underlying causes of degradation and decline.

Fire‐related threats and transformational change in Australian ecosystems – Keith – 2022 – Global Ecology and Biogeography – Wiley Online Library

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7. Protected areas and the future of insect conservation

Although protected areas (PAs) play a prominent role in safeguarding many vertebrate species from human-induced threats, insects are not widely considered when designing PA systems or building strategies for PA management. We review the effectiveness of PAs for insect conservation and find substantial taxonomic and geographic gaps in knowledge. Most research focuses on the representation of species, and few studies assess threats to insects or the role that effective PA management can play in insect conservation. We propose a four-step research agenda to help ensure that insects are central in efforts to expand the global PA network under the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

Protected areas and the future of insect conservation – 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). 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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #544 (5 October 2022)

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


“Our current approach has not been working. If we keep doing what we’ve been doing, we’ll keep getting the same results. Australia is the mammal extinction capital of the world.”
Minister for the Environment, Tanya Plibersek, on the announcement of their new threatened species plan, Threatened Species Action Plan: Toward Zero Extinctions


In this issue of Dbytes

1. State of the World’s Birds 2022
2. Getting results: the first transformation of our national environmental law starts with ‘standards’
3. More than half of data deficient species predicted to be threatened by extinction
4. Falling short: Australia’s role in funding fairer climate action in a warming world
5. Challenges to understanding and managing cultural ecosystem services in the global South
6. Why should we trust science? Because it doesn’t trust itself
7. DNA reference library a game-changer for environmental monitoring

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1. State of the World’s Birds 2022

This fifth edition of BirdLife’s flagship State of the World’s Birds report summarises what birds, as barometers for planetary health, can tell us about the state of nature, the pressures upon it, and the solutions in place and needed. The data paint a deeply concerning picture – nearly half of all bird species are in decline, with more than one in eight at risk of extinction. The pressures causing these declines are well understood, and the vast majority are driven by human actions. The challenges to conservation are escalating, and time is running out. The coming years will be the ‘critical decade’ to act.

https://www.birdlife.org/papers-reports/state-of-the-worlds-birds-2022/

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2. Getting results: the first transformation of our national environmental law starts with ‘standards’

Having National Environmental Standards would be truly transformative for environmental decision-making, as long as we get the detail right.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/10/05/getting-results-the-first-transformation-of-our-national-environmental-law-starts-with-standards/

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3. More than half of data deficient species predicted to be threatened by extinction

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is essential for practical and theoretical efforts to protect biodiversity. However, species classified as “Data Deficient” (DD) regularly mislead practitioners due to their uncertain extinction risk. Here we present machine learning-derived probabilities of being threatened by extinction for 7699 DD species, comprising 17% of the entire IUCN spatial datasets. Our predictions suggest that DD species as a group may in fact be more threatened than data-sufficient species. We found that 85% of DD amphibians are likely to be threatened by extinction, as well as more than half of DD species in many other taxonomic groups, such as mammals and reptiles. Consequently, our predictions indicate that, amongst others, the conservation relevance of biodiversity hotspots in South America may be boosted by up to 20% if DD species were acknowledged. The predicted probabilities for DD species are highly variable across taxa and regions, implying current Red List-derived indices and priorities may be biased.

More than half of data deficient species predicted to be threatened by extinction | Communications Biology (nature.com)

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4. Falling short: Australia’s role in funding fairer climate action in a warming world

Communities across the world are facing a climate emergency, and it is those least responsible for causing the crisis who are being hit hardest. Across the Pacific region, communities are grappling with the daily realities of a heating planet – more severe cyclones, rising food and water insecurity, and biodiversity loss – alongside the existential threat of rising sea levels. Growing climate impacts threaten the security of their islands, their economies and livelihoods, and their culture and community. Australia is also experiencing the devastating consequences of climate change. However, we have more resources to draw from to rebuild and recover. We have also contributed significantly towards causing the climate crisis, which means we have a moral duty to support low-income countries to respond to worsening climate impacts.

Falling short: Australia’s role in funding fairer climate action in a warming world (apo.org.au)

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5. Challenges to understanding and managing cultural ecosystem services in the global South

Cultural ecosystem services (CES) have been proposed as the “intangible and non-material benefits that people enjoy from ecosystems”, and the literature has been expanding on how CES are defined, identified, valued, and incorporated into policy. However, the literature on CES has a strong geographical bias toward Europe and North America. In this Special Feature, authors examine how and in what ways CES concepts and frameworks have applicability in diverse developing country settings, and the particular challenges that CES approaches face. By looking at CES across different contexts in the global South, the articles emphasize the usefulness of a range of methodologies for eliciting and valuing CES; the importance of CES for a variety of people, including urban dwellers and Indigenous peoples; and the need for more practices and programs for ecosystem management that incorporate CES. Overall, the articles in this Special Feature show that research focusing on the global South can make positive contributions to the growing CES literature by drawing attention to key challenges such as power and inequality in access to CES, pressures from social and environmental change on CES, and the importance of relational and other culturally diverse values elicited through appropriate methodologies.

Ecology & Society (ecologyandsociety.org)

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6. Why should we trust science? Because it doesn’t trust itself

Many of us accept science is a reliable guide to what we ought to believe – but not all of us do. Mistrust of science has led to scepticism around several important issues, from climate change denial to vaccine hesitancy during the COVID pandemic. And while most of us may be inclined to dismiss such scepticism as unwarranted, it does raise the question: why ought we to trust science? As a philosopher with a focus on the philosophy of science, I’m particularly intrigued by this question. As it turns out, diving into the works of great thinkers can help provide an answer.

https://theconversation.com/why-should-we-trust-science-because-it-doesnt-trust-itself-188988

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7. DNA reference library a game-changer for environmental monitoring

A new DNA reference library which is set to transform how Australia monitors biodiversity was announced today by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, along with the library’s first campaign which is supported by founding partner, Minderoo Foundation. The National Biodiversity DNA Library (NBDL) aims to create a complete collection of DNA reference sequences for all known Australian animal and plant species. Just like COVID wastewater testing, it will enable DNA detected in the environment to be assigned to the species to which it belongs.

DNA reference library a game-changer for environmental monitoring – 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). 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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #543 (28 September 2022)

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


“Words matter. It’s vital terms like “crisis” and “calamity” don’t become rhetorical devices devoid of real content as we argue about what climate action to take.”
Noel Castree, The climate crisis is real – but overusing terms like ‘crisis’ and ‘emergency’ comes with risk



In this issue of Dbytes

1. The Wentworth Group issued a submission on development of a biodiversity market
2. Extinction Risk May Be Much Worse Than Current Estimates
3. Losing it – the consequences of stepping over the threshold
4. Young cold-blooded animals are suffering the most as Earth heats up
5. Integrating scientific and local knowledge to address environmental conflicts: the role of academia
6. Noisy miners are one of Australia’s ‘most hated birds’. How do we manage their booming population?
7. As climate ‘tipping points’ near, scientists plan for the unthinkable


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1. The Wentworth Group issued a submission on development of a biodiversity market

Legislative reform and a significant increase in public funding for biodiversity conservation is needed if the government wants to address the dire findings of the State of the Environment Report 2021. Any marketbased incentives need to be part of a policy mix that sit inside a broader national biodiversity strategy that sets out what, where and how investment in biodiversity protection and restoration should be implemented using the full suite of policy tools available.

Wentworth-Group-Biodiversity-Market-Submission-21-Sep.pdf (wentworthgroup.org)

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2. Extinction Risk May Be Much Worse Than Current Estimates

A machine-learning algorithm predicts that more than half of the thousands of species whose conservation status has yet to be assessed are probably in danger of disappearing for good.

Extinction Risk May Be Much Worse Than Current Estimates – Scientific American

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3. Losing it – the consequences of stepping over the threshold

There are limits to how much a complex system can be changed and still recover. Beyond those limits the system functions differently because some critical feedback process has changed. These limits are known as thresholds. Sometimes it’s easy to cross back over to the identity you want, sometimes it’s difficult and sometimes it’s impossible. The concept of ‘thresholds’ is central to understanding the resilience of your system.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/09/27/losing-it-the-consequences-of-stepping-over-the-threshold/

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4. Young cold-blooded animals are suffering the most as Earth heats up

Climate change is making heatwaves worse. Many people have already noticed the difference – and so too have other animals. Sadly, research by myself and colleagues has found young animals, in particular, are struggling to keep up with rising temperatures, likely making them more vulnerable to climate change than adults of their species. The study focused on “ectotherms”, or cold-blooded animals, which comprise more than 99% of animals on Earth. They include fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects. The body temperature of these animals reflects outside temperatures – so they can get dangerously hot during heat waves.

https://theconversation.com/young-cold-blooded-animals-are-suffering-the-most-as-earth-heats-up-research-finds-190606

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5. Integrating scientific and local knowledge to address environmental conflicts: the role of academia

The world is witnessing an increase in environmental conflicts (ECs) caused by the overexploitation and pollution of natural resources. We argue that addressing the unsustainable and vicious cycle of most contemporary human-nature interactions fuelling these conflicts requires a shift towards inter- and transdisciplinary research. Through critical reflection upon six case studies, we conclude that transdisciplinary approaches often require academic researchers to not only integrate local and scientific forms of knowledge but also to open the research process to changes of epistemological assumptions and initial research designs in conjunction with local populations. We suggest that addressing ECs from a transdisciplinary viewpoint requires academia to review its role from ontological and epistemological perspectives through theoretical and procedural standards, to the reward and funding systems.

Integrating scientific and local knowledge to address environmental conflicts: the role of academia | SpringerLink

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6. Noisy miners are one of Australia’s ‘most hated birds’. How do we manage their booming population?

Noisy miners are a native honeyeater species known for their aggressive behaviour. The birds live in large colonies and drive out other species. They are now so populous they’ve been listed as an environmental threat.

Noisy miners are one of Australia’s ‘most hated birds’. How do we manage their booming population? – ABC News

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7. As climate ‘tipping points’ near, scientists plan for the unthinkable

Irreversible and abrupt shifts likely above 1.5C of warming. Scientists, policymakers ponder how to warn of and avert worst. Positive tipping points for a resilient future also possible.

As climate ‘tipping points’ near, scientists plan for unthinkable (trust.org)

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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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #542 (21 September 2022)

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

“This year’s United in Science report [see item 4] shows climate impacts heading into uncharted territory of destruction. Yet each year we double-down on this fossil fuel addiction, even as the symptoms get rapidly worse,”
UN Secretary-General António Guterres

In this issue of Dbytes

1. Assessing biodiversity policy designs in Australia, France and Sweden: Comparative lessons for transformative governance of biodiversity?
2. Five transformations: Breathing life into Australia’s national environmental law
3. A system leverage points approach to governance for sustainable development
4. United in Science: We are heading in the wrong direction
5. Using thresholds to determine priorities for apex predator conservation in an urban landscape
6. Governing for Transformative Change across the Biodiversity–Climate–Society Nexus
7. The nature-based economy: how Australia’s prosperity depends on nature


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1. Assessing biodiversity policy designs in Australia, France and Sweden: Comparative lessons for transformative governance of biodiversity?

Biodiversity decline undermines the conditions for life on Earth resulting in calls for transformative governance of biodiversity. Here we compare the policy designs of national biodiversity strategies in Australia, France and Sweden and draw lessons on how national strategies can be designed to further support transformation of biodiversity governance. We identify important elements that can be used to inspire future strategies to be deployed under the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework: a negotiated framing of biodiversity and participatory processes in France, nested and integrated goals, targets and measures in Sweden, and an engagement with indigenous knowledge in Australia. However, to bring about transformative change, the analysis highlights the need for novel and fundamental re-designs to successfully target indirect drivers of biodiversity loss, shift power relations, and make biodiversity conservation a priority rather than an option.

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1523908X.2022.2117145

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2. Five transformations: Breathing life into Australia’s national environmental law

The EPBC Act is the most important environmental law in the country, but it doesn’t work. To achieve what it was established to do it needs to:
– pursuing national environmental outcomes (rather than just be a prescriptive regulatory processes);
– shift from Indigenous tokenism to full use of Indigenous knowledge;
– simplify regulatory outcomes between federal and state jurisdictions;
– lay new foundations for quality decision-making; and
– restore trust in decision-making.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/09/20/five-transformations-breathing-life-into-australias-national-environmental-law/

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3. A system leverage points approach to governance for sustainable development

Governments are inherently responsible for citizens’ well-being. Given that achieving sustainable development [“Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs”—(WCED in Our common future, Oxford University Press, New York, 1987)] is core to the attainment and maintenance of citizens’ well-being, and increasingly understood to require major transformations in integrated social, technological and ecological systems (Sachs et al. in The decade of action for the sustainable development goals: sustainable development report 2021, Cambridge, 2021), it follows that governments have a significant role in shaping transformations. Muted progress on long-standing social, environmental, and economic challenges alongside spiralling public budgets and intergenerational debt suggests, however, that public governance systems are inadequate to facilitate the transformations urgently required. Conceptualising the practice of public decision-making as a complex system, this paper investigates whether known influences on public decision-makers can be linked to Meadows’ (Leverage points: places to intervene in a system, Sustainability Institute, North Charleston, 1999) leverage point framework. Finding meaningful connections, it further explores how the leverage point framework can be employed to engage decision-making influences as enablers of desirable public outcomes. It is contended that shifting decision-makers’ focus one step beyond currently prevalent leverage points will set in motion the transformations in governance required to facilitate sustainable development.

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11625-022-01188-x

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4. United in Science: We are heading in the wrong direction

The report, United in Science, shows that greenhouse gas concentrations continue to rise to record highs. Fossil fuel emission rates are now above pre-pandemic levels after a temporary drop due to lockdowns. The ambition of emissions reduction pledges for 2030 needs to be seven times higher to be in line with the 1.5 °C goal of the Paris Agreement.

United in Science: We are heading in the wrong direction | World Meteorological Organization (wmo.int)

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5. Using thresholds to determine priorities for apex predator conservation in an urban landscape

Urban powerful owls have small home ranges compared to their non-urban counterparts. Home range size and positioning is driven by tree and urban land cover. Core range habitat is restricted to tree cover with limited impervious surfaces and housing. Owl home ranges are less likely to occur in areas of high property density. Thresholds can ensure preferred habitat conditions for species are protected.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169204622002080?via%3Dihub

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6. Governing for Transformative Change across the Biodiversity–Climate–Society Nexus

Transformative governance is key to addressing the global environmental crisis. We explore how transformative governance of complex biodiversity–climate–society interactions can be achieved, drawing on the first joint report between the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services to reflect on the current opportunities, barriers, and challenges for transformative governance. We identify principles for transformative governance under a biodiversity–climate–society nexus frame using four case studies: forest ecosystems, marine ecosystems, urban environments, and the Arctic. The principles are focused on creating conditions to build multifunctional interventions, integration, and innovation across scales; coalitions of support; equitable approaches; and positive social tipping dynamics. We posit that building on such transformative governance principles is not only possible but essential to effectively keep climate change within the desired 1.5 degrees Celsius global mean temperature increase, halt the ongoing accelerated decline of global biodiversity, and promote human well-being.

https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/72/7/684/6593160?login=false#.YyAjNUrqOw0.twitter 

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7. The nature-based economy: how Australia’s prosperity depends on nature

Australians love nature. We put it on our money and name our sports teams after it. But do we understand just how much we depend on nature or how closely our economic prosperity is tied to the state of our fragile environment? The changes we have made to the land and seascapes in Australia have driven more mammals to extinction than on any other continent. The 2021 State of the Environment report finds Australia’s natural environment is in an overall poor condition and is deteriorating due to increasing pressure from climate change, habitat destruction, invasive species, pollution, and resource extraction. Beyond the loss of intrinsic, cultural and ecological values associated with biodiversity, these impacts are likely to have major social and economic consequences. As nature’s limits are exceeded, ecological systems and functions are altered, along with the ecosystem services they provide to people, and nature’s contribution to the economy falls. This report calculates the Australian economy’s direct dependence on nature and the variation in direct dependency for every major industry sector.

The nature-based economy: how Australia’s prosperity depends on nature (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). 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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #541 (14 September 2022)

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


“linking weather-related disasters to climate change may have the perverse effect of undermining politicians’ ability to respond to those disasters.”
Zuhad Hai & Rebecca Perlman, Extreme weather events and the politics of climate change attribution [and see item 7]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. A National Strategy for Just Adaptation
2.
Death of the Queen, identity and a sustainable world
3. Scientists’ warning to humanity on tree extinctions
4. Dance band on the Titanic: on loss, hope and music
5. Nature connection, pro-environmental behaviours and wellbeing: Understanding the mediating role of nature contact
6. Landmark study finds causal link between nature walks and stress reduction
7. The climate crisis is real – but overusing terms like ‘crisis’ and ‘emergency’ comes with risk


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1. A National Strategy for Just Adaptation

The Strategy seeks to disrupt current climate adaptation thinking and foster recognition, inclusion, and capacity building for all Peoples and nature. It has been compiled from over two years of collaboration and research, including over 35 authors from diverse backgrounds and 13 university, government and private partners.

A National Strategy for Just Adaptation | Future Earth Australia

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2. Death of the Queen, identity and a sustainable world

The Queen’s reign began in 1952, just as the ‘Great Acceleration’ of humanity was taking off. May we use this moment of fragility and uncertainty to honestly reflect on the world we have built.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/09/13/death-of-the-queen-identity-and-a-sustainable-world/

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3. Scientists’ warning to humanity on tree extinctions

Trees play vital roles in many of the world’s ecosystems while providing many benefits to people. New evidence indicates that a third of tree species are threatened with extinction, representing a tree extinction crisis. Here we demonstrate how tree species extinction will lead to the loss of many other plants and animals and significantly alter the world’s ecosystems. We also show how tree extinction will negatively affect billions of people through loss of livelihoods and benefits. We highlight a series of urgent actions needed to avert an ecological, cultural and socio-economic catastrophe caused by widespread extinction of tree species.

Scientists’ warning to humanity on tree extinctions – Rivers – PLANTS, PEOPLE, PLANET – Wiley Online Library

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4. Dance band on the Titanic: on loss, hope and music
By Richard Hobbs

People who are tasked with managing the species and ecosystems affected by the many symptoms of systemic environmental change are face to face with the realities of our changing world on a daily basis.  As are scientists studying the impacts. I’ve experienced this personally too, and have touched on the topic in past posts. In my capacity as an ecology professor, I wrote a while ago about how grieving for environmental loss affects how we approach the present realities and plan for uncertain futures, and this resonated with many people I encountered. When I retired from my university position, I deliberately withdrew from involvement in many current issues and activities in order to re-equilibrate and de-stress. Instead of FOMO (fear of missing out), I figured I was experiencing FOBI (fear of being involved) – although a colleague helpfully pointed out that this could be more positively cast as JOMO (joy of missing out).

The literature on grief and grieving builds on original work by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, who outlined a framework of stages of the grieving process, including denial, anger, bargaining and acceptance. It’s easy to simply ignore or deny the problems, but much harder to accept them.  It’s easy to get angry. It’s also easy to get completely overwhelmed, anxious and stressed.  It’s harder to retain hope for the future. But without hope, there’s not much likelihood that things can change.

Dance band on the Titanic: on loss, hope and music – The Nature of Music (the-nature-of-music.com)

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5. Nature connection, pro-environmental behaviours and wellbeing: Understanding the mediating role of nature contact

Nature connection is positively associated with wellbeing and pro-environmental behaviours. However, the mediators of these relationships remain under-explored. This study examines the mediation effects of nature contact on the relationship between nature connection and wellbeing, and between nature connection and pro-environmental behaviours. Two types of nature contact are explored, routine weekly contact with urban nature (public urban nature spaces), and routine weekly time spent in a private, home outdoor area. A cross-sectional survey was administered to adult (≥ 18 years) residents of Brisbane, Australia, in May 2017 (N=1000). Using regression analysis and causal mediation analysis, our study shows that 1) nature connection is positively associated with wellbeing and pro-environmental behaviours; 2) nature contact is a mediator of the relationship between nature connection and wellbeing, with weekly private outdoor contact accounting for 15–16% of the positive association, and weekly urban nature contact accounting for 24–31%, and 3) nature contact is a mediator of the relationship between nature connection and pro-environmental behaviour, in the form of conservation volunteering, with weekly private outdoor contact accounting for 10–13% of the positive association and weekly urban nature contact accounting for 14–19%. We conclude that the associations between nature connection and wellbeing and pro-environmental behaviours are mediated by nature contact. Urban planners and policymakers should consider opportunities for urban residents to have weekly access to and contact with urban nature, both at home and in urban neighbourhoods, as a way to promote the co-benefits of enhanced wellbeing and pro-environmental behaviour through nature connection.

Nature connection, pro-environmental behaviours and wellbeing: Understanding the mediating role of nature contact – ScienceDirect

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6. Landmark study finds causal link between nature walks and stress reduction

We all know a good, long walk in nature can be relaxing, but a landmark new study from researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development offers some of the first causal evidence to show exactly how a one-hour walk in the forest reduces activity in brain areas responsible for processing stress.

Landmark study finds causal link between nature walks and stress reduction (newatlas.com)

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7. The climate crisis is real – but overusing terms like ‘crisis’ and ‘emergency’ comes with risk

“Crisis” is an incredibly potent word, so it’s interesting to witness the way the phrase “climate crisis” has become part of the lingua franca. Once associated only with a few “outspoken” scientists and activists, the phrase has now gone mainstream. But what do people understand by the term “climate crisis”? And why does it matter?

https://theconversation.com/the-climate-crisis-is-real-but-overusing-terms-like-crisis-and-emergency-comes-with-risk-188750

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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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #540 (8 September 2022)

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


“Epitomised by today’s global, technocratic, managerial elite, this culture has become hugely powerful, the ‘default setting’ for running national and world affairs. Yet its failures grow correspondingly more profound, with growing inequality and concentration of wealth and power, growing mistrust of government and other institutions, growing global problems such as climate change.”
Richard Eckersley [see item 4]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. National Ocean Account, Experimental Estimates
2. A functional vulnerability framework for biodiversity conservation
3. Down into the weeds again – the new government announces a return to bioregional planning
4. Invisible force: Why culture will determine humanity’s future
5. Where We’ll End Up Living as the Planet Burns
6. Restoring habitat for fire-impacted species’ across degraded Australian landscapes
7. Thousands of photos captured by everyday Australians reveal the secrets of our marine life as oceans warm

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1. National Ocean Account, Experimental Estimates

In 2021 mangroves provided coastal protection services for 175 thousand people occupying 85.6 thousand dwellings. In 2021 mangroves and seagrass combined provided up to 14.2 million tCO2e carbon sequestration services per year. From 2020 to 2021, total mangroves increased 2.3% to 1.07 million ha.

National Ocean Account, Experimental Estimates, August 2022 | Australian Bureau of Statistics (abs.gov.au)

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2. A functional vulnerability framework for biodiversity conservation

Setting appropriate conservation strategies in a multi-threat world is a challenging goal, especially because of natural complexity and budget limitations that prevent effective management of all ecosystems. Safeguarding the most threatened ecosystems requires accurate and integrative quantification of their vulnerability and their functioning, particularly the potential loss of species trait diversity which imperils their functioning. However, the magnitude of threats and associated biological responses both have high uncertainties. Additionally, a major difficulty is the recurrent lack of reference conditions for a fair and operational measurement of vulnerability. Here, we present a functional vulnerability framework that incorporates uncertainty and reference conditions into a generalizable tool. Through in silico simulations of disturbances, our framework allows us to quantify the vulnerability of communities to a wide range of threats. We demonstrate the relevance and operationality of our framework, and its global, scalable and quantitative comparability, through three case studies on marine fishes and mammals. We show that functional vulnerability has marked geographic and temporal patterns. We underline contrasting contributions of species richness and functional redundancy to the level of vulnerability among case studies, indicating that our integrative assessment can also identify the drivers of vulnerability in a world where uncertainty is omnipresent.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-32331-y

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3. Down into the weeds again – the new government announces a return to bioregional planning

Our new environment minister has announced the government’s commitment to regional (biodiversity) planning and laid down some markers. Australian governments have been talking about this approach for over 25 years. If done well, regional planning has the potential to enable biodiversity conservation to be integrated across land uses, programs and tenures, and enhance resilience to climate change. But doing it well will take money, good planning and collaboration with multiple partners – a big ask for any national government.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/09/08/down-into-the-weeds-again-the-new-government-announces-a-return-to-bioregional-planning/

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4. Invisible force: Why culture will determine humanity’s future

Cultures define what we know about the world, and so what we do in the world. We need to pay them more attention.

Invisible force: Why culture will determine humanity’s future – Resilience

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5. Where We’ll End Up Living as the Planet Burns

While nations rally to reduce their carbon emissions, and try to adapt at-risk places to hotter conditions, there is an elephant in the room: for large portions of the world, local conditions are becoming too extreme and there is no way to adapt. People will have to move to survive.

https://time.com/6209432/climate-change-where-we-will-live/

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6. Restoring habitat for fire-impacted species’ across degraded Australian landscapes

In the summer of 2019–2020, southern Australia experienced the largest fires on record, detrimentally impacting the habitat of native species, many of which were already threatened by past and current anthropogenic land use. A large-scale restoration effort to improve degraded species habitat would provide fire-affected species with the chance to recover and persist in burnt and unburnt habitat. To facilitate this, decision-makers require information on priority species needs for restoration intervention, the suite of potential restoration interventions, and the priority locations for applying these interventions. We prioritize actions in areas where restoration would most likely provide cost-effective benefits to priority species (defined by each species proportion of habitat burned, threat status, and vulnerability to fires), by integrating current and future species habitat suitability maps with spatially modelled costs of restoration interventions such as replanting, removing invasive species, and implementing ecologically appropriate fire management. We show that restoring the top ∼69% (112 million hectares) of the study region (current and future distributions of priority species) accounts for, on average, 95% of current and future habitat for every priority species and costs ∼AUD$73 billion yr−1 (AUD$650 hectare−1 yr−1) annualized over 30 years. This effort would include restoration actions over 6 million hectares of fire-impacted habitat, costing ∼AUD$8.8 billion/year. Large scale restoration efforts are often costly but can have significant societal co-benefits beyond biodiversity conservation. We also show that up to 291 MtCO2 (∼150 Mt DM) of carbon could be sequestered by restoration efforts, resulting in approximately AUD$253 million yr−1 in carbon market revenue if all carbon was remunerated. Our approach highlights the scale, costs, and benefits of targeted restoration activities both inside and outside of the immediate bushfire footprint over vast areas of different land tenures.

Restoring habitat for fire-impacted species’ across degraded Australian landscapes – IOPscience

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7. Thousands of photos captured by everyday Australians reveal the secrets of our marine life as oceans warm

As the planet heats up, many marine plants and animals are moving locations to keep pace with their preferred temperatures. In the Southern Hemisphere, this means species are setting up home further south. This shift alters what we see when we go snorkelling, and when and where we catch our seafood. Crucially, it also changes sensitive marine ecosystems. But it’s not always easy for scientists to know exactly what’s happening below the ocean’s surface. To help tackle this, we examined tens of thousands of photographs taken by Australian fishers and divers submitted to citizen science programs over the last decade.

https://theconversation.com/thousands-of-photos-captured-by-everyday-australians-reveal-the-secrets-of-our-marine-life-as-oceans-warm-189231

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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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #539 (231 August 2022)

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


“We, as pre-eminent scientists named below, are jointly calling on the Environment Minister to accept our shared climate reality, heed the science and ensure all environmental assessments of new gas and coal projects are responsible and evidence-based, and include scope 3 emissions from all projects. The fate of Australia’s living wonders – and all of the unique animals, plants, ecosystems and places we love – depends on it.”
Excerpt from an open letter to the Minister for the Environment signed by 82 leading Australian climate and environmental scientists. [And see item 2]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. A climate risk index for marine life
2. On identity, complexity and a ‘little’ fossil fuel project off the West Australian coast
3. Americans experience a false social reality by underestimating popular climate policy support by nearly half
4. Science-state alliances and climate engineering: A ‘longue durée’ picture
5. A single introduction of wild rabbits triggered the biological invasion of Australia
6. Indigenous insights on human–wildlife coexistence in southern India
7. ‘Utterly damning’ review finds offsets scheme fails to protect NSW environment

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1. A climate risk index for marine life

Climate change is impacting virtually all marine life. Adaptation strategies will require a robust understanding of the risks to species and ecosystems and how those propagate to human societies. We develop a unified and spatially explicit index to comprehensively evaluate the climate risks to marine life. Under high emissions (SSP5-8.5), almost 90% of ~25,000 species are at high or critical risk, with species at risk across 85% of their native distributions. One tenth of the ocean contains ecosystems where the aggregated climate risk, endemism and extinction threat of their constituent species are high. Climate change poses the greatest risk for exploited species in low-income countries with a high dependence on fisheries. Mitigating emissions (SSP1-2.6) reduces the risk for virtually all species (98.2%), enhances ecosystem stability and disproportionately benefits food-insecure populations in low-income countries. Our climate risk assessment can help prioritize vulnerable species and ecosystems for climate-adapted marine conservation and fisheries management efforts.

A climate risk index for marine life | Nature Climate Change

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2. On identity, complexity and a ‘little’ fossil fuel project off the West Australian coast

Pointing out that the other side is wrong may work well with your own tribe but it usually does nothing to change the behaviour of the other side. However, understanding what’s central to the identity of the other side and working on the feedbacks that shore up that identity is highly likely to produce change. If voters don’t believe the future is safe, if shareholders no longer trust their shares will yield dividends in the longer term, if politicians are only allowed to make fully accountable and transparent decisions, then the very identity of their systems change, as does its behaviour.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/08/30/on-identity-complexity-and-a-little-fossil-fuel-project-off-the-west-australian-coast/

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3. Americans experience a false social reality by underestimating popular climate policy support by nearly half

Pluralistic ignorance—a shared misperception of how others think or behave—poses a challenge to collective action on problems like climate change. Using a representative sample of Americans (N = 6119), we examine whether Americans accurately perceive national concern about climate change and support for mitigating policies. We find a form of pluralistic ignorance that we describe as a false social reality: a near universal perception of public opinion that is the opposite of true public sentiment. Specifically, 80–90% of Americans underestimate the prevalence of support for major climate change mitigation policies and climate concern. While 66–80% Americans support these policies, Americans estimate the prevalence to only be between 37–43% on average. Thus, supporters of climate policies outnumber opponents two to one, while Americans falsely perceive nearly the opposite to be true. Further, Americans in every state and every assessed demographic underestimate support across all polices tested. Preliminary evidence suggests three sources of these misperceptions: (i) consistent with a false consensus effect, respondents who support these policies less (conservatives) underestimate support by a greater degree; controlling for one’s own personal politics, (ii) exposure to more conservative local norms and (iii) consuming conservative news correspond to greater misperceptions.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-32412-y

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4. Science-state alliances and climate engineering: A ‘longue durée’ picture

Since the early 2000s, proposals to deliberately modify the Earth’s climate have gained political traction as a controversial last resort measure against dangerous global warming. The article provides a ‘longue durée’ picture of such climate engineering proposals. It traces their historical trajectory from the late 1950s to their most recent arrival on mainstream climate policy agendas. This perspective suggests that the history of climate engineering unfolds not only along historically specific modes of understanding climatic change. It also corresponds to changing alliances between climate science and the state. By bringing together historical scholarship with contributions from sociology and science policy studies, the article sheds new light on the rise of climate engineering proposals. It recontextualizes these proposals within the bigger history of the political cultivation of climate science. This perspective highlights how deeply entwined efforts to understand and efforts to govern climatic change have always been.

https://wires.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/wcc.801

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5. A single introduction of wild rabbits triggered the biological invasion of Australia

Biological invasions are a major global threat and understanding what promotes their success is crucial to developing mitigating policies. While properties of the invasive species or environment have been associated with the success of biological invasions, the role of genetics has been more challenging to demonstrate. Combining genomic and historical data, we provide this link by showing that one of the most iconic biological invasions was triggered by a single introduction of rabbits into Australia, which were likely better adapted to the natural environment due to their wild ancestry. Before the arrival of this lineage, numerous earlier introductions failed to spread, suggesting that the genetic composition of the introduced individuals played a crucial role in determining the invasion’s success.

https://www.pnas.org/doi/abs/10.1073/pnas.2122734119

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6. Indigenous insights on human–wildlife coexistence in southern India

As human–wildlife conflicts escalate worldwide, concepts such as tolerance and acceptance of wildlife are becoming increasingly important. Yet, contemporary conservation studies indicate a limited understanding of positive human–wildlife interactions, leading to potentially inaccurate representations of human–animal encounters. Failure to address these limitations contributes to the design and implementation of poor wildlife and landscape management plans and the dismissal of Indigenous ecological knowledge. We examined Indigenous perspectives on human–wildlife coexistence in India by drawing ethnographic evidence from Kattunayakans, a forest-dwelling Adivasi community living in the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala. Through qualitative field study that involved interviews and transect walks inside the forests, we found that Kattunayakans displayed tolerance and acceptance of wild animals characterized as forms of deep coexistence that involves three central ideas: wild animals as rational conversing beings; wild animals as gods, teachers, and equals; and wild animals as relatives with shared origins practicing dharmam. We argue that understanding these adequately will support efforts to bring Kattunayakan perspectives into the management of India’s forests and contribute to the resolution of the human–wildlife conflict more broadly.

https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cobi.13981

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7. ‘Utterly damning’ review finds offsets scheme fails to protect NSW environment

Conservationists say auditor general’s report shows offsets must be ‘last resort’ amid calls for overhaul of biodiversity market.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/aug/30/utterly-damning-review-finds-offsets-scheme-fails-to-protect-nsw-environment

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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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #538 (24 August 2022)

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


“studies show false information on social media spreads further, faster and deeper than true information, because it is more novel and surprising.”
Mathieu O’Neil & Michael Jensen in Three reasons why disinformation is so pervasive and what we can do about it


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Building a synthesis of economic costs of biological invasions in New Zealand
2. Game of Sustainability – Episode One: A New Hope
3. Digging deeper into local experience and knowledge of invasive plants by synthesising qualitative research
4. De-extinction Company Aims to Resurrect the Tasmanian Tiger
5. A set of principles and practical suggestions for equitable fieldwork in biology
6. How to cold call an academic if you’re a student
7. How to deal with fossil fuel lobbying and its growing influence in Australian politics

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1. Building a synthesis of economic costs of biological invasions in New Zealand

Biological invasions are a major component of anthropogenic environmental change, incurring substantial economic costs across all sectors of society and ecosystems. There have been recent syntheses of costs for a number of countries using the newly compiled InvaCost database, but New Zealand—a country renowned for its approach to invasive species management—has so far not been examined. Here we analyse reported economic damage and management costs incurred by biological invasions in New Zealand from 1968 to 2020. In total, US$69 billion (NZ$97 billion) is currently reported over this ∼50-year period, with approximately US$9 billion of this considered highly reliable, observed (c.f. projected) costs. Most (82%) of these observed economic costs are associated with damage, with comparatively little invested in management (18%). Reported costs are increasing over time, with damage averaging US$120 million per year and exceeding management expenditure in all decades. Where specified, most reported costs are from terrestrial plants and animals, with damages principally borne by primary industries such as agriculture and forestry. Management costs are more often associated with interventions by authorities and stakeholders. Relative to other countries present in the InvaCost database, New Zealand was found to spend considerably more than expected from its Gross Domestic Product on pre- and post-invasion management costs. However, some known ecologically (c.f. economically) impactful invasive species are notably absent from estimated damage costs, and management costs are not reported for a number of game animals and agricultural pathogens. Given these gaps for known and potentially damaging invaders, we urge improved cost reporting at the national scale, including improving public accessibility through increased access and digitisation of records, particularly in overlooked socioeconomic sectors and habitats. This also further highlights the importance of investment in management to curtail future damages across all sectors.

Building a synthesis of economic costs of biological invasions in New Zealand [PeerJ]

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2. Game of Sustainability – Episode One: A New Hope

The year is 1987 and Australia is grappling with the idea of sustainable development – a time where populists battled policy wonks. John Kerin (one of the wonks) said parties were taking a winner-take-all approach without understanding economic, social or environmental consequences.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/08/23/game-of-sustainability-episode-one-a-new-hope/

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3. Digging deeper into local experience and knowledge of invasive plants by synthesising qualitative research

Successful management of invasive plants (IPs) requires the active participation of diverse communities across land tenures. This can be challenging because communities do not always share the views of scientists and managers. They may directly disagree, have alternative views, or be unwilling to manage IPs. Reviews of IP social science identify opportunities to better understand the role of cultural processes and everyday practices to address these challenges. To scale up and leverage the insights of existing qualitative social science IP research, we used meta-ethnography to unlock accounts and interpretations of lay perspectives. Meta-ethnography is a form of qualitative research synthesis increasingly used beyond its origins in health and education to produce interpretive syntheses of an area of research. In the 7 phases of meta-ethnography, we systematically identified and synthesized 19 qualitative articles pertinent to lay experience and knowledge of IPs in diverse settings. Action and meaning regarding IPs were influenced by 6 meta-themes in personal and social life: dissonance, priorities, difference, agency, responsibility, and future orientations. Through descriptions and examples of each meta-theme, we demonstrated how the meta-themes are higher level structuring concepts across the qualitative research that we analyzed and we retained grounding in the in-depth qualitative research. We characterized the meta-themes as leverage points and tensions by which we reframed lay people in terms of capacity for reflective IP management rather than as obstacles. The meta-ethnography synthesis shows how leverage points and tensions emerge from everyday life and can frame alternative and meaningful starting points for both research and public engagement and deliberation regarding IP management. These insights are not a panacea, but open up new space for reflective and mutual consideration of how to effectively navigate often complex IP problems and address conservation and social and livelihood issues in dynamic social and physical environments.

https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13929

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4. De-extinction Company Aims to Resurrect the Tasmanian Tiger

The scientists who want to bring back mammoths now hope to revive the marsupial carnivore thylacine

De-extinction Company Aims to Resurrect the Tasmanian Tiger – Scientific American

But should we do it?
See
Should we bring back the thylacine? We asked 5 experts

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5. A set of principles and practical suggestions for equitable fieldwork in biology

Field biology is an area of research that involves working directly with living organisms in situ through a practice known as “fieldwork.” Conducting fieldwork often requires complex logistical planning within multiregional or multinational teams, interacting with local communities at field sites, and collaborative research led by one or a few of the core team members. However, existing power imbalances stemming from geopolitical history, discrimination, and professional position, among other factors, perpetuate inequities when conducting these research endeavors. After reflecting on our own research programs, we propose four general principles to guide equitable, inclusive, ethical, and safe practices in field biology: be collaborative, be respectful, be legal, and be safe. Although many biologists already structure their field programs around these principles or similar values, executing equitable research practices can prove challenging and requires careful consideration, especially by those in positions with relatively greater privilege. Based on experiences and input from a diverse group of global collaborators, we provide suggestions for action-oriented approaches to make field biology more equitable, with particular attention to how those with greater privilege can contribute. While we acknowledge that not all suggestions will be applicable to every institution or program, we hope that they will generate discussions and provide a baseline for training in proactive, equitable fieldwork practices.

A set of principles and practical suggestions for equitable fieldwork in biology | PNAS

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6. How to cold call an academic if you’re a student

Manu Saunders: “Academics receive a lot of unsolicited contact (cold calls) from students of all education stages, seeking advice or opportunities. I try to reply to most, but often I can’t – because it’s unclear what the student is asking and why they are contacting me. Note, here I’m talking about students at other institutions that I’ve never met or have no prior connection with, not my existing students or students enrolled at the institution where I teach. Here are a few tips for students wanting to cold call an academic:”

How to cold call an academic if you’re a student – Ecology is not a dirty word

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7. How to deal with fossil fuel lobbying and its growing influence in Australian politics

Will climate action undermine Australia’s democracy? This question might not be as outlandish as it seems. A recent investigation details a campaign by the car industry to have its (low) voluntary standards on fuel efficiency legislated into national standards. This campaign fits into a broader pattern of lobbying by the fossil fuel industry to hinder effective climate action and highlights the importance of democratic integrity in addressing the climate crisis as well as the urgent need for robust regulation of lobbying.

https://theconversation.com/how-to-deal-with-fossil-fuel-lobbying-and-its-growing-influence-in-australian-politics-188515?

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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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #537 (17 August 2022)

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


“We still have fossil fuel billionaires pumping $ into outfits like the IPA so they spread denial and confusion? For 110 years, climate change has been in the news. Are we finally ready to listen?”
(Nobel Laureate) Peter Doherty commenting on when climate change first made the news [see item 3]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. How to prioritize species recovery after a megafire
2. What Comes After the Coming Climate Anarchy?
3. For 110 years, climate change has been in the news. Are we finally ready to listen?
4. The perils of command and control and the pathology of Natural Resource Management
5. Big changes in backyard birds: An analysis of long-term changes in bird communities in Australia’s most populous urban regions
6. Who was James Lovelock, what is Gaia theory, and why does it matter today?
7. The scientists who switched focus to fight climate change

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1. How to prioritize species recovery after a megafire

Due to climate change, megafires are increasingly common and have sudden, extensive impacts on many species over vast areas, leaving decision makers uncertain about how best to prioritize recovery. We devised a decision-support framework to prioritize conservation actions to improve species outcomes immediately after a megafire. Complementary locations are selected to extend recovery actions across all fire-affected species’ habitats. We applied our method to areas burned in the 2019−2020 Australian megafires and assessed its conservation advantages by comparing our results with outcomes of a site-richness approach (i.e., identifying areas that cost-effectively recover the most species in any one location). We found that 290 threatened species were likely severely affected and will require immediate conservation action to prevent population declines and possible extirpation. We identified 179 subregions, mostly in southeastern Australia, that are key locations to extend actions that benefit multiple species. Cost savings were over AU$300 million to reduce 95% of threats across all species. Our complementarity-based prioritization also spread postfire management actions across a wider proportion of the study area compared with the site-richness method (43% vs. 37% of the landscape managed, respectively) and put more of each species’ range under management (average 90% vs. 79% of every species’ habitat managed). In addition to wildfire response, our framework can be used to prioritize conservation actions that will best mitigate threats affecting species following other extreme environmental events (e.g., floods and drought).

The Society for Conservation Biology (wiley.com)

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2. What Comes After the Coming Climate Anarchy?

We’re not very good at predicting the next five days, let alone five years. Our daily headlines underscore how we are overwhelmed by crises: COVID-19, natural disasters, ruptured supply chains, food shortages, international conflicts, spiking oil prices, failing states, refugee flows, and so forth. But these are not isolated incidents. They are manifestations of complexity—a global system in which the environment, economy, demographics, politics, and technology constantly collide in unpredictable ways. It was not a single event that caused the Roman and Mayan civilizations to collapse, but rather this complex collision of chain reactions.

https://time.com/6206111/climate-change-anarchy-what-comes-next/

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3. For 110 years, climate change has been in the news. Are we finally ready to listen?

On August 14 1912, a small New Zealand newspaper published a short article announcing global coal usage was affecting our planet’s temperature. This piece from 110 years ago is now famous, shared across the internet this time every year as one of the first pieces of climate science in the media (even though it was actually a reprint of a piece published in a New South Wales mining journal a month earlier). So how did it come about? And why has it taken so long for the warnings in the article to be heard – and acted on?

https://theconversation.com/for-110-years-climate-change-has-been-in-the-news-are-we-finally-ready-to-listen-188646?

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4. The perils of command and control and the pathology of Natural Resource Management

The initial successes of command and control of natural resources come with a costs that are usually never acknowledged. Over time, the composite result is increasingly less resilient and more vulnerable ecosystems, more myopic and rigid institutions, and more dependent and selfish economic interests all attempting to maintain short-term success. We need to work with the complexity of nature, not subjugate it.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/08/16/the-perils-of-command-and-control-and-the-pathology-of-natural-resource-management/

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5. Big changes in backyard birds: An analysis of long-term changes in bird communities in Australia’s most populous urban regions

Urban environments are increasingly acknowledged as a priority for biodiversity conservation. Birds in particular are capable of persisting, and sometimes thriving, in cities and towns globally. However, the process of urbanization results in the loss of many bird species due to the resulting changes in habitat conditions. Urban expansion and densification present a threat to both urban bird biodiversity and bird conservation more broadly. Australian urban areas, including suburban and peri-urban areas, currently support moderate bird species richness, but the rapidly changing urban landscape threatens these communities. Unfortunately, many bird species’ population trends are not actively studied, resulting in a poor understanding of species persistence in urban environments. Here, we used bird survey data from long-running citizen science databases in a Bayesian List Length Analysis to determine changes in bird species prevalence (the probability of observing a species in a given survey event) over time in Australia’s four most populous urban regions. We found that introduced species, historically prominent in Australian urban bird communities, are decreasing in prevalence in all four regions, while a small group of native urban exploiters are becoming more prevalent. Our results also show that many species perceived to be “iconic” or “common” are experiencing declines in prevalence in urban areas, highlighting the importance of monitoring and conservation action in urban areas.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320722002245?via%3Dihub

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6. Who was James Lovelock, what is Gaia theory, and why does it matter today?

When Professor Lovelock first went public with his idea that the Earth was a giant organism that could regulate itself (including its climate) by using feedback between biological life and the rest of the planet, it was seen as rather radical.

Who was James Lovelock, what is Gaia theory, and why does it matter today? – ABC News

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7. The scientists who switched focus to fight climate change

Four researchers describe how they found different ways of responding to the planet’s biggest threat — from quitting tenure to overhauling their academic programme.

The scientists who switched focus to fight climate change (nature.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/ and press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #536 (10 August 2022)

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


“Across seven critical issues that enjoy substantial scientific consensus, as well as attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccines and mitigation measures like mask wearing and social distancing, results indicate that those with the highest levels of opposition have the lowest levels of objective knowledge but the highest levels of subjective knowledge.”
Nicholas Light et al, Science Advances
(2022)


In this issue of Dbytes

1. From COVID-19 to Green Recovery with natural capital accounting
2. Free market think tank (the IPA) tries to whitewash coral bleaching claims
3. Trees are overrated
4. Triggering the safeguard or safeguarding the trigger: Climate, large emitters and the EPBC Act

5. A global analysis of factors predicting conservationists’ values
6. Too many ways to help: How to promote climate change mitigation behaviors
7. Protecting 30% of Australia’s land and sea by 2030 sounds great – but it’s not what it seems

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1. From COVID-19 to Green Recovery with natural capital accounting

The COVID-19 pandemic and related social and economic emergencies induced massive public spending and increased global debt. Economic recovery is now an opportunity to rebuild natural capital alongside financial, physical, social and human capital, for long-term societal benefit. Yet, current decision-making is dominated by economic imperatives and information systems that do not consider society’s dependence on natural capital and the ecosystem services it provides. New international standards for natural capital accounting (NCA) are now available to integrate environmental information into government decision-making. By revealing the effects of policies that influence natural capital, NCA supports identification, implementation and monitoring of Green Recovery pathways, including where environment and economy are most positively interlinked.

From COVID-19 to Green Recovery with natural capital accounting | SpringerLink

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2. Free market think tank (the IPA) tries to whitewash coral bleaching claims

“You cannot extrapolate the amount of coral at one small section of reef to the whole of John Brewer Reef; it is 15 kilometres in circumference. Nor can you make an assessment on the health of an ecosystem the size of Italy by just looking at one reef.” Coral cover is only one metric used to measure reef health. Other indicators include coral diversity, size, structure and assemblages of corals, which Dr Emslie said can take decades to recover to their pre-disturbance levels.

“The IPA’s campaign around coral bleaching and reef health has no scientific basis.”

Free market think tank tries to whitewash coral bleaching claims – RMIT University

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3. Trees are overrated

Preserving the world’s great expanses of grass could be essential to combatting climate change.

Trees Are Overrated – The Atlantic

-~<>~-

4. Triggering the safeguard or safeguarding the trigger: Climate, large emitters and the EPBC Act

If used together, these two mechanisms (a safeguard and a trigger) would be seeking to occupy much the same regulatory space. That’s why I argued that a climate trigger should be limited to actions that are not caught by the safeguard mechanism, such as land clearing. However, there are some benefits that are better delivered by one or other of the two mechanisms. This leads me to suggest that we can have the best of both, provided we ensure that the two mechanisms dovetail with each other and so avoid duplication.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/08/10/triggering-the-safeguard-or-safeguarding-the-trigger-climate-large-emitters-and-the-epbc-act/

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5. A global analysis of factors predicting conservationists’ values

The authors present the first global analysis of the relationship between conservationist’s values and a broad range of conservationists’ characteristics, categorised into their educational and professional background, geographical context and personal experiences in childhood and adulthood. The results demonstrate that 13 of conservationists’ characteristics are statistically related to their values regarding the place of people. Science, capitalism and nonhuman entities in conservation, which has important implications for current debates on diversity and inclusion within the conservation community.

A global analysis of factors predicting conservationists’ values – Luque‐Lora – People and Nature – Wiley Online Library

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6. Too many ways to help: How to promote climate change mitigation behaviors

Does presenting people with many ways they can mitigate climate change reduce their pro-environmental behavior? We test for mitigation overload using a two wave survey experiment. People feel less efficacious when exposed to a large number of easy to accomplish mitigation tasks. People feel less efficacious when given too many ways to stop climate change that must be done regularly to be successful. After two weeks after seeing long lists of easy options reported engaging in fewer mitigation behaviors.

Too many ways to help: How to promote climate change mitigation behaviors – ScienceDirect

-~<>~-

7. Protecting 30% of Australia’s land and sea by 2030 sounds great – but it’s not what it seems

Plibersek promised to protect 30% of Australia’s land and waters by 2030. Australia committed to this under the previous government last year, joining 100 other countries that have signed onto this “30 by 30” target. While this may be a worthy commitment, it’s not a big leap. Indeed, we’ve already gone well past the ocean goal, with 45% protected. And, at present, around 22% of Australia’s land mass is protected in our national reserve system. To get protected lands up to 30% through the current approach will mean relying on reserves created by non-government organisations and Indigenous people, rather than more public reserves like national parks. This approach will not be sufficient by itself. The problem is, biodiversity loss and environmental decline in Australia have continued – and accelerated – even as our protected areas have grown significantly in recent decades. After years of underfunding, our protected areas urgently need proper resourcing. Without that, protected area targets don’t mean much on the ground.

https://theconversation.com/protecting-30-of-australias-land-and-sea-by-2030-sounds-great-but-its-not-what-it-seems-187435?

-~<>~-


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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #535 (3 August 2022)

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


“On nearly every measure of biodiversity, Australia is in poor shape and going backwards.”
Minister for the Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek,
address to the National Biodiversity Conference address

In this issue of Dbytes

1. New Practice Guide: Nature-Based Solutions Must Play a Crucial Role in Asia-Pacific Economic Development
2. Nature Loss and Sovereign Credit Ratings
3. Nature’s deteriorating health is threatening the wellbeing of Australians, the State of the Environment report finds
4. How we will fight climate change
5. How scientists are working for greater inclusion of Indigenous knowledge
6. The myth of the optimal state: adaptive cycles and the birth of resilience thinking
7. Scientists discover cause of catastrophic mangrove destruction in Gulf of Carpentaria

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1. New Practice Guide: Nature-Based Solutions Must Play a Crucial Role in Asia-Pacific Economic Development

This  Practitioner’s Guide takes a process-based approach to a longstanding problem: how do we ensure that innovative green and traditional gray project investments can be compared effectively and fairly? based on cost, performance and longevity?

https://www.alliance4water.org/blog-posts/new-practice-guide-nature-based-solutions-crucial-role-asia-pacific-economic-development

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2. Nature Loss and Sovereign Credit Ratings

Biodiversity loss, decline of ecosystem services, and overall environmental degradation can hit economies through multiple channels. The combined macroeconomic consequences can impact sovereign creditworthiness. Yet, the methodologies published and applied by leading credit rating agencies (CRAs) do not explicitly incorporate biodiversity and nature-related risks. Omitting them may ultimately undermine market stability. As environmental pressures intensify, the gap between the information conveyed by ratings and real-world risk exposure may grow. A consistent approach to integrating nature- and biodiversity related risks into debt markets is long overdue. This report models the effect of nature loss on credit ratings, default probabilities, and the cost of borrowing. The results have implications for stakeholders including credit rating agencies, investors, and sovereigns themselves.

https://www.bennettinstitute.cam.ac.uk/publications/biodiversity-loss-sovereign-credit-ratings/

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3. Nature’s deteriorating health is threatening the wellbeing of Australians, the State of the Environment report finds

For the first time, the new State of the Environment report explicitly assessed the dependency of humans on nature. We, as report authors, evaluated trends and changes in the environment’s health for their impact on human society. This is described in terms of “human wellbeing”. Wellbeing encompasses people’s life quality and satisfaction, and is increasingly being recognised in national policy. It spans our physical and mental health, living standards, sense of community, our safety, freedom and rights, cultural and spiritual fulfilment, and connection to Country.

Nature’s deteriorating health is threatening the wellbeing of Australians, the State of the Environment report finds (theconversation.com)

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4. How we will fight climate change
And how we will not fight climate change.

It is now time to conclude that the “scare people into making a big push” strategy that climate activists and leftists have been using over the last few years has decisively, utterly failed. People ought to be scared. They ought to support a big push. But this is simply a thing that is not going to happen in the time frame we need it to happen.

How we will fight climate change – by Noah Smith (substack.com)

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5. How scientists are working for greater inclusion of Indigenous knowledge

When the second part of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report was published earlier this year, it had a notable inclusion. The instalment, which focused on the human and ecological impacts of climate change, featured Indigenous knowledge alongside Western scientific research for the first time. The Australasian chapter, however, did not include any Indigenous lead authors. Instead, three First Nations scholars were invited to contribute to specific sections of the report through the goodwill of the lead authors, rather than through government selection. It was a reminder, the contributors wrote in March, of how “Indigenous Australians have been largely excluded from climate change decisionmaking”.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/jul/31/how-scientists-are-working-for-greater-inclusion-of-indigenous-knowledge?

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6. The myth of the optimal state: adaptive cycles and the birth of resilience thinking

The key to sustainability is a systems capacity to recover after a disturbance, not the ability to hold it in a notional optimal state. Complex systems are constantly moving through adaptive cycles of rapid growth, conservation, release and reorganisation. You can’t ‘hold’ it in one condition of ‘optimal sustainable yield’ because the system continually self organises. The myth of the optimal state stems from our mistaken belief that we are in control and the systems we are managing are simple systems.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/08/02/the-myth-of-the-optimal-state-adaptive-cycles-and-the-birth-of-resilience-thinking/

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7. Scientists discover cause of catastrophic mangrove destruction in Gulf of Carpentaria

Low sea levels caused by severe El Niño events are thought to have caused the mass mangrove deaths. Scientists say it is likely too late for the mangroves to recover. A $30 million fishing industry is expected to be impacted.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-08-02/mangrove-dieback-gulf-of-carpentaria-scientists-find-cause/101290968

-~<>~-


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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #534 (27 July 2022)

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


“Science—that is to say, Euro-American science—has long been held as our model for rationality. Scientists frequently accuse those who reject their findings of being irrational. Yet depending on technologies that do not yet exist is irrational, a kind of magical thinking.”
Naomi Oreskes [see item 7]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Should we include a climate-change trigger in national environmental law?
2. Credible biodiversity offsetting needs public national registers to confirm no net loss
3. Natural systems in Australia are unravelling. If they collapse, human society could too
4. An approach to defining and achieving restoration targets for a threatened plant community
5. A penguin farm in the Australian desert: a thought experiment that reveals the flaws our in environment laws
6. As the world burns
7. Carbon-Reduction Plans Rely on Tech That Doesn’t Exist

-~<>~-

1. Should we include a climate-change trigger in national environmental law?

A Climate Change Bill is about to be passed in Australia. It will enshrine the Government’s promised 43% carbon emissions reduction target. Many people are calling for the bill to include a ‘climate trigger’ for environmental approval of large projects such as mines and dams. This won’t happen with this bill. Climate triggers have been discussed by Government for over 20 years. So far the idea never gets beyond discussion. There are other ways of achieving the same outcome.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/07/26/should-we-include-a-climate-change-trigger-in-national-environmental-law/

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2. Credible biodiversity offsetting needs public national registers to confirm no net loss

In the face of the ongoing biodiversity crisis, questions are arising regarding the success, or lack thereof, of biodiversity offset schemes, where biodiversity losses from human development are compensated by producing equitable gains elsewhere. The overarching goal of offsetting is to deliver no net loss (NNL) of biodiversity. Assessing whether offsetting does indeed deliver NNL is, however, challenging because of a lack of clear and reliable information about offset schemes. Here we consider barriers in tracking NNL outcomes, outline criteria of public offset registers to enable accessible and credible reporting of NNL, and show how existing registers fail to satisfy those criteria. The lack of accessibility and transparency in existing registers represents a fundamental gap between NNL targets and a valid tracking system, which challenges the impetus to enact the transformative changes needed to reverse biodiversity decline.

https://www.cell.com/one-earth/fulltext/S2590-3322(22)00266-4?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS2590332222002664%3Fshowall%3Dtrue

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3. Natural systems in Australia are unravelling. If they collapse, human society could too

In the long-delayed State of the Environment report released this week, there is one terrifying sentence: “Environmental degradation is now considered a threat to humanity, which could bring about societal collapses.” Hyperbole? Sadly not. Climate change has already warmed Australia 1.4℃ and changed rainfall in some regions. Natural ecosystems are already struggling from land clearing, intensive agriculture, soil degradation and poor water management. Climate changes and related sea level rise are making this worse. It’s a mistake to think this won’t affect us.

Natural systems in Australia are unravelling. If they collapse, human society could too (theconversation.com)

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4. An approach to defining and achieving restoration targets for a threatened plant community

Connecting scientific research and government policy is essential for achieving objectives in sustaining biodiversity in an economic context. Our approach to connecting theoretical ecology, applied ecology, and policy was devised using principles of restoration ecology and the requisite methodology to restore biodiverse ecosystems. Using a threatened ecological community (TEC) with >120 plant species, we posit our approach as a guide for interpreting and achieving regulatory compliance (i.e., government conditions) enacted to manage or offset environmental impacts of development. We inform the scientific approach necessary to delivering outcomes appropriate to policy intent and biodiverse restoration through theoretical and applied research into the ecological restoration of the highly endemic flora of banded ironstone formations of the Mid West of Western Australia. Our approach (1) defines scale-appropriate restoration targets that meet regulatory compliance (e.g., Government of Western Australia Ministerial Conditions); (2) determines the optimal method to return individual plant species to the restoration landscape; (3) develops a conceptual model for our system, based on existing restoration frameworks, to optimize and facilitate the pathway to the restoration of a vegetation community (e.g., TEC) using diverse research approaches; and (4) develops an assessment protocol to compare restoration achievements against the expected regulatory outcomes using our experimental restoration trials as a test example. Our approach systematically addressed the complex challenges in setting and achieving restoration targets for an entire vegetation community, a first for a semiarid environment. We interpret our approach as an industry application relevant to policy- or regulator-mediated mine restoration programs that seek to return biodiverse species assemblages at landscape scales.

An approach to defining and achieving restoration targets for a threatened plant community – Elliott – Ecological Applications – Wiley Online Library

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5. A penguin farm in the Australian desert: a thought experiment that reveals the flaws our in environment laws

Imagine this fictitious scenario. The federal environment minister announces government approval for a large-scale penguin farm near Alice Springs. It will produce 300,000 penguins each year for the high-end feather market in Europe. Penguin feathers are also, in this make-believe world, proven superconductors that could provide an alternative to lithium for renewable energy batteries. The $40 million farming project promises to create jobs and growth in regional Australia. To any informed reader, the idea of farming cold-ocean seabirds in the Australian desert is mind-numbingly silly. But this hypothetical idea helps us better understand how environmental governance in Australia has gone badly wrong.

A penguin farm in the Australian desert: a thought experiment that reveals the flaws our in environment laws (theconversation.com)

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6. As the world burns

even before Putin launched his war, the battle against climate change was being lost. It has been hard to generate any sense of urgency about a problem widely viewed as real (denial of climate science is fading) but seen mostly as something that can be dealt with in the future. Record-high temperatures in Europe and elsewhere, droughts, wildfires, more severe storms and increased migration may change this perception, but so far they haven’t. Moreover, any government acting alone will not solve the problem. There is thus a sense in many countries that doing the right thing won’t matter, because others will continue to do the wrong thing, and all will suffer.

As the world burns | The Strategist (aspistrategist.org.au)

-~<>~-

7. Carbon-Reduction Plans Rely on Tech That Doesn’t Exist

Instead of scaling up renewable energy, researchers promote unproved ideas

Stop and think about this for a moment. Science—that is to say, Euro-American science—has long been held as our model for rationality. Scientists frequently accuse those who reject their findings of being irrational. Yet depending on technologies that do not yet exist is irrational, a kind of magical thinking. That is a developmental stage kids are expected to outgrow. Imagine if I said I planned to build a home with materials that had not yet been invented or build a civilization on Mars without first figuring out how to get even one human being there. You’d likely consider me irrational, perhaps delusional. Yet this kind of thinking pervades plans for future decarbonization.

Carbon-Reduction Plans Rely on Tech That Doesn’t Exist – Scientific American

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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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #533 (20 July 2022)

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


“Most of Australia is likely to burn even more. That’s bad news for places such as Australia’s ancient Gondwana rainforests. Historically, these have rarely, if ever, burned. Yet more than 50% was impacted in the 2019-2020 fires.”
Ayesha Tulloch [see item 3]

In this issue of Dbytes

1. Assessment Report on the Diverse Values and Valuation of Nature
2. This is Australia’s most important report on the environment’s deteriorating health. We present its grim findings
3. ‘That patch of bush is gone, and so are the birds’: a scientist reacts to the State of the Environment report
4. Australia’s central climate policy pays people to grow trees that already existed. Taxpayers – and the environment – deserve better
5. The public’s valuation of threatened species protection
6. Scientific evidence on the political impact of the Sustainable Development Goals
7. Thinking resilience – navigating a complex world

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1. Assessment Report on the Diverse Values and Valuation of Nature

The report found a dominant global focus on short-term profits and economic growth, often excluding consideration of multiple values of nature in policy decisions. Although often privileged in decision-making, this focus does not adequately reflect the way that changes in nature affect people’s quality of life. The assessment report identifies four actions that can create the conditions for the transformative change needed to address the global biodiversity crisis and achieve a more sustainable and just future:
-recognising the diverse values of nature
-embedding values into decision-making
-reforming policies and regulations to internalise nature’s values, and
-shifting societal goals to align with global sustainability and justice objectives.
The report also presents a novel typology of nature’s values, to guide decision-makers on understanding the diverse way people relate to and value nature. This comprises nature’s capacity to provide resources; the intrinsic values of other species in nature; the importance of nature as the setting for people’s sense of place and identify; and nature as a physical, mental and spiritual part of oneself.

https://zenodo.org/record/6813144#.YtX0lXZBxPY

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2. This is Australia’s most important report on the environment’s deteriorating health. We present its grim findings

This report goes further than its predecessors, by describing how our environment is affecting the health and well-being of Australians. It is also the first to include Indigenous co-authors. As chief authors of the report, we present its key findings here. They include new chapters dedicated to extreme events and Indigenous voices.

https://theconversation.com/this-is-australias-most-important-report-on-the-environments-deteriorating-health-we-present-its-grim-findings-186131?

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3. ‘That patch of bush is gone, and so are the birds’: a scientist reacts to the State of the Environment report

Ayesha Tulloch: Australia’s State of the Environment Report was finally released today – and its findings are a staggering picture of loss and devastation. As a conservation scientist, I’ve spent the last decade helping governments, community groups and individuals better manage our environment. But the report reveals things are getting worse. I’m disappointed, but not surprised. I’ve seen firsthand the devastation wrought by threats such as bushfires and land clearing. I remain hopeful we can turn the crisis around. But it will take money, government commitment and public support to protect and recover our precious natural places.

https://theconversation.com/that-patch-of-bush-is-gone-and-so-are-the-birds-a-scientist-reacts-to-the-state-of-the-environment-report-186135?

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4. Australia’s central climate policy pays people to grow trees that already existed. Taxpayers – and the environment – deserve better

The federal government has launched an independent review of Australia’s central climate policy, the Emissions Reduction Fund, after we and others raised serious concerns about its integrity. The review will examine, among other issues, whether several ways of earning credits under the scheme lead to genuine emissions reductions. One method singled out for scrutiny involves regrowing native forests to store carbon from the atmosphere. Our new analysis suggests the vast majority of carbon storage credited under this method either has not occurred, or would have occurred anyway. Here we explain why.

Australia’s central climate policy pays people to grow trees that already existed. Taxpayers – and the environment – deserve better (theconversation.com)

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5. The public’s valuation of threatened species protection

In a new study, we estimate the Australian public’s willingness to pay for protection of a variety of threatened animal species. We conducted a survey to elicit the value of 12 threatened Australian animal species which were selected, in consultation with Australian government conservation agency managers, to provide a diversity of life forms and appearance. They included: four bird species (Orange-bellied Parrot, Far Eastern Curlew, Australasian Bittern and Eastern Bristlebird), two fish (Shaw Galaxias and Murray Cod), two invertebrates (Boggomoss Snail and Giant Freshwater Crayfish), two mammals (Brush-tailed Rabbit-rat and Numbat) and two reptiles (Gulbaru Gecko and Great Desert Skink).

380. The public’s valuation of threatened species protection – Pannell Discussions

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6. Scientific evidence on the political impact of the Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, the United Nations agreed on 17 Sustainable Development Goals as the central normative framework for sustainable development worldwide. The effectiveness of governing by such broad global goals, however, remains uncertain, and we lack comprehensive meta-studies that assess the political impact of the goals across countries and globally. We present here condensed evidence from an analysis of over 3,000 scientific studies on the Sustainable Development Goals published between 2016 and April 2021. Our findings suggests that the goals have had some political impact on institutions and policies, from local to global governance. This impact has been largely discursive, affecting the way actors understand and communicate about sustainable development. More profound normative and institutional impact, from legislative action to changing resource allocation, remains rare. We conclude that the scientific evidence suggests only limited transformative political impact of the Sustainable Development Goals thus far.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-022-00909-5

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7. Thinking resilience – navigating a complex world

One way of better appreciating the complexity around us and navigating a way through lies in the area of resilience thinking. Resilience thinking is the capacity to envisage your system as a self-organising system with thresholds, linked domains and cycles. When you begin engaging with ideas relating to a system’s resilience, you begin to appreciate the world in a different way. Some of those insights include that no-one is in control, there’s no such thing as an optimal state and you can’t understand a system by understanding the components that make it up.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/07/20/thinking-resilience-navigating-a-complex-world/

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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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #532 (13 July 2022)

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


“Choices based on a nonrelational ontology, where humans can be meaningfully separated from the ecosystems on which they depend (i.e., people and nature), have been indirectly attributed to biodiversity loss. Examples of these choices could include open-cut mining, large-scale deforestation and watershed pollution. In contrast, a relational ontology would not assume that humans could be separated from ecosystems, but that entities—plants, animals and parts of the landscape—have agency and are embedded within a universe of reciprocal interactions (i.e., people as nature). Here, choices account for the consequences of any action or intervention for an assemblage of relationships between entities, thereby reducing the risk of species loss.”
Katie Moon & Katharina-Victoria Pérez-Hämmerle
[see item 1]

In this issue of Dbytes

1. Inclusivity via ontological accountability
2. What can we expect in Australia’s new climate law?
3. Nation-building or nature-destroying? Why it’s time NZ faced up to the environmental damage of its colonial past
4. Decoloniality and anti-oppressive practices for a more ethical ecology
5. Citizen Science as an Ecosystem of Engagement: Implications for Learning and Broadening Participation
6. We’ve overexploited the planet, now we need to change if we’re to survive
7. Greater gliders are hurtling towards extinction, and the blame lies squarely with Australian governments

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1. Inclusivity via ontological accountability

Conservation and environmental policies are increasingly criticized for marginalizing peoples, entities and practices. Typically overlooked, yet critical in their potential for marginalization and exclusion, are the assumptions that underlie a policy’s classifications, categorizations and descriptions of reality. These ontological assumptions come to define which interventions are appropriate, or even possible, and for whom. We seek to illuminate the importance of ontology to policy-making and implementation processes. We do so via an ontological analysis of selected elements of an international policy, the Convention on Biological Diversity, to show how language, logic, rights and responsibilities expressed and inferred within the policy could marginalize different entities and practices. The analysis demonstrates how a policy represents reality and thereby intervenes in the world, with consequences for alternative ontologies, peoples, and knowledges. To support ontological accountability, we offer a three-stage conceptual framework to: deconstruct the language used in describing reality; make sense of how language and logic entangle rights and responsibilities; and enable transformation by becoming accountable to diverse practices of reality. Enabling the coexistence and practice of multiple ontologies is not easy or simple, but it is fundamental for transforming to inclusive policy-making, implementation, and self-determination.

The Society for Conservation Biology (wiley.com)

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2. What can we expect in Australia’s new climate law?

Australia’s newly elected government has promised to introduce a Climate Change Bill. It won’t be available till later this month but we have a fair idea of what it is likely to say. It will not seek to reimpose a carbon price but will use an existing law reduce allowable emissions for the largest polluters. It will enshrine both Australia’s ‘net zero by 2050’ goal and its new Paris ‘nationally determined contribution’ of a 43% reduction in emissions by 2030. It will also restore the CCA’s role of advising Government on future targets; require the climate minister to report annually to Parliament on progress in meeting targets; and paste the new climate targets across into the formal objectives and functions of several government agencies.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/07/13/what-can-we-expect-in-australias-new-climate-law/

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3. Nation-building or nature-destroying? Why it’s time NZ faced up to the environmental damage of its colonial past

The ways in which New Zealand remembers European colonisation have changed markedly in recent years. Critics have been chipping away at the public image of Captain James Cook, the New Zealand Wars have been included in the new compulsory history curriculum, and streets honouring colonial figures have been renamed. However, while New Zealand is slowly recognising the historical injustices suffered by Māori, the same reappraisal hasn’t extended to the natural environment. The dramatic transformation of “wild untamed nature” into “productive land” by European settlers in the 1800s continues to be widely celebrated as a testament to Kiwi ingenuity and hard work.

My soon-to-be published research, based on a survey of 1,100 people, suggests this narrative could be partly responsible for New Zealanders’ apparent complacency on climate change compared to other countries. Essentially, it appears those who refuse the “taming of nature” narrative – and instead recognise the 19th century as a period of environmental destruction – are more likely to have what psychologists call an “environmental self-identity”.

https://theconversation.com/nation-building-or-nature-destroying-why-its-time-nz-faced-up-to-the-environmental-damage-of-its-colonial-past-185693?

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4. Decoloniality and anti-oppressive practices for a more ethical ecology

Ecological research and practice are crucial to understanding and guiding more positive relationships between people and ecosystems. However, ecology as a discipline and the diversity of those who call themselves ecologists have also been shaped and held back by often exclusionary Western approaches to knowing and doing ecology. To overcome these historical constraints and to make ecology inclusive of the diverse peoples inhabiting Earth’s varied ecosystems, ecologists must expand their knowledge, both in theory and practice, to incorporate varied perspectives, approaches and interpretations from, with and within the natural environment and across global systems. We outline five shifts that could help to transform academic ecological practice: decolonize your mind; know your histories; decolonize access; decolonize expertise; and practise ethical ecology in inclusive teams. We challenge the discipline to become more inclusive, creative and ethical at a moment when the perils of entrenched thinking have never been clearer.

Decoloniality and anti-oppressive practices for a more ethical ecology | Nature Ecology & Evolution

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5. Citizen Science as an Ecosystem of Engagement: Implications for Learning and Broadening Participation

The bulk of research on citizen science participants is project centric, based on an assumption that volunteers experience a single project. Contrary to this assumption, survey responses (n = 3894) and digital trace data (n = 3649) from volunteers, who collectively engaged in 1126 unique projects, revealed that multiproject participation was the norm. Only 23% of volunteers were singletons (who participated in only one project). The remaining multiproject participants were split evenly between discipline specialists (39%) and discipline spanners (38% joined projects with different disciplinary topics) and unevenly between mode specialists (52%) and mode spanners (25% participated in online and offline projects). Public engagement was narrow: The multiproject participants were eight times more likely to be White and five times more likely to hold advanced degrees than the general population. We propose a volunteer-centric framework that explores how the dynamic accumulation of experiences in a project ecosystem can support broad learning objectives and inclusive citizen science.

Citizen Science as an Ecosystem of Engagement: Implications for Learning and Broadening Participation | BioScience | Oxford Academic (oup.com)

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6. We’ve overexploited the planet, now we need to change if we’re to survive

he relationship between humans and nature is under intense and increasing strain. The report released today by Ipbes, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (akin to the IPCC reports on climate change), provides compelling evidence that humans are overexploiting wild species and habitats. Harmful activities, including habitat destruction, poor farming practices and pollution, have altered ecosystems significantly, driving many species past the point of recovery. In Great Britain alone, of the 8,431 species assessed in the 2019 State of Nature report, 1,188 are threatened with extinction. Globally, there are an estimated one million at risk, with biodiversity declining at a faster rate than at any time in human history.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jul/08/climate-crisis-biodiversity-decline-overexploited-planet-change-to-survive-aoe

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7. Greater gliders are hurtling towards extinction, and the blame lies squarely with Australian governments

A key reason is that Australia’s environmental laws and practices are outdated and offer little meaningful protection to threatened plants and animals. To avoid a future in which greater gliders are nothing more than a memory, we must immediately stop destroying their habitat.

https://theconversation.com/greater-gliders-are-hurtling-towards-extinction-and-the-blame-lies-squarely-with-australian-governments-186469

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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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #531 (6 July 2022)

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


“We found nature restoration only marginally lowers global warming – and any climate benefits are dwarfed by the scale of ongoing fossil fuel emissions, which could be over 2,000 billion tonnes of CO₂ between now and 2100, under current policies.”
Kate Dooley & Zebedee Nicholls [see item 1]

In this issue of Dbytes

1. No more excuses: restoring nature is not a silver bullet for global warming, we must cut emissions outright
2. Scientists warn deal to save biodiversity is in jeopardy
3. Solving sustainability – It’s complicated AND complex. Do you know the difference?
4. A call on conferences for more equity and inclusion of diversity
5. We blew the whistle on Australia’s central climate policy. Here’s what a new federal government probe must fix
6. Conservation Science Publishing Has a Gender Problem
7. Enormous environmental consequences of the war in Ukraine


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1. No more excuses: restoring nature is not a silver bullet for global warming, we must cut emissions outright

Restoring degraded environments, such as by planting trees, is often touted as a solution to the climate crisis. But our new research shows this, while important, is no substitute for preventing fossil fuel emissions to limit global warming.

https://theconversation.com/no-more-excuses-restoring-nature-is-not-a-silver-bullet-for-global-warming-we-must-cut-emissions-outright-186048?

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2. Scientists warn deal to save biodiversity is in jeopardy

Negotiators from around 200 countries that have signed up to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) met in Nairobi from 21 to 26 June to thrash out key details of the deal, known as the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. But the talks made such little progress that many scientists are worried that nations will be unable to finalize the deal at the UN biodiversity summit in Montreal, Canada, in December. A key sticking point is how much funding rich nations will provide to low-income nations. Failure to agree on the framework at this summit — the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) — will be devastating for the natural world, they say.


Scientists warn deal to save biodiversity is in jeopardy (nature.com)

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3. Solving sustainability – It’s complicated AND complex. Do you know the difference?

Why is climate change so difficult to solve? Because it’s a complex problem and complexity is something humans don’t deal with well. Our political leaders will tell you they are in control, and that they have a plan, a simple solution that solves the problem of climate change without anyone having to change. Simple solutions never solve complex problems but they can make them worse.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/07/05/solving-sustainability-its-complicated-and-complex-do-you-know-the-difference/

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4. A call on conferences for more equity and inclusion of diversity

This blog post is dedicated to all the people who care about equity and inclusion of diversity, especially with regards to collaborations with researchers and practitioners from low, lower-middle, and upper-middle income economy countries. Here, I tell my personal backstory about how the largest, oldest, and most respected coral reef research society, the International Coral Reef Society (ICRS), changed their operational model for running their International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS22) to improve participation and access to delegates from developing countries by waiving the online registration fees. This change must have followed years of conversations and more recently, a public letter by a very unhappy symposium chair. Me.

A call on conferences for more equity and inclusion of diversity | Elisa’s fabulous blog (elisabayra.github.io)

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5. We blew the whistle on Australia’s central climate policy. Here’s what a new federal government probe must fix

Our analysis suggests up to 80% of credits issued under three of the Emissions Reduction Fund’s most popular emissions reduction methods do not represent genuine emissions cuts that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. Our decision to call the scheme a “fraud” was deliberate and considered. In our view, a process that systematically pays for a service that’s not actually provided is fraudulent. The Clean Energy Regulator (which administers the fund) and the current ERAC reviewed our claims and, earlier this month, dismissed them. We have expressed serious concerns with that review process, which we believe was not transparent and showed a fundamental lack of understanding of the issues.

https://theconversation.com/we-blew-the-whistle-on-australias-central-climate-policy-heres-what-a-new-federal-government-probe-must-fix-185894?

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6. Conservation Science Publishing Has a Gender Problem

The persistent gender gap in science publishing is harming conservation efforts. An analysis of papers published by Nature Conservancy scientists over 50 years finds that men continue to out-publish women. Only 36% of authors were women, and in any year women in the Global South have never comprised more than 3% of total authorships across the organization.

Conservation Science Publishing Has a Gender Problem (nature.org)

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7. Enormous environmental consequences of the war in Ukraine

The conflict in Ukraine is destroying environments and not only in the war zone.

Environment: Enormous environmental consequences of the war in Ukraine (johnmenadue.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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #530 (21 June 2022)

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

“The expansion of environmental markets, including greater use of biodiversity offsets, is increasingly cited as central to boosting conservation investment and mainstreaming biodiversity within economic decision-making. But such approaches are far from a silver bullet. Nearly 30 years since the first Payments for Ecosystem Services trade, liquid markets with strong flows of capital to biodiversity conservation remain perpetually in a state of emergence. Biodiversity offsets often fail to fully compensate for biodiversity losses, even against a counterfactual of ongoing biodiversity decline, and there is not enough land available for tree planting to achieve climate-mitigation goals.”
Divya Narain et al, 2022 [See item 1]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. A step change needed to secure a nature-positive future—Is it in reach?
2. Lies, damned lies and … Environmental Economics?
3. Kangaroo Island’s dunnarts were hit hard by bushfires. Now feral cats threaten them with extinction
4. Australia has a once in a lifetime opportunity to break the stranglehold fossil fuels have on our politics
5. Climate Change Killed Conservation: Can We Still Protect Ecosystems?
6. Dam Accounting: Taking Stock of Methane Emissions From Reservoirs
7. Putting Nature to Work: Integrating Green and Gray Infrastructure for Water Security and Climate Resilience

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1. A step change needed to secure a nature-positive future—Is it in reach?

The 1972 Stockholm Conference put environmental protection on the global agenda for the first time. But since then, biodiversity losses and increasing threats have outpaced the conservation response. A step change is needed to reverse this trend and will require scaled-up action across society, including from governments, businesses, and financial institutions.

A step change needed to secure a nature-positive future—Is it in reach? – ScienceDirect

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2. Lies, damned lies and … Environmental Economics?

A single fossil fuel development proposal in Australia is predicted to raise the global temperature by a tiny amount. With a world already overheating, should this new development be allowed? Government approval may well hinge on the idea of ‘economics of substitution.’

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/06/29/lies-damned-lies-and-environmental-economics/

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3. Kangaroo Island’s dunnarts were hit hard by bushfires. Now feral cats threaten them with extinction

Eight per cent of trapped cats had endangered dunnarts in their stomach contents. Almost all the dunnarts’ habitat was hit by bushfires. New technology makes wiping out Kangaroo Island’s feral cats a possibility.

Kangaroo Island’s dunnarts were hit hard by bushfires. Now feral cats threaten them with extinction – ABC News

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4. Australia has a once in a lifetime opportunity to break the stranglehold fossil fuels have on our politics

The history of Australian climate policy — under both Labor and Coalition governments — shows very clearly that our large and powerful fossil fuel industry and its political clients are adept at devising “innovative” ways to ensure targets are achieved without obstructing the Lemming-like march toward ever more coal and gas production.

https://theconversation.com/australia-has-a-once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity-to-break-the-stranglehold-fossil-fuels-have-on-our-politics-184748?

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5. Climate Change Killed Conservation: Can We Still Protect Ecosystems?

If conservation is about “preserving” biodiversity or “restoring” ecosystems to past states, how can conservation strategies continue to serve a useful function relative to this period of climate change? Indeed, conservation as an unreconstructed set of management responses may actually accelerate the loss of biodiversity, untangling communities and ecosystems even as conservationists try to hold water through open fingers. Conservation is becoming the opposite of climate adaptation. When does conservation itself become environmental damage? Is conservation a lazy, unimaginative response to environmental change?

https://medium.com/@johoma/climate-change-killed-conservation-can-we-still-protect-ecosystems-80144df200e4

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6. Dam Accounting: Taking Stock of Methane Emissions From Reservoirs

Despite the green reputation of hydropower among policymakers, some reservoirs emit significant amounts of methane, along with much smaller amounts of nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide. That’s bad news because we already have a methane problem. This short-lived but potent gas packs 85 times the global warming punch of carbon dioxide over 20 years. If we hope to stave off catastrophic warming, scientists say we need to quickly cut methane. But new data show that despite this warning it’s still increasing at record levels — even with a global pledge signed by 100 countries to slash methane emissions 30% by 2030.

Methane can rise from wetlands and other natural sources, but most emissions come from human-caused sources like oil and gas, landfills and livestock. We’ve known about the threat from those sources for years, but emissions from reservoirs have largely been either uncounted or undercounted.

Dam Accounting: Taking Stock of Methane Emissions From Reservoirs – Resilience

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7. Putting Nature to Work: Integrating Green and Gray Infrastructure for Water Security and Climate Resilience

“Integrating Green and Gray – Creating Next Generation Infrastructure” is a joint report from the World Bank and the World Resources Institute (WRI) that aims to advance the integration of green and gray infrastructure solutions on the ground. It places a spotlight on the world’s growing infrastructure crisis, driven by climate change and growing populations. It proposes insights, solutions and examples for putting nature to work. It examines the technical, environmental, social and economic dimensions of a typical project assessment but also outlines, with new clarity and detail, the enabling conditions required to facilitate successful implementation of green-gray projects. Harnessing the collective analytical and technical expertise of the World Bank and WRI, it aims to build momentum in both policy and practice.

Putting Nature to Work: Integrating Green and Gray Infrastructure for Water Security and Climate Resilience (worldbank.org)

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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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #529 (21 June 2022)

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


“These narratives show how the climate conversation has moved from outright climate denialism to delayism and distraction from acting. As these narratives infiltrate general discourse, stances on climate actions are entrenching into broader individual identity and grievance politics, emerging as a new front in the culture wars.”
Jennie King et al, 2022 [see item 7]

In this issue of Dbytes

1. No excuses’: limited conservation efforts could save at least 47 Australian animals from extinction
2. Why can’t we fix this? Because it’s complex
3. Flexible conservation decisions for climate adaptation
4. Australian frogs are dying en masse again, and we need your help to find out why
5. The Potential of Blue Carbon for Mitigating Climate Change
6. IIED: 50 years of communicating about environment and development
7. Deny, Deceive, Delay: Documenting and Responding to Climate Disinformation at COP26 & Beyond

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1. No excuses’: limited conservation efforts could save at least 47 Australian animals from extinction

Scientists hope Albanese government addresses extinction crisis as new research shows 63 vertebrates face annihilation by 2041.

‘No excuses’: limited conservation efforts could save at least 47 Australian animals from extinction | Endangered species | The Guardian

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2. Why can’t we fix this? Because it’s complex

Don’t treat climate change as a simple problem. It’s not. It’s complex, and it won’t be solved with simple solutions. If you’re in any doubt about this, have a look at what’s happened over the last two decades.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/06/21/why-cant-we-fix-this-because-its-complex/

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3. Flexible conservation decisions for climate adaptation

We need to think more strategically about building flexibility into conservation decision-making and planning for climate adaptation. We characterise flexible conservation strategies into three types of flexibility (procedural, action, and resource flexibility) and use structured decision-making to link flexible strategies to particular types of risks arising from climate uncertainty. We hope that this will provide a framework for organisations and governments to be able to think more strategically about how to build flexibility into conservation plans and identifying when flexibility is likely to be valuable.

https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1fG9j9C%7EItyLNS

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4. Australian frogs are dying en masse again, and we need your help to find out why

Last winter, thousands of dead and dying frogs were found across Australia. Instead of hunkering down and out of sight, frogs were spotted during the day in the open, on footpaths, highways and doorsteps – often in the blazing sun. These frogs were often thin, slow moving, and with dark patches on their back or red bellies. They were seeking water in pet bowls or pot plants. And they usually died in a matter of hours. A crash in frog populations could have very real consequences, particularly for already threatened frog species, and the importance of frogs in both freshwater and land systems means it can also impact entire ecosystems. Thankfully, reports of sick or dead frogs slowed as the weather got warmer, and by the end of last year they had all but ceased. We hoped the awful spate of frog deaths was a one-off. But now, we fear it is happening again.

Australian frogs are dying en masse again, and we need your help to find out why (theconversation.com)

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5. The Potential of Blue Carbon for Mitigating Climate Change

The latest McKinsey & Company report, “Blue Carbon: The potential of coastal and economic climate action,” accentuates the importance of blue carbon. It highlights how nature-based climate solutions in the world’s oceans can play an important role in conservation and carbon reduction efforts worldwide.

The Potential of Blue Carbon for Mitigating Climate Change – Impakter

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6. IIED: 50 years of communicating about environment and development

We have an operating budget of around 7% of IIED’s income for central comms. I believe this to be a good benchmark that provides value for money and a sensible approach to making sure you have enough resource, but not too much. It allows us to provide a robust ‘standing capacity’ for essential comms activities that keep the organisation competitive, visible in the right spaces, and able to produce high-impact material.

IIED: 50 years of communicating about environment and development – Research to Action

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7. Deny, Deceive, Delay: Documenting and Responding to Climate Disinformation at COP26 & Beyond

A new report by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue tracks the way calls for inaction on climate have evolved from the rhetoric of outright denial towards a focus on delaying action and under-stating risks. It finds that misinformation spread by a relatively small circle of actors is amplified rather than mitigated by both mainstream and social media. It brings forward seven policy recommendations to change this dynamic.

Deny, Deceive, Delay: Documenting and Responding to Climate Disinformation at COP26 & Beyond – Summary – ISD (isdglobal.org)

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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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #528 (9 June 2022)

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


“The ink was hardly dry on the Glasgow [climate] pact when the world began to change in ways potentially disastrous for hopes of tackling the climate crisis. Energy and food price rises mean that governments face a cost of living and energy security crisis, with some threatening to respond by returning to fossil fuels, including coal.”
Fiona Harvey [see item 1]

In this issue of Dbytes

1. Thirty years of climate summits: where have they got us?
2. Our new environment super-department sounds great in theory. But one department for two ministers is risky
3. One of Australia’s tiniest mammals is heading for extinction – but you can help
4. The aesthetic value of reef fishes is globally mismatched to their conservation priorities
5. Global protected areas seem insufficient to safeguard half of the world’s mammals from human-induced extinction
6. Assessing the extinction risk of all species of freshwater fishes globally
7. The Humanitarian Sector Needs Clear Job Profiles for Climate Science Translators Now More than Ever

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1. Thirty years of climate summits: where have they got us?

It has been 30 years since the Rio summit, when a global system was set up that would bring countries together on a regular basis to try to solve the climate crisis. Here are the highlights and lowlights since then.

Thirty years of climate summits: where have they got us? | Climate crisis | The Guardian

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2. Our new environment super-department sounds great in theory. But one department for two ministers is risky

Having one super-department supporting two ministers – Tanya Plibersek in environment and water, and Chris Bowen for climate change and energy – is likely to stretch the public service too far.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/06/14/our-new-environment-super-department-sounds-great-in-theory-but-one-department-for-two-ministers-is-risky/

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3. One of Australia’s tiniest mammals is heading for extinction – but you can help

They weigh around 15 grams, the same as a 50 cent coin. They devour vast quantities of insects. And they’re in real trouble. Our new research has found the critically endangered southern bent-wing bat is continuing to decline. Its populations are centred on just three “maternity” caves in southeast South Australia and southwest Victoria, where the bats give birth and raise their young.

https://theconversation.com/one-of-australias-tiniest-mammals-is-heading-for-extinction-but-you-can-help-183233

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4. The aesthetic value of reef fishes is globally mismatched to their conservation priorities

Reef fishes are closely connected to many human populations, yet their contributions to society are mostly considered through their economic and ecological values. Cultural and intrinsic values of reef fishes to the public can be critical drivers of conservation investment and success, but remain challenging to quantify. Aesthetic value represents one of the most immediate and direct means by which human societies engage with biodiversity, and can be evaluated from species to ecosystems. Here, we provide the aesthetic value of 2,417 ray-finned reef fish species by combining intensive evaluation of photographs of fishes by humans with predicted values from machine learning. We identified important biases in species’ aesthetic value relating to evolutionary history, ecological traits, and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) threat status. The most beautiful fishes are tightly packed into small parts of both the phylogenetic tree and the ecological trait space. In contrast, the less attractive fishes are the most ecologically and evolutionary distinct species and those recognized as threatened. Our study highlights likely important mismatches between potential public support for conservation and the species most in need of this support. It also provides a pathway for scaling-up our understanding of what are both an important nonmaterial facet of biodiversity and a key component of nature’s contribution to people, which could help better anticipate consequences of species loss and assist in developing appropriate communication strategies.

The aesthetic value of reef fishes is globally mismatched to their conservation priorities | PLOS Biology

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5. Global protected areas seem insufficient to safeguard half of the world’s mammals from human-induced extinction

Protected areas are vital for conserving global biodiversity, but we lack information on the extent to which the current global protected area network is able to prevent local extinctions. Here we investigate this by assessing the potential size of individual populations of nearly 4,000 terrestrial mammals within protected areas. We find that many existing protected areas are too small or too poorly connected to provide robust and resilient protection for almost all mammal species that are threatened with extinction and for over 1,000 species that are not currently threatened. These results highlight that global biodiversity targets must reflect ecological realities by incorporating spatial structure and estimates of population viability, rather than relying simply on the total area of land protected.

Global protected areas seem insufficient to safeguard half of the world’s mammals from human-induced extinction | PNAS

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6. Assessing the extinction risk of all species of freshwater fishes globally

Catherine Sayer is the Freshwater Programme Officer in the IUCN Biodiversity Assessment and Knowledge Team, based at The David Attenborough Building in Cambridge, UK. She is currently working to get the extinction risk of all species of freshwater fishes globally assessed for the IUCN Red List, which will fill in knowledge gaps on which regions have the highest numbers and proportions of threatened freshwater fishes, giving a greater understanding of where conservation programmes are likely to have most impact. SHOAL caught up with her to learn more about the IUCN Red List assessment process and get some advice on how researchers and taxonomists can conduct Red List assessments themselves.

https://shoalconservation.org/assessing-extinction-risk-of-freshwater-fishes-globally-interview-with-catherine-sayer/

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7. The Humanitarian Sector Needs Clear Job Profiles for Climate Science Translators Now More than Ever

A new generation of climate science translators (CSTs) is currently evolving, both as independent professionals and affiliated with humanitarian agencies. While people in this role represent an opportunity to foster communication and collaboration between climate science, humanitarian decision-support, policy, and decision-making, there are neither clear job profiles nor established criteria for success. Based on an analysis of job opportunities published on one of the largest humanitarian and development aid job portals, we show that the demand for CSTs has been increasing since 2011. Subsequently, we present a characterization of core skills for the next generation of CSTs aiming to establish a space for not only current CSTs to thrive, but also a path for future translators to follow, with milestones and opportunities for recognition.

https://journals.ametsoc.org/view/journals/bams/103/4/BAMS-D-20-0263.1.xml

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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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #527 (9 June 2022)

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


“We found Australia has already overshot three of these [planetary boundaries]: biodiversity, land-system change and nitrogen and phosphorus flows. We’re also approaching the boundaries for freshwater use and climate change.”
Romy Zyngier [see item 7]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. The minimum land area requiring conservation attention to safeguard biodiversity
2. Bringing ‘the environment’ in from the cold
3. Species recovery targets in England damaging and illogical, scientists warn
4. Plastic Recycling Doesn’t Work and Will Never Work
5. Valuing nature is key to unlocking real change for Australians
6. The ideology of wilderness ‘destroying this continent’
7. Australia has overshot three planetary boundaries based on how we use land

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1. The minimum land area requiring conservation attention to safeguard biodiversity

Ambitious conservation efforts are needed to stop the global biodiversity crisis. In this study, we estimate the minimum land area to secure important biodiversity areas, ecologically intact areas, and optimal locations for representation of species ranges and ecoregions. We discover that at least 64 million square kilometers (44% of terrestrial area) would require conservation attention (ranging from protected areas to land-use policies) to meet this goal. More than 1.8 billion people live on these lands, so responses that promote autonomy, self-determination, equity, and sustainable management for safeguarding biodiversity are essential. Spatially explicit land-use scenarios suggest that 1.3 million square kilometers of this land is at risk of being converted for intensive human land uses by 2030, which requires immediate attention. However, a sevenfold difference exists between the amount of habitat converted in optimistic and pessimistic land-use scenarios, highlighting an opportunity to avert this crisis. Appropriate targets in the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework to encourage conservation of the identified land would contribute substantially to safeguarding biodiversity.

https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abl9127

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2. Bringing ‘the environment’ in from the cold

2013: Conservatives trumpet they will put recovery plans into action for real conservation outcomes
2022: after gutting the environment dept, they scrap recovery plans altogether

Now we need to bring the environment in from the cold

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/06/07/bringing-the-environment-in-from-the-cold/

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3. Species recovery targets in England damaging and illogical, scientists warn

PM told there could be eight years’ decline before any gains despite already being at ‘rock bottom’

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/may/31/species-recovery-targets-england-damaging-illogical-scientists-warn?

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4. Plastic Recycling Doesn’t Work and Will Never Work

Americans support recycling. We do too. But although some materials can be effectively recycled and safely made from recycled content, plastics cannot. Plastic recycling does not work and will never work. The United States in 2021 had a dismal recycling rate of about 5 percent for post-consumer plastic waste, down from a high of 9.5 percent in 2014, when the U.S. exported millions of tons of plastic waste to China and counted it as recycled—even though much of it wasn’t.

Plastic Recycling Doesn’t Work and Will Never Work – The Atlantic

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5. Valuing nature is key to unlocking real change for Australians

Voters have given the new government a mandate to prioritise valuing nature. The make-up of the crossbench shows stronger and faster climate action was clearly a factor in the ballot booths.

Valuing nature is key to unlocking real change for Australians – The Fifth Estate

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6. The ideology of wilderness ‘destroying this continent’

What does a natural landscape look like to you? Maybe you think of a dense forest, or a sparkling body of water. Somewhere untouched by humans, right? Maybe the word “wilderness” comes to mind. Michael-Shawn Fletcher is a geographer and a descendant of the Wiradjuri – and he wants to challenge the idea that country that’s untouched by humans is a good thing.

The ideology of wilderness ‘destroying this continent’ – Ockham’s Razor – ABC Radio National

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7. Australia has overshot three planetary boundaries based on how we use land

We used to believe the world’s resources were almost limitless. But as we spread out across the planet, we consumed more and more of these resources. For decades, scientists have warned we are approaching the limits of what the environment can tolerate. In 2009, the influential Stockholm Resilience Centre first published its planetary boundaries framework. The idea is simple: outline the global environmental limits within which humanity could develop and thrive. This concept has become popular as a way to grasp our impact on nature. For the first time, we have taken these boundaries – which can be hard to visualise on a global scale – and applied them to Australia. We found Australia has already overshot three of these: biodiversity, land-system change and nitrogen and phosphorus flows. We’re also approaching the boundaries for freshwater use and climate change.

https://theconversation.com/australia-has-overshot-three-planetary-boundaries-based-on-how-we-use-land-183728

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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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #526 (1 June 2022)

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


“Amid all of the bluster of this election campaign, the Great Barrier Reef quietly bleached for the fourth time in the last seven years. As scientists we knew to expect this – at 1.5℃ of warming 90% of reefs will have been lost, and at 2℃ the wondrous Great Barrier Reef as we know it today will no longer exist.”
Nerilie Abram [see item 5]

In this issue of Dbytes

1. A new government and a new environment minister – what now for Australian environmental policy?
2. Climate change: the IPCC has served its purpose, so do we still need it?
3. An Indigenous perspective on ecosystem accounting: Challenges and opportunities revealed by an Australian case study
4. The Limits to Growth at 50: From Scenarios to Unfolding Reality
5. I am a climate scientist – and this is my plea to our newly elected politicians
6. Characteristics of immersive citizen science experiences that drive conservation engagement
7. Climate change is killing trees in Queensland’s tropical rainforests

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1. A new government and a new environment minister – what now for Australian environmental policy?

While Labor lifted its game at the last minute with its environmental law reform policy, they can hardly be said to be environmental-policy high performers. So, what’s ‘on the record’ and ‘off the record’ for our new government when it comes to the Environment? What should our new environment minister prioritise?

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/06/01/a-new-government-and-a-new-environment-minister-what-now-for-australian-environmental-policy/

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2. Climate change: the IPCC has served its purpose, so do we still need it?

In 1990, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its first assessment report on the state of climate change science. The synthesis of the sixth assessment report will be released later this year. But we can guess its messages: we are changing the climate with adverse consequences and we must urgently cut emissions. So after all this time, is the IPCC still useful?

https://theconversation.com/climate-change-the-ipcc-has-served-its-purpose-so-do-we-still-need-it-183550?

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3. An Indigenous perspective on ecosystem accounting: Challenges and opportunities revealed by an Australian case study

The System of Environmental-Economic Accounting Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA-EA) is widely promoted in environmental and economic policy and management. Unfortunately, the SEEA-EA has not substantively addressed the aspects of accounting that may be of interest to, or used by, Indigenous peoples. We investigate an Indigenous perspective on the potential of the SEEA-EA to support cultural and environmental management through collaborative workshops with managers of Nyamba Buru Yawuru, the Prescribed Body Corporate representing the Yawuru Traditional Owners in Western Australia. Our discussions highlight that while the SEEA-EA may be a valuable tool for empowering Indigenous people and supporting the management of their lands and seas, there are areas where the SEEA-EA needs to be broadened to better reflect cultural values, and the services to ecosystems provided by Indigenous peoples. Embedding Indigenous perspectives into the SEEA-EA would mean that it is of greater use to Indigenous peoples and their representative organisations and ensure that these values are better recognised in the policymaking of government.

An Indigenous perspective on ecosystem accounting: Challenges and opportunities revealed by an Australian case study (springer.com)

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4. The Limits to Growth at 50: From Scenarios to Unfolding Reality

Now we have the benefit of a half-century of hindsight. But we also have the great misfortune of living in a world that closely approximates the “standard run” scenario of the study. In this essay, I’ll compare the scenarios with reality in broad terms, discuss what factors the Limits to Growth study didn’t model, survey later re-assessments of the 1972 study, and explore what can still be done to minimize casualties as the expansive drive of humanity collides with planetary boundaries in real time.

The Limits to Growth at 50: From Scenarios to Unfolding Reality – Resilience

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5. I am a climate scientist – and this is my plea to our newly elected politicians

The 2022 federal election will go down in history as Australia’s climate change election. Australians resoundingly voted for ambition on climate action, something which has been missing for a decade under a Coalition government, along with integrity and gender equality.

https://theconversation.com/i-am-a-climate-scientist-and-this-is-my-plea-to-our-newly-elected-politicians-183540

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6. Characteristics of immersive citizen science experiences that drive conservation engagement

Promoting an engaged community is an important part of achieving conservation outcomes. Research shows that citizen science has the potential to elicit conservation engagement. However, research has not specifically explored how intensive citizen science expedition programs contribute to change. Here we use transformative learning theory as a tool to investigate how participation in citizen science programs influences conservation engagement. We analysed evaluation surveys of Earthwatch Institute citizen science participants (N = 608) and conducted in-depth interviews (N = 11), to examine the links between citizen science experiences and engagement outcomes. We discovered that while nature-based components of citizen science programs attract participants and create a salient environment for transformation, these are not objectively associated with engagement outcomes. Strengthened awareness was associated with learning, social interactions and cultural experiences, whereas intentions to engage in conservation action was only influenced by experiencing a sense of contribution. Rather than focusing only on learning and nature experiences, our results suggest that the elements of citizen science programs which support social change may require allowing participants to develop a sense of contribution amid an interactive social environment.

Characteristics of immersive citizen science experiences that drive conservation engagement – Day – – People and Nature – Wiley Online Library

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7. Climate change is killing trees in Queensland’s tropical rainforests

In recent years, the Great Barrier Reef off Australia’s northeast coast has seen multiple events of mass coral bleaching as human-caused global warming has driven sustained high temperatures in the ocean. Alongside the Coral Sea is another spectacular natural wonder: the rainforests of the World Heritage-listed wet tropics of Queensland. It turns out the same climate change forces contributing to coral bleaching have also taken a toll on the trees that inhabit these majestic tropical rainforests.

https://theconversation.com/climate-change-is-killing-trees-in-queenslands-tropical-rainforests-183215?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=bylinetwitterbutton

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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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #525 (25 May 2022)

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


“Gump succumbed in May 2014, just four months after Australian legislation finally listed the Christmas Island forest skink as endangered. The International Union for Conservation of Nature declared the species officially extinct in 2017.”
Hannah Seo [see item 4]

In this issue of Dbytes

1. We identified the 63 animals most likely to go extinct by 2041. We can’t give up on them yet
2. Investments that support biodiversity
3. In the war of the colour chart, where lies the colour of resilience?
4. Extinction obituary: the sudden, sad disappearance of the Christmas Island forest skink
5. The State of the Global Climate (WMO)
6. Wicked problems in public policy: understanding and responding to complex challenges
7. The hitchhiker’s guide to Australian conservation: A parasitological perspective on fauna translocations

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1. We identified the 63 animals most likely to go extinct by 2041. We can’t give up on them yet

It feels a bit strange to publish a paper that we want proved wrong – we have identified the 63 Australian birds, mammals, fish, frogs and reptiles most likely to go extinct in the next 20 years. Australia’s extinction record is abysmal, and we felt the best way to stop it was to identify the species at greatest risk, as they require the most urgent action. Leading up to this paper, we worked with conservation biologists and managers from around the country to publish research on the species closest to extinction within each broad group of animals. Birds and mammals came first, followed by fish, reptiles and frogs.

https://theconversation.com/we-identified-the-63-animals-most-likely-to-go-extinct-by-2041-we-cant-give-up-on-them-yet-182155?

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2. Investments that support biodiversity

Australia’s natural ecosystems and abundant marine areas provide an ideal environment in which to develop new financial products – such as mangrove bonds or blue carbon funds – that could be replicated globally to mitigate climate change and generate socio-economic gains for local communities, writes Alpa Bhattacharjee, Head of Corporate Sustainability at HSBC Australia.

CEDA – Investments that support biodiversity

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3. In the war of the colour chart, where lies the colour of resilience?

Latest news in Australian politics: The blues, being overly influenced by the browns, thought they could ignore the wishes of electorate. They thought they could trounce the reds while laughing at the greens because they believed a sufficiently frightened public would shy away from change, stick with a status quo no matter how inadequate. The teals appeared as if from nowhere and proved them dead wrong.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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4. Extinction obituary: the sudden, sad disappearance of the Christmas Island forest skink

Gump was the last lizard of her kind when she died in 2014, and her demise should be ‘a scar on our conscience’

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/may/18/christmas-island-forest-skinks-lizard-extinct-aoe?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

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5. The State of the Global Climate (WMO)

Four key climate change indicators break records in 2021
The publication provides a summary on the state of the climate indicators in 2021, including global temperatures trends and its distribution around the globe; most recent finding on Green House Gases concentration, Ocean indicators; Cryosphere with a particular emphasis on Arctic and Antarctic sea ice, greenland ice sheet and glaciers and snow cover; Stratospheric Ozone; analysis of major drivers of inter-annual climate variability during the year including the El Niño Souther Oscillation and other Ocean and Atmospheric indices; global precipitation distribution over land; extreme events including those related to tropical cyclones and wind storms; flooding, drought and extreme heat and cold events. The publication also provides most recent finding on climate-related risks and impacts including on food security, humanitarian and population displacement aspects and impact on ecosystems.

Four key climate change indicators break records in 2021 | World Meteorological Organization (wmo.int)

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6. Wicked problems in public policy: understanding and responding to complex challenges

This book offers the first overview of the ‘wicked problems’ literature, often seen as complex, open-ended and intractable, with both the nature of the ‘problem’ and the preferred ‘solution’ being strongly contested. It contextualises the debate using a wide range of relevant policy examples, explaining why these issues attract so much attention. There is an increasing interest in the conceptual and practical aspects of how ‘wicked problems’ are identified, understood and managed by policy practitioners. The standard public management responses to complexity and uncertainty (including traditional regulation and market-based solutions) are insufficient. Leaders often advocate and implement ideological ‘quick fixes’, but integrative and inclusive responses are increasingly being utilised to recognise the multiple interests and complex causes of these problems. This book uses examples from a wide range of social, economic and environmental fields in order to develop new insights about better solutions, and thus gain broad stakeholder acceptance for shared strategies for tackling ‘wicked problems’.

Wicked problems in public policy: understanding and responding to complex challenges (apo.org.au)

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7. The hitchhiker’s guide to Australian conservation: A parasitological perspective on fauna translocations

Translocation is a widely used conservation tool for reintroducing, introducing or restocking wildlife for conservation purposes. Disease and parasites are often unintended hitchhikers during translocations. Conservation managers have begun considering the health, disease risk and parasite loads of their species post-translocation, but not often during the translocation itself. When parasites and diseases are considered during the translocation, they are often dealt with via medical interventions resulting in the complete eradication of parasites leaving the host vulnerable to new or novel disease or parasite loads, or disrupting specialised host–parasite interactions or disease dynamics. To determine the extent of consideration and intervention of parasites and diseases in the Australian context, we conducted an aggregate scoping review of wildlife conservation translocations resulting in 98 identified translocations of 61 species with most (75%) being translocations of 40 species of mammals. Of the 98 translocations identified, only 40 (41%) described any management actions to monitor the health or disease of the translocation, such as health checks, post-mortems or sampling of disease or parasite fauna. Surprisingly, some literature mentioned specific diseases or parasites impacting a population (29% of 90 translocations), but only 16 (16%) undertook intervention to prevent these further spreading. When considering general trends over time, more translocations are considering parasites and disease in their planning, and some management action is usually taken; however, medical intervention remains low. In order to ensure that parasites and diseases are part of conservation thinking, we provide a flowchart for managers that can be implemented into future translocations that consider both the negative consequences of disease and parasites, and the ecological necessity and potential benefits of retaining co-evolved parasites and diseases.

The hitchhiker’s guide to Australian conservation: A parasitological perspective on fauna translocations – Dunlop – 2022 – Austral Ecology – 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). 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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #524 (18 May 2022)

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


“Vote responsibly.”
Editor, Dbytes (and if the environment is important to the way you vote, read items 1, 2, 3 & 4)

In this issue of Dbytes

1. I want my vote to count for nature: how do the major parties stack up?
2. It’s election time! For one party the environment is not a priority. For the other, it’s not something to talk about.
3. Native species are in crisis, but you wouldn’t know it from the election campaign
4. We must end our command-and-control relationship with the environment if we are to arrest its destruction
5. Prioritizing Indigenous Knowledge about Wild Pacific Salmon
6. Observing the microplastic cycle
7. Australia’s environment law doesn’t protect the environment – an alarming message from the recent duty-quashing climate case

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1. I want my vote to count for nature: how do the major parties stack up?

Protecting biodiversity isn’t just about the niceties of saving cute and cuddly animals. It’s about maintaining our health and prosperity, productive agriculture and liveable cities. So let’s take a closer look at political party promises, and whether they’re enough to turn things around for Australia’s threatened species.

https://theconversation.com/i-want-my-vote-to-count-for-nature-how-do-the-major-parties-stack-up-183023

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2. It’s election time! For one party the environment is not a priority. For the other, it’s not something to talk about.

What’s the overarching message on election policies on the environment from the two parties capable of forming government: a re-elected Coalition, or Labor? It boils down to ‘not a focus for us’ vs ‘not telling’.

Labor is ‘keeping mum’ on the environment. Pursuing a small-target strategy overall, but forced by circumstance to engage with the high political risks of climate policy, Labor have gambled that they can run dead on the rest of the environment.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/05/17/its-election-time-for-one-party-the-environment-is-not-a-priority-for-the-other-its-not-something-to-talk-about/

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3. Native species are in crisis, but you wouldn’t know it from the election campaign

There is no shortage of evidence that Australia’s unique environment and its biodiversity are in crisis, and the nation’s elected representatives are running out of time to protect what is left. Yet the environment has been almost entirely absent in this federal election campaign, with the cost of living and gotcha “gaffes” dominating the headlines.

https://www.theage.com.au/environment/conservation/native-species-are-in-crisis-but-you-wouldn-t-know-it-from-the-election-campaign-20220505-p5air2.html

4. We must end our command-and-control relationship with the environment if we are to arrest its destruction

Despite the magnitude of Australia’s environmental decline, we still have the opportunity and ability to turn things around.

We must end our command-and-control relationship with the environment if we are to arrest its destruction | Euan Ritchie | The Guardian

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5. Prioritizing Indigenous Knowledge about Wild Pacific Salmon

What would happen if western science considered fish relatives, rather than commodities?

Prioritizing Indigenous Knowledge about Wild Pacific Salmon | The Tyee

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6. Observing the microplastic cycle

A new international study has focussed the spotlight on the transport of micro- nano plastic particles between the atmosphere and the ocean – a growing challenge which poses risks to human, marine and ecosystem health. It calls for greater observations and data exchange in view of the many unknowns.

Observing the microplastic cycle | World Meteorological Organization (wmo.int)

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7. Australia’s environment law doesn’t protect the environment – an alarming message from the recent duty-quashing climate case

Much of the commentary around the judgment focused on lamenting the hands-off position the court took in its unwillingness to delve into so-called political territory. Less attention was paid to a key take-home message: the EPBC Act gives the minister power to approve coal projects, even if they’ll have adverse effects.

https://theconversation.com/australias-environment-law-doesnt-protect-the-environment-an-alarming-message-from-the-recent-duty-quashing-climate-case-179964

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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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #523 (12 May 2022)

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

“I have yet to meet a successful scientist who lacks the ability to exaggerate the importance of what he or she is doing, and I believe that someone who lacks a delusional sense of significance will wilt in the face of repeated experiences of multiple small failures and rare successes, the fate of most researchers.”
Daniel Kahneman [and see item 2]

In this issue of Dbytes

1. Forest Pulse: The Latest on the World’s Forests
2. Wanna save Planet Earth? Try ‘thinking slow’. In praise of Daniel Kahneman
3. Mapping ecological restoration knowledge: linking theory and practice in an interactive online platform
4. Australia’s next government must tackle our collapsing ecosystems and extinction crisis
5. Colonial Ecologies of the Half Earth
6. Wilderness forms and their implications for global environmental policy and
7. Disruption of cultural burning promotes shrub encroachment and unprecedented wildfires

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1. Forest Pulse: The Latest on the World’s Forests

The World Resources Institute (WRI) has released new analysis finding 11.1 million hectares of tree cover were lost in the tropics in 2021. This reduction includes nearly 4 million hectares of primary rainforest which are critical for carbon storage, resulting in 2.5 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. The analysis focuses on tropic forest losses because this is where most permanent forest removals occur.

At a country level, findings include:
-In 2021, almost 40 per cent of the world’s primary forest loss—over 1.5 million hectares—occurred in Brazil, which raises concerns due to recent findings about the Amazon rainforest’s loss of resilience and the likelihood of it approaching a tipping point sooner than has long been expected.
-Indonesia’s rate of primary forest loss declined for the 5th year in a row, due to successful policy measures.

The WRI’s list of top ten countries for tree cover loss from 2001 to 2021 also finds:
-74 per cent of the tree cover lost in Brazil is likely to be permanent.
-Indonesia lost over 28 million hectares of tree cover, with 94 per cent of that loss likely to be permanent.
-Australia ranks eighth among the top ten countries for global tree cover loss, losing over 8 million hectares with 3 per cent of that loss likely to be permanent. This finding contrasts with the trend evidenced in Australia’s official greenhouse gas inventory estimates, which show forest land area in 2019 higher than 20 years ago. The WRI acknowledges in its report that there are methodological differences between its approach and those used in official inventory estimates.

The Latest Analysis on Global Forests & Tree Cover Loss | Global Forest Review (wri.org)
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2. Wanna save Planet Earth? Try ‘thinking slow’. In praise of Daniel Kahneman

How do you communicate information to score a sale or bag a vote? You do it by building a simple coherent narrative that you can ‘sell’ with confidence. You scare people about their losses if the status quo is threatened (as will happen if you ‘vote for the opposition’), and you frame your arguments for maximum salience to your target group. These are some of the lessons available if you understand the cognitive biases in how we think. Nobel laureate Danial Kahneman has spent his life unravelling this puzzle.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3. Mapping ecological restoration knowledge: linking theory and practice in an interactive online platform

Currently, information regarding restoration science and practices are dispersed across large numbers of scientific papers and other resources, without strong linkages between ecological theory and practice. Scientists are registering a need to improve the effectiveness of restoration ecology by organizing and improving the accessibility of existing knowledge. Heger et al. (2022) therefore aimed to fill this gap and provide an overview of restoration science and practices by linking empirical evidence with supporting theories. The authors recommend the development and implementation of an online portal that better connects and develops ecological restoration knowledge and research.

Mapping ecological restoration knowledge: linking theory and practice in an interactive online platform – SCIENCE FOR SUSTAINABILITY (wordpress.com)

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4. Australia’s next government must tackle our collapsing ecosystems and extinction crisis

Unfortunately, our famous ecosystems are not OK. Many are hurtling towards collapse, threatening even iconic species like the koala, platypus and the numbat. More and more species are going extinct, with over 100 since British colonisation. That means Australia has one of the worst conservation records in the world. This represents a monumental government failure. Our leaders are failing in their duty of care to the environment. Yet so far, the election campaign has been unsettlingly silent on threatened species. Here are five steps our next government should take.

Australia’s next government must tackle our collapsing ecosystems and extinction crisis (theconversation.com)

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5. Colonial Ecologies of the Half Earth

The movement to conserve half of the Earth’s land and waters is gaining momentum. What kind of world would result if it succeeds?

Colonial Ecologies of the Half Earth – Undisciplined Environments

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6. Wilderness forms and their implications for global environmental policy and conservation

With the intention of securing industry-free land and seascapes, protecting wilderness entered international policy as a formal target for the first time in the zero draft of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework under the Convention on Biological Diversity. Given this increased prominence in international policy, it is timely to consider the extent to which the construct of wilderness supports global conservation objectives. We evaluated the construct by overlaying recently updated cumulative human pressure maps that offer a global-scale delineation of industry-free land as wilderness with maps of carbon stock, species richness, and ground travel time from urban centers. Wilderness areas took variable forms in relation to carbon stock, species richness, and proximity to urban centers, where 10% of wilderness areas represented high carbon and species richness, 20% low carbon and species richness, and 3% high levels of remoteness (>48 h), carbon, and species richness. Approximately 35% of all remaining wilderness in 2013 was accessible in <24 h of travel time from urban centers. Although the construct of wilderness can be used to secure benefits in specific contexts, its application in conservation must account for contextual and social implications. The diverse characterization of wilderness under a global environmental conservation lens shows that a nuanced framing and application of the construct is needed to improve understanding, communication, and retention of its variable forms as industry-free places.

The Society for Conservation Biology (wiley.com)

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7. Disruption of cultural burning promotes shrub encroachment and unprecedented wildfires

Historically unprecedented fires in Australia have raised questions about fire management and changes in forest structure since British colonization. New modeling techniques were used to assess past vegetation change from fossil pollen sequences. Results show an increase in shrub cover in southeast Australian woodlands following colonial settlement, linked to the suppression of Indigenous burning practices. Increased shrubbiness, in conjunction with climate change, may have exacerbated wildfires in southeast Australian forests.

Disruption of cultural burning promotes shrub encroachment and unprecedented wildfires – Mariani – – Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment – 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). 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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #522 (4 May 2022)

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


“We face the spectre of a transactional world, devoid of principle, accountability and transparency.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Fail: our report card on the government’s handling of Australia’s extinction crisis
2. Find out what threatened plants and animals live in your electorate (and what your MP can do about it)
3. Agriculture and climate change are reshaping insect biodiversity worldwide
4. Bushland marked as environmental offset for new Sydney airport bulldozed for car park
5. International declarations and other environmental promises: A game for those who talk but don’t walk
6. Do birders make good tourists?
7. Climate risk map of Australia

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1. Fail: our report card on the government’s handling of Australia’s extinction crisis

Australia is losing more biodiversity than any other developed nation. Already this year the charismatic and once abundant gang gang cockatoo has been added to our national threatened species list, the koala has been listed as endangered and the Great Barrier Reef suffered another mass bleaching event. The Australian public consistently rates the loss of our unique plants and animals as a key concern. Indeed, in a recent poll of 10,000 readers of The Conversation, “the environment” was identified as the second-biggest issue affecting their lives, behind climate change at number one.

https://theconversation.com/fail-our-report-card-on-the-governments-handling-of-australias-extinction-crisis-181786?

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2. Find out what threatened plants and animals live in your electorate (and what your MP can do about it)

We’ve developed a web app, which launches today, that lets Australians learn which threatened plants and animals live in their federal electorate. For example, we found the electorate with the most threatened species is Durack in Western Australia, held currently by the Liberal party’s Melissa Price. Some 61 threatened animals and 198 threatened plants live or used to live within its boundaries, such as the Numbat, Gouldian finch and the Western underground orchid.

Find out what threatened plants and animals live in your electorate (and what your MP can do about it) (theconversation.com)

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3. Agriculture and climate change are reshaping insect biodiversity worldwide

Although research has shown that biodiversity changes are driven primarily by land-use change and increasingly by climate change6,7, the potential for interaction between these drivers and insect biodiversity on the global scale remains unclear. Here we show that the interaction between indices of historical climate warming and intensive agricultural land use is associated with reductions of almost 50% in the abundance and 27% in the number of species within insect assemblages relative to those in less-disturbed habitats with lower rates of historical climate warming. These patterns are particularly evident in the tropical realm, whereas some positive responses of biodiversity to climate change occur in non-tropical regions in natural habitats.

Agriculture and climate change are reshaping insect biodiversity worldwide | Nature

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4. Bushland marked as environmental offset for new Sydney airport bulldozed for car park

The heritage listed and critically endangered Cumberland plain woodland was cleared for a new defence department facility.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/may/02/bushland-marked-as-environmental-offset-for-new-sydney-airport-bulldozed-for-car-park

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5. International declarations and other environmental promises: A game for those who talk but don’t walk

Are international declarations on the environment worth the paper they’re printed on? Based on the way the Australian Government treats them, they’re not worth anything. Consider what the Australian Government has said recently about forests and climate change

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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6. Do birders make good tourists?

Birdwatchers can be eccentric visitors but a recent report found they spend big in regional Australia.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2022/may/02/do-birders-make-good-tourists-in-the-90s-youd-get-some-deeply-suspicious-looks?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

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7. Climate risk map of Australia

The Climate Council’s Climate Risk Map of Australia is an interactive map of climate vulnerable places in Australia. Enter your suburb or postcode in the search bar in the top right corner of the map below to understand risks in your area.

Climate Risk Map of Australia | Climate Council

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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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #521 (27 April 2022)

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


“We’re going to lose everything. And we’re not joking, we’re not lying, we’re not exaggerating.”
Peter Kalmus; Nasa climate scientist speaks on his tearful protest


In this issue of Dbytes

1. How to balance biodiversity goals with limited economic resources
2. ‘Worst it’s ever been’: a threatened species alarm sounds during the election campaign – and is ignored
3. Disaster follows failures in integrity. Don’t think the earth system is too big to fail.
4. Calling Australia’s wildlife ‘weird’ puts it at risk
5. Five court cases to protect nature you should know about
6. Biodiversity: why new rules to ensure nature benefits from building projects could fail
7. Pannell’s writing process

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1. How to balance biodiversity goals with limited economic resources

In 2019, a landmark report gave the world its first report card on biodiversity loss. There was one crystal clear conclusion: human actions threaten more species with global extinction than ever before. Now, a research team has reviewed combining conservation with practical economic tools using a case study of Colombia, South America, a high priority but underfunded country for biodiversity conservation.

How to balance biodiversity goals with limited economic resources — ScienceDaily

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2. ‘Worst it’s ever been’: a threatened species alarm sounds during the election campaign – and is ignored

Warnings of dramatically escalating extinctions in Australia over the next two decades seem to be falling on deaf ears

‘Worst it’s ever been’: a threatened species alarm sounds during the election campaign – and is ignored | Endangered species | The Guardian

3. Disaster follows failures in integrity. Don’t think the earth system is too big to fail.

Good governance, transparency and accountability would have prevented Chernobyl, Challenger and Deepwater Horizon from ever becoming disasters. And if we want to prevent future disasters of this type, this is where we should be looking. Instead, our leaders have been actively eroding the integrity of the institutions that allow us to trust our governments and the processes they run. Without this integrity we won’t hear the warnings of the ‘engineers’ that the systems we depend upon have vulnerabilities and may be heading for collapse. Now we have climate change and we’re ignoring all the warnings.

https://bit.ly/SusBites

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4. Calling Australia’s wildlife ‘weird’ puts it at risk

Primitive oddities. Lesser beasts. Strange creatures in an evolutionary backwater. Since the 18th century, Australia’s mammals – including koalas, kangaroos, wombats, echidnas, possums and platypuses – have often been viewed unkindly by English observers.

Calling Australia’s wildlife ‘weird’ puts it at risk | Psyche Ideas

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5. Five court cases to protect nature you should know about

The law is one of the most effective tools we have to protect our precious environment and tackle the climate crisis. From holding those responsible for climate change to account, to giving our country’s diverse native wildlife a voice, Environmental Defenders Office runs groundbreaking litigation to protect Australia’s animals, places and communities. Here are five legal cases EDO is currently working on to help build a world where nature thrives.

Five court cases to protect nature you should know about – Environmental Defenders Office (edo.org.au)

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6. Biodiversity: why new rules to ensure nature benefits from building projects could fail

The UK government is making serious investments in new infrastructure as part of its post-pandemic recovery strategy, with £27 billion committed to road expansion, and a target of building an additional 300,000 homes per year. But it also has ambitious targets to halt and reverse wildlife declines by the end of the decade. Addressing potential trade-offs between these objectives, the 2021 Environment Act made it mandatory (after a two-year transition) for most new developments in England to achieve a “biodiversity net gain” – a measure to ensure nature is left better off overall than before the project began. The government is now consulting on how to implement the legislation – but as it stands, we worry that the policy contains loopholes and will be nearly impossible to enforce.

Biodiversity: why new rules to ensure nature benefits from building projects could fail (theconversation.com)

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7. Pannell’s writing process

“A while back I was talking about my writing process with a colleague and had the idea of trying to describe it and demonstrate it in detail in a Pannell Discussion. Here is my attempt to do that, using the writing of last week’s Pannell Discussion as the example. This is a particular type of writing, of course – a blog post of 500 to 1000 words – but the process has a strong overlap with the way I write most things.”

370. My writing process – Pannell Discussions

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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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #520 (21 April 2022)

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


“The EPBC Act gives the minister power to approve coal projects, even if they’ll have adverse effects. It doesn’t, in a general sense, protect the environment from these effects. It doesn’t protect the public from consequent harm, even if deadly. And it doesn’t, actually, tackle climate change at all.”
Laura Schuijers, Australia’s environment law doesn’t protect the environment – an alarming message from the recent duty-quashing climate case.


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Language barriers in global bird conservation
2. Living within limits
3. Last Chance Quiz – the Australian Government’s (non) response to queries on the environment.
4. BCA criticisms 5: “money isn’t everything”
5. UNESCO’s assessment of the Great Barrier Reef: is the Reef ‘in danger’?
6. From activism to “not-quite-government”: the role of government and non-government actors in the expansion of the Australian protected area estate since 1990
7. Biodiversity impacts and conservation implications of urban land expansion projected to 2050

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1. Language barriers in global bird conservation

Multiple languages being spoken within a species’ distribution can impede communication among conservation stakeholders, the compilation of scientific information, and the development of effective conservation actions. Here, we investigate the number of official languages spoken within the distributions of 10,863 bird species to identify which species might be particularly affected by consequences of language barriers. We show that 1587 species have 10 languages or more spoken within their distributions. Threatened and migratory species have significantly more languages spoken within their distributions, when controlling for range size. Particularly high numbers of species with many languages within their distribution are found in Eastern Europe, Russia and central and western Asia. Global conservation efforts would benefit from implementing guidelines to overcome language barriers, especially in regions with high species and language diversity.

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0267151

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2. Living within limits

The new report, Living within limits: Adapting the planetary boundaries to understand Australia’s contribution to planetary health, is based on the landmark ‘planetary boundaries’ framework, adapting it to the Australian context and examining what these boundaries mean for the nation’s land use sector.

‘Living within limits’ report investigates the environmental boundaries in which Australia can prosper – Climateworks Centre

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3. Last Chance Quiz – the Australian Government’s (non) response to queries on the environment.

The Government tinkers with the environment while inflating and conflating its efforts so as to deliberately mislead the people. The final Senate Estimates before the official election period (‘last chance quiz’) poked a few holes in the Government’s carefully contrived environment Budget narrative, but this doesn’t mean we are any wiser about what’s going on.

https://bit.ly/SusBites

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4. BCA criticisms 5: “money isn’t everything”

“I’ve heard people express opposition to the use of Benefit: Cost Analysis because they say that it is too focused on money and neglects important non-financial benefits. While that’s true for some individual BCAs, others do a good job of capturing the intangible or non-financial benefits that a project can generate. I guess it’s understandable that non-economists might think that BCA is solely about monetary benefits and costs, but it isn’t. It’s about values and preferences of all types and, if done well, includes allowance for complex factors like how people behave and how to accommodate risk and uncertainty. For some types of projects (e.g., those related to environment, recreation, or health), non-financial benefits (also called non-market values or shadow prices) are the main benefits, so doing a BCA without including them would probably be a waste of time.”

369. BCA criticisms 5: “money isn’t everything” – Pannell Discussions

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5. UNESCO’s assessment of the Great Barrier Reef: is the Reef ‘in danger’?

This is the question that the 21 member countries of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee (the Committee) will examine at its 45th Session, currently due to be held from 19–30 June 2022 in Kazan, Russia. The Committee’s determination of whether the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) should be added to the List of World Heritage in Danger will be based on an updated ‘State Party’ report from the Australian Government and a State of Conservation report to be prepared by two scientific officials (p. 58) who visited the GBR last month.

UNESCO monitoring of Great Barrier Reef – Parliament of Australia (aph.gov.au)

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6. From activism to “not-quite-government”: the role of government and non-government actors in the expansion of the Australian protected area estate since 1990

What can we learn from the prodigious expansion of the non-government protected areas that now comprise 12% of terrestrial Australia? An increasingly professional, formal, and diverse non-government sector has developed since 1990, comprising private individuals, non-government organizations, and First Nations and having close ties to governments. We investigate the drivers, dynamics, and diversity of this sector through thematic analysis of 24 key informant interviews and associated gray literature. Changing environmental movements, science-led conservation, partial recognition of First Nations land rights, international agreements, and neoliberal reforms combined to formalize the sector during the 1990s. A bipartisan policy framework for incorporating non-government lands in the national conservation estate, diverse partnerships, transnational networks, and innovation in public and private funding helped grow the sector. The confluence of interests that has transformed the politics and practice of nature conservation in Australia is likely to inform those engaged with similar changes elsewhere.

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09640568.2022.2040452

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7. Biodiversity impacts and conservation implications of urban land expansion projected to 2050

Understanding the impacts of urbanization and the associated urban land expansion on species is vital for informed urban planning that minimizes biodiversity loss. Predicting habitat that will be lost to urban land expansion for over 30,000 species under three different future scenarios, we find that up to 855 species are directly threatened due to unmitigated urbanization. Our projections pinpoint rapidly urbanizing regions of sub-Saharan Africa, South America, Mesoamerica, and Southeast Asia where, without careful planning, urbanization is expected to cause particularly large biodiversity loss. Our findings highlight the urgent need for an increased focus on urban land in global conservation strategies and identify high-priority areas for this engagement.

https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.2117297119

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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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #519 (13 April 2022)

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


“What we’re seeing is a real inability to operate schemes like this with high integrity. An environmental market without integrity is not an environmental market, it’s a rort. And I feel that Australia’s carbon market is just that – it’s degenerated to become a rort.”
Andrew Macintosh [see item 1]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Serious weaknesses in the Emissions Reduction Fund
2. After failure, reflection: effective conservation requires regular assessments
3. Bringing Back Fire: How Burning Can Help Restore Eastern Lands
4. The IPCC has left me hanging on the line – more (climate change) detail is not making a difference. How about a little real engagement?
5. Reconsidering priorities for forest conservation when considering the threats of mining and armed conflict
6. How UK newspapers changed their minds about climate change
7. Indigenous peoples across the globe are uniquely equipped to deal with the climate crisis – so why are we being left out of these conversations?

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1. Serious weaknesses in the Emissions Reduction Fund

An unfortunate thing about environmental policies is how easy it seems to be to do them badly. It’s all too common to find that an expensive and prominent policy is not actually achieving what it is supposed to achieve in terms of environmental protection or enhancement. Australia’s main climate change policy, the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), is an example.

368. Serious weaknesses in the Emissions Reduction Fund – Pannell Discussions

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2. After failure, reflection: effective conservation requires regular assessments

Talking about failed conservation efforts does not happen often enough in ways that promote shared learning within organizations. We often learn more from failures than from successes, a fact underscored by the authors of a new report, “Reflection and Learning from Failure in Conservation Organizations.” An new op-ed offers examples and argues that if reflection upon failure is used more regularly, it would reduce staff time invested in progress reporting, free up staffers to do what they were hired for, and speed up team learning and adaptive management.

After failure, reflection: effective conservation requires regular assessments (commentary) (mongabay.com)

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3. Bringing Back Fire: How Burning Can Help Restore Eastern Lands

For millennia, North American ecosystems benefited from fire, mostly set by Indigenous people. Now, a movement is growing, particularly in the eastern U.S., to reintroduce controlled burns to forests and grasslands and restore the role of fire in creating biodiverse landscapes.

Bringing Back Fire: How Burning Can Help Restore Eastern Lands – Yale E360

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4. The IPCC has left me hanging on the line – more (climate change) detail is not making a difference. How about a little real engagement?

After six goes you’d think they’d try something different

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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5. Reconsidering priorities for forest conservation when considering the threats of mining and armed conflict

Many threats to biodiversity can be predicted and are well mapped but others are uncertain in their extent, impact on biodiversity, and ability for conservation efforts to address, making them more difficult to account for in spatial conservation planning efforts, and as a result, they are often ignored. Here, we use a spatial prioritisation analysis to evaluate the consequences of considering only relatively well-mapped threats to biodiversity and compare this with planning scenarios that also account for more uncertain threats (in this case mining and armed conflict) under different management strategies. We evaluate three management strategies to address these more uncertain threats: 1. to ignore them; 2. avoid them; or 3. specifically target actions towards them, first individually and then simultaneously to assess the impact of their inclusion in spatial prioritisations. We apply our approach to the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and identify priority areas for conserving biodiversity and carbon sequestration services. We found that a strategy that avoids addressing threats of mining and armed conflict more often misses important opportunities for biodiversity conservation, compared to a strategy that targets action towards areas under threat (assuming a biodiversity benefit is possible). We found that considering mining and armed conflict threats to biodiversity independently rather than simultaneously results in 13 800–14 800 km2 and 15 700–25 100 km2 of potential missed conservation opportunities when undertaking threat-avoiding and threat-targeting management strategies, respectively. Our analysis emphasises the importance of considering all threats that can be mapped in spatial conservation prioritisation.

Reconsidering priorities for forest conservation when considering the threats of mining and armed conflict | SpringerLink

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6. How UK newspapers changed their minds about climate change

Between 2011-2016 editorial articles in publications such as the Sun, the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail generally opposed action to tackle climate change, citing “unreliable” science and “expensive” environmental policies. But in recent years – a period that has seen the Conservative government commit to net-zero emissions by 2050 and host the COP26 climate summit – right-leaning publications have more readily embraced some efforts to cut emissions. As a result, these newspapers are now far more likely to support climate action in their editorial pages than oppose it.

Analysis: How UK newspapers changed their minds about climate change (carbonbrief.org)

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7. Indigenous peoples across the globe are uniquely equipped to deal with the climate crisis – so why are we being left out of these conversations?

The urgency of tackling climate change is even greater for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and other First Nation peoples across the globe. First Nations people will be disproportionately affected and are already experiencing existential threats from climate change. The unfolding disaster in the Northern Rivers regions of New South Wales is no exception, with Aboriginal communities completely inundated or cut off from essential supplies. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have protected Country for millennia and have survived dramatic climatic shifts. We are intimately connected to Country, and our knowledge and cultural practices hold solutions to the climate crisis. Despite this, we continue to be excluded from leadership roles in climate solution discussions, such as the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

https://theconversation.com/indigenous-peoples-across-the-globe-are-uniquely-equipped-to-deal-with-the-climate-crisis-so-why-are-we-being-left-out-of-these-conversations-171724?

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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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #518 (6 April 2022)

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


“The landmark report on climate solutions stands in stark contrast to the recent Australian Government budget which prioritised funding for fossil fuels and false climate solutions (on top of $10.5 billion in fossil fuel subsidies the previous year), left out funding to electrify transport, and allocated very little for renewables.”
Richie Merzian Climate & Energy Program Director at the Australia Institute (See item 1]

In this issue of Dbytes

1. IPCC Report on the Mitigation of Climate Change
2. Federal budget: $160 million for nature may deliver only pork and a fudge
3. Conservationists accuse Adani of ‘sidelining’ experts on endangered black-throated finch
4. The Lost Years: Counting the costs of climate inaction in Australia
5. Outstanding challenges and future directions for biodiversity monitoring using citizen science data
6. Extreme events, loss, and grief—an evaluation of the evolving management of climate change threats on the Great Barrier Reef
7. Roadside trees stitch the ecosystems of our nation together. Here’s why they’re in danger


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1. IPCC Report on the Mitigation of Climate Change

4 April 2022: Today marks the publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report on the Mitigation of Climate Change as part of the Sixth Assessment Cycle. The report was approved by 195 government delegations and we thank the report’s authors for all of the work on its preparation. The Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC Working Group III report, Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of climate change was approved on April 4 2022, by 195 member governments of the IPCC, through a virtual approval session that started on March 21. It is the third instalment of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), which will be completed this year.

The evidence is clear: the time for action is now. We can halve emissions by 2030. — IPCC

and see

The UNFCCC issued a commentary.
https://unfccc.int/news/the-window-for-climate-action-has-not-yet-closed

TAI issued a commentary.
https://australiainstitute.org.au/post/ipcc-report-shows-road-to-safety-aust-govt-stuck-on-highway-to-climate-disaster/

and
The Conversation
https://theconversation.com/ipcc-finds-the-world-has-its-best-chance-yet-to-slash-emissions-if-it-seizes-the-opportunity-179653

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2. Federal budget: $160 million for nature may deliver only pork and a fudge

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s cash-splash budget has a firm eye on the upcoming federal election. In the environment portfolio, two spending measures are worth scrutinising closely. First is a A$100 million round of the Environment Restoration Fund – one of several grants programs awarded through ministerial discretion which has been found to favour marginal and at-risk electorates. Second is $62 million for up to ten so-called “bioregional plans” in regions prioritised for development. Environment Minister Sussan Ley has presented the measure as environmental law reform, but I argue it’s a political play dressed as reform.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3. Conservationists accuse Adani of ‘sidelining’ experts on endangered black-throated finch

Conservationists have accused Adani of breaching its legal obligation to protect the black-throated finch displaced by the clearing or impact of 16,000 hectares of its habitat near the Carmichael coalmine, after obtaining draft documents about the species’ management. BirdLife Australia’s Stephanie Todd said Adani’s proposed new management plan for the endangered finch – obtained under Queensland’s Right to Information laws – shows Adani had “sidelined” independent scientists with whom the mining company is required to consult. Todd also accused the state’s environment department of not enforcing Adani’s obligation to work with the black-throated finch recovery team, which she said rendered its stated commitment to doing so as “lip service”.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/apr/05/conservationists-accuse-adani-of-sidelining-experts-on-endangered-black-throated-finch

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4. The Lost Years: Counting the costs of climate inaction in Australia

A lack of climate action at the national level is a defining leadership failure of the past eight years. Australians are living with the everyday consequences of this, and we must work quickly to prevent catastrophe.

The Lost Years: Counting the costs of climate inaction in Australia | Climate Council #ClimateCrisis #Budget22 Demand #ClimateAction #SDG13 #TellTheTruth Listen to the scientists – Climate Action Australia (wordpress.com)

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5. Outstanding challenges and future directions for biodiversity monitoring using citizen science data

There is increasing availability and use of unstructured and semi-structured citizen science data in biodiversity research and conservation. This expansion of a rich source of ‘big data’ has sparked numerous research directions, driving the development of analytical approaches that account for the complex observation processes in these datasets.

We review outstanding challenges in the analysis of citizen science data for biodiversity monitoring. For many of these challenges, the potential impact on ecological inference is unknown. Further research can document the impact and explore ways to address it. In addition to outlining research directions, describing these challenges may be useful in considering the design of future citizen science projects or additions to existing projects.

We outline challenges for biodiversity monitoring using citizen science data in four partially overlapping categories: challenges that arise as a result of (a) observer behaviour; (b) data structures; (c) statistical models; and (d) communication. Potential solutions for these challenges are combinations of: (a) collecting additional data or metadata; (b) analytically combining different datasets; and (c) developing or refining statistical models.

https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/2041-210X.13834

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6. Extreme events, loss, and grief—an evaluation of the evolving management of climate change threats on the Great Barrier Reef

Coral reefs across the world have demonstrated an incredible resilience to disturbance, having persisted for over 200 million years withstanding local, short-term shocks such as cyclones and bleaching events, as well as large-scale, long-term global changes such as sea-level fluctuations. However, there are now many persistent and growing threats to the health and productivity of global reef systems such as the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), including water temperature change and subsequent coral bleaching, invasive species, severe weather events, and water quality degradation. Among these, it is widely acknowledged that climate change is the greatest threat to the GBR, with the GBR Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) releasing a position statement on climate change in 2019, compellingly arguing the urgent need for climate change action for the GBR. For the past two decades, researchers have strongly emphasized the need for vigorous implementation of management strategies that support global reef resilience. This study provides a critical review of the response to this call to action and the barriers and opportunities for implementing transformative resilience actions across a range of social-ecological and natural resource management contexts. Bringing the concepts of environmental grief and resilience thinking together, this study reflects on how back-to-back coral bleaching events in 2016–2017 have changed the framing of GBR management. However, there is more work to be done to ensure that all actors responsible for GBR management accept and embrace change in order to enable transformative resilience, which, for an environment feeling the heat of climate and non-climate pressures, will maintain at least some of their critical environmental, social, and economic values.

https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol27/iss1/art37/

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7. Roadside trees stitch the ecosystems of our nation together. Here’s why they’re in danger

This network of vegetation reserves and corridors along Australian roads must be properly valued and better protected. They stitch the landscapes and ecosystems of our nation together and, as they diminish and disappear, will become an unrecognised part of road toll. We will all be the poorer for it.

https://theconversation.com/roadside-trees-stitch-the-ecosystems-of-our-nation-together-heres-why-theyre-in-danger-175337?

-~<>~-

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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #517 (30 March 2022)

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


“The best and brightest future for the parks is one where first, local traditional culture flourishes and heritage is protected and second, the Director of National Parks (DNP) is an effective manager. That requires a strong relationship between Traditional Owners and Parks Australia. There isn’t one. Parks Australia has lost the trust and confidence of the Traditional Owners.”
Senior Advisory Group on Joint Management Arrangements for Commonwealth National Parks Advice to the Minister for the Environment




In this issue of Dbytes

1. Coming of age: research shows old forests are 3 times less flammable than those just burned
2.
Off the dial – Planet Earth is showing multiple instrument warnings
3. Plastic pollution is growing relentlessly as waste management and recycling fall short, says OECD
4. The conservation impacts of ecological disturbance: Time-bound estimates of population loss and recovery for fauna affected by the 2019–2020 Australian megafires
5 New report reveals movement towards climate change and environment philanthropy
6. Alternatives to mainstream publishing within and beyond academia
7. Pronounced loss of Amazon rainforest resilience since the early 2000s

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1. Coming of age: research shows old forests are 3 times less flammable than those just burned

As coal-fired climate change makes bushfires in Australia worse, governments are ramping up hazard-reduction burning. But our new research shows the practice can actually make forests more flammable. We found over time, some forests “thin” themselves and become less likely to burn – and hazard-reduction burning disrupts this process. What does that mean as Australians face a more fiery future? Is there a smarter and more sensitive way to manage the bushfire risk?

https://theconversation.com/coming-of-age-research-shows-old-forests-are-3-times-less-flammable-than-those-just-burned-179571?

-~<>~-

2. Off the dial – Planet Earth is showing multiple instrument warnings

The way ahead is uncertain. The road is turning very dangerous; full of pot holes and gaping cracks. Slow down! The vehicle isn’t safe anymore.

Our political leaders, however, are in no doubt.

“She’ll be right, mate. No need for brakes!”

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

-~<>~-

3. Plastic pollution is growing relentlessly as waste management and recycling fall short, says OECD

The world is producing twice as much plastic waste as two decades ago, with the bulk of it ending up in landfill, incinerated or leaking into the environment, and only 9% successfully recycled, according to a new OECD report.

Plastic pollution is growing relentlessly as waste management and recycling fall short, says OECD

-~<>~-

4. The conservation impacts of ecological disturbance: Time-bound estimates of population loss and recovery for fauna affected by the 2019–2020 Australian megafires

After environmental disasters, species with large population losses may need urgent protection to prevent extinction and support recovery. Following the 2019–2020 Australian megafires, we estimated population losses and recovery in fire-affected fauna, to inform conservation status assessments and management.

We suggest the 2019–2020 Australian megafires have worsened the conservation prospects for many species. Of the 91 taxa recommended for listing/uplisting consideration, 84 are now under formal review through national processes. Improving predictions about taxon vulnerability with empirical data on population responses, reducing the likelihood of future catastrophic events and mitigating their impacts on biodiversity, are critical.

The conservation impacts of ecological disturbance: Time‐bound estimates of population loss and recovery for fauna affected by the 2019–2020 Australian megafires – Legge – – Global Ecology and Biogeography – Wiley Online Library

-~<>~-

5 New report reveals movement towards climate change and environment philanthropy

A new report titled Environment and Climate Change Giving Trends 2022, produced by the Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network (AEGN), indicates that philanthropy is gearing its focus towards climate change as the climate crisis continues to intensify.

Latest News ›› Philanthropy Australia

-~<>~-

6. Alternatives to mainstream publishing within and beyond academia

In a forum for the 20th anniversary issue of the journal ephemera on “Pasts, presents and futures of critical publishing”, eight independent collectives discuss ways in which they challenge the status quo of knowledge creation within and beyond academia.

Alternatives to mainstream publishing within and beyond academia – Undisciplined Environments

-~<>~-

7. Pronounced loss of Amazon rainforest resilience since the early 2000s

New research indicates that more than three-quarters of the Amazon rainforest has been losing ‘resilience’ since the early 2000s due to changing land-use and climate change. Resilience, defined as the return rate from human-induced damage or natural disturbance such as fire or drought, is being lost faster in regions with less rainfall and in parts of the rainforest that are closer to human activity. Deforestation and climate change, via increasing dry-season length and drought frequency, may already have pushed the Amazon close to a critical threshold of rainforest dieback. Continued weakening could push the Amazon towards a tipping point, where it becomes a carbon source rather than a carbon sink. Loss of resilience has profound implications for biodiversity, carbon storage and climate change at a global scale. This phenomenon has already been recorded during two major droughts in 2005 and 2010 due to increased tree mortality.

Pronounced loss of Amazon rainforest resilience since the early 2000s | 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). 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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #516 (23 March 2022)

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

“Alarmingly, only 2% of species recovery plans have been completed within statutory time frames since 2013. The average time it took to establish a species recovery plan was 2,355 days – in other words more than six years. Meanwhile, the federal government has approved the clearing of more than 25,000 hectares of koala habitat since the species was declared ‘vulnerable’ to extinction ten years ago. Even when a species has a recovery plan, there is insufficient monitoring to make sure the plan is actually achieving anything.”
Australian Conservation Foundation’s national biodiversity policy adviser Sophie Power
Audit reveals the system is failing Australia’s threatened species – Australian Conservation Foundation (acf.org.au)
[See item 2, ANAO audit on threatened species management under the EPBC Act]

In this issue of Dbytes

1. The Farm Biodiversity Stewardship Market Bill 2022 – Watch out for weasel words.
2. Management of Threatened Species and Ecological Communities under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
3. Investigation reveals shocking extent of threatened species habitat destruction
4. The legacy of Lake Pedder: how the world’s first Green Party was born in Tasmania 50 years ago
5. Reversing nature destruction in Australia: five improvements we must make
6. Improved management of farm dams increases vegetation cover, water quality, and macroinvertebrate biodiversity
7. How did our environment fare last year?

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1. The Farm Biodiversity Stewardship Market Bill 2022 – Watch out for weasel words.

The Morrison government’s new Agriculture Biodiversity Stewardship Market Bill 2022 was introduced last month with very little fanfare. It fails the weasel-words test. It should not be passed by the Senate.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

-~<>~-

2. Management of Threatened Species and Ecological Communities under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s (the department) administration of threatened species and ecological communities under the EPBC Act is partly effective. The department is unable to demonstrate it is efficient.

Listing assessments, conservation advice,recovery plans and threat abatement plans are largely completed in accordance with the EPBC Act, but procedural guidance needs updating and is not consistently followed.

The department does not effectively review or support the implementation of conservation advice, recovery plans and threat abatement plans.

Measurement, monitoring and reporting does not indicate desired outcomes are being achieved.

Management of Threatened Species and Ecological Communities under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 | Australian National Audit Office (anao.gov.au)

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3. Investigation reveals shocking extent of threatened species habitat destruction

A new ACF enquiry revealed many horrible things including: “Koalas lost more habitat to federally-approved destruction than any other animal, with more than 25,000 hectares of koala habitat approved for destruction in 2011–21, around a fifth of which was for a single project: the Olive Downs coal mine in Queensland.”

Investigation reveals shocking extent of threatened species habitat destruction – Australian Conservation Foundation (acf.org.au)

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4. The legacy of Lake Pedder: how the world’s first Green Party was born in Tasmania 50 years ago

Fifty years ago this week, the world’s first “green” political party was born in Tasmania after the state government purposefully flooded the magnificent Lake Pedder.

https://theconversation.com/the-legacy-of-lake-pedder-how-the-worlds-first-green-party-was-born-in-tasmania-50-years-ago-178546?

-~<>~-

5. Reversing nature destruction in Australia: five improvements we must make

In October 2021 the Australian government signed the Kunming Declaration, joining other countries in the commitment to reverse biodiversity loss. ACF welcomes the Australian government’s support for marine protection, but are disappointed, given the state of terrestrial biodiversity, that Australia’s contributions at COP15 so far lack the ambition recognised as necessary in the Kunming Declaration.

Reversing nature destruction in Australia: five improvements we must make (apo.org.au)

-~<>~-

6. Improved management of farm dams increases vegetation cover, water quality, and macroinvertebrate biodiversity

In many farming landscapes, aquatic features, such as wetlands, creeks, and dams, provide water for stock and irrigation, while also acting as habitat for a range of plants and animals. Indeed, some species threatened by land-use change may otherwise be considerably rarer—or even suffer extinction—in the absence of these habitats. Therefore, a critical issue for the maintenance of biodiversity in agricultural landscapes is the extent to which the management of aquatic systems can promote the integration of agricultural production and biodiversity conservation. We completed a cross-sectional study in southern New South Wales (southeastern Australia) to quantify the efficacy of two concurrently implemented management practices—partial revegetation and control of livestock grazing—aimed at enhancing the vegetation structure, biodiversity value, and water quality of farm dams. We found that excluding livestock for even short periods resulted in increased vegetation cover. Relative to unenhanced dams (such as those that remained unfenced), those that had been enhanced for several years were characterized by reduced levels of turbidity, nutrients, and fecal contamination. Enhanced dams also supported increased richness and abundance of macroinvertebrates. In contrast, unenhanced control dams tended to have high abundance of a few macroinvertebrate taxa. Notably, differences remained between the macroinvertebrate assemblages of enhanced dams and nearby “natural” waterbodies that we monitored as reference sites. While the biodiversity value of semilotic, natural waterbodies in the region cannot be replicated by artificial lentic systems, we consider the extensive system of farm dams in the region to represent a novel ecosystem that may nonetheless support some native macroinvertebrates. Our results show that management interventions such as fencing and grazing control can improve water quality in farm dams, improve vegetation structure around farm dams, and support greater abundance and diversity of aquatic macroinvertebrates.

-~<>~-

7. How did our environment fare last year?

Widespread rainfall and cooler temperatures supported a strong recovery of Australia’s environment in 2021, with several environmental condition indicators reaching values not seen for several years. That’s the main conclusion from Australia’s Environment, the latest in an annual series of environmental condition reports. The report, and its website, provide a summary of key environmental indicators and how they changed in 2021.

Australia’s Environment Report – National-scale, comprehensive information on the condition, change and trajectory of our environment (wenfo.org)

-~<>~-

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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #515 (17 March 2022)

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


“Climate inaction has devastating consequences for young people. While today’s judgment is disappointing, we will keep fighting harder and louder than ever to demand that those in power protect the most vulnerable and ensure a safe future.”
The eight high school students who took the Federal Environment Minister to court claiming she has a duty to avoid causing harms of climate change but lost the court case on appeal.
[and see item 3; who actually does have the ‘duty of care’?]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. “Splitting the bill” for conservation: Perceptions and uptake of financial incentives by landholders managing privately protected areas
2. Long-unburnt habitat is critical for the conservation of threatened vertebrates across Australia
3. So, who actually does have the ‘duty of care’?
4. Spatial prioritization to achieve the triple bottom line in Payment for ecosystem services design
5. Foxes and cats are knocking out Australia’s wildlife with a devastating one-two punch
6. IPCC reports still exclude Indigenous voices. Come join us at our sacred fires to find answers to climate change
7. Density of invasive western honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies in fragmented woodlands indicates potential for large impacts on native species


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1. “Splitting the bill” for conservation: Perceptions and uptake of financial incentives by landholders managing privately protected areas

Globally, privately protected area (PPA) programs are increasing in size and number. Participating in a PPA program can be fiscally challenging for landholders (e.g., enrollment costs; potential reduction in land value; opportunity costs; costs of ongoing management). Government and nongovernmental organizations often offer financial incentives to landholders, in addition to nonfinancial incentives, to encourage program enrollment and ongoing biodiversity management. In Australia, where conservation covenanting programs have been ongoing for several decades, a diversity of financial incentives is available to landholders. We surveyed 527 conservation covenantors from three states in southeast Australia to investigate the uptake, use, experience and preference for financial incentives. Less than half of covenantors received a financial incentive to enroll, but most applied for some form of incentive after enrollment, predominantly to help with management costs. Covenantors identified challenges in accessing incentives, such as being unaware of funding opportunities or experiencing confusing application processes. We found land rates rebates to be the preferred financial incentive among covenantors, in part due to the perception that covenantors should not have to pay full rates on covenanted land. Our results suggest that while covenantors do not participate in PPA programs for financial incentives, effectively and efficiently deploying financial incentives can reduce the financial burdens of PPA management, potentially increasing the effectiveness of conservation efforts.

The Society for Conservation Biology (wiley.com)

-~<>~-

2. Long-unburnt habitat is critical for the conservation of threatened vertebrates across Australia

We argue that, to conserve many threatened vertebrate species in Australia, landscape management should emphasise the protection of existing long-unburnt patches from fire, as well as facilitate the recruitment of additional long-unburnt habitat, while maintaining historically relevant age distributions of more recently burned patches.

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10980-022-01427-7

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3. So, who actually does have the ‘duty of care’?

The Federal Minister for the Environment does not have a duty of care to protect young people from the harms of climate change. So says the law. If not the Environment Minister, then who? Our Prime Minister or the Minister for Emissions? Our corporate leaders and billionaires? Or should we look to the world government? Our whole polity is failing us.

So, who actually does have the ‘duty of care’?
Who is responsible for tomorrow?


-~<>~-

4. Spatial prioritization to achieve the triple bottom line in Payment for ecosystem services design

We account for biodiversity, social equity, water and carbon services, and budget in PES design. We illustrate our approach by modelling a national PES scheme in Colombia. Strong trade-offs exist between social equity with biodiversity. Weak trade-offs exist between carbon and biodiversity, suggesting synergies for both objectives. We found optimal solutions for ES and poverty alleviation in a mega diverse country.

Spatial prioritization to achieve the triple bottom line in Payment for ecosystem services design – ScienceDirect

-~<>~-

5. Foxes and cats are knocking out Australia’s wildlife with a devastating one-two punch

Foxes and cats combined are killing more than 2.6 billion mammals, birds, and reptiles every year. Foxes dominate in the southern forested areas, whereas cats are more widespread. A number of control measures are available and need to be ramped up to avoid more extinctions.

Foxes and cats are knocking out Australia’s wildlife with a devastating one-two punch – ABC News

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6. IPCC reports still exclude Indigenous voices. Come join us at our sacred fires to find answers to climate change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) assessment reports have great influence over government decision-making on climate change. The latest report, launched this week, for the first time features Indigenous Knowledges alongside Western scientific research. Previous IPCC reports have only included evidence on how climate change has affected Indigenous Peoples. It is an historic improvement in this report to include actual Indigenous Knowledges after many years of lobbying by IPCC lead authors and outside organisations.

But, like most other IPCC chapters, the Australasian chapter did not include Indigenous lead authors. Our inclusion could have contributed ways of thinking, knowing and understanding that would have strengthened and deepened the report and subsequent media coverage.

https://theconversation.com/ipcc-reports-still-exclude-indigenous-voices-come-join-us-at-our-sacred-fires-to-find-answers-to-climate-change-178045?

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7. Density of invasive western honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies in fragmented woodlands indicates potential for large impacts on native species

In this new paper https://rdcu.be/cIdQ2 researchers show that the density of feral honey bee colonies is higher in Australia than anywhere else in the world. At this density we expect problems for hollow-dependent native species and complex impacts on pollination of native plants.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-07635-0.epdf?sharing_token=MEPTDyYXJL-oStF7cwPPQtRgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0MYwK92zq9IMwTSC_7sX4cfuhZtd38o4HrJRKmU-ohkas5TdJiqYMIJSccQUBzDbPexOmM5f1eA5X_kKtIcSxtrqANRz457E5iEJuzj3H6CYReXb3XH-vXCIdyKrpDk3q8%3D

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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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #514 (9 March 2022)

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

“Oil and gas companies with carbon capture facilities are selling captured CO2 for enhanced oil recovery and what can’t be sold is more often vented. CCS/CCUS [carbon capture] effectively extends the life of fossil fuel companies, giving them a licence to ramp up production.”
Bruce Robertson [see item 7; note: half of the carbon captured by the world’s oldest and biggest carbon capture facility has been vented into the atmosphere]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Extinction crisis: native mammals are disappearing in Northern Australia, but few people are watching
2. Slippery answers like bare-handed barrel-fishing, The latest Senate Environment Committee ‘Estimates’ hearings
3. The koala in the coal mine
4. ‘The sad reality is many don’t survive’: how floods affect wildlife, and how you can help them
5. Using a leverage points perspective to compare social-ecological systems: a case study on rural landscapes
6. Extinction, de-extinction and conservation: a dangerous mix of ideas
7. Carbon capture in today’s world: Shute Creek – world’s largest carbon capture facility sells CO2 for oil production, but vents unsold

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1. Extinction crisis: native mammals are disappearing in Northern Australia, but few people are watching

But tragically, in the years since, many of these mammals have disappeared. Four species have become extinct and nine face the same fate in the next two decades. And we know relatively little about this homegrown crisis. Monitoring of these species has been lacking for many decades – and as mammal numbers have declined, the knowledge gaps have become worse.

https://theconversation.com/extinction-crisis-native-mammals-are-disappearing-in-northern-australia-but-few-people-are-watching-178313?  

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2. Slippery answers like bare-handed barrel-fishing, The latest Senate Environment Committee ‘Estimates’ hearings

The most recent Environment Estimates were held last month. This year they revealed the Government was disingenuous about planning for 2050 Net Zero and about their billion-dollar reef investment. But the revelations were not so clear as to damage the Government. The Estimates, as such, fail as a tool for accountability.

Slippery answers like bare-handed barrel-fishing

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3. The koala in the coal mine

With the scrutiny on climate change, the collapse of Australian ecosystems has received scant attention. But saving them is entirely possible. Australia’s iconic koala, listed as endangered in the Australian regions of Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory in 2022, is unfortunately far from alone.

https://360info.org/the-koala-in-the-coal-mine/

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4. ‘The sad reality is many don’t survive’: how floods affect wildlife, and how you can help them

Land-dwelling animals typically don’t fare as well in floods. Some may be able to detect imminent inundation and head for higher, drier ground. Others simply don’t have the ability or opportunity to take evasive action in time. This can include animals with dependent young in burrows, such as wombats, platypus and echidnas.

https://theconversation.com/the-sad-reality-is-many-dont-survive-how-floods-affect-wildlife-and-how-you-can-help-them-178310?

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5. Using a leverage points perspective to compare social-ecological systems: a case study on rural landscapes

A leverage points perspective recognises different levels of systemic depth, ranging from the relatively shallow levels of parameters and feedbacks to the deeper levels of system design and intent. Analysing a given social-ecological system for its characteristics across these four levels of systemic depth provides a useful diagnostic to better understand sustainability problems, and can complement other types of cause-and-effect systems modelling. Moreover, the structured comparison of multiple systems can highlight whether sustainability challenges in different systems have a similar origin (e.g. similar feedbacks or similar design). We used a leverage points perspective to systematically compare findings from three in-depth social-ecological case studies, which investigated rural landscapes in southeastern Australia, central Romania, and southwestern Ethiopia. Inductive coding of key findings documented in over 60 empirical publications was used to generate synthesis statements of key findings in the three case studies. Despite major socioeconomic and ecological differences, many synthesis statements applied to all three case studies. Major sustainability problems occurred at the design and intent levels. For example, at the intent level, all three rural landscapes were driven by goals and paradigms that mirrored a productivist green revolution discourse. Our paper thus highlights that there are underlying challenges for rural sustainability across the world, which appear to apply similarly across strongly contrasting socioeconomic contexts. Sustainability interventions should be mindful of such deep similarities in system characteristics. We conclude that a leverage points perspective could be used to compare many other types of social-ecological systems around the world.

Full article: Using a leverage points perspective to compare social-ecological systems: a case study on rural landscapes (tandfonline.com)

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6. Extinction, de-extinction and conservation: a dangerous mix of ideas

Preventing extinction is the central driver of almost all conservation action. Conservation biologists are sensitive about extinction because it is final and irreversible. The concept of de-extinction however threatens the finality of extinction to offer the option to reverse some of the iconic extinction events. Here we explore the place that extinction plays in conservation and argue that; (1) deliberate extinction by humans is surprisingly rare and extinction is a cultural taboo, (2) Australia has an acute sense of extinction guilt linked to our world renowned extinctions of iconic mammals and; (3) extinction, like death, is irreversible, meaning that extinct species hold a special martyr-like status as iconic consequences of the excesses of humans. We argue that de-extinction is a dangerous idea for conservation because it will undermine the value provided by extinct species as martyrs for the conservation cause.

https://meridian.allenpress.com/australian-zoologist/article/38/3/390/135113/Extinction-de-extinction-and-conservation-a

Also, see
Can we resurrect the thylacine? Maybe, but it won’t help the global extinction crisis

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7. Carbon capture in today’s world: Shute Creek – world’s largest carbon capture facility sells CO2 for oil production, but vents unsold

A new report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis has found that the world’s largest carbon capture, utilisation and storage project, the Shute Creek facility in the USA run by ExxonMobil, has consistently failed to reach its carbon dioxide capture targets. Over its 35 year history, the project has captured around 120 million tonnes of CO2, which is 34 per cent less than its capturing capacity targets. Nevertheless this amounts to 40 per cent of all anthropogenic CO2 which has ever been captured globally. Of this total, 114 million tonnes were sold for enhanced oil recovery purposes and 6 million tonnes were stored geologically. Another 120 million tonnes was vented into the atmosphere for want of buyers.

IEEFA: Shute Creek – world’s largest carbon capture facility sells CO2 for oil production, but vents unsold – Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis

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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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #513 (2 March 2022)

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

“The Department’s critique contains a series of factual errors. It is biased and contains misrepresentations of our work. We find it deeply worrisome that the Department has published work of this fallacious nature, especially when the analysis is at the request of NSW Parliamentarians.”
The Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists
Review of the NSW Dept of Primary Industry Environmental Water’s Critique of Wentworth Group’s river flows assessment


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Introduced species are animals too: why the debate over compassionate conservation is worth having
2. Platforming to Oblivion: How academic institutions foster merchants of doubt
3. A guide to propagating Norfolk Island Plants
4. The battle for Figtree Hill and the koala corridor
5. Benefit-Cost Analysis challenges: over-optimism
6. Debunking the deniers: the 5 pillars of science behind human-caused climate change
7. One in 5 fossil fuel projects overshoot their original estimations for emissions. Why are there such significant errors?

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1. Introduced species are animals too: why the debate over compassionate conservation is worth having

Wild horses roaming the Snowy Mountains have long been the subject of fierce debate. Some say they’re feral pests destroying Kosciuszko National Park’s fragile native ecosystem. Others argue they’re national icons and an important part of Australia’s colonial heritage. This issue was the subject of last night’s ABC Four Corners episode. But the current debate misses one crucial perspective: that of the wild horses, whose fate is being decided. This is a perfect example of why the new movement of compassionate conservation raises the question of the animals’ interests in debates about conservation.

https://theconversation.com/introduced-species-are-animals-too-why-the-debate-over-compassionate-conservation-is-worth-having-163987?

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2. Platforming to Oblivion: How academic institutions foster merchants of doubt

When a leading research institution hosts a debate with an infamous climate denialist, gathering his fans, selling his books, and adding to his resume, we all lose.

Platforming to Oblivion: How academic institutions foster merchants of doubt – Undisciplined Environments

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3. A guide to propagating Norfolk Island Plants

A guide to propagating Norfolk Island’s native plants and seeds is a new handbook that aims to expand seed-based conservation and restoration of native, endemic and threatened plant species across Norfolk Island. The handbook details techniques for seed collecting, processing and propagating many of Norfolk Island’s plant species. Production of the handbook was led by University of Queensland PhD student Leah Dann, in collaboration with UQ researchers and staff from Norfolk Island National Park and the Australian National Botanic Gardens’ National Seed Bank. Leah is supported by a top-up scholarship from the Friends of the Gardens.

a-guide-to-propagating-norfolk-island-seeds-and-plants-2021.pdf (nespthreatenedspecies.edu.au)

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4. The battle for Figtree Hill and the koala corridor

Lendlease must be wary of its next move if it is to maintain its reputation as one of the most sustainable housing companies in the world, environmentalists warn.

At Figtree Hill, Gilead, in NSW’s Macarthur region near Campbelltown, south west of Sydney property developer Lendlease began clearing trees after Campbelltown Council gave the green light to begin work on a 1700-home estate early last year. The development is planned to be 100 per cent renewable and all-electric, with a community facility, bike paths, and walking trails. Environmentalists have tried to block the problematic development because the location is the only koala habitat listed in New South Wales as expanding. It also straddles the shortest route between two breeding populations.

The battle for Figtree Hill and the koala corridor – The Fifth Estate

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5. Benefit-Cost Analysis challenges: over-optimism

“I’m going to present some of the workshop recording as Pannell Discussions, in a series of segments. The first one is on avoiding over-optimism in the assumptions that are used in the BCA. This is a ubiquitous problem in BCA, and indeed in any other type of project evaluation. Dealing with it needs a multi-pronged approach.”

367. BCA challenges: over-optimism – Pannell Discussions

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6. Debunking the deniers: the 5 pillars of science behind human-caused climate change

If you’re a scientist, science communicator or the lone climate change advocate at your dining-table discussion, you’ve probably debated a climate change denier or two. So how can we bust the myths and misinformation and deliver the facts about climate science? A group of scientists and science communicators, including Stephan Lewandowsky and John Cook, have updated their handbook on debunking climate deniers. They say that, before launching into a discussion about climate change, it is important to understand a few common tactics used by climate change deniers.

Debunking the deniers: the 5 pillars of science behind human-caused climate change (scientell.com.au)

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7. One in 5 fossil fuel projects overshoot their original estimations for emissions. Why are there such significant errors?

When estimating the amount of greenhouse gases a project – such as a new mine or power station – would release, it’s important to be as accurate as possible. This is not only because of the impact an approved project will have on the climate, but because the data are used to determine Australia’s national emission targets. And yet, a report released this week by the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) showed one in five fossil fuel projects emit far more greenhouse gases annually than what was originally estimated – as much as 20 times more in some years.

https://theconversation.com/1-in-5-fossil-fuel-projects-overshoot-their-original-estimations-for-emissions-why-are-there-such-significant-errors-177714?

-~<>~-

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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #512 (23 February 2022)

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

“Why has this crisis come about? Because for two centuries, European colonists tore across the world, viewing nature and land as something inert to be conquered and consumed without limits and the indigenous people as savages whose knowledge of nature was worthless and who needed to be erased. It was this settler colonial worldview – of just accumulate, accumulate, accumulate, consume, consume, consume – that has got us where we are now.”
Amitav Ghosh, European colonialism helped create a planet in crisis

[and see item 4]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Environmental accounting: is it worthwhile?
2. A billion-dollar bad idea is no escape clause for the Great Barrier Reef
3. Australian grassy community restoration: Recognizing what is achievable and charting a way forward
4. Australia’s forests became catastrophic fire risk after British invasion
5. Wetlands: a precious ecosystem under threat from invasive species
6. Understanding Indigenous values and priorities for wetlands to guide weed management actions: Lessons from the Nardab floodplain in northern Australia’s Kakadu National Park
7. Acceleration of climate warming and plant dynamics in Antarctica

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1. Environmental accounting: is it worthwhile?

There was a session at the AARES online conference last week on environmental accounting, which is getting a lot of attention and resources currently. I was invited to provide remarks as a discussant after four high-quality presentations. My main point was that environmental accounting will not prove as useful as many people are currently hoping.

366. Environmental accounting: is it worthwhile? – Pannell Discussions

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2. A billion-dollar bad idea is no escape clause for the Great Barrier Reef

A big pledge for a big problem is no solution without integrity. The Government has pledged a billion dollars to save the Great Barrier Reef but even they know it’s pointless without action on climate change.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3. Australian grassy community restoration: Recognizing what is achievable and charting a way forward

Given the urgent need for revegetation to address the climate and biodiversity crises, Paul Gibson-Roy describes here how grassy ecosystem restoration technologies are ripe for scaling up. Buoyed by local and other examples of success he calls for action by regulators and the agricultural, land management and restoration sectors to refine legislation and tailor their environmental programs to, with gusto, support complex grassy ecosystem restoration at scale to deliver both biodiversity conservation and climate mitigation.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/emr.12546
[email Paul at paul.gibsonroy@kalbaroperations.com.au if you would like a copy of the paper]

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4. Australia’s forests became catastrophic fire risk after British invasion

Australia’s forests now carry far more flammable fuel than before British invasion, our research shows, revealing the catastrophic risk created by non-Indigenous bushfire management approaches. Contemporary approaches to forest management in Australia are based on suppression – extinguishing bushfires once they’ve started, or seeking to prevent them through hazard-reduction burning. This differs from the approach of Indigenous Australians who’ve developed sophisticated relationships with fire over tens of thousands of years. They minimise bushfire risk through frequent low-intensity burning – in contrast to the current scenario of random, high-intensity fires.

https://theconversation.com/world-first-research-confirms-australias-forests-became-catastrophic-fire-risk-after-british-invasion-176563

-~<>~-

5. Wetlands: a precious ecosystem under threat from invasive species
Alice Wisse, Wildlife Drones

From the coastal mangroves and sawgrass marshes of the Everglades in southern Florida to the vast floodplains of Kakadu in northern Australia, wetlands are home to an astounding array of plant and animal species. Found on every continent except Antarctica, wetlands are one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet. However, like many other ecological communities, the health of our wetlands is threatened by a range of factors, including: Invasive species, illegal fishing and poaching, climate change, and deforestation and forest degradation. Here we focus on invasive species given they are an increasingly significant threat to our wetlands that are often underestimated. Because it’s so difficult to access swampy landscapes from the ground, it’s hard to study the movement and behaviour of invasive species, making them incredibly challenging to control and manage.

Wetlands and invasive species – Wildlife Drones

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6. Understanding Indigenous values and priorities for wetlands to guide weed management actions: Lessons from the Nardab floodplain in northern Australia’s Kakadu National Park

Many wetlands around the world are vulnerable to invasive species and are also culturally important for Indigenous peoples. Yet, translating the complex values Indigenous peoples hold for wetlands into management actions to mitigate the impacts of invasive species can be difficult to put into practice. In this paper, we draw on an Indigenous-led project on the Nardab wetland in Kakadu National Park to show how understanding the local nuance of Indigenous values and priorities in different wetland places can guide more effective and inclusive weed management activities. At Nardab, Indigenous values and priorities guided the choice of three priority sites to manage the impacts of Para grass (Urochloa mutica) weed. Specific values and priorities were identified across the sites, including significant bush tucker populations, and harvesting sites, the ability for the site to support Indigenous knowledge sharing and ceremonial activities and the opportunity for visitors to enjoy a healthy wetland in this World Heritage Area. The values and priorities varied across the sites, so the actions needed to improve the health of these places were also place specific. The results showed that relationships between Indigenous people and places varied from site to site within a given wetland and could not be easily generalized when deciding on effective management activities. The paper highlights the benefits of supporting ecological, cultural and human-focused actions that Indigenous people wish to prioritize at selected sites to ensure the management of weed impacts on wetlands adequately reflect the diverse cultural landscapes that are embedded within Indigenous peoples’ Country.

Understanding Indigenous values and priorities for wetlands to guide weed management actions: Lessons from the Nardab floodplain in northern Australia’s Kakadu National Park – Bangalang – 2022 – Ecological Management &amp; Restoration – Wiley Online Library

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7. Acceleration of climate warming and plant dynamics in Antarctica

At Signy Island a strong summer warming resumed after the pulse cooling in 2012. The two native Antarctic vascular plants expanded strikingly at Signy Island in 2009–2018. We show evidence of plant dynamics accelerated by climate warming in Antarctica.

Acceleration of climate warming and plant dynamics in Antarctica – ScienceDirect

-~<>~-

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 #511 (16 February 2022)

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

“Beyond the theatre and spectacle of celebrity performance, we have argued that in responding to the disruptions that are now playing out over climate change, celebrities can play powerful roles in challenging fundamental assumptions of our social and economic organisation.”
Wright and Nyberg, 2022 [See item 1]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. The Roles of Celebrities in Public Disputes: Climate Change and the Great Barrier Reef
2. What is ecology’s contribution to sustainability? And why does economics get the Big Chair at the dinner table?
3. Five-year Action Plan for the Threatened Species Strategy
4. The unequal university will never be ‘sustainable’
5. Why do we love the great outdoors? New research shows part of the answer is in our genes
6. From Climate Change to Pandemics: Decision Science Can Help Scientists Have Impact
7. Pharmaceuticals in rivers threaten world health

-~<>~-

1. The Roles of Celebrities in Public Disputes: Climate Change and the Great Barrier Reef

Celebrities are increasingly important actors in social disputes, with their high public profiles used to amplify political campaigns and business firms utilising celebrity endorsements to promote their brands and justify their actions. Engaging with the conceptual framework of Boltanski and Thévenot’s ‘orders of worth’, we explore the public dispute over coral bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef, analysing the different roles that celebrities have played and how their claims are evaluated. We demonstrate how celebrities as powerful agents for industries and environmental campaigns perform three key roles – popularizers, authorities, and visionaries. Our article contributes to the management literature on public disputes by explaining the evaluative processes underlying sustainability controversies. We also contribute by providing a better understanding of the roles and capacity of celebrities in in public debates over contentious issues. We discuss the policy implications of celebrity roles in addressing the climate crisis and mobilizing action to limit further disruption.

The Roles of Celebrities in Public Disputes: Climate Change and the Great Barrier Reef – Wright – – Journal of Management Studies – Wiley Online Library

-~<>~-

2. What is ecology’s contribution to sustainability? And why does economics get the Big Chair at the dinner table?

If economics is the ‘mother tongue’ of public policy then, unfortunately, ecology remains a foreign language. Apart from ecologists not being native speakers of economics (and vice-versa) their substantive ideas concerning ecological relationships and processes are not obvious to the ordinary person.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3. Five-year Action Plan for the Threatened Species Strategy

The Morrison Government has released a new five-year Action Plan to underpin the Threatened Species Strategy. This plan aims to coordinate effort for the recovery of 100 priority species and 20 priority places over the next five years with key targets to drive action.

Minister’s press release: 2022-2-13-2.docx (live.com)
Action plan (DAWE) website: Action Plan 2021-2026 – DAWE

-~<>~-

4. The unequal university will never be ‘sustainable’

Through green rankings and strategies for sustainability and climate virtue, universities attract and reproduce wealth, driving high consumption – paradoxically exacerbating climate change and unsustainability. Only attending to inequalities can universities do away with the carbon fetish and work for actual sustainability. University staff and students, embarked on a UK-wide strike against staff exploitation and rising costs, need to make this point loud and clear!   

The unequal university will never be ‘sustainable’ – Undisciplined Environments

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5. Why do we love the great outdoors? New research shows part of the answer is in our genes

Perhaps our affinity for nature is inherited. Or perhaps we get it from environmental factors – such as beautiful forests – in the places we live. Or again it might come from our cultural milieu such as the books we read or the TV programs we watch. Finding answers to these questions might help us work out how to get some nature back into people’s lives.

Why do we love the great outdoors? New research shows part of the answer is in our genes (theconversation.com)

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6. From Climate Change to Pandemics: Decision Science Can Help Scientists Have Impact

There is a perpetual challenge in translating scientific insight into policy. Many articles explain how to better bridge the gap through improved communication and engagement, but we believe that communication and engagement are only one part of the puzzle. There is a fundamental tension between science and policy because scientific endeavors are rightfully grounded in discovery, but policymakers formulate problems in terms of objectives, actions and outcomes. Decision science provides a solution by framing scientific questions in a way that is beneficial to policy development, facilitating scientists’ contribution to public discussion and policy. At its core, decision science is a field that aims to pinpoint evidence-based management strategies by focussing on those objectives, actions, and outcomes defined through the policy process. The importance of scientific discovery here is in linking actions to outcomes, helping decision-makers determine which actions best meet their objectives. In this paper we explain how problems can be formulated through the structured decision-making process. We give our vision for what decision science may grow to be, describing current gaps in methodology and application. By better understanding and engaging with the decision-making processes, scientists can have greater impact and make stronger contributions to important societal problems.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fevo.2022.792749/full

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7. Pharmaceuticals in rivers threaten world health

Pollution of the world’s rivers from medicines and pharmaceutical products poses a “threat to environmental and global health”, a report says. Paracetamol, nicotine, caffeine and epilepsy and diabetes drugs were widely detected in a University of York study. The research is among the most extensive undertaken on a global scale. Rivers in Pakistan, Bolivia and Ethiopia were among the most polluted. Rivers in Iceland, Norway and the Amazon rainforest fared the best.

Pharmaceuticals in rivers threaten world health – study – BBC News
or Pharmaceutical pollution of the world’s rivers | PNAS for the source paper

-~<>~-

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 #510 (8 February 2022)

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

“Koalas are one of Australia’s most loved and best recognised icons, both here at home and across the world, and we are committed to protecting them for generations to come,”
PM Scott Morrison when announcing $50million for koala conservation.

“The amount of koala habitat approved for clearing has increased every year since 2012,”
Basha Stasak, Australian Conservation Foundation [see item 4]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. British Columbia doctors can now prescribe national park passes to patients
2. Future loss of local-scale thermal refugia in coral reef ecosystems
3. Australia puts forward case to UNESCO for protecting Great Barrier Reef
4. ‘A drop in the ocean’: government’s $50m koala pledge won’t tackle root cause of decline
5. Native birds have vanished across the continent since colonisation. Now we know just how much we’ve lost
6. The existential toll of climate change on wetlands – maybe we should go with the flow.
7. The benefits and risks of rewilding

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1. British Columbia doctors can now prescribe national park passes to patients

A new collaboration between a national nature prescription program called PaRx and Parks Canada has enabled B.C. doctors to prescribe national park passes to patients. Speaking with Global News, PaRx director and family physician Dr. Melissa Lem said the organization generally recommends patients spend at least two hours a week in nature. That can be broken up over several visits, so long as they are a minimum duration of 20 minutes.

https://www.theweathernetwork.com/ca/news/article/b-c-doctors-can-now-prescribe-national-park-passes-to-patients

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2. Future loss of local-scale thermal refugia in coral reef ecosystems

A new study finds that a global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees will leave only 0.2 per cent of coral reefs in areas with temperatures safe for these ecosystems, a figure that would drop to zero per cent with a warming of 2 degrees.

Future loss of local-scale thermal refugia in coral reef ecosystems (plos.org)

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3. Australia puts forward case to UNESCO for protecting Great Barrier Reef

The federal government has updated the United Nations on the health of the Great Barrier Reef as a draft recommendation to list it as “in danger” hangs over the World Heritage site.

https://www.themandarin.com.au/180476-australia-puts-forward-case-to-unesco-for-protecting-great-barrier-reef/

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4. ‘A drop in the ocean’: government’s $50m koala pledge won’t tackle root cause of decline

Campaigners say ‘money isn’t the issue’ when there’s no koala recovery plan, while other threatened species receive little funding

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/feb/06/a-drop-in-the-ocean-governments-50m-koala-pledge-wont-tackle-root-cause-of-decline?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

and see the ACF statement: Federal government has approved the clearing of 25,000 hectares of koala habitat in the last 10 years
Federal government has approved the clearing of 25,000 hectares of koala habitat in the last 10 years – Australian Conservation Foundation (acf.org.au)

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5. Native birds have vanished across the continent since colonisation. Now we know just how much we’ve lost

In the 250 years since Europeans colonised Australia, native birdlife has disappeared across the continent. Our new research has, for the first time, registered just how much Australia has actually lost – and our findings are astonishingly sad. We focused on 72 species of birds faced with extinction today, including the Kangaroo Island glossy black cockatoo, regent honeyeater, and night parrot. We found 530 million hectares, or 69%, of Australia, has lost at least one bird species. In some parts of the country, we’ve lost up to 17 birds.

Native birds have vanished across the continent since colonisation. Now we know just how much we’ve lost (theconversation.com)

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6. The existential toll of climate change on wetlands – maybe we should go with the flow.

In some cases, wetlands have the capacity to move (migrate) with the water level as it changes. Some research is suggesting that sea levels could rise faster than a wetland’s natural migration rate. Other studies have shown their capacity to move is limited by how land is being used around existing wetlands.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/


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7. The benefits and risks of rewilding
An IUCN Issues Brief

Rewilding aims to restore ecosystems and reverse biodiversity declines by allowing wildlife and natural processes to reclaim areas no longer under human management.
Misunderstanding of the rewilding concept has led to applications that harm communities and biodiversity, and threaten to undermine an approach with enormous conservation potential.
Well-applied rewilding can restore ecosystems at a landscape scale, help mitigate climate change, and provide socio-economic opportunities for communities.
Evidence-based rewilding principles will guide practitioners to rewild safely, help assess the effectiveness of projects, and incorporate rewilding into global conservation targets.

https://www.iucn.org/resources/issues-briefs/benefits-and-risks-rewilding

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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 #509 (2 February 2022)

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

“As the Murray-Darling Basin experience shows, throwing funding at an environmental catastrophe does not fix the problem, especially if the core issue remains unaddressed.”
Day and Heron on the billion dollar funding for the Great Barrier Reef [see item 2]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Water & wetlands – go with the flow.
2. The $1 billion Great Barrier Reef funding is nonsensical. Australians, and their natural wonder, deserve so much better
3. How do you feel about wildlife in your backyard? Does it contribute to your wellbeing?
4. ‘The Big Shift’– when sustainable development came to Australia
5. Environmental and public health co-benefits of consumer switches to immunity-supporting food
6. An introduction to decision science for conservation
7. Saving species beyond the protected area fence: Threats must be managed across multiple land tenure types to secure Australia’s endangered species

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1. Water & wetlands – go with the flow.

Happy World Wetlands Day. Keep in mind that the best protected wetland in the world ceases to be without water. And too much water with rising sea levels, will have the same outcome. We need to ‘make room’ for our wetlands.

https://globalwaterforum.org/2022/02/02/water-and-wetlands-maybe-we-should-go-with-the-flow-climate-change-and-world-wetlands-day-2022/

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2. The $1 billion Great Barrier Reef funding is nonsensical. Australians, and their natural wonder, deserve so much better

The measures to be funded are all important. But they’re nowhere near as important as addressing the root cause of climate change: greenhouse gas emissions. Most of the $1 billion should have been used to help Australia phase out fossil fuels. What’s more, the federal and Queensland governments continue to approve new coal and gas projects. Doing all this, while knowing the grave threat climate change poses to the Great Barrier Reef, demonstrates the incoherence of government policies.

The $1 billion Great Barrier Reef funding is nonsensical. Australians, and their natural wonder, deserve so much better (theconversation.com)

And the Climate Council describes the funding as a “golden bandaid”
A Band-Aid on a broken leg: Reef cash useless without deep emissions cuts this decade | Climate Council

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3. How do you feel about wildlife in your backyard? Does it contribute to your wellbeing?

Please help WA researchers investigate whether wildlife & wildlife friendly gardening have biodiversity & human wellbeing benefits by taking this short survey (c 10 mins): https://uwa.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9zV9qRv64evFDvg

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4. ‘The Big Shift’– when sustainable development came to Australia

These days we always talk about economic and societal trade-offs when we discuss the environment. But such thinking really only began in the late 1980s. And it was championed – surprise surprise – by the Minister for Agriculture!

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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5. Environmental and public health co-benefits of consumer switches to immunity-supporting food

During COVID-19, there has been a surge in public interest for information on immunity-boosting foods. There is little scientific support for immunitysupporting properties of specific foods, but strong evidence for food choice impacts on other health outcomes (e.g. risk of non-communicable disease) and environmental sustainability. Here, we relate online recommendations for ‘‘immunity-boosting’’ foods across five continents to their environmental and human health impacts. More frequently recommended food items and groups are plant based and have lower land use and greenhouse gas emission impacts plus more positive health outcomes (reducing relative risks of mortality or chronic diet-related diseases) per serving of food. We identify trade-offs between environmental outcomes of increasing consumption of recommended food items, with aquatic environment impacts increasing with food recommendation frequency. People’s reliance on the Internet for health information creates an opportunity to consolidate behaviour change towards consuming foods with multiple co-benefits. Our study identifies win–win options for nudging online information-seeking behaviour towards more sustainable choices for terrestrial biodiversity conservation and human health.

Environmental and public health co-benefits of consumer switches to immunity-supporting food (springer.com)

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6. 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, whereas 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://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/cobi.13868

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7. Saving species beyond the protected area fence: Threats must be managed across multiple land tenure types to secure Australia’s endangered species

The authors show that nearly half (48%) of Australia’s threatened species’ distributions occur on private land, and that 75% occur across multiple tenures. Conservation across tenures will therefore determine the fate of our threatened species.

https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/csp2.617

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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 #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 #554 (15 December 2022)

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


“Not one of over 1200 computer simulations provides a reasonable chance of global warming being under 1.5oC in 2100.”
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Rewilding should be central to global restoration efforts
2.
New ‘Big Agenda’ for Nature faces many hurdles
3. The biodiversity crisis in numbers – a visual guide
4. Climate change: concern, behaviour and the six Australias
5. Three-year weather bill reaches $12.3 billion
6. Five key drivers of the nature crisis
7. How pastoral farming can help to avoid a biodiversity crisis

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1. Rewilding should be central to global restoration efforts

Rewilding should be central to the massive restoration efforts needed to overcome the global biodiversity crisis and enhancing the biosphere’s capacity to mitigate climate change. Key elements include large areas for nature, restoration of functional megafaunas and other natural biodiversity-promoting factors, synergy with major societal dynamics, and careful socio-ecological implementation.

https://www.cell.com/one-earth/fulltext/S2590-3322(20)30604-7

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2. New ‘Big Agenda’ for Nature faces many hurdles

The Albanese Government’s ‘Nature Positive Plan’ announced last week is a much-anticipated response to Professor Graeme Samuel’s 2020 Review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act. The plan is packed with policy announcements, most of which stick close to Samuel’s recommendations. But the path of this big agenda stretches far over the political horizon and is littered with hurdles. Here are ten hurdles the minister will have to jump, just for starters.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/12/15/new-big-agenda-for-nature-faces-many-hurdles/

To see the Government’s plan for reforming our national environmental plan, see
Nature positive plan: better for the environment, better for business

-~<>~-

3. The biodiversity crisis in numbers – a visual guide

Changes in land and sea use, exploitation of natural resources, global heating, pollution and the spread of invasive species are the five main drivers of this loss of life, according to leading UN experts. One of the best sources about the decline of biodiversity is the Living Planet Index, a metric developed by researchers at the WWF and the Zoological Society of London to measure the abundance of animal life. It is made up of datasets from about 32,000 populations of 5,230 animal species. When populations of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles increase, so does the index. The opposite happens when populations decline.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/dec/06/the-biodiversity-crisis-in-numbers-a-visual-guide-aoe

-~<>~-

4. Climate change: concern, behaviour and the six Australias

The Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub (MCCCRH) conducted a survey to better understand Australians’ climate change attitudes and behaviours, and whether these have changed over time. The survey included a range of questions relating to climate change behaviour, extreme weather events, policy, trust and voter perceptions. This report details the climate change concern and private and civic behaviours of the survey’s 3098 participants. Private behaviours centred around three themes: purchasing, fuel and energy, and waste. Civic behaviours related to engaging with politics, government and environmental groups and events. Demographic data was also collected to understand the relationship of respondents’ age, gender and finances with certain environmental behaviours.

Climate change: concern, behaviour and the six Australias (apo.org.au)

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5. Three-year weather bill reaches $12.3 billion

Since January 2020 almost 788,000 claims related to floods and storms declared Insurance Catastrophes or Significant Events have been received by insurers, meaning that in just three years one in 25 adult Australians has made an insurance claim because of this wild and wet weather. The cost of this year’s February-March floods has now reached more than $5.65 billion, surpassing the 1999 Sydney hailstorm in cost and making it the most expensive natural disaster in Australia’s history. The February-March floods have seen more than 237,000 claims lodged, and insurers have now paid out $3.54 billion and closed 69 per cent of claims from this event. The July severe weather that inundated parts of western Sydney and surrounds has resulted in almost 22,000 claims at a cost of $244 million.

Three-year weather bill reaches $12.3 billion – Insurance Council of Australia

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6. Five key drivers of the nature crisis

We look at the top five drivers of nature loss, identified by the recent Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Global Assessment Report.

5 key drivers of the nature crisis (unep.org)

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7. How pastoral farming can help to avoid a biodiversity crisis

Participants are expected to adopt a global framework that sets out measures to safeguard biodiversity. One approach is to conserve 30% of the world’s land and sea area through protected areas and other conservation measures in areas of limited human activity. Some campaigners are calling for this target to be met by the end of the decade. But much of the land set aside for protection is occupied by indigenous people who may be excluded or displaced. Mobile pastoral farmers are one such group. Millions of pastoralists graze livestock across a variety of environments worldwide. Case studies from around the world indicate that including pastoral communities in conservation initiatives can help to address the tensions that emerge around protected areas, while improving biodiversity.

https://theconversation.com/how-pastoral-farming-can-help-to-avoid-a-biodiversity-crisis-195274

-~<>~-

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 press the follow button.

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