Dbytes #347 (13 September 2018)

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

“Agricultural economists recognised long ago that the environment in northern Australia was not good for irrigated agriculture. The converse recognition, that irrigation schemes are often disastrous for the environment, came much later.”
John Quiggin on ‘Reality is the enemy of irrigated agriculture, Matt Canavan, not greenies’

General News

1. Climate of the Nation 2018
2. Australia is not on track to reach 2030 Paris target
3. The Interwoven World Te Ao I Whiria: Towards an integrated landscape approach in Aotearoa New Zealand
4. More than 30 years of ‘Landcare’ in Australia: five phases of development from ‘childhood’ to ‘mid-life’ (crisis or renewal?)
5. Western Australia warns of funding crisis for threatened species protection

EDG Node News

UMelb Node:
Sacha Jellinek and colleagues on integrating diverse social and ecological motivations to achieve landscape restoration
UQ Node: Angela Guerrero and colleagues on achieving the promise of integration in social-ecological research: a review and prospectus
RMIT Node: Lindall Kidd and colleagues make a submission to the Senate Inquiry on Australia’s Faunal Extinction Crisis
ANU Node:
David Lindenmayer and Chloe Sato on hidden collapse is driven by fire and logging in a socioecological forest ecosystem

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General News

1. Climate of the Nation 2018

Climate change is happening and Australians are concerned about the impacts. More Australians accept the reality of climate change than at almost any time since Climate of the Nation began in 2007. Three quarters (76%, up from 71% 2017) of Australians accept that climate change is occurring, 11% do not think that climate change is occurring and 13% are unsure.

http://www.tai.org.au/content/climate-nation-2018

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2. Australia is not on track to reach 2030 Paris target

While Australia is coming to terms with yet another new prime minister, one thing that hasn’t changed is the emissions data: Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are not projected to fall any further without new policies.

https://theconversation.com/australia-is-not-on-track-to-reach-2030-paris-target-but-the-potential-is-there-102725
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3. The Interwoven World Te Ao I Whiria: Towards an integrated landscape approach in Aotearoa New Zealand
[Recommended by Sue Streatfield]

In this discussion paper, The Policy Observatory’s Dr David Hall explores the ways that New Zealanders think about the landscape, and how these ideas influence actual decisions about land use. To put New Zealand on the path of long-term prosperity, he endorses the Interwoven World, Te Ao i Whiria, a vision of the landscape that combines and intermingles diverse land use systems. With issues like water quality, climate change and the One Billion Trees Programme high on the public agenda, this discussion paper invites a conversation about the kinds of landscapes we want to live with, and the landscapes we ought to avoid.

https://thepolicyobservatory.aut.ac.nz/publications/the-interwoven-world-te-ao-i-whiria-towards-an-integrated-landscape-approach-in-aotearoa-new-zealand

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4. More than 30 years of ‘Landcare’ in Australia: five phases of development from ‘childhood’ to ‘mid-life’ (crisis or renewal?)

This article describes the five major development phases of Landcare in Australia – from its ‘childhood phase’ beginnings in the mid-1980s to its current day ‘mid-life phase’. The ‘Landcare approach’ in its contemporary form is articulated in the Australian Framework for Landcare 2010–2020 as comprising the Landcare ethic, the Landcare movement founded on stewardship and volunteers, and the Landcare model. There is much evidence to substantiate the pivotal role Landcare has played in stimulating and enabling knowledge sharing, learning and on-ground action across Australia in the arena of natural resource management (NRM); and also to conclude that its potential for contributing to broader impacts, especially landscape-scale change, has been seriously hindered by various ill-conceived and/or executed policy settings and related institutional arrangements…

Ref: Lisa Robins (2018) More than 30 years of ‘Landcare’ in Australia: five phases of development from ‘childhood’ to ‘mid-life’ (crisis or renewal?), Australasian Journal of Environmental Management.
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14486563.2018.1487342

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5. Western Australia warns of funding crisis for threatened species protection

WA government says federal nature conservation funding fell from $8m in 2009 to $1m in 2016.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/sep/11/western-australia-warns-of-funding-crisis-for-threatened-species-protection?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Tweet

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EDG News

UMelb Node: Sacha Jellinek and colleagues on integrating diverse social and ecological motivations to achieve landscape restoration

Landscape-scale restoration requires stakeholder collaboration and recognition of diverse social and ecological motivations to achieve multiple benefits. Yet few landscape restoration projects have set and achieved shared social and ecological goals. Mechanisms to integrate social and ecological motivations will differ in different landscapes. We provide examples from urban, agricultural, and mined landscapes to highlight how integration can achieve multiple benefits and help incentivize restoration. Better communication of ecological and especially social benefits of restoration could increase motivation. Social and economic incentives from carbon markets are evident in agricultural landscapes, biodiversity offset schemes are unlikely to motivate restoration without proof-of-concept, and framing restoration in terms of ecosystem services shows promise. When setting restoration goals, it is important to recognize the diverse motivations that influence them. In doing so, and by evaluating both social and ecological benefits, we can better achieve desired restoration outcomes. Customizing incentives to cater for diverse stakeholder motivations could therefore encourage restoration projects.
Ref: Sacha Jellinek, Kerrie A. Wilson, Valerie Hagger, Laura Mumaw, Benjamin Cooke, Angela M. Guerrero, Todd E. Erickson, Tara Zamin, Pawel Waryszak & Rachel J. Standish (2018). Integrating diverse social and ecological motivations to achieve landscape restoration. Journal of App Ecol. https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/1365-2664.13248

UQ Node: Angela Guerrero and colleagues on achieving the promise of integration in social-ecological research: a review and prospectus.
We conducted a systematic literature review to investigate the conceptual, methodological, disciplinary, and functional aspects of social-ecological integration. In general, we found that overall integration is still lacking in social-ecological research. Some social variables deemed important for addressing sustainability challenges are underrepresented in social-ecological studies, e.g., culture, politics, and power. Disciplines such as ecology, urban studies, and geography are better integrated than others, e.g., sociology, biology, and public administration. In addition to ecology and urban studies, biodiversity conservation plays a key brokerage role in integrating other disciplines into social-ecological research. Studies founded on systems theory have the highest rates of integration. Highly integrative studies combine different types of tools, involve stakeholders at appropriate stages, and tend to deliver practical recommendations. Better social-ecological integration must underpin sustainability science. To achieve this potential, future social-ecological research will require greater attention to the following: the interdisciplinary composition of project teams, strategic stakeholder involvement, application of multiple tools, incorporation of both social and ecological variables, consideration of bidirectional relationships between variables, and identification of implications and articulation of clear policy recommendations.
Ref: Guerrero, A. M., N. J. Bennett, K. A. Wilson, N. Carter, D. Gill, M. Mills, C. D. Ives, M. J. Selinske, C. Larrosa, S. Bekessy, F. A. Januchowski-Hartley, H. Travers, C. A. Wyborn, and A. Nuno. 2018. Achieving the promise of integration in social-ecological research: a review and prospectus. Ecology and Society 23(3):38. https://doi.org/10.5751/ES-10232-230338

RMIT Node: Lindall Kidd and colleagues make a submission to the Senate Inquiry on Australia’s Faunal Extinction Crisis
“We, as a nation, have the resources and expertise to conduct world-leading biodiversity conservation. Our policies and approach to conservation should reflect global best practices. Yet, Australia continues to fail to meet its international obligations and agreements.”
Ref: Kidd L, Backstrom A, Kusmanoff AM, Gordon A, Gregg E, Damiens F, Thomas FM, Garrard GE, Kirk H, Ringma J, Berthon K, Gutierrez M, Hardy MJ, Selinske M, Croeser T, Bekessy SA. (2018) Submission to the Senate Inquiry on Australia’s Faunal Extinction Crisis, 12pp. https://rmitconservationscience.files.wordpress.com/2018/09/icon-rmit-submission.pdf


ANU Node: David Lindenmayer and Chloe Sato on hidden collapse is driven by fire and logging in a socioecological forest ecosystem
Almost all descriptions of ecosystem collapse are made after it has occurred and not during the process of collapse. We describe the process of collapse in the iconic Australian Mountain Ash ecosystem. We uncovered empirical evidence for hidden collapse, which occurs when an ecosystem superficially appears to be intact but a prolonged period of decline coupled with long lag times for recovery mean that collapse is almost inevitable. This is because key ecosystem components continue to decline for long periods even after drivers of collapse are removed. Hidden collapse suggests a need for actions well before managers perceive they are required. Long-term monitoring targeting different classes of state variables can be used to provide early warnings of impending collapse.
Ref: Lindenmayer, D.B. and Sato, C. (2018). Hidden collapse is driven by fire and logging in a socioecological forest ecosystem. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115, 5181-5186. http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/04/24/1721738115



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

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

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

 

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Dbytes #346 (5 September 2018)

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

“Certainly, no big change has accompanied the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration over the past century from roughly 300 to roughly 400 parts per million or from 0.03 to 0.04 per cent. Contrary to the breathless assertions that climate change is behind every weather event, in Australia, the floods are not bigger, the bushfires are not worse, the droughts are not deeper or longer, and the cyclones are not more severe than they were in the 1800s. Sometimes, they do more damage but that’s because there’s more to destroy, not because their intensity has increased. More than 100 years of photography at Manly Beach in my electorate does not suggest that sea levels have risen despite frequent reports from climate alarmists that this is imminent.”

Former Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott in a speech to the Global Warming Policy Foundation, London, 10 Oct 2017
[see items 1, 2 & 3]

General News

1. WMO releases new study assessing sea level rise over past 25 years
2. Australia burns while politicians fiddle with the leadership
3. The Pro-Truth Pledge
4. What wattle is that? A new app holds the answer
5. Will protecting half the Earth save biodiversity?

EDG Node News

UWA Node: Melinda Moir and colleagues on developing a standardized method to estimate honeydew production
UMelb Node: Anwar Hossain and colleagues on assessing the vulnerability of freshwater crayfish to climate change
UQ Node: Sylvaine Giakoumi and colleagues on revisiting “Success” and “Failure” of Marine Protected Areas
RMIT Node: Lindall Kidd bakes a Cumberland Plain Land Snail
ANU Node: Ben Scheele and colleagues on how to improve threatened species management

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General News

1.
WMO releases new study assessing sea level rise over past 25 years

[published 30 Aug 2018]

Over the last 50 years more than 90 % of the excess heat excess accumulated in the climate system because of greenhouse gas emissions has been stored in the ocean. The rest has been warming the atmosphere and continents, and melting sea and land ice. Sea level rise is one of the most severe consequences of climate change from human activities, with potential major impacts on coastal societies.

The international community, through the World Climate Research Programme’s Grand Challenge on Regional Sea Level and Coastal Impacts has recently published an extensive study assessing the various datasets used to estimate components of sea-level rise since the start of the altimetry era in 1993. These datasets are based on the combination of a broad range of space-based and in situ observations, model estimates, and algorithms.

The altimetry-based global mean sea level rise averages 3.1 (± 0.3 mm) per year, with an acceleration of 0.1 mm per year over the 25-year period, according to the study. It also compared the observed global mean sea level with the sum of components. Ocean thermal expansion contributes 42%, glaciers contribute 21%, Greenland contributes 15% and Antarctica contributes 8 % to the global mean sea level rise over the 1993–present period.

https://public.wmo.int/en/media/news/new-study-assesses-sea-level-rise-over-past-25-years

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2. Australia burns while politicians fiddle with the leadership
Conversation editorial by Sophie Lewis and Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick (22 Aug 2018)

“In light of the clear evidence, it takes a very special kind of politician to ignore the role of climate change in extreme weather events. It’s hard to imagine why anyone would choose to play party political games as whole townships are threatened by fire and drought extends through NSW and Queensland.”

“It is time to stop dismissing our record-breaking temperatures, droughts and winter bushfires as natural variability. The role of climate change in extreme heat is now so pervasive that it is almost a given.”

https://theconversation.com/australia-burns-while-politicians-fiddle-with-the-leadership-101905

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3. The Pro-Truth Pledge

An invitation to advance truthful climate change communication and public discourse more broadly from Pro-Truth Pledge. The Pro-Truth Pledge effort believes that fighting misinformation and protecting truth and facts on climate change and other topics in public discourse requires differentiating those who spread misinformation from truth-tellers, rewarding truth-tellers with a better reputation, and uniting truth-tellers in a cohesive constituency across the political spectrum. The Pro-Truth Pledge offers an easy way to do so by reclaiming the fuzzy concept of “truth,” which different people can interpret differently, with 12 clearly-observable behaviors listed on the pledge website that research in behavioral science shows correlate with truthfulness. Private citizens, public figures, and organizations can take the pledge. Private citizens get the benefit of contributing to a more truthful society. Public figures and organizations get reputational rewards, since the pledge provides them with external credibility by holding them accountable through crowd-sourced fact-checking.

The pledge is run by credible academics and activists. For example, both Peter Singer and Stephan Lewandowsky are on the Advisory Board of the educational 501 nonprofit that runs the pledge, Intentional Insights.

https://www.protruthpledge.org/

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4. What wattle is that? A new app holds the answer

As part of National Wattle Day celebrations, Director of National Parks Dr Judy West, launched a new app which helps users identify over 1070 species of wattle.

“Our native flora forms part of our Australian identity. May Gibbs famous children’s books are infused with it, our national sporting teams’ colours are inspired by it, and today, we have a national celebration dedicated to our nation’s floral emblem,” Dr West said. “It’s fitting that today we launch the Wattle: Acacias of Australia app, a new resource which allows all Australians to identify and learn more about this magnificent species which is found across the country. The app has been developed by the Australian Biological Resources Study, a team within Parks Australia, in collaboration with Identic P/L, and the Western Australian Herbarium.”

The Director of the Australian Biological Resources Study Sue Fyfe, said the app was developed by converting and updating an original plant identification online database, providing a unique and effective means for user identification.

“Wattle: Acacias of Australia is the most up-to-date identification tool for Australian wattle species and with more than 8,500 available images relating to Australian wattles, can assist people with identifying significant wattle species, including rare and endangered groups, bush tucker and potential weeds.”

http://www.environment.gov.au/science/abrs/publications/keys/wattle

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5. Will protecting half the Earth save biodiversity?

How much of the Earth should we protect to save species from going extinct? Some conservationists have suggested an ambitious number: half of the planet.

Prominent biologist Edward O. Wilson, for instance, proposes in his book, “Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life,” that devoting half the world to nature would help save the majority of species. Other researchers have backed the “Nature Needs Half” theme in policy and advocacy papers: protecting 50 per cent of Earth’s land by 2050 would “help make the planet more livable for humanity.”

But what half do we protect? Achieving this figure simply by creating a large number of protected areas isn’t going to save much biodiversity, says a new study published in Science Advances.
“There’s an increasing call for a Half-Earth,” lead author Stuart Pimm, Doris Duke professor of conservation ecology at Duke University in the U.S., told Mongabay. “But there’s a danger I think in asking for large areas to be protected when in fact we need to protect the right areas, we need to protect the places that really have species in them rather than drawing huge swathes on the map.

EcoBusiness

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EDG News

UWA Node: Melinda Moir and colleagues on developing a standardized method to estimate honeydew production
Melinda Moir (ERIE Adjunct & CEED affiliate) has been collaborating with Lori Lach (former ERIE Adjunct and now Senior Lecturer @ JCU) and Ben Hoffmann (CSIRO), on what fuels yellow crazy ant invasions in New Caledonia and the Northern Territory. Energy rich honeydew (sugary poo) that ants harvest from other insects, particular Hemiptera, is a key factor in allowing invasive ants to build large colonies. Examples of invasions involving this association include Yellow crazy ant on Xmas Island and Red Imported Fire ant in the United States. Moir and colleagues have developed a standardised method to estimate honeydew production without having to identify the bugs to species or conduct laboratory studies. In addition to invasion ecology, this method will be useful in other areas where nutrient cycles involving honeydew exist including agriculture, forestry and carbon farming.

The free online article can be found here http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0201845


UMelb Node: Anwar Hossain and colleagues on assessing the vulnerability of freshwater crayfish to climate change
Anwar Hossain, Jose Lahoz-Monfort, Mark Burgman, Monika Böhm, Heini Kujala and Lucie Bland have recently published a first global assessment of freshwater crayfish vulnerability to climate change. Using trait-based protocol, this article found that 87 of the assessed 574 species of freshwater crayfish are vulnerable to climate change under moderate climate change scenario. The study also showed that, 87% of the species are highly sensitive to climate change (primarily due to habitat specialization), whereas 35% have low adaptive capacity and 57% are highly exposed. Of the 87 identified species, only 18 currently have climate change recognised as a threat in the IUCN red-list. This study identified global hotspots of climate change vulnerable freshwater crayfish which require further conservation attention. This study also provides key insights for the application of climate change vulnerability assessment to data-poor invertebrates, which remain underrepresented in global conservation priorities.

Ref: Hossain MA, Lahoz-Monfort JJ, Burgman MA, Böhm M, Kujala H, Bland LM. Assessing the vulnerability of freshwater crayfish to climate change. Divers Distrib. 2018;00:1–14. https://doi.org/10.1111/ddi.12831

UQ Node: Sylvaine Giakoumi and colleagues on revisiting “Success” and “Failure” of Marine Protected Areas
ABSTRACT: Marine protected areas (MPAs) form the cornerstone of marine conservation. Identifying which factors contribute to their success or failure is crucial considering the international conservation targets for 2020 and the limited funds generally available for marine conservation. We identified common factors of success and/or failure of MPA effectiveness using peer-reviewed publications and first-hand expert knowledge for 27 case studies around the world. We found that stakeholder engagement was considered as the most important factor affecting MPA success, and equally, its absence, was the most important factor driving failure. Conversely, while some factors were identified as critical for success, their absence was not considered as a driver of failure, and vice versa. This mismatch provided impetus for considering these factors more critically. Bearing in mind that most MPAs have multiple objectives, including non-biological, this highlights the need for the development and adoption of standardized effectiveness metrics, besides biological considerations, to measure factors contributing to the success or failure of MPAs to reach their objectives. Considering our conclusions, we suggest the development of specific protocols for the assessment of stakeholder engagement, the role of leadership, the capacity of enforcement and compliance with MPAs objectives. Moreover, factors defining the success and failure of MPAs should be assessed not only by technical experts and the relevant authorities, but also by other stakeholder groups whose compliance is critical for the successful functioning of an MPA. Combining these factors with appropriate ecological, social, and economic data should then be incorporated into adaptive management to improve MPA effectiveness.
Ref: Giakoumi Sylvaine, McGowan Jennifer, Mills Morena, Beger Maria, Bustamante Rodrigo H., Charles Anthony, Christie Patrick, Fox Matthew, Garcia-Borboroglu Pablo, Gelcich Stefan, Guidetti Paolo, Mackelworth Peter, Maina Joseph M., McCook Laurence, Micheli Fiorenza, Morgan Lance E., Mumby Peter J., Reyes Laura M., White Alan, Grorud-Colvert Kirsten, Possingham Hugh P. (2018). Revisiting “Success” and “Failure” of Marine Protected Areas: A Conservation Scientist Perspective. Frontiers in Marine Science 5
https://www.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fmars.2018.00223

RMIT Node: Lindall Kidd bakes a Cumberland Plain Land Snail
Lindall Kidd from RMIT’s ICON lab entered the Threatened Species Bakeoff Competition with a cake in the form of a Cumberland Plain Land Snail. It’s sliding towards extinction as urban sprawl gobbles its habitat.
Check it out at https://twitter.com/ICON_Science/status/1037223745025323008

ANU Node: Ben Scheele and colleagues on how to improve threatened species management
Targeted threatened species management is a central component of efforts to prevent species extinction. Despite the development of a range of management frameworks to improve conservation outcomes over the past decade, threatened species management is still commonly characterised as ad hoc. Although there are notable successes, many management programs are ineffective, with relatively few species experiencing improvements in their conservation status. We identify underlying factors that commonly lead to ineffective and inefficient management. Drawing attention to some of the key challenges, and suggesting ways forward, may lead to improved management effectiveness and better conservation outcomes. We highlight six key areas where improvements are needed: 1) stakeholder engagement and communication; 2) fostering strong leadership and the development of achievable long-term goals; 3) knowledge of target species’ biology and threats, particularly focusing on filling knowledge gaps that impede management, while noting that in many cases there will be a need for conservation management to proceed initially despite knowledge gaps; 4) setting objectives with measurable outcomes; 5) strategic monitoring to evaluate management effectiveness; and 6) greater accountability for species declines and failure to recover species to ensure timely action and guard against complacency. We demonstrate the importance of these six key areas by providing examples of innovative approaches leading to successful species management. We also discuss overarching factors outside the realm of management influence that can help or impede conservation success. Clear recognition of factors that make species’ management more straightforward – or more challenging – is important for setting realistic management objectives, outlining strategic action, and prioritising resources. We also highlight the need to more clearly demonstrate the benefit of current investment, and communicate that the risk of under-investment is species extinctions. Together, improvements in conservation practice, along with increased resource allocation and re-evaluation of the prioritisation of competing interests that threaten species, will help enhance conservation outcomes for threatened species.

Ref: Scheele, B., Legge, S., Armstrong, D.P., Copley, P., Robinson, N., Southwell, D., Westgate, M.J. and Lindenmayer, D.B. (2018). How to improve threatened species management: An Australian perspective. Journal of Environmental Management, 223, 668-675. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301479718307369

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

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

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

Dbytes #345 (30 August 2018)

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

“You are just putting the environment last, which is what got us into this mess in the first instance.”
David Papps, former Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder on the proposal to “borrow” environmental water so farmers can use it to grow crops to feed livestock during the drought. ABC News


General News

1. Australia’s science leaders reissue their call for stronger action on climate change
2. Help to shape policy with your science
3. A new dimension to marine restoration
4. Drink coaster designs for climate conversations
5. Five common writing mistakes new scientists make

EDG Node News

ANU Node: Luke O’Loughlin and colleagues on surrogates underpin ecological understanding and practise
UWA Node: Mike Perring and colleagues on understanding context dependency in the response of forest understorey plant communities to nitrogen deposition
UMelb Node: Interdisciplinary Conservation Network (ICN) Workshop 2018
UQ Node: Payal Bal and colleagues on quantifying the value of monitoring species in multi‐species, multi‐threat systems
RMIT Node:
Matthew Selinske on what regular folks think of pro-environmental behaviors

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General News

1. Australia’s science leaders reissue their call for stronger action on climate change

The Australian Academy of Science has reissued their call for the Australian Government to use the best available science to guide action on climate change. The longer Australia delays decisive action towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions the more challenging that action will become.

https://www.science.org.au/news-and-events/news-and-media-releases/australias-science-leaders-reissue-their-call

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2. Help to shape policy with your science

Megan Evans was just featured in a Nature editorial on ‘Help to shape policy with your science’
“Megan Evans got a crash course in science policy in 2011. As a research assistant at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, she joined a project helping the Australian government to develop a tool to compensate for the environmental effects of commercial land development and other activities. If a protected species might be harmed, for example, the ‘biodiversity offset’ tool would help the government to determine how much extra habitat to set aside. Evans loved the project’s applied nature. Many early-career researchers are drawn to the intersection of science and policy, says Evans, now an honorary research fellow at the Centre for Policy Futures at the University of Queensland. But it can be hard to know where to start, she says. And there can be career penalties for junior scientists. Policy-based work can be time-consuming and hard to fund, and helping to shape a law or management plan might not look as good on a tenure application as do high-profile publications. All scientists must also cope with the political realities of helping to translate scientific evidence — replete with uncertainties — into clear-cut laws and regulations. Because of this, many say, science can underpin good policy, but rarely defines it.”

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-06038-4

And also see: Early career researchers: So you want to make a difference?
There’s a new breed of scientist in town, wanting to make a positive impact in the world. They just have one question—how!?
https://particle.scitech.org.au/people/early-career-researchers-so-you-want-to-make-a-difference/

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3. A new dimension to marine restoration

Australian group Reef Design Labs submerged a 3D-printed artificial coral reef earlier this month in the Maldives, with the hope that this advanced engineering method will help coral regeneration efforts.

Eco-business

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4. Drink coaster designs for climate conversations

Researchers at ANU considered graphs and pie charts to display climate data, before some lateral thinking threw up the idea of drink coasters. The coasters visualise 12 months of climate data against long-term averages for Australian capital cities. Each coaster shows two rings representing climate data: the inside ring compares daily temperatures to that location’s long-term average, while the outer ring shows the same visualisation for monthly temperatures.

See https://gravitron.com.au/climatecoaster/ for the coasters and
https://science.anu.edu.au/research/research-stories/starting-conversation-about-climate-change for background on how they came about

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5. Five common writing mistakes new scientists make

“I thought I’d share five common bad habits that undermine otherwise good writing.”
https://contemplativemammoth.com/2018/08/21/five-common-writing-mistakes-new-scientists-make/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

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EDG News

ANU Node: Luke O’Loughlin and colleagues on surrogates underpin ecological understanding and practise
Here, we consider how fundamental tenets from surrogate research, particularly those that deal with intrinsic uncertainty and risk, are underappreciated in broader ecological research. Our assertion is that explicit recognition of the use of surrogates will benefit all ecological research through improved evaluation of the accuracy, consistency, and certainty of the inferences drawn from measures, regardless of the context.
Ref: O’Loughlin, L.S., Lindenmayer, D.B., Smith, M.D., Willig, M.R., Knapp, A.K., Cuddington, K., Hastings, A., Foster, C.N., Sato, C.F., Westgate, M.J. and Barton P.S. (2018). Surrogates underpin ecological understanding and practise. BioScience, doi:10.1093/biosci/biy080.
https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/advance-article/doi/10.1093/biosci/biy080/5055576

UWA Node: Mike Perring and colleagues on understanding context dependency in the response of forest understorey plant communities to nitrogen deposition
Understorey communities can dominate forest plant diversity and strongly affect forest ecosystem structure and function. Understoreys often respond sensitively but inconsistently to drivers of ecological change, including nitrogen (N) deposition. Nitrogen deposition effects, reflected in the concept of critical loads, vary greatly not only among species and guilds, but also among forest types. Here, we characterize such context dependency as driven by differences in the amounts and forms of deposited N, cumulative deposition, the filtering of N by overstoreys, and available plant species pools. Nitrogen effects on understorey trajectories can also vary due to differences in surrounding landscape conditions; ambient browsing pressure; soils and geology; other environmental factors controlling plant growth; and, historical and current disturbance/management regimes. The number of these factors and their potentially complex interactions complicate our efforts to make simple predictions about how N deposition affects forest understoreys. We review the literature to examine evidence for context dependency in N deposition effects on forest understoreys. We also use data from 1814 European temperate forest plots to test the ability of multi-level models to characterize context-dependent understorey responses across sites that differ in levels of N deposition, community composition, local conditions and management history. This analysis demonstrated that historical management, and plot location on light and pH-fertility gradients, significantly affect how understorey communities respond to N deposition. We conclude that species’ and communities’ responses to N deposition, and thus the determination of critical loads, vary greatly depending on environmental contexts. This complicates our efforts to predict how N deposition will affect forest understoreys and thus how best to conserve and restore understorey biodiversity. To reduce uncertainty and incorporate context dependency in critical load setting, we should assemble data on underlying environmental conditions, conduct globally distributed field experiments, and analyse a wider range of habitat types.
Ref: Michael P. Perring, Martin Diekmann, Gabriele Midolo, David Schellenberger Costa, Markus Bernhardt-Römermann, Johanna C.J. Otto, Frank S. Gilliam, Per-Ola Hedwall, Annika Nordin, Thomas Dirnböck, Samuel M. Simkin, František Máliš, Haben Blondeel, Jörg Brunet, Markéta Chudomelová, Tomasz Durak, Pieter De Frenne, Radim Hédl, Martin Kopecký, Dries Landuyt, Daijiang Li, Peter Manning, Petr Petřík, Kamila Reczyńska, Wolfgang Schmidt, Tibor Standovár, Krzysztof Świerkosz, Ondřej Vild, Donald M. Waller, Kris Verheyen (2018). Understanding context dependency in the response of forest understorey plant communities to nitrogen deposition. Environmental Pollution, ISSN 0269-7491,
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2018.07.089

UMelb Node: Interdisciplinary Conservation Network (ICN) Workshop 2018
“The Interdisciplinary Conservation Network (ICN) is a collaboration between research groups to hold workshops for PhD students and early career researchers (ECRs). This year, the Deakin Conservation Science Lab joined Oxford’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science (ICCS) and Sterling Conservation Science as an ICN organising partner.  Lab members Kate Watermeyer and Jess Rowland participated on the organising committee, Emily Nicholson as a mentor and Simone Stevenson as a participant…”
https://conservationscience.org.au/2018/08/15/the-conservation-science-lab-visits-oxford-interdisciplinary-conservation-network-icn-workshop-2018/

UQ Node: Payal Bal and colleagues on quantifying the value of monitoring species in multi‐species, multi‐threat systems
Making effective management decisions is challenging in multi‐species, multi‐threat systems because of uncertainty about the effects of different threats on different species. To inform management decisions, we often monitor species to detect spatial or temporal trends that can help us learn about threatening processes. However, which species to monitor and how to monitor to inform the management of threats can be difficult to determine. Value of information (VOI) analysis is an approach for quantifying the value of monitoring to inform management decisions. We developed a novel method that applies VOI analysis to quantify the benefits of different species monitoring strategies in multi‐threat, multi‐species systems. We applied the approach to compare the effectiveness of surveillance monitoring (monitoring species without experimentation) to targeted monitoring (monitoring species with experimentation to learn about a specific threat), and how prior information drives the benefits of these two different strategies and the species to monitor. We also illustrate the approach by applying it to two contrasting case studies for monitoring and managing declining mammals in Western Australia. Our approach shows that surveillance monitoring generally provides far lower benefits than targeted monitoring for managing threats in multi‐species, multi‐threat systems under economic constraints. Our approach also informs the choice of species to monitor and which threats to manage experimentally to most improve threat management outcomes. We show that the key parameters driving these choices include: the budget available for management, prior understanding of which threats cause declines in which species, the relative cost of managing these threats, and the background probability of decline. Our new VOI approach allows the evaluation of monitoring decisions in multi‐species, multi‐threat systems in the face of uncertainty, while explicitly accounting for the improvement in management outcomes. We recommend that managers need to explicitly consider a range of decision parameters when selecting which species to monitor to inform management. Our framework provides an objective way to do this.
Ref: Payal Bal, Ayesha I. T. Tulloch, Iadine Chadès, Josie Carwardine, Eve McDonald‐Madden, Jonathan R. Rhodes (2018). Quantifying the value of monitoring species in multi‐species, multi‐threat systems. Methods in Ecology and Evolution.
https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/2041-210X.13037

RMIT Node: Matthew Selinske on what regular folks think of pro-environmental behaviors
Laypeople may perceive and characterize pro-environmental behaviors differently than experts; as such, assumptions should not be made about the dimensions underpinning targeted behaviors. A lot of research within the environmental and conservation sciences is devoted to understanding and encouraging proenvironmental behaviors. What we know less about is how individuals perceive proenvironmental behaviors, which is important for designing behavioral interventions.
https://keeptothepath.com/2018/08/23/what-regular-folks-think-of-proenvironmental-behaviors/

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

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

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

Dbytes #344 (23 August 2018)

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

“It’s no secret that doing great science does not necessarily overlap with having a great career. The current system masquerades as a meritocracy, but it is subjective, biased, built on personal networks and laced with blind luck.”
John Tregoning, Nature


General News

1. Celebrating Australia’s wetland science
2. Comments on Draft Myrtle Rust Action Plan close next week
3. Of mangroves, offsets and bay developers
4. Do ‘footprint’ estimates tell the full story?
5. Threat Abatement Plan for the impacts of marine debris on the vertebrate wildlife

EDG Node News

RMIT Node:
Alex Kusmanoff blogs on bigger signs are more effective
ANU Node: David Lindenmayer and Gene Likens on maintaining the culture of ecology
UWA Node: David Pannell’s new website: Resources for Agri-Environmental Schemes
UMelb Node: Luke Kelly on Integrating Animal and Plant Paradigms to Enhance Fire Ecology
UQ Node: Vanessa Adams and colleagues on Land-sea Conservation Assessment for Papua New Guinea

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General News

1. Celebrating Australia’s wetland science: World class research for wetlands

This publication showcases research which is contributing to improved understanding and management of wetlands, both in Australia and internationally. It highlights work done by Australian scientists under the National Environmental Science Program, as well as important projects by other leading Australian wetland researchers.

http://www.environment.gov.au/water/wetlands/publications/celebrating-australias-wetland-science

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2. Comments on Draft Myrtle Rust Action Plan close next week

Myrtle Rust is a plant disease that poses a serious and urgent threat to Australia’s native biodiversity. A NESP Emerging Priorities project undertaken in collaboration with the Plant Biosecurity CRC completed a comprehensive review of the environmental impacts of Myrtle Rust in Australia. The findings of the review informed the development of a draft Action Plan to guide a coordinated national environmental response to Myrtle Rust. Myrtle Rust in Australia: A draft Action Plan is now open for public consultation. Email feedback to MRActionPlan@apbsf.org.au by 31 August 2018.

http://www.apbsf.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Myrtle-rust-action-plan_accessible.pdf

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3. Of mangroves, offsets and bay developers

SPECIAL REPORT from the Fifth Estate: The Walker Corporation has come under the spotlight for its masterplan at Toondah Harbour redevelopment on Brisbane’s Moreton Bay that encroaches on mangroves protected under the Moreton Bay Ramsar Wetland. So how important are mangroves? According to the experts they provide a vital role in protecting the coast from severe weather and erosion. They provide breeding habitat for marine species and sequester massive amounts of carbon emissions. Yet despite their value, and that it’s technically illegal to clear them, we are still losing large areas of this incredibly important vegetation.

https://www.thefifthestate.com.au/urbanism/environment/we-need-to-talk-about-mangroves-offsets-and-walker-corp/100151?mc_cid=19ad8ae943&mc_eid=71269d6701

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4. Do‘footprint’ estimates tell the full story?

Earth Overshoot Day—the date when humanity’s ‘footprint’ on nature exceeds what the Earth can regenerate in 365 days—is getting earlier each year. But the math behind it is problematic and could be vastly underestimating the damage we are doing to the planet, says Michigan State University’s Robert Richardson.

EcoBusiness

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5. Threat Abatement Plan for the impacts of marine debris on the vertebrate wildlife

The Threat Abatement Plan for the impacts of marine debris on the vertebrate wildlife of Australia’s coasts and oceans incorporates actions needed to abate the listed key threatening process, particularly actions to develop understanding about microplastic impacts and the potential role of new technologies in waste management. The actions are intended to be feasible, effective and efficient, as required by the EPBC Act. The plan binds the Commonwealth and its agencies to respond to the impact of marine debris on vertebrate marine life, and identifies the research, management and other actions needed to reduce the impacts of marine debris on affected species.

http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/tap/marine-debris-2018

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EDG News

RMIT Node: Alex Kusmanoff blogs on bigger signs are more effective
Simple, well-designed signs can be effective at prompting people to turn off washroom lights. Bigger signs are more effective than smaller signs. Using seventeen washrooms across five buildings on a university campus, the authors tested the effectiveness of two different sized signs at prompting users to turn the lights off when they were not in use. The authors tested two different sizes of the sign over 43 days…”
https://keeptothepath.com/2018/07/22/bigger-signs-are-more-effective-at-prompting-people-to-turn-off-washroom-lights/

ANU Node: David Lindenmayer and Gene Likens on maintaining the culture of ecology
“The culture of ecology and environmental science is changing rapidly. Discussions around major environmental challenges come at the same time as debates about opportunities arising from the gathering of vast quantities of data (“big data”) from sensors and other instrumentation and the construction of large‐scale infrastructure such as NEON and other Earth Observation Networks (EONs). We argue that passively collecting environmental data without being guided by key questions, and in the absence of rigorous study design, runs the risk of doing science backwards. That is, gathering enormous datasets and then attempting post‐hoc to determine what to do with those data by somehow producing retrofitted questions. Collecting data in a scientific vacuum, no matter how good the technology being used, can result in these data being mismatched to what we need to know. Moreover, simply gathering mountains of data may give the appearance that a lot is happening, leading to “busy work” rather than “effective work”. These problems, in turn, distract from the need to exercise clear thinking. A related issue is that technology‐driven (passive) data collection can result in doing many things badly rather than a few things well…”
Ref: Lindenmayer, D.B., and Likens, G.E. (2018). Maintaining the culture of ecology. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 16, 195.
https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/fee.1801

UWA Node: David Pannell’s new website: Resources for Agri-Environmental Schemes
Professor David Pannell has created a website that hosts a collection of resources relevant to the design and implementation of effective agri-environmental schemes. The wide range of resources have been developed by David (and colleagues) since around 2000 as a result of engagement with agricultural and environmental organisations and agencies in Australia and around the world. The website contains direct links to journal articles, books, reports, frameworks, computer tools, web sites, blog posts, and a free online course. Some examples of the pooled resources include the book “lessons from past agri-environmental schemes”, the 6-week training course “MOOC”, the tools “The Public: Private Benefits Framework” and “Investment framework for environmental resources (INFFER)”, as well as the relevant papers, blogs and chapters on “Testing metrics to rank environmental projects”, “Measuring environmental values”, “Additionality”, “Understanding farmers’ adoption of new practices” and more..
https://www.resources4aes.net/

UMelb Node: Luke Kelly on Integrating Animal and Plant Paradigms to Enhance Fire Ecology
“I’m excited to have a new article on animal and plant ecology in the journal Fire. We call for better integration of animal-based and plant-based approaches in fire ecology. This one was a few years in the making but was a lot of fun to write with a team of scientists doing novel research, on a range of taxa, in ecosystems around the world. The paper is open access and you can download the whole thing here.
https://ltkellyresearch.com/2018/08/13/integrating-animal-and-plant-paradigms-to-enhance-fire-ecology/

UQ Node: Vanessa Adams and colleagues on Land-sea Conservation Assessment for Papua New Guinea
From Vanessa: I’m circulating a link to a Land-sea conservation assessment for PNG authored by myself, Hugh and Viv Tulloch with important contributions from James Allan, Caitie Kuempel, and collaborators at TNC, Macquarie, and Tel Aviv University:
http://www.pg.undp.org/content/papua_new_guinea/en/home/library/land-sea-conservation-assessment-for-papua-new-guinea.html
The report was the culmination of work completed between 2014 – 2016 (and also built off of a marine assessment Carissa, Jen, Viv and Hugh completed for PNG), but UNDP decided to feature this report a a series published earlier this month so it will have a lasting home on the UNDP website with the very real potential to influence conservation investment in this global hotspot.  I think this is a wonderful example of how CBCS/CEED is providing applied research with immediate policy impact for our global biodiversity. The continued engagement with this work by UNDP and the PNG government is a promising glimpse that they may be using this assessment as a road map for guiding conservation action and investment. Time will tell.

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

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

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

 

Dbytes #343 (16 August 2018)

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

“Sustaining reef biodiversity will require a conceptual shift away from the current emphasis on protection, conservation or restoration of stable coral ecosystems at equilibrium, to a reality in which ecosystems are more dynamic and patchier, as well as increasingly different to anything that people have encountered before. Embracing this paradigm shift will necessitate a transformation in the governance and management of these high-diversity ecosystems.”
Hughes et al, 2017, Coral reefs in the Anthropocene, Nature, http://www.nature.com/articles/nature22901


General News

1. First Parks Australia Science Direction Statement released
2. Estimating the benefit of well-managed protected areas for threatened species conservation
3. Protected areas could help boost Brazil’s national economy
4. NZ Government funding to support nature flourishing in a Predator Free Capital
5. Biodiversity and human health

EDG Node News

UQ Node: Jane McDonald and colleagues on improving private land conservation
RMIT Node: Fairness and Transparency Are Required for the Inclusion of Privately Protected Areas in Publicly Accessible Conservation Databases
ANU Node: David Lindenmayer on integrating forest biodiversity conservation and restoration ecology principles to recover natural forest ecosystems
UWA Node: Abbie Rogers and Michael Burton on Marine and Coastal Habitat Restoration
UMelb Node: Jane Catford on SciComm cartoons in multiple languages


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General News

1. First Parks Australia Science Direction Statement released

The Parks Australia Science Direction Statement 2018–2022 describes the guiding principles and sets priorities for Parks Australia’s science effort. It highlights opportunities for scientific collaboration and brings focus to areas where knowledge is poor. The Parks Australia Science Direction Statement 2018–2022 is a guide and an invitation to contribute to improving the informed management of the six Commonwealth national parks, the Australian National Botanic Gardens, and Australian Marine Parks.

https://www.environment.gov.au/resource/parks-australia-science-direction-statement-2018-2022

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2. Estimating the benefit of well-managed protected areas for threatened species conservation

Protected areas have a central role in halting biodiversity decline. New research published in Oryx has looked at how well protected areas alleviate major threats to Australia terrestrial and freshwater threatened species for which data was available (1555 species).Key findings were: while unmanaged protected areas can remove at least one threat to 76 per cent of species, they remove all major threats to very few species (three per cent), while well-managed protected areas would remove all threats to almost half of the species (48 per cent). Finally, 52 per cent face one or more threats that require landscape management, or coordinated conservation actions that protected areas alone could not remove. The findings emphasise the importance of undertaking effective management within protected areas, and the need to also manage threats beyond protected areas in order to conserve threatened species. The research was supported by NESP TSR.

Ref: Kearney, S., Adams, V., Fuller, R., Possingham, H., & Watson, J. (2018). Estimating the benefit of well-managed protected areas for threatened species conservation. Oryx, 1-9. doi:10.1017/S0030605317001739
https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/oryx/article/estimating-the-benefit-of-wellmanaged-protected-areas-for-threatened-species-conservation/A7BAB606062D26432CE6B183FAC15B04/core-reader

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3. Protected areas could help boost Brazil’s national economy

Brazil’s protected areas such as the Amazon and Caatinga are known globally for the incredible biodiversity treasures they hold. In 2016, there were approximately 17 million visitors in Brazilian protected areas and according to a new study published this week, greater investment in the environmental management of these areas could help yield even more economic gains for the country.

http://wwf.panda.org/wwf_news/?332350/Protected-areas-could-help-boost-Brazils-national-economy-study-finds
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4. NZ Government funding to support nature flourishing in a Predator Free Capital

The NZ Government is supporting a project to make Wellington the world’s first predator free capital city with a $3.27 million funding boost announced by Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage today.

https://www.doc.govt.nz/news/media-releases/2018/government-funding-to-support-nature-flourishing-in-a-predator-free-capital/

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5. Biodiversity and human health

Natural environments and green spaces provide ecosystem services that enhance human health and well-being. They improve mental health, mitigate allergies and reduce all-cause, respiratory, cardiovascular and cancer mortality. The presence, accessibility, proximity and greenness of green spaces determine the magnitude of their positive health effects, but the role of biodiversity (including species and ecosystem diversity) within green spaces remains underexplored. This review describes mechanisms and evidence of effects of biodiversity in nature and green spaces on human health.
Ref: Raf Aerts, Olivier Honnay, An Van Nieuwenhuyse; Biodiversity and human health: mechanisms and evidence of the positive health effects of diversity in nature and green spaces, British Medical Bulletin, , ldy021, https://doi.org/10.1093/bmb/ldy021
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EDG News

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

RMIT Node: Fairness and Transparency Are Required for the Inclusion of Privately Protected Areas in Publicly Accessible Conservation Databases
Matthew Selinske, Ben Cooke, Nooshin Torabi, and Mathew Hardy (RMIT) and Carla Archibald (UQ), contributed to a special issue of Land on Biodiversity and Protected Areas (led by Hayley Clements (Stellenbosch): There is a growing recognition of the contribution that privately-owned land makes to conservation efforts, and governments are increasingly counting privately protected areas (PPAs) towards their international conservation commitments. The public availability of spatial data on countries’ conservation estates is important for broad-scale conservation planning and monitoring and for evaluating progress towards targets. Yet there has been limited consideration of how PPA data is reported to national and international protected area databases, particularly whether such reporting is transparent and fair (i.e., equitable) to the landholders involved. Here we consider PPA reporting procedures from three countries with high numbers of PPAs—Australia, South Africa, and the United States—illustrating the diversity within and between countries regarding what data is reported and the transparency with which it is reported. Noting a potential tension between landholder preferences for privacy and security of their property information and the benefit of sharing this information for broader conservation efforts, we identify the need to consider equity in PPA reporting processes. Unpacking potential considerations and tensions into distributional, procedural, and recognitional dimensions of equity, we propose a series of broad principles to foster transparent and fair reporting. Our approach for navigating the complexity and context-dependency of equity considerations will help strengthen PPA reporting and facilitate the transparent integration of PPAs into broader conservation efforts.
Ref: http://www.mdpi.com/2073-445X/7/3/96

ANU Node: David Lindenmayer on integrating forest biodiversity conservation and restoration ecology principles to recover natural forest ecosystems
Effective conservation of forest biodiversity and effective forest restoration are two of the biggest challenges facing forest managers globally. I present four general principles to guide strategies aimed at meeting these challenges: (1) protect and restore populations of key species and their habitats, (2) conserve and restore key attributes of stand structural complexity, (3) maintain and restore natural patterns of landscape heterogeneity, and (4) maintain and restore key ecological processes. The complexity associated with these principles is that how they will be practically implemented on the ground will invariably be ecosystem specific as what constitutes stand structural complexity or landscape heterogeneity will vary between ecosystems. Here I demonstrate the practical application of the four general principles in a detailed case study of conservation and restoration in the Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans) forests of the Central Highlands of Victoria, south-eastern Australia. These forests are characterized by declining species, loss of key elements of stand structural, loss of old growth forest, altered patterns of landscape heterogeneity, and altered ecosystem processes. I highlight how altered management practices in Mountain Ash forests that are guided by our four general principles can help conserve existing biodiversity and underpin effective forest restoration. Consideration of our general principles also can identify policy deficiencies that need to be addressed to enhance restoration and biodiversity conservation.
Ref: Lindenmayer, D.B. (2018). Integrating forest biodiversity conservation and restoration ecology principles to recover natural forest ecosystems. New Forests, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11056-018-9633-9.

UWA Node: Abbie Rogers and Michael Burton on Marine and Coastal Habitat Restoration
Abbie Rogers and Michael Burton attended a workshop in Canberra on 20th June to explore “How active restoration can help preserve Matters of National Environmental Significance”. The importance of this topic was evident from the wide network of participants who spanned across research organisations, Commonwealth and State government departments, NGOs, NRM groups, commercial and recreational fisheries representatives, and community groups. The workshop explored the importance of protecting and restoring marine and coastal habitats in terms of their direct and indirect contributions for protecting MNES, for example, providing habitat for threatened species and maintaining ecosystem productivity. A showcase of multidisciplinary research efforts in marine habitat restoration was presented, including recent advances in the science and on-ground delivery of habitat restoration, landscape scale planning, the importance of institutional and community partnerships, and novel opportunities to promote investment in restoration (e.g. trading ‘blue carbon’). Abbie provided an overview of how integrated economic assessments can be used to weigh up the environmental, social and economic costs and benefits of marine habitat restoration to determine which restoration projects are worthwhile.

UMelb Node: Jane Catford on SciComm cartoons in multiple languages
“Thanks to generous friends and colleagues (and a seemingly unbridled passion for editing in Illustrator?!), the cartoon of Introduced species that overcome life history tradeoffs can cause native extinctions is now in five languages: German, Indonesian, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish, plus English.
https://janecatford.wordpress.com/2018/07/06/scicomm-cartoons-in-multiple-languages/

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

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

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

 

Dbytes #342 (9 August 2018)

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

“The collection, arrangement and availability of data is key to evidenced-based public policy.” Vardon et al, 2018 [See item 4]


General News

1. Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene
2.
Global audit of biodiversity monitoring
3. A short course on Citizen Science in the Digital Age (6-7 September)
4. How the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting can improve environmental information systems and data quality for decision making
5. Donald Trump’s border wall could cause great ecological damage, scientists warn US government

EDG Node News

UMelb Node: Hannah Fraser on a campaign to increase the use of registered reports
UQ Node: Sylvaine Giakoumi and colleagues on Conserving European biodiversity across realms
RMIT Node: Alex Kusmanoff on please don’t leave the path
ANU node: Kerrie Wilson to deliver a Fenner Guest Lecture on smart decisions
UWA Node: Heterogeneous public preference for REDD+ projects under different forest management regimes

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General News

1. Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene
“A domino-like cascade of melting ice, warming seas, shifting currents and dying forests could tilt the Earth into a “hothouse” state beyond which human efforts to reduce emissions will be increasingly futile, a group of leading climate scientists has warned. This grim prospect is sketched out in a journal paper that considers the combined consequences of 10 climate change processes, including the release of methane trapped in Siberian permafrost and the impact of melting ice in Greenland on the Antarctic.”
Ref: Steffen. W,  Rockström. J,  Richardson. K,  Lenton. T.M, Folke. C,  Liverman. D,  Summerhayes. C.P,  Barnosky. A.D, Cornell. S.E, Crucifix. M,  Donges. J.F,  Fetzer. I,  Lade. S.J,  Scheffer. M, Winkelmann. R and  Schellnhuber, H.J PNAS August 6, 2018. 201810141; http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/07/31/1810141115

And see the story on this paper in the Guardian
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/aug/06/domino-effect-of-climate-events-could-push-earth-into-a-hothouse-state

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2. Global audit of biodiversity monitoring

[From Dr Caro Moussy, BirdLife International]
“As part of the IUCN SSC Species Monitoring Specialist Group’s work to improve species monitoring for conservation (Stephenson 2018; Oryx 52: 412-413), and parallel efforts to improve the monitoring of Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs), we are conducting a global audit of biodiversity monitoring to identify gaps in data, coverage and capacity in long-term species monitoring. This project is funded by the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI) Collaborative Fund, and involves partners and collaborators from around the world.

We aim to:
_ take stock of the state of species monitoring worldwide, and identify taxonomic and geographic gaps that need filling, to help prioritise the Specialist Group’s future work
_ promote the dissemination and use of biodiversity data, by creating an open access database holding metadata on species monitoring schemes, to connect data providers and decision makers
_ identify potential additional sources of data for biodiversity indices, such as the Living Planet Index and Red List Index

Please answer to the best of your knowledge and select the options that best fit the monitoring scheme concerned. This should take 10-15 minutes and needs to be completed in one sitting.
If you would like to answer for several monitoring schemes, please complete the questionnaire for each scheme separately or consider downloading the Excel form from our website.

The questionnaire has been developed, tested and refined over several months, to make it as quick and simple to complete as possible, but please let me know if you have any questions or comments (caroline.moussy@birdlife.org; skype: caromoussy).

Thank you very much in advance. I look forward to receiving your contribution by 30 September 2018.”

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/speciesmonitoring

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3. A short course on Citizen Science in the Digital Age (6-7 September)

With the arrival of the digital age — particularly mobile devices and big data — citizen science projects can engage the public in new ways, on a scale unlike anything before. Working with Questagame’s Andrew Robinson and Dr Mallika Robinson, the ANU Centre for Public Awareness of Science is piloting a brand new short course examining the roles and relationships between public participation in scientific research and the latest developments in digital technologies. Limited spaces available.
Find out more or register at https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/citizen-science-in-the-digital-age-pilot-short-course-tickets-47244406291
Registrations close 4 September

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4. How the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting can improve environmental information systems and data quality for decision making
Integration of environmental and economic data is essential for improved decision making. The System of Environmental-Economic Accounting increases the use of environmental information. The System of Environmental-Economic Accounting increases data quality.
Ref: Michael Vardon, Juan-Pablo Castaneda, Michael Nagy, Sjoerd Schenau (2018). How the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting can improve environmental information systems and data quality for decision making. Environmental Science & Policy, 89: 83-92,
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2018.07.007

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5. Donald Trump’s border wall could cause great ecological damage, scientists warn US government

Scientists in the US are warning of the potential for serious ecological consequences if Donald Trump’s proposed border wall between the US and Mexico goes ahead. The wall, which would span the majority of the border from the North Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, will impede animal migration, shrink animal habitat and split populations of species into smaller, less viable groups, according to the 18 researchers who published their findings today in BioScience.

ABC News

End of the story reads: US world leaders in extinction. The United States already has the highest number of extinctions of any country in the world, and by a significant margin. The latest International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List, released earlier this month, names 237 species extinctions in the United States, with a further 214 listed as critically endangered. Australia is ranked fourth in the world for extinctions, having wiped out 40 species, and with another 106 on the critically endangered list. The consequences of building a wall across the US will likely hit endangered species the hardest, and may be complicated by the impacts of climate change, Professor Ripple warned.

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EDG News

UMelb Node: Hannah Fraser on a campaign to increase the use of registered reportsRegistered Reports are a fantastic initiative designed to decrease publication bias in ecology and reduce the incentives to use Questionable Research Practices, because your research is accepted or rejected based on the idea and methods alone… not on the statistical significance, or non-significance of your results. They come into their own for confirmatory research but could also be useful in exploratory research if you have a really clear method in mind. Very few ecology journals currently offer Registered Reports and it would be great to see more of them. We’re trying to get interested ecologists together to petition some of the major ecology journals – asking them to offer Registered Reports. If you’re interested in knowing more or getting involved visit this webpage.Registered Reports are a really great initiative… but currently they are NOT very available to researchers in ecology and evolutionary biology. BMC Biology, BMC Ecology, and PCI Ecology currently accept registered reports and Conservation Biology is in the process of initiating them which is FANTASTIC but, still pretty restrictive. I would like to see all Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Journals offer Registered Reports. Because so few Ecology and Evolutionary Biology journals currently support Registered Reports, I suspect that there will be a lot of resistance from journals. Therefore, I believe that we are going to need a serious weight of numbers behind any suggestion to take up this format and I’m hoping that you will help. If you’re in support of Registered Reports, please fill in this google form: selecting the journals you would like to see offering Registered Reports and giving your name and institutional affiliation. Hopefully we can make a real difference together!
https://hsfraser.wordpress.com/registered-report-petition/

UQ Node: Sylvaine Giakoumi and colleagues on Conserving European biodiversity across realms
Terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems are connected via multiple biophysical and ecological processes. Identifying and quantifying links among ecosystems is necessary for the uptake of integrated conservation actions across realms. Such actions are particularly important for species using habitats in more than one realm during their daily or life cycle. We reviewed information on the habitats of 2,408 species of European conservation concern and found that 30% of the species use habitats in multiple realms. Transportation and service corridors, which fragment species habitats, were identified as the most important threat impacting ∼70% of the species. We examined information on 1,567 European Union (EU) conservation projects funded over the past 25 years, to assess the adequacy of efforts toward the conservation of “multi‐realm” species at a continental scale. We discovered that less than a third of multi‐realm species benefited from projects that included conservation actions across multiple realms. To achieve the EU’s conservation target of halting biodiversity loss by 2020 and effectively protect multi‐realm species, integrated conservation efforts across realms should be reinforced by: (1) recognizing the need for integrated management at a policy level, (2) revising conservation funding priorities across realms, and (3) implementing integrated land‐freshwater‐sea conservation planning and management.
Giakoumi et al. (2018). Conserving European biodiversity across realms. Conservation Letters (2018): e12586. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/conl.12586

RMIT Node: Alex Kusmanoff on please don’t leave the path
“Negatively framed messages are more effective than positively framed messages on signs that seek to persuade people to keep a hiking trail – and probably in other places too! The research reported in this article tested the effectiveness of four differently phrased ‘Please keep to the path’ type signs. This research easily pre-dates this site and if we had happened upon it earlier may have influenced our name and you might currently be reading at Please don’t leave the path.”
https://keeptothepath.com/2018/07/30/please-dont-leave-the-path/

ANU node: Kerrie Wilson to deliver a Fenner Guest Lecture
CEED’s Director Kerrie Wilson is delivering a Fenner Guest Lecture on Smart decisions for the environment on Friday 10 August. Following her presentation she will participate in a panel discussion on the topic: “Environmental decision-making is a complex endeavour requiring consideration of a broad spectrum of environmental, economic and social factors. Environmental decisions science is a rapidly developing field of research applying decisions science thinking to solve environmental problems. Where, when and how problems can be addressed to achieve best value for the money and resources available are provided, along with options to enhance stakeholder support. In her talk, Professor Kerrie Wilson will describe examples of best practice restoration planning and prioritization approaches involving formal processes of objective setting involving stakeholder groups with varying values and priorities. This body of research has facilitated transparent and inclusive establishment of restoration objectives and plans, and is applicable across terrestrial, marine, freshwater and coastal realms.”
http://fennerschool.anu.edu.au/news-events/smart-decisions-environment

UWA Node: Heterogeneous public preference for REDD+ projects under different forest management regimes
Successful implementation of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) projects depends on active support and participation by local households. It has been suggested that households’ support for REDD+ could be influenced by their socio-economic conditions, their experience with REDD+ projects and local forest management regimes. However, there has been little information about the effect of such contextual factors on public preference for REDD+ projects. Using a choice experiment survey in Indonesia, this paper examines heterogeneity on household preferences for REDD+ projects among three distinct forest management regimes: private, government, and community. We found that respondents in community regime are the most supportive for REDD+ projects whereas those in private regime are the least supportive. Current REDD+ interventions also have heterogeneous impacts on household preferences across forest management regimes. Added restrictions on forest-dependent livelihoods under REDD+ projects is the biggest concern of participating households; however, we note that involving households in decision-making and distributing REDD+ benefit for community projects could create a supportive environment for REDD+ projects. Female respondents from households with larger family size and limited land ownership are more likely to support REDD+ projects. These findings provide useful insights to design more targeted REDD+ projects. Free link until the end of August https://authors.elsevier.com/c/1XMfDyDvM44UA
Rakatama, A, Pandit, R. Iftekhar, MS and Ma, C. (2018). Heterogeneous public preference for REDD+ projects under different forest management regimes. Land Use Policy, Vol 78, p 266-277. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2018.07.004

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

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

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

 

Dbytes #341 (2 August 2018)

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

“Nothing is more priceless and more worthy of preservation than the rich array of animal life with which our country has been blessed.”
President Richard Nixon at the signing of the US Endangered Species Act in 1973
From the New Yorker story The Trump Administration Takes on the Endangered Species Act


General News

1. App helps ecologists map vulnerable ecosystems within minutes
2. A numbers game: killing rabbits to conserve native mammals
3. Land clearing laws are ‘statutory theft’ says Farmers chief
4. Great Barrier Reef coral recovery slows significantly over 18-year period
5. Gaps in Quantitative Decision Support to Inform Adaptive Management and Learning: a Review of Forest Management Cases

EDG Node News

UWA Node: How shark conservation in the Maldives affects demand for dive tourism
UMelb Node: Leo McComb and colleagues on feral cat predation on Leadbeater’s possum
UQ Node:
Ayesha Tulloch and colleagues on a decision tree for assessing the risks and benefits of publishing biodiversity data
RMIT Node: Matthew Selinske presents at NACCB
ANU node: David Lindenmayer and colleagues author ESA Hot Topic on Regional Forest Agreements fail to meet their aims

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General News

1. App helps ecologists map vulnerable ecosystems within minutes

UNSW scientists have created a mapmaking app that can fast-track large-scale ecosystem analysis from months to minutes, giving conservationists a way to monitor decades of human impact, hotspots of biodiversity and vulnerable ecosystems.

https://www.environmentreport.com.au/single-post/2018/07/28/App-helps-ecologists-map-vulnerable-ecosystems-within-minutes

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2. A numbers game: killing rabbits to conserve native mammals

Invasive species have a devastating effect on biodiversity. In Australia, introduced red foxes and feral cats have been implicated in the majority of the extinctions of the native mammal fauna, which has been decimated since European arrival. But there’s a herbivore that also causes eco-catastrophe. Rabbits both compete with native animals for food and shelter and act as easy prey for abundant populations of cats and foxes. By over-grazing vegetation and reducing habitat complexity, they make hunting easier for introduced predators.

https://theconversation.com/a-numbers-game-killing-rabbits-to-conserve-native-mammals-97078?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=twitterbutton

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3. Land clearing laws are ‘statutory theft’ says Farmers chief

“A murderer has more legal rights than a farmer pushing over a few trees,” says Bronwyn Peetree, a farmer from the state’s north-west.

“For over 200 years we’ve been heavily clearing the landscape to the point where only nine per cent is left in reasonable condition so it’s reasonable, surely, to protect that remaining nine per cent,” says Daisy Barham from the Nature Conservation Council.

Excerpts from a story by ABC Rural News

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4. Great Barrier Reef coral recovery slows significantly over 18-year period

Over the last three decades the Great Barrier Reef has been hit by a series of intense cyclones, bleaching, crown of thorn starfish outbreaks and flood events that have caused well-documented, but reparable damage. Scientists have hoped that an extended period of benign conditions would allow the natural processes of reef restoration to flourish, and many of the hardest-hit regions to return to a healthier, more colourful and biodiverse state.

ABC Science

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5. Gaps in Quantitative Decision Support to Inform Adaptive Management and Learning: a Review of Forest Management Cases

Theoretical frameworks for adaptive natural resource management are quite common, whereas documented examples showing successful implementation of adaptive management and learning through multiple time intervals have remained uncommon. Measures of quality of adaptive natural resource management processes are needed to examine potential factors driving the successful implementation. To address this gap, we developed a multimetric index composed of 22 metrics to assess quality of case studies using quantitative decision support (QDS) to inform adaptive forest management (AFM).
Ref: Mattsson, B.J., Irauschek, F. & Yousefpour, R. Curr Forestry Rep (2018) 4: 111. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40725-018-0078-3
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EDG News

UWA Node: How shark conservation in the Maldives affects demand for dive tourism
CEED-PhD student Johann Zimmerhackel and others have investigated how Shark-diving tourism provides important economic benefits to the Maldives. The recently published article (free until 15th August, 2018) examines the link between shark conservation actions and economic returns from diving tourism. A combined travel cost and contingent behaviour approach is used to estimate the dive trip demand under different management scenarios. Our results show that increasing shark populations could increase dive-trip demand by 15%, raising dive tourists’ welfare by US$58 million annually. This could result in annual economic benefits for the dive-tourism industry of >US$6 million. Conversely, in scenarios where shark populations decline, where dive tourists observe illegal fishing, or if dive operators lack engagement in shark conservation, dive trip demand could decrease by up to 56%. This decline causes economic losses of more than US$24 million annually to the dive tourism industry. These results highlight the dependence of the shark-diving industry on the creation and enforcement of appropriate management regimes for shark conservation.
Ref: Zimmerhackel, J., Rogers, A., Meekan, M., Ali, K., Pannell, D and Kragt, M (2018). How shark conservation in the Maldives affects demand for dive tourism. Tourism Management, 69, pp 263-271. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2018.06.009

UMelb Node: Leo McComb and colleagues on feral cat predation on Leadbeater’s possum
Leadbeater’s possum has undergone significant population declines, primarily due to habitat loss and degradation from bushfires and timber harvesting. However new evidence has raised concerns about an additional threat; a feral cat was detected at two nest boxes used by the possums, and Leadbeater’s possum remains were found in the stomachs of two of the seven feral cats’ that were subsequently trapped in the area. These observations were recently published in Australian Mammalogy:
Ref: McComb Leo B., Lentini Pia E., Harley Dan K. P., Lumsden Lindy F., Antrobus Joanne S., Eyre Arabella C., Briscoe Natalie J. (2018) Feral cat predation on Leadbeater’s possum (Gymnobelideus leadbeateri) and observations of arboreal hunting at nest boxes. Australian Mammalogy
http://www.publish.csiro.au/am/AM18010
And see the ABC story on ‘feral cats filmed preying on nesting Leadbeater’s possums

UQ Node: Ayesha Tulloch and colleagues on a decision tree for assessing the risks and benefits of publishing biodiversity data
Inadequate information on the geographical distribution of biodiversity hampers decision-making for conservation. Major efforts are underway to fill knowledge gaps, but there are increasing concerns that publishing the locations of species is dangerous, particularly for species at risk of exploitation. While we recognize that well-informed control of location data for highly sensitive taxa is necessary to avoid risks, such as poaching or habitat disturbance by recreational visitors, we argue that ignoring the benefits of sharing biodiversity data could unnecessarily obstruct conservation efforts for species and locations with low risks of exploitation. We provide a decision tree protocol for scientists that systematically considers both the risks of exploitation and potential benefits of increased conservation activities. Our protocol helps scientists assess the impacts of publishing biodiversity data and aims to enhance conservation opportunities, promote community engagement and reduce duplication of survey efforts.
Ref: Ayesha I. T. Tulloch, Nancy Auerbach, Stephanie Avery-Gomm, Elisa Bayraktarov, Nathalie Butt, Chris R. Dickman, Glenn Ehmke, Diana O. Fisher, Hedley Grantham, Matthew H. Holden, Tyrone H. Lavery, Nicholas P. Leseberg, Miles Nicholls, James O’Connor, Leslie Roberson, Anita K. Smyth, Zoe Stone, Vivitskaia Tulloch, Eren Turak, Glenda M. Wardle & James E. M. Watson (2018). A decision tree for assessing the risks and

benefits of publishing biodiversity data. Nature Ecology & Evolution 2: 1209–1217
http://ceed.edu.au/2018-news-articles/should-you-share-location-data-of-threatened-species.html

RMIT Node: Matthew Selinske presents at NACCB
Last week Matthew Selinske presented on “Prioritising Human Behaviors That Impact Biodiversity” at the 4th North American Congress for Conservation Biology in Toronto.
http://scbnorthamerica.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Program_final.pdf

ANU node: David Lindenmayer and colleagues author ESA Hot Topic on Regional Forest Agreements fail to meet their aims
-The 20-year Regional Forest Agreements between State and Commonwealth governments are due for renewal. They aim to allow native forest harvesting while providing for conservation and future industry.
-RFA legislative framing precludes important federal legislation, reducing protection for native species of conservation concern.
-RFAs have comprehensively failed to achieve their key aims. Instead, vertebrate species declines, timber overharvesting, and forest instability is evident. Industry future is uncertain.
Ref: Lindenmayer, D.B., Jelinek, A., Sweeney, O. (2018). Regional Forest Agreements fail to meet their aims ESA Hot Topic
https://www.ecolsoc.org.au/hot-topics/regional-forest-agreements-fail-meet-their-aims

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

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

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