Dbytes #536 (10 August 2022)

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


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


In this issue of Dbytes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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3. Trees are overrated

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

Trees Are Overrated – The Atlantic

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

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

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

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5. A global analysis of factors predicting conservationists’ values

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About Dbytes

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

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

Dbytes #535 (3 August 2022)

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


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

In this issue of Dbytes

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

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

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

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

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2. Nature Loss and Sovereign Credit Ratings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About Dbytes

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

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

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

Dbytes #534 (27 July 2022)

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


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


In this issue of Dbytes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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6. As the world burns

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

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

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

Instead of scaling up renewable energy, researchers promote unproved ideas

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

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

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About Dbytes

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

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

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

Dbytes #533 (20 July 2022)

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


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

In this issue of Dbytes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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5. The public’s valuation of threatened species protection

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

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

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

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

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

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7. Thinking resilience – navigating a complex world

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

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

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About Dbytes

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

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

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

Dbytes #532 (13 July 2022)

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


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

In this issue of Dbytes

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

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1. Inclusivity via ontological accountability

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

The Society for Conservation Biology (wiley.com)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About Dbytes

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

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

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

Dbytes #531 (6 July 2022)

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


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

In this issue of Dbytes

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


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

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

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

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2. Scientists warn deal to save biodiversity is in jeopardy

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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6. Conservation Science Publishing Has a Gender Problem

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

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

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7. Enormous environmental consequences of the war in Ukraine

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

Environment: Enormous environmental consequences of the war in Ukraine (johnmenadue.com)

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About Dbytes

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

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

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

Dbytes #530 (21 June 2022)

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

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


In this issue of Dbytes

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

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

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

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

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2. Lies, damned lies and … Environmental Economics?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About Dbytes

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

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

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

Dbytes #529 (21 June 2022)

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


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

In this issue of Dbytes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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3. Flexible conservation decisions for climate adaptation

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

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

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

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

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

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5. The Potential of Blue Carbon for Mitigating Climate Change

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

The Potential of Blue Carbon for Mitigating Climate Change – Impakter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About Dbytes

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

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

Dbytes #528 (9 June 2022)

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


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

In this issue of Dbytes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About Dbytes

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

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

Dbytes #527 (9 June 2022)

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


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


In this issue of Dbytes

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

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

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

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

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2. Bringing ‘the environment’ in from the cold

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

Now we need to bring the environment in from the cold

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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6. The ideology of wilderness ‘destroying this continent’

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

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

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

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

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

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About Dbytes

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

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

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

Dbytes #526 (1 June 2022)

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


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

In this issue of Dbytes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About Dbytes

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

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

Dbytes #525 (25 May 2022)

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


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

In this issue of Dbytes

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

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

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

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

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2. Investments that support biodiversity

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

CEDA – Investments that support biodiversity

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

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

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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

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

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

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5. The State of the Global Climate (WMO)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The hitchhiker’s guide to Australian conservation: A parasitological perspective on fauna translocations – Dunlop – 2022 – Austral Ecology – Wiley Online Library

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About Dbytes

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

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

Dbytes #524 (18 May 2022)

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


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

In this issue of Dbytes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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5. Prioritizing Indigenous Knowledge about Wild Pacific Salmon

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

Prioritizing Indigenous Knowledge about Wild Pacific Salmon | The Tyee

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6. Observing the microplastic cycle

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

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

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

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

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

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About Dbytes

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

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

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

Dbytes #523 (12 May 2022)

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

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

In this issue of Dbytes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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5. Colonial Ecologies of the Half Earth

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

Colonial Ecologies of the Half Earth – Undisciplined Environments

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

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

The Society for Conservation Biology (wiley.com)

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

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

Disruption of cultural burning promotes shrub encroachment and unprecedented wildfires – Mariani – – Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment – Wiley Online Library

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About Dbytes

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

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

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

Dbytes #522 (4 May 2022)

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


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


In this issue of Dbytes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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3. Agriculture and climate change are reshaping insect biodiversity worldwide

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

Agriculture and climate change are reshaping insect biodiversity worldwide | Nature

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

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

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

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

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

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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6. Do birders make good tourists?

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

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

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7. Climate risk map of Australia

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

Climate Risk Map of Australia | Climate Council

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About Dbytes

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

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

Dbytes #521 (27 April 2022)

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


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


In this issue of Dbytes

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

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1. How to balance biodiversity goals with limited economic resources

In 2019, a landmark report gave the world its first report card on biodiversity loss. There was one crystal clear conclusion: human actions threaten more species with global extinction than ever before. Now, a research team has reviewed combining conservation with practical economic tools using a case study of Colombia, South America, a high priority but underfunded country for biodiversity conservation.

How to balance biodiversity goals with limited economic resources — ScienceDaily

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2. ‘Worst it’s ever been’: a threatened species alarm sounds during the election campaign – and is ignored

Warnings of dramatically escalating extinctions in Australia over the next two decades seem to be falling on deaf ears

‘Worst it’s ever been’: a threatened species alarm sounds during the election campaign – and is ignored | Endangered species | The Guardian

3. Disaster follows failures in integrity. Don’t think the earth system is too big to fail.

Good governance, transparency and accountability would have prevented Chernobyl, Challenger and Deepwater Horizon from ever becoming disasters. And if we want to prevent future disasters of this type, this is where we should be looking. Instead, our leaders have been actively eroding the integrity of the institutions that allow us to trust our governments and the processes they run. Without this integrity we won’t hear the warnings of the ‘engineers’ that the systems we depend upon have vulnerabilities and may be heading for collapse. Now we have climate change and we’re ignoring all the warnings.

https://bit.ly/SusBites

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4. Calling Australia’s wildlife ‘weird’ puts it at risk

Primitive oddities. Lesser beasts. Strange creatures in an evolutionary backwater. Since the 18th century, Australia’s mammals – including koalas, kangaroos, wombats, echidnas, possums and platypuses – have often been viewed unkindly by English observers.

Calling Australia’s wildlife ‘weird’ puts it at risk | Psyche Ideas

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5. Five court cases to protect nature you should know about

The law is one of the most effective tools we have to protect our precious environment and tackle the climate crisis. From holding those responsible for climate change to account, to giving our country’s diverse native wildlife a voice, Environmental Defenders Office runs groundbreaking litigation to protect Australia’s animals, places and communities. Here are five legal cases EDO is currently working on to help build a world where nature thrives.

Five court cases to protect nature you should know about – Environmental Defenders Office (edo.org.au)

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6. Biodiversity: why new rules to ensure nature benefits from building projects could fail

The UK government is making serious investments in new infrastructure as part of its post-pandemic recovery strategy, with £27 billion committed to road expansion, and a target of building an additional 300,000 homes per year. But it also has ambitious targets to halt and reverse wildlife declines by the end of the decade. Addressing potential trade-offs between these objectives, the 2021 Environment Act made it mandatory (after a two-year transition) for most new developments in England to achieve a “biodiversity net gain” – a measure to ensure nature is left better off overall than before the project began. The government is now consulting on how to implement the legislation – but as it stands, we worry that the policy contains loopholes and will be nearly impossible to enforce.

Biodiversity: why new rules to ensure nature benefits from building projects could fail (theconversation.com)

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7. Pannell’s writing process

“A while back I was talking about my writing process with a colleague and had the idea of trying to describe it and demonstrate it in detail in a Pannell Discussion. Here is my attempt to do that, using the writing of last week’s Pannell Discussion as the example. This is a particular type of writing, of course – a blog post of 500 to 1000 words – but the process has a strong overlap with the way I write most things.”

370. My writing process – Pannell Discussions

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About Dbytes

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

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

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

Dbytes #520 (21 April 2022)

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


“The EPBC Act gives the minister power to approve coal projects, even if they’ll have adverse effects. It doesn’t, in a general sense, protect the environment from these effects. It doesn’t protect the public from consequent harm, even if deadly. And it doesn’t, actually, tackle climate change at all.”
Laura Schuijers, Australia’s environment law doesn’t protect the environment – an alarming message from the recent duty-quashing climate case.


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Language barriers in global bird conservation
2. Living within limits
3. Last Chance Quiz – the Australian Government’s (non) response to queries on the environment.
4. BCA criticisms 5: “money isn’t everything”
5. UNESCO’s assessment of the Great Barrier Reef: is the Reef ‘in danger’?
6. From activism to “not-quite-government”: the role of government and non-government actors in the expansion of the Australian protected area estate since 1990
7. Biodiversity impacts and conservation implications of urban land expansion projected to 2050

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1. Language barriers in global bird conservation

Multiple languages being spoken within a species’ distribution can impede communication among conservation stakeholders, the compilation of scientific information, and the development of effective conservation actions. Here, we investigate the number of official languages spoken within the distributions of 10,863 bird species to identify which species might be particularly affected by consequences of language barriers. We show that 1587 species have 10 languages or more spoken within their distributions. Threatened and migratory species have significantly more languages spoken within their distributions, when controlling for range size. Particularly high numbers of species with many languages within their distribution are found in Eastern Europe, Russia and central and western Asia. Global conservation efforts would benefit from implementing guidelines to overcome language barriers, especially in regions with high species and language diversity.

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0267151

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2. Living within limits

The new report, Living within limits: Adapting the planetary boundaries to understand Australia’s contribution to planetary health, is based on the landmark ‘planetary boundaries’ framework, adapting it to the Australian context and examining what these boundaries mean for the nation’s land use sector.

‘Living within limits’ report investigates the environmental boundaries in which Australia can prosper – Climateworks Centre

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3. Last Chance Quiz – the Australian Government’s (non) response to queries on the environment.

The Government tinkers with the environment while inflating and conflating its efforts so as to deliberately mislead the people. The final Senate Estimates before the official election period (‘last chance quiz’) poked a few holes in the Government’s carefully contrived environment Budget narrative, but this doesn’t mean we are any wiser about what’s going on.

https://bit.ly/SusBites

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4. BCA criticisms 5: “money isn’t everything”

“I’ve heard people express opposition to the use of Benefit: Cost Analysis because they say that it is too focused on money and neglects important non-financial benefits. While that’s true for some individual BCAs, others do a good job of capturing the intangible or non-financial benefits that a project can generate. I guess it’s understandable that non-economists might think that BCA is solely about monetary benefits and costs, but it isn’t. It’s about values and preferences of all types and, if done well, includes allowance for complex factors like how people behave and how to accommodate risk and uncertainty. For some types of projects (e.g., those related to environment, recreation, or health), non-financial benefits (also called non-market values or shadow prices) are the main benefits, so doing a BCA without including them would probably be a waste of time.”

369. BCA criticisms 5: “money isn’t everything” – Pannell Discussions

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5. UNESCO’s assessment of the Great Barrier Reef: is the Reef ‘in danger’?

This is the question that the 21 member countries of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee (the Committee) will examine at its 45th Session, currently due to be held from 19–30 June 2022 in Kazan, Russia. The Committee’s determination of whether the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) should be added to the List of World Heritage in Danger will be based on an updated ‘State Party’ report from the Australian Government and a State of Conservation report to be prepared by two scientific officials (p. 58) who visited the GBR last month.

UNESCO monitoring of Great Barrier Reef – Parliament of Australia (aph.gov.au)

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6. From activism to “not-quite-government”: the role of government and non-government actors in the expansion of the Australian protected area estate since 1990

What can we learn from the prodigious expansion of the non-government protected areas that now comprise 12% of terrestrial Australia? An increasingly professional, formal, and diverse non-government sector has developed since 1990, comprising private individuals, non-government organizations, and First Nations and having close ties to governments. We investigate the drivers, dynamics, and diversity of this sector through thematic analysis of 24 key informant interviews and associated gray literature. Changing environmental movements, science-led conservation, partial recognition of First Nations land rights, international agreements, and neoliberal reforms combined to formalize the sector during the 1990s. A bipartisan policy framework for incorporating non-government lands in the national conservation estate, diverse partnerships, transnational networks, and innovation in public and private funding helped grow the sector. The confluence of interests that has transformed the politics and practice of nature conservation in Australia is likely to inform those engaged with similar changes elsewhere.

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09640568.2022.2040452

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7. Biodiversity impacts and conservation implications of urban land expansion projected to 2050

Understanding the impacts of urbanization and the associated urban land expansion on species is vital for informed urban planning that minimizes biodiversity loss. Predicting habitat that will be lost to urban land expansion for over 30,000 species under three different future scenarios, we find that up to 855 species are directly threatened due to unmitigated urbanization. Our projections pinpoint rapidly urbanizing regions of sub-Saharan Africa, South America, Mesoamerica, and Southeast Asia where, without careful planning, urbanization is expected to cause particularly large biodiversity loss. Our findings highlight the urgent need for an increased focus on urban land in global conservation strategies and identify high-priority areas for this engagement.

https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.2117297119

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About Dbytes

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

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

Dbytes #519 (13 April 2022)

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


“What we’re seeing is a real inability to operate schemes like this with high integrity. An environmental market without integrity is not an environmental market, it’s a rort. And I feel that Australia’s carbon market is just that – it’s degenerated to become a rort.”
Andrew Macintosh [see item 1]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Serious weaknesses in the Emissions Reduction Fund
2. After failure, reflection: effective conservation requires regular assessments
3. Bringing Back Fire: How Burning Can Help Restore Eastern Lands
4. The IPCC has left me hanging on the line – more (climate change) detail is not making a difference. How about a little real engagement?
5. Reconsidering priorities for forest conservation when considering the threats of mining and armed conflict
6. How UK newspapers changed their minds about climate change
7. Indigenous peoples across the globe are uniquely equipped to deal with the climate crisis – so why are we being left out of these conversations?

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1. Serious weaknesses in the Emissions Reduction Fund

An unfortunate thing about environmental policies is how easy it seems to be to do them badly. It’s all too common to find that an expensive and prominent policy is not actually achieving what it is supposed to achieve in terms of environmental protection or enhancement. Australia’s main climate change policy, the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), is an example.

368. Serious weaknesses in the Emissions Reduction Fund – Pannell Discussions

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2. After failure, reflection: effective conservation requires regular assessments

Talking about failed conservation efforts does not happen often enough in ways that promote shared learning within organizations. We often learn more from failures than from successes, a fact underscored by the authors of a new report, “Reflection and Learning from Failure in Conservation Organizations.” An new op-ed offers examples and argues that if reflection upon failure is used more regularly, it would reduce staff time invested in progress reporting, free up staffers to do what they were hired for, and speed up team learning and adaptive management.

After failure, reflection: effective conservation requires regular assessments (commentary) (mongabay.com)

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3. Bringing Back Fire: How Burning Can Help Restore Eastern Lands

For millennia, North American ecosystems benefited from fire, mostly set by Indigenous people. Now, a movement is growing, particularly in the eastern U.S., to reintroduce controlled burns to forests and grasslands and restore the role of fire in creating biodiverse landscapes.

Bringing Back Fire: How Burning Can Help Restore Eastern Lands – Yale E360

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4. The IPCC has left me hanging on the line – more (climate change) detail is not making a difference. How about a little real engagement?

After six goes you’d think they’d try something different

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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5. Reconsidering priorities for forest conservation when considering the threats of mining and armed conflict

Many threats to biodiversity can be predicted and are well mapped but others are uncertain in their extent, impact on biodiversity, and ability for conservation efforts to address, making them more difficult to account for in spatial conservation planning efforts, and as a result, they are often ignored. Here, we use a spatial prioritisation analysis to evaluate the consequences of considering only relatively well-mapped threats to biodiversity and compare this with planning scenarios that also account for more uncertain threats (in this case mining and armed conflict) under different management strategies. We evaluate three management strategies to address these more uncertain threats: 1. to ignore them; 2. avoid them; or 3. specifically target actions towards them, first individually and then simultaneously to assess the impact of their inclusion in spatial prioritisations. We apply our approach to the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and identify priority areas for conserving biodiversity and carbon sequestration services. We found that a strategy that avoids addressing threats of mining and armed conflict more often misses important opportunities for biodiversity conservation, compared to a strategy that targets action towards areas under threat (assuming a biodiversity benefit is possible). We found that considering mining and armed conflict threats to biodiversity independently rather than simultaneously results in 13 800–14 800 km2 and 15 700–25 100 km2 of potential missed conservation opportunities when undertaking threat-avoiding and threat-targeting management strategies, respectively. Our analysis emphasises the importance of considering all threats that can be mapped in spatial conservation prioritisation.

Reconsidering priorities for forest conservation when considering the threats of mining and armed conflict | SpringerLink

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6. How UK newspapers changed their minds about climate change

Between 2011-2016 editorial articles in publications such as the Sun, the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail generally opposed action to tackle climate change, citing “unreliable” science and “expensive” environmental policies. But in recent years – a period that has seen the Conservative government commit to net-zero emissions by 2050 and host the COP26 climate summit – right-leaning publications have more readily embraced some efforts to cut emissions. As a result, these newspapers are now far more likely to support climate action in their editorial pages than oppose it.

Analysis: How UK newspapers changed their minds about climate change (carbonbrief.org)

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7. Indigenous peoples across the globe are uniquely equipped to deal with the climate crisis – so why are we being left out of these conversations?

The urgency of tackling climate change is even greater for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and other First Nation peoples across the globe. First Nations people will be disproportionately affected and are already experiencing existential threats from climate change. The unfolding disaster in the Northern Rivers regions of New South Wales is no exception, with Aboriginal communities completely inundated or cut off from essential supplies. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have protected Country for millennia and have survived dramatic climatic shifts. We are intimately connected to Country, and our knowledge and cultural practices hold solutions to the climate crisis. Despite this, we continue to be excluded from leadership roles in climate solution discussions, such as the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

https://theconversation.com/indigenous-peoples-across-the-globe-are-uniquely-equipped-to-deal-with-the-climate-crisis-so-why-are-we-being-left-out-of-these-conversations-171724?

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About Dbytes

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

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

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

Dbytes #518 (6 April 2022)

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


“The landmark report on climate solutions stands in stark contrast to the recent Australian Government budget which prioritised funding for fossil fuels and false climate solutions (on top of $10.5 billion in fossil fuel subsidies the previous year), left out funding to electrify transport, and allocated very little for renewables.”
Richie Merzian Climate & Energy Program Director at the Australia Institute (See item 1]

In this issue of Dbytes

1. IPCC Report on the Mitigation of Climate Change
2. Federal budget: $160 million for nature may deliver only pork and a fudge
3. Conservationists accuse Adani of ‘sidelining’ experts on endangered black-throated finch
4. The Lost Years: Counting the costs of climate inaction in Australia
5. Outstanding challenges and future directions for biodiversity monitoring using citizen science data
6. Extreme events, loss, and grief—an evaluation of the evolving management of climate change threats on the Great Barrier Reef
7. Roadside trees stitch the ecosystems of our nation together. Here’s why they’re in danger


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1. IPCC Report on the Mitigation of Climate Change

4 April 2022: Today marks the publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report on the Mitigation of Climate Change as part of the Sixth Assessment Cycle. The report was approved by 195 government delegations and we thank the report’s authors for all of the work on its preparation. The Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC Working Group III report, Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of climate change was approved on April 4 2022, by 195 member governments of the IPCC, through a virtual approval session that started on March 21. It is the third instalment of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), which will be completed this year.

The evidence is clear: the time for action is now. We can halve emissions by 2030. — IPCC

and see

The UNFCCC issued a commentary.
https://unfccc.int/news/the-window-for-climate-action-has-not-yet-closed

TAI issued a commentary.
https://australiainstitute.org.au/post/ipcc-report-shows-road-to-safety-aust-govt-stuck-on-highway-to-climate-disaster/

and
The Conversation
https://theconversation.com/ipcc-finds-the-world-has-its-best-chance-yet-to-slash-emissions-if-it-seizes-the-opportunity-179653

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2. Federal budget: $160 million for nature may deliver only pork and a fudge

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s cash-splash budget has a firm eye on the upcoming federal election. In the environment portfolio, two spending measures are worth scrutinising closely. First is a A$100 million round of the Environment Restoration Fund – one of several grants programs awarded through ministerial discretion which has been found to favour marginal and at-risk electorates. Second is $62 million for up to ten so-called “bioregional plans” in regions prioritised for development. Environment Minister Sussan Ley has presented the measure as environmental law reform, but I argue it’s a political play dressed as reform.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3. Conservationists accuse Adani of ‘sidelining’ experts on endangered black-throated finch

Conservationists have accused Adani of breaching its legal obligation to protect the black-throated finch displaced by the clearing or impact of 16,000 hectares of its habitat near the Carmichael coalmine, after obtaining draft documents about the species’ management. BirdLife Australia’s Stephanie Todd said Adani’s proposed new management plan for the endangered finch – obtained under Queensland’s Right to Information laws – shows Adani had “sidelined” independent scientists with whom the mining company is required to consult. Todd also accused the state’s environment department of not enforcing Adani’s obligation to work with the black-throated finch recovery team, which she said rendered its stated commitment to doing so as “lip service”.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/apr/05/conservationists-accuse-adani-of-sidelining-experts-on-endangered-black-throated-finch

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4. The Lost Years: Counting the costs of climate inaction in Australia

A lack of climate action at the national level is a defining leadership failure of the past eight years. Australians are living with the everyday consequences of this, and we must work quickly to prevent catastrophe.

The Lost Years: Counting the costs of climate inaction in Australia | Climate Council #ClimateCrisis #Budget22 Demand #ClimateAction #SDG13 #TellTheTruth Listen to the scientists – Climate Action Australia (wordpress.com)

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5. Outstanding challenges and future directions for biodiversity monitoring using citizen science data

There is increasing availability and use of unstructured and semi-structured citizen science data in biodiversity research and conservation. This expansion of a rich source of ‘big data’ has sparked numerous research directions, driving the development of analytical approaches that account for the complex observation processes in these datasets.

We review outstanding challenges in the analysis of citizen science data for biodiversity monitoring. For many of these challenges, the potential impact on ecological inference is unknown. Further research can document the impact and explore ways to address it. In addition to outlining research directions, describing these challenges may be useful in considering the design of future citizen science projects or additions to existing projects.

We outline challenges for biodiversity monitoring using citizen science data in four partially overlapping categories: challenges that arise as a result of (a) observer behaviour; (b) data structures; (c) statistical models; and (d) communication. Potential solutions for these challenges are combinations of: (a) collecting additional data or metadata; (b) analytically combining different datasets; and (c) developing or refining statistical models.

https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/2041-210X.13834

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6. Extreme events, loss, and grief—an evaluation of the evolving management of climate change threats on the Great Barrier Reef

Coral reefs across the world have demonstrated an incredible resilience to disturbance, having persisted for over 200 million years withstanding local, short-term shocks such as cyclones and bleaching events, as well as large-scale, long-term global changes such as sea-level fluctuations. However, there are now many persistent and growing threats to the health and productivity of global reef systems such as the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), including water temperature change and subsequent coral bleaching, invasive species, severe weather events, and water quality degradation. Among these, it is widely acknowledged that climate change is the greatest threat to the GBR, with the GBR Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) releasing a position statement on climate change in 2019, compellingly arguing the urgent need for climate change action for the GBR. For the past two decades, researchers have strongly emphasized the need for vigorous implementation of management strategies that support global reef resilience. This study provides a critical review of the response to this call to action and the barriers and opportunities for implementing transformative resilience actions across a range of social-ecological and natural resource management contexts. Bringing the concepts of environmental grief and resilience thinking together, this study reflects on how back-to-back coral bleaching events in 2016–2017 have changed the framing of GBR management. However, there is more work to be done to ensure that all actors responsible for GBR management accept and embrace change in order to enable transformative resilience, which, for an environment feeling the heat of climate and non-climate pressures, will maintain at least some of their critical environmental, social, and economic values.

https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol27/iss1/art37/

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7. Roadside trees stitch the ecosystems of our nation together. Here’s why they’re in danger

This network of vegetation reserves and corridors along Australian roads must be properly valued and better protected. They stitch the landscapes and ecosystems of our nation together and, as they diminish and disappear, will become an unrecognised part of road toll. We will all be the poorer for it.

https://theconversation.com/roadside-trees-stitch-the-ecosystems-of-our-nation-together-heres-why-theyre-in-danger-175337?

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About Dbytes

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

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

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

Dbytes #517 (30 March 2022)

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


“The best and brightest future for the parks is one where first, local traditional culture flourishes and heritage is protected and second, the Director of National Parks (DNP) is an effective manager. That requires a strong relationship between Traditional Owners and Parks Australia. There isn’t one. Parks Australia has lost the trust and confidence of the Traditional Owners.”
Senior Advisory Group on Joint Management Arrangements for Commonwealth National Parks Advice to the Minister for the Environment




In this issue of Dbytes

1. Coming of age: research shows old forests are 3 times less flammable than those just burned
2.
Off the dial – Planet Earth is showing multiple instrument warnings
3. Plastic pollution is growing relentlessly as waste management and recycling fall short, says OECD
4. The conservation impacts of ecological disturbance: Time-bound estimates of population loss and recovery for fauna affected by the 2019–2020 Australian megafires
5 New report reveals movement towards climate change and environment philanthropy
6. Alternatives to mainstream publishing within and beyond academia
7. Pronounced loss of Amazon rainforest resilience since the early 2000s

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1. Coming of age: research shows old forests are 3 times less flammable than those just burned

As coal-fired climate change makes bushfires in Australia worse, governments are ramping up hazard-reduction burning. But our new research shows the practice can actually make forests more flammable. We found over time, some forests “thin” themselves and become less likely to burn – and hazard-reduction burning disrupts this process. What does that mean as Australians face a more fiery future? Is there a smarter and more sensitive way to manage the bushfire risk?

https://theconversation.com/coming-of-age-research-shows-old-forests-are-3-times-less-flammable-than-those-just-burned-179571?

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2. Off the dial – Planet Earth is showing multiple instrument warnings

The way ahead is uncertain. The road is turning very dangerous; full of pot holes and gaping cracks. Slow down! The vehicle isn’t safe anymore.

Our political leaders, however, are in no doubt.

“She’ll be right, mate. No need for brakes!”

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3. Plastic pollution is growing relentlessly as waste management and recycling fall short, says OECD

The world is producing twice as much plastic waste as two decades ago, with the bulk of it ending up in landfill, incinerated or leaking into the environment, and only 9% successfully recycled, according to a new OECD report.

Plastic pollution is growing relentlessly as waste management and recycling fall short, says OECD

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4. The conservation impacts of ecological disturbance: Time-bound estimates of population loss and recovery for fauna affected by the 2019–2020 Australian megafires

After environmental disasters, species with large population losses may need urgent protection to prevent extinction and support recovery. Following the 2019–2020 Australian megafires, we estimated population losses and recovery in fire-affected fauna, to inform conservation status assessments and management.

We suggest the 2019–2020 Australian megafires have worsened the conservation prospects for many species. Of the 91 taxa recommended for listing/uplisting consideration, 84 are now under formal review through national processes. Improving predictions about taxon vulnerability with empirical data on population responses, reducing the likelihood of future catastrophic events and mitigating their impacts on biodiversity, are critical.

The conservation impacts of ecological disturbance: Time‐bound estimates of population loss and recovery for fauna affected by the 2019–2020 Australian megafires – Legge – – Global Ecology and Biogeography – Wiley Online Library

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5 New report reveals movement towards climate change and environment philanthropy

A new report titled Environment and Climate Change Giving Trends 2022, produced by the Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network (AEGN), indicates that philanthropy is gearing its focus towards climate change as the climate crisis continues to intensify.

Latest News ›› Philanthropy Australia

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6. Alternatives to mainstream publishing within and beyond academia

In a forum for the 20th anniversary issue of the journal ephemera on “Pasts, presents and futures of critical publishing”, eight independent collectives discuss ways in which they challenge the status quo of knowledge creation within and beyond academia.

Alternatives to mainstream publishing within and beyond academia – Undisciplined Environments

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7. Pronounced loss of Amazon rainforest resilience since the early 2000s

New research indicates that more than three-quarters of the Amazon rainforest has been losing ‘resilience’ since the early 2000s due to changing land-use and climate change. Resilience, defined as the return rate from human-induced damage or natural disturbance such as fire or drought, is being lost faster in regions with less rainfall and in parts of the rainforest that are closer to human activity. Deforestation and climate change, via increasing dry-season length and drought frequency, may already have pushed the Amazon close to a critical threshold of rainforest dieback. Continued weakening could push the Amazon towards a tipping point, where it becomes a carbon source rather than a carbon sink. Loss of resilience has profound implications for biodiversity, carbon storage and climate change at a global scale. This phenomenon has already been recorded during two major droughts in 2005 and 2010 due to increased tree mortality.

Pronounced loss of Amazon rainforest resilience since the early 2000s | Nature Climate Change

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About Dbytes

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

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

Dbytes #516 (23 March 2022)

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

“Alarmingly, only 2% of species recovery plans have been completed within statutory time frames since 2013. The average time it took to establish a species recovery plan was 2,355 days – in other words more than six years. Meanwhile, the federal government has approved the clearing of more than 25,000 hectares of koala habitat since the species was declared ‘vulnerable’ to extinction ten years ago. Even when a species has a recovery plan, there is insufficient monitoring to make sure the plan is actually achieving anything.”
Australian Conservation Foundation’s national biodiversity policy adviser Sophie Power
Audit reveals the system is failing Australia’s threatened species – Australian Conservation Foundation (acf.org.au)
[See item 2, ANAO audit on threatened species management under the EPBC Act]

In this issue of Dbytes

1. The Farm Biodiversity Stewardship Market Bill 2022 – Watch out for weasel words.
2. Management of Threatened Species and Ecological Communities under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
3. Investigation reveals shocking extent of threatened species habitat destruction
4. The legacy of Lake Pedder: how the world’s first Green Party was born in Tasmania 50 years ago
5. Reversing nature destruction in Australia: five improvements we must make
6. Improved management of farm dams increases vegetation cover, water quality, and macroinvertebrate biodiversity
7. How did our environment fare last year?

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1. The Farm Biodiversity Stewardship Market Bill 2022 – Watch out for weasel words.

The Morrison government’s new Agriculture Biodiversity Stewardship Market Bill 2022 was introduced last month with very little fanfare. It fails the weasel-words test. It should not be passed by the Senate.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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2. Management of Threatened Species and Ecological Communities under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s (the department) administration of threatened species and ecological communities under the EPBC Act is partly effective. The department is unable to demonstrate it is efficient.

Listing assessments, conservation advice,recovery plans and threat abatement plans are largely completed in accordance with the EPBC Act, but procedural guidance needs updating and is not consistently followed.

The department does not effectively review or support the implementation of conservation advice, recovery plans and threat abatement plans.

Measurement, monitoring and reporting does not indicate desired outcomes are being achieved.

Management of Threatened Species and Ecological Communities under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 | Australian National Audit Office (anao.gov.au)

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3. Investigation reveals shocking extent of threatened species habitat destruction

A new ACF enquiry revealed many horrible things including: “Koalas lost more habitat to federally-approved destruction than any other animal, with more than 25,000 hectares of koala habitat approved for destruction in 2011–21, around a fifth of which was for a single project: the Olive Downs coal mine in Queensland.”

Investigation reveals shocking extent of threatened species habitat destruction – Australian Conservation Foundation (acf.org.au)

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4. The legacy of Lake Pedder: how the world’s first Green Party was born in Tasmania 50 years ago

Fifty years ago this week, the world’s first “green” political party was born in Tasmania after the state government purposefully flooded the magnificent Lake Pedder.

https://theconversation.com/the-legacy-of-lake-pedder-how-the-worlds-first-green-party-was-born-in-tasmania-50-years-ago-178546?

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5. Reversing nature destruction in Australia: five improvements we must make

In October 2021 the Australian government signed the Kunming Declaration, joining other countries in the commitment to reverse biodiversity loss. ACF welcomes the Australian government’s support for marine protection, but are disappointed, given the state of terrestrial biodiversity, that Australia’s contributions at COP15 so far lack the ambition recognised as necessary in the Kunming Declaration.

Reversing nature destruction in Australia: five improvements we must make (apo.org.au)

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6. Improved management of farm dams increases vegetation cover, water quality, and macroinvertebrate biodiversity

In many farming landscapes, aquatic features, such as wetlands, creeks, and dams, provide water for stock and irrigation, while also acting as habitat for a range of plants and animals. Indeed, some species threatened by land-use change may otherwise be considerably rarer—or even suffer extinction—in the absence of these habitats. Therefore, a critical issue for the maintenance of biodiversity in agricultural landscapes is the extent to which the management of aquatic systems can promote the integration of agricultural production and biodiversity conservation. We completed a cross-sectional study in southern New South Wales (southeastern Australia) to quantify the efficacy of two concurrently implemented management practices—partial revegetation and control of livestock grazing—aimed at enhancing the vegetation structure, biodiversity value, and water quality of farm dams. We found that excluding livestock for even short periods resulted in increased vegetation cover. Relative to unenhanced dams (such as those that remained unfenced), those that had been enhanced for several years were characterized by reduced levels of turbidity, nutrients, and fecal contamination. Enhanced dams also supported increased richness and abundance of macroinvertebrates. In contrast, unenhanced control dams tended to have high abundance of a few macroinvertebrate taxa. Notably, differences remained between the macroinvertebrate assemblages of enhanced dams and nearby “natural” waterbodies that we monitored as reference sites. While the biodiversity value of semilotic, natural waterbodies in the region cannot be replicated by artificial lentic systems, we consider the extensive system of farm dams in the region to represent a novel ecosystem that may nonetheless support some native macroinvertebrates. Our results show that management interventions such as fencing and grazing control can improve water quality in farm dams, improve vegetation structure around farm dams, and support greater abundance and diversity of aquatic macroinvertebrates.

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7. How did our environment fare last year?

Widespread rainfall and cooler temperatures supported a strong recovery of Australia’s environment in 2021, with several environmental condition indicators reaching values not seen for several years. That’s the main conclusion from Australia’s Environment, the latest in an annual series of environmental condition reports. The report, and its website, provide a summary of key environmental indicators and how they changed in 2021.

Australia’s Environment Report – National-scale, comprehensive information on the condition, change and trajectory of our environment (wenfo.org)

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About Dbytes

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

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

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

Dbytes #515 (17 March 2022)

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


“Climate inaction has devastating consequences for young people. While today’s judgment is disappointing, we will keep fighting harder and louder than ever to demand that those in power protect the most vulnerable and ensure a safe future.”
The eight high school students who took the Federal Environment Minister to court claiming she has a duty to avoid causing harms of climate change but lost the court case on appeal.
[and see item 3; who actually does have the ‘duty of care’?]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. “Splitting the bill” for conservation: Perceptions and uptake of financial incentives by landholders managing privately protected areas
2. Long-unburnt habitat is critical for the conservation of threatened vertebrates across Australia
3. So, who actually does have the ‘duty of care’?
4. Spatial prioritization to achieve the triple bottom line in Payment for ecosystem services design
5. Foxes and cats are knocking out Australia’s wildlife with a devastating one-two punch
6. IPCC reports still exclude Indigenous voices. Come join us at our sacred fires to find answers to climate change
7. Density of invasive western honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies in fragmented woodlands indicates potential for large impacts on native species


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1. “Splitting the bill” for conservation: Perceptions and uptake of financial incentives by landholders managing privately protected areas

Globally, privately protected area (PPA) programs are increasing in size and number. Participating in a PPA program can be fiscally challenging for landholders (e.g., enrollment costs; potential reduction in land value; opportunity costs; costs of ongoing management). Government and nongovernmental organizations often offer financial incentives to landholders, in addition to nonfinancial incentives, to encourage program enrollment and ongoing biodiversity management. In Australia, where conservation covenanting programs have been ongoing for several decades, a diversity of financial incentives is available to landholders. We surveyed 527 conservation covenantors from three states in southeast Australia to investigate the uptake, use, experience and preference for financial incentives. Less than half of covenantors received a financial incentive to enroll, but most applied for some form of incentive after enrollment, predominantly to help with management costs. Covenantors identified challenges in accessing incentives, such as being unaware of funding opportunities or experiencing confusing application processes. We found land rates rebates to be the preferred financial incentive among covenantors, in part due to the perception that covenantors should not have to pay full rates on covenanted land. Our results suggest that while covenantors do not participate in PPA programs for financial incentives, effectively and efficiently deploying financial incentives can reduce the financial burdens of PPA management, potentially increasing the effectiveness of conservation efforts.

The Society for Conservation Biology (wiley.com)

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2. Long-unburnt habitat is critical for the conservation of threatened vertebrates across Australia

We argue that, to conserve many threatened vertebrate species in Australia, landscape management should emphasise the protection of existing long-unburnt patches from fire, as well as facilitate the recruitment of additional long-unburnt habitat, while maintaining historically relevant age distributions of more recently burned patches.

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10980-022-01427-7

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3. So, who actually does have the ‘duty of care’?

The Federal Minister for the Environment does not have a duty of care to protect young people from the harms of climate change. So says the law. If not the Environment Minister, then who? Our Prime Minister or the Minister for Emissions? Our corporate leaders and billionaires? Or should we look to the world government? Our whole polity is failing us.

So, who actually does have the ‘duty of care’?
Who is responsible for tomorrow?


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4. Spatial prioritization to achieve the triple bottom line in Payment for ecosystem services design

We account for biodiversity, social equity, water and carbon services, and budget in PES design. We illustrate our approach by modelling a national PES scheme in Colombia. Strong trade-offs exist between social equity with biodiversity. Weak trade-offs exist between carbon and biodiversity, suggesting synergies for both objectives. We found optimal solutions for ES and poverty alleviation in a mega diverse country.

Spatial prioritization to achieve the triple bottom line in Payment for ecosystem services design – ScienceDirect

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5. Foxes and cats are knocking out Australia’s wildlife with a devastating one-two punch

Foxes and cats combined are killing more than 2.6 billion mammals, birds, and reptiles every year. Foxes dominate in the southern forested areas, whereas cats are more widespread. A number of control measures are available and need to be ramped up to avoid more extinctions.

Foxes and cats are knocking out Australia’s wildlife with a devastating one-two punch – ABC News

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6. IPCC reports still exclude Indigenous voices. Come join us at our sacred fires to find answers to climate change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) assessment reports have great influence over government decision-making on climate change. The latest report, launched this week, for the first time features Indigenous Knowledges alongside Western scientific research. Previous IPCC reports have only included evidence on how climate change has affected Indigenous Peoples. It is an historic improvement in this report to include actual Indigenous Knowledges after many years of lobbying by IPCC lead authors and outside organisations.

But, like most other IPCC chapters, the Australasian chapter did not include Indigenous lead authors. Our inclusion could have contributed ways of thinking, knowing and understanding that would have strengthened and deepened the report and subsequent media coverage.

https://theconversation.com/ipcc-reports-still-exclude-indigenous-voices-come-join-us-at-our-sacred-fires-to-find-answers-to-climate-change-178045?

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7. Density of invasive western honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies in fragmented woodlands indicates potential for large impacts on native species

In this new paper https://rdcu.be/cIdQ2 researchers show that the density of feral honey bee colonies is higher in Australia than anywhere else in the world. At this density we expect problems for hollow-dependent native species and complex impacts on pollination of native plants.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-07635-0.epdf?sharing_token=MEPTDyYXJL-oStF7cwPPQtRgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0MYwK92zq9IMwTSC_7sX4cfuhZtd38o4HrJRKmU-ohkas5TdJiqYMIJSccQUBzDbPexOmM5f1eA5X_kKtIcSxtrqANRz457E5iEJuzj3H6CYReXb3XH-vXCIdyKrpDk3q8%3D

-~<>~-

About Dbytes

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

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

Dbytes #514 (9 March 2022)

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

“Oil and gas companies with carbon capture facilities are selling captured CO2 for enhanced oil recovery and what can’t be sold is more often vented. CCS/CCUS [carbon capture] effectively extends the life of fossil fuel companies, giving them a licence to ramp up production.”
Bruce Robertson [see item 7; note: half of the carbon captured by the world’s oldest and biggest carbon capture facility has been vented into the atmosphere]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Extinction crisis: native mammals are disappearing in Northern Australia, but few people are watching
2. Slippery answers like bare-handed barrel-fishing, The latest Senate Environment Committee ‘Estimates’ hearings
3. The koala in the coal mine
4. ‘The sad reality is many don’t survive’: how floods affect wildlife, and how you can help them
5. Using a leverage points perspective to compare social-ecological systems: a case study on rural landscapes
6. Extinction, de-extinction and conservation: a dangerous mix of ideas
7. Carbon capture in today’s world: Shute Creek – world’s largest carbon capture facility sells CO2 for oil production, but vents unsold

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1. Extinction crisis: native mammals are disappearing in Northern Australia, but few people are watching

But tragically, in the years since, many of these mammals have disappeared. Four species have become extinct and nine face the same fate in the next two decades. And we know relatively little about this homegrown crisis. Monitoring of these species has been lacking for many decades – and as mammal numbers have declined, the knowledge gaps have become worse.

https://theconversation.com/extinction-crisis-native-mammals-are-disappearing-in-northern-australia-but-few-people-are-watching-178313?  

-~<>~-

2. Slippery answers like bare-handed barrel-fishing, The latest Senate Environment Committee ‘Estimates’ hearings

The most recent Environment Estimates were held last month. This year they revealed the Government was disingenuous about planning for 2050 Net Zero and about their billion-dollar reef investment. But the revelations were not so clear as to damage the Government. The Estimates, as such, fail as a tool for accountability.

Slippery answers like bare-handed barrel-fishing

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3. The koala in the coal mine

With the scrutiny on climate change, the collapse of Australian ecosystems has received scant attention. But saving them is entirely possible. Australia’s iconic koala, listed as endangered in the Australian regions of Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory in 2022, is unfortunately far from alone.

https://360info.org/the-koala-in-the-coal-mine/

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4. ‘The sad reality is many don’t survive’: how floods affect wildlife, and how you can help them

Land-dwelling animals typically don’t fare as well in floods. Some may be able to detect imminent inundation and head for higher, drier ground. Others simply don’t have the ability or opportunity to take evasive action in time. This can include animals with dependent young in burrows, such as wombats, platypus and echidnas.

https://theconversation.com/the-sad-reality-is-many-dont-survive-how-floods-affect-wildlife-and-how-you-can-help-them-178310?

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5. Using a leverage points perspective to compare social-ecological systems: a case study on rural landscapes

A leverage points perspective recognises different levels of systemic depth, ranging from the relatively shallow levels of parameters and feedbacks to the deeper levels of system design and intent. Analysing a given social-ecological system for its characteristics across these four levels of systemic depth provides a useful diagnostic to better understand sustainability problems, and can complement other types of cause-and-effect systems modelling. Moreover, the structured comparison of multiple systems can highlight whether sustainability challenges in different systems have a similar origin (e.g. similar feedbacks or similar design). We used a leverage points perspective to systematically compare findings from three in-depth social-ecological case studies, which investigated rural landscapes in southeastern Australia, central Romania, and southwestern Ethiopia. Inductive coding of key findings documented in over 60 empirical publications was used to generate synthesis statements of key findings in the three case studies. Despite major socioeconomic and ecological differences, many synthesis statements applied to all three case studies. Major sustainability problems occurred at the design and intent levels. For example, at the intent level, all three rural landscapes were driven by goals and paradigms that mirrored a productivist green revolution discourse. Our paper thus highlights that there are underlying challenges for rural sustainability across the world, which appear to apply similarly across strongly contrasting socioeconomic contexts. Sustainability interventions should be mindful of such deep similarities in system characteristics. We conclude that a leverage points perspective could be used to compare many other types of social-ecological systems around the world.

Full article: Using a leverage points perspective to compare social-ecological systems: a case study on rural landscapes (tandfonline.com)

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6. Extinction, de-extinction and conservation: a dangerous mix of ideas

Preventing extinction is the central driver of almost all conservation action. Conservation biologists are sensitive about extinction because it is final and irreversible. The concept of de-extinction however threatens the finality of extinction to offer the option to reverse some of the iconic extinction events. Here we explore the place that extinction plays in conservation and argue that; (1) deliberate extinction by humans is surprisingly rare and extinction is a cultural taboo, (2) Australia has an acute sense of extinction guilt linked to our world renowned extinctions of iconic mammals and; (3) extinction, like death, is irreversible, meaning that extinct species hold a special martyr-like status as iconic consequences of the excesses of humans. We argue that de-extinction is a dangerous idea for conservation because it will undermine the value provided by extinct species as martyrs for the conservation cause.

https://meridian.allenpress.com/australian-zoologist/article/38/3/390/135113/Extinction-de-extinction-and-conservation-a

Also, see
Can we resurrect the thylacine? Maybe, but it won’t help the global extinction crisis

-~<>~-

7. Carbon capture in today’s world: Shute Creek – world’s largest carbon capture facility sells CO2 for oil production, but vents unsold

A new report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis has found that the world’s largest carbon capture, utilisation and storage project, the Shute Creek facility in the USA run by ExxonMobil, has consistently failed to reach its carbon dioxide capture targets. Over its 35 year history, the project has captured around 120 million tonnes of CO2, which is 34 per cent less than its capturing capacity targets. Nevertheless this amounts to 40 per cent of all anthropogenic CO2 which has ever been captured globally. Of this total, 114 million tonnes were sold for enhanced oil recovery purposes and 6 million tonnes were stored geologically. Another 120 million tonnes was vented into the atmosphere for want of buyers.

IEEFA: Shute Creek – world’s largest carbon capture facility sells CO2 for oil production, but vents unsold – Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis

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About Dbytes

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

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

Dbytes #513 (2 March 2022)

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

“The Department’s critique contains a series of factual errors. It is biased and contains misrepresentations of our work. We find it deeply worrisome that the Department has published work of this fallacious nature, especially when the analysis is at the request of NSW Parliamentarians.”
The Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists
Review of the NSW Dept of Primary Industry Environmental Water’s Critique of Wentworth Group’s river flows assessment


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Introduced species are animals too: why the debate over compassionate conservation is worth having
2. Platforming to Oblivion: How academic institutions foster merchants of doubt
3. A guide to propagating Norfolk Island Plants
4. The battle for Figtree Hill and the koala corridor
5. Benefit-Cost Analysis challenges: over-optimism
6. Debunking the deniers: the 5 pillars of science behind human-caused climate change
7. One in 5 fossil fuel projects overshoot their original estimations for emissions. Why are there such significant errors?

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1. Introduced species are animals too: why the debate over compassionate conservation is worth having

Wild horses roaming the Snowy Mountains have long been the subject of fierce debate. Some say they’re feral pests destroying Kosciuszko National Park’s fragile native ecosystem. Others argue they’re national icons and an important part of Australia’s colonial heritage. This issue was the subject of last night’s ABC Four Corners episode. But the current debate misses one crucial perspective: that of the wild horses, whose fate is being decided. This is a perfect example of why the new movement of compassionate conservation raises the question of the animals’ interests in debates about conservation.

https://theconversation.com/introduced-species-are-animals-too-why-the-debate-over-compassionate-conservation-is-worth-having-163987?

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2. Platforming to Oblivion: How academic institutions foster merchants of doubt

When a leading research institution hosts a debate with an infamous climate denialist, gathering his fans, selling his books, and adding to his resume, we all lose.

Platforming to Oblivion: How academic institutions foster merchants of doubt – Undisciplined Environments

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3. A guide to propagating Norfolk Island Plants

A guide to propagating Norfolk Island’s native plants and seeds is a new handbook that aims to expand seed-based conservation and restoration of native, endemic and threatened plant species across Norfolk Island. The handbook details techniques for seed collecting, processing and propagating many of Norfolk Island’s plant species. Production of the handbook was led by University of Queensland PhD student Leah Dann, in collaboration with UQ researchers and staff from Norfolk Island National Park and the Australian National Botanic Gardens’ National Seed Bank. Leah is supported by a top-up scholarship from the Friends of the Gardens.

a-guide-to-propagating-norfolk-island-seeds-and-plants-2021.pdf (nespthreatenedspecies.edu.au)

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4. The battle for Figtree Hill and the koala corridor

Lendlease must be wary of its next move if it is to maintain its reputation as one of the most sustainable housing companies in the world, environmentalists warn.

At Figtree Hill, Gilead, in NSW’s Macarthur region near Campbelltown, south west of Sydney property developer Lendlease began clearing trees after Campbelltown Council gave the green light to begin work on a 1700-home estate early last year. The development is planned to be 100 per cent renewable and all-electric, with a community facility, bike paths, and walking trails. Environmentalists have tried to block the problematic development because the location is the only koala habitat listed in New South Wales as expanding. It also straddles the shortest route between two breeding populations.

The battle for Figtree Hill and the koala corridor – The Fifth Estate

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5. Benefit-Cost Analysis challenges: over-optimism

“I’m going to present some of the workshop recording as Pannell Discussions, in a series of segments. The first one is on avoiding over-optimism in the assumptions that are used in the BCA. This is a ubiquitous problem in BCA, and indeed in any other type of project evaluation. Dealing with it needs a multi-pronged approach.”

367. BCA challenges: over-optimism – Pannell Discussions

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6. Debunking the deniers: the 5 pillars of science behind human-caused climate change

If you’re a scientist, science communicator or the lone climate change advocate at your dining-table discussion, you’ve probably debated a climate change denier or two. So how can we bust the myths and misinformation and deliver the facts about climate science? A group of scientists and science communicators, including Stephan Lewandowsky and John Cook, have updated their handbook on debunking climate deniers. They say that, before launching into a discussion about climate change, it is important to understand a few common tactics used by climate change deniers.

Debunking the deniers: the 5 pillars of science behind human-caused climate change (scientell.com.au)

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7. One in 5 fossil fuel projects overshoot their original estimations for emissions. Why are there such significant errors?

When estimating the amount of greenhouse gases a project – such as a new mine or power station – would release, it’s important to be as accurate as possible. This is not only because of the impact an approved project will have on the climate, but because the data are used to determine Australia’s national emission targets. And yet, a report released this week by the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) showed one in five fossil fuel projects emit far more greenhouse gases annually than what was originally estimated – as much as 20 times more in some years.

https://theconversation.com/1-in-5-fossil-fuel-projects-overshoot-their-original-estimations-for-emissions-why-are-there-such-significant-errors-177714?

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About Dbytes

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

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

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

Dbytes #512 (23 February 2022)

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

“Why has this crisis come about? Because for two centuries, European colonists tore across the world, viewing nature and land as something inert to be conquered and consumed without limits and the indigenous people as savages whose knowledge of nature was worthless and who needed to be erased. It was this settler colonial worldview – of just accumulate, accumulate, accumulate, consume, consume, consume – that has got us where we are now.”
Amitav Ghosh, European colonialism helped create a planet in crisis

[and see item 4]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Environmental accounting: is it worthwhile?
2. A billion-dollar bad idea is no escape clause for the Great Barrier Reef
3. Australian grassy community restoration: Recognizing what is achievable and charting a way forward
4. Australia’s forests became catastrophic fire risk after British invasion
5. Wetlands: a precious ecosystem under threat from invasive species
6. Understanding Indigenous values and priorities for wetlands to guide weed management actions: Lessons from the Nardab floodplain in northern Australia’s Kakadu National Park
7. Acceleration of climate warming and plant dynamics in Antarctica

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1. Environmental accounting: is it worthwhile?

There was a session at the AARES online conference last week on environmental accounting, which is getting a lot of attention and resources currently. I was invited to provide remarks as a discussant after four high-quality presentations. My main point was that environmental accounting will not prove as useful as many people are currently hoping.

366. Environmental accounting: is it worthwhile? – Pannell Discussions

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2. A billion-dollar bad idea is no escape clause for the Great Barrier Reef

A big pledge for a big problem is no solution without integrity. The Government has pledged a billion dollars to save the Great Barrier Reef but even they know it’s pointless without action on climate change.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3. Australian grassy community restoration: Recognizing what is achievable and charting a way forward

Given the urgent need for revegetation to address the climate and biodiversity crises, Paul Gibson-Roy describes here how grassy ecosystem restoration technologies are ripe for scaling up. Buoyed by local and other examples of success he calls for action by regulators and the agricultural, land management and restoration sectors to refine legislation and tailor their environmental programs to, with gusto, support complex grassy ecosystem restoration at scale to deliver both biodiversity conservation and climate mitigation.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/emr.12546
[email Paul at paul.gibsonroy@kalbaroperations.com.au if you would like a copy of the paper]

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4. Australia’s forests became catastrophic fire risk after British invasion

Australia’s forests now carry far more flammable fuel than before British invasion, our research shows, revealing the catastrophic risk created by non-Indigenous bushfire management approaches. Contemporary approaches to forest management in Australia are based on suppression – extinguishing bushfires once they’ve started, or seeking to prevent them through hazard-reduction burning. This differs from the approach of Indigenous Australians who’ve developed sophisticated relationships with fire over tens of thousands of years. They minimise bushfire risk through frequent low-intensity burning – in contrast to the current scenario of random, high-intensity fires.

https://theconversation.com/world-first-research-confirms-australias-forests-became-catastrophic-fire-risk-after-british-invasion-176563

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5. Wetlands: a precious ecosystem under threat from invasive species
Alice Wisse, Wildlife Drones

From the coastal mangroves and sawgrass marshes of the Everglades in southern Florida to the vast floodplains of Kakadu in northern Australia, wetlands are home to an astounding array of plant and animal species. Found on every continent except Antarctica, wetlands are one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet. However, like many other ecological communities, the health of our wetlands is threatened by a range of factors, including: Invasive species, illegal fishing and poaching, climate change, and deforestation and forest degradation. Here we focus on invasive species given they are an increasingly significant threat to our wetlands that are often underestimated. Because it’s so difficult to access swampy landscapes from the ground, it’s hard to study the movement and behaviour of invasive species, making them incredibly challenging to control and manage.

Wetlands and invasive species – Wildlife Drones

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6. Understanding Indigenous values and priorities for wetlands to guide weed management actions: Lessons from the Nardab floodplain in northern Australia’s Kakadu National Park

Many wetlands around the world are vulnerable to invasive species and are also culturally important for Indigenous peoples. Yet, translating the complex values Indigenous peoples hold for wetlands into management actions to mitigate the impacts of invasive species can be difficult to put into practice. In this paper, we draw on an Indigenous-led project on the Nardab wetland in Kakadu National Park to show how understanding the local nuance of Indigenous values and priorities in different wetland places can guide more effective and inclusive weed management activities. At Nardab, Indigenous values and priorities guided the choice of three priority sites to manage the impacts of Para grass (Urochloa mutica) weed. Specific values and priorities were identified across the sites, including significant bush tucker populations, and harvesting sites, the ability for the site to support Indigenous knowledge sharing and ceremonial activities and the opportunity for visitors to enjoy a healthy wetland in this World Heritage Area. The values and priorities varied across the sites, so the actions needed to improve the health of these places were also place specific. The results showed that relationships between Indigenous people and places varied from site to site within a given wetland and could not be easily generalized when deciding on effective management activities. The paper highlights the benefits of supporting ecological, cultural and human-focused actions that Indigenous people wish to prioritize at selected sites to ensure the management of weed impacts on wetlands adequately reflect the diverse cultural landscapes that are embedded within Indigenous peoples’ Country.

Understanding Indigenous values and priorities for wetlands to guide weed management actions: Lessons from the Nardab floodplain in northern Australia’s Kakadu National Park – Bangalang – 2022 – Ecological Management &amp; Restoration – Wiley Online Library

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7. Acceleration of climate warming and plant dynamics in Antarctica

At Signy Island a strong summer warming resumed after the pulse cooling in 2012. The two native Antarctic vascular plants expanded strikingly at Signy Island in 2009–2018. We show evidence of plant dynamics accelerated by climate warming in Antarctica.

Acceleration of climate warming and plant dynamics in Antarctica – ScienceDirect

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About Dbytes

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

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

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

Dbytes #511 (16 February 2022)

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

“Beyond the theatre and spectacle of celebrity performance, we have argued that in responding to the disruptions that are now playing out over climate change, celebrities can play powerful roles in challenging fundamental assumptions of our social and economic organisation.”
Wright and Nyberg, 2022 [See item 1]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. The Roles of Celebrities in Public Disputes: Climate Change and the Great Barrier Reef
2. What is ecology’s contribution to sustainability? And why does economics get the Big Chair at the dinner table?
3. Five-year Action Plan for the Threatened Species Strategy
4. The unequal university will never be ‘sustainable’
5. Why do we love the great outdoors? New research shows part of the answer is in our genes
6. From Climate Change to Pandemics: Decision Science Can Help Scientists Have Impact
7. Pharmaceuticals in rivers threaten world health

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1. The Roles of Celebrities in Public Disputes: Climate Change and the Great Barrier Reef

Celebrities are increasingly important actors in social disputes, with their high public profiles used to amplify political campaigns and business firms utilising celebrity endorsements to promote their brands and justify their actions. Engaging with the conceptual framework of Boltanski and Thévenot’s ‘orders of worth’, we explore the public dispute over coral bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef, analysing the different roles that celebrities have played and how their claims are evaluated. We demonstrate how celebrities as powerful agents for industries and environmental campaigns perform three key roles – popularizers, authorities, and visionaries. Our article contributes to the management literature on public disputes by explaining the evaluative processes underlying sustainability controversies. We also contribute by providing a better understanding of the roles and capacity of celebrities in in public debates over contentious issues. We discuss the policy implications of celebrity roles in addressing the climate crisis and mobilizing action to limit further disruption.

The Roles of Celebrities in Public Disputes: Climate Change and the Great Barrier Reef – Wright – – Journal of Management Studies – Wiley Online Library

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2. What is ecology’s contribution to sustainability? And why does economics get the Big Chair at the dinner table?

If economics is the ‘mother tongue’ of public policy then, unfortunately, ecology remains a foreign language. Apart from ecologists not being native speakers of economics (and vice-versa) their substantive ideas concerning ecological relationships and processes are not obvious to the ordinary person.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3. Five-year Action Plan for the Threatened Species Strategy

The Morrison Government has released a new five-year Action Plan to underpin the Threatened Species Strategy. This plan aims to coordinate effort for the recovery of 100 priority species and 20 priority places over the next five years with key targets to drive action.

Minister’s press release: 2022-2-13-2.docx (live.com)
Action plan (DAWE) website: Action Plan 2021-2026 – DAWE

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4. The unequal university will never be ‘sustainable’

Through green rankings and strategies for sustainability and climate virtue, universities attract and reproduce wealth, driving high consumption – paradoxically exacerbating climate change and unsustainability. Only attending to inequalities can universities do away with the carbon fetish and work for actual sustainability. University staff and students, embarked on a UK-wide strike against staff exploitation and rising costs, need to make this point loud and clear!   

The unequal university will never be ‘sustainable’ – Undisciplined Environments

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5. Why do we love the great outdoors? New research shows part of the answer is in our genes

Perhaps our affinity for nature is inherited. Or perhaps we get it from environmental factors – such as beautiful forests – in the places we live. Or again it might come from our cultural milieu such as the books we read or the TV programs we watch. Finding answers to these questions might help us work out how to get some nature back into people’s lives.

Why do we love the great outdoors? New research shows part of the answer is in our genes (theconversation.com)

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6. From Climate Change to Pandemics: Decision Science Can Help Scientists Have Impact

There is a perpetual challenge in translating scientific insight into policy. Many articles explain how to better bridge the gap through improved communication and engagement, but we believe that communication and engagement are only one part of the puzzle. There is a fundamental tension between science and policy because scientific endeavors are rightfully grounded in discovery, but policymakers formulate problems in terms of objectives, actions and outcomes. Decision science provides a solution by framing scientific questions in a way that is beneficial to policy development, facilitating scientists’ contribution to public discussion and policy. At its core, decision science is a field that aims to pinpoint evidence-based management strategies by focussing on those objectives, actions, and outcomes defined through the policy process. The importance of scientific discovery here is in linking actions to outcomes, helping decision-makers determine which actions best meet their objectives. In this paper we explain how problems can be formulated through the structured decision-making process. We give our vision for what decision science may grow to be, describing current gaps in methodology and application. By better understanding and engaging with the decision-making processes, scientists can have greater impact and make stronger contributions to important societal problems.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fevo.2022.792749/full

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7. Pharmaceuticals in rivers threaten world health

Pollution of the world’s rivers from medicines and pharmaceutical products poses a “threat to environmental and global health”, a report says. Paracetamol, nicotine, caffeine and epilepsy and diabetes drugs were widely detected in a University of York study. The research is among the most extensive undertaken on a global scale. Rivers in Pakistan, Bolivia and Ethiopia were among the most polluted. Rivers in Iceland, Norway and the Amazon rainforest fared the best.

Pharmaceuticals in rivers threaten world health – study – BBC News
or Pharmaceutical pollution of the world’s rivers | PNAS for the source paper

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About Dbytes

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

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

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

Dbytes #510 (8 February 2022)

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

“Koalas are one of Australia’s most loved and best recognised icons, both here at home and across the world, and we are committed to protecting them for generations to come,”
PM Scott Morrison when announcing $50million for koala conservation.

“The amount of koala habitat approved for clearing has increased every year since 2012,”
Basha Stasak, Australian Conservation Foundation [see item 4]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. British Columbia doctors can now prescribe national park passes to patients
2. Future loss of local-scale thermal refugia in coral reef ecosystems
3. Australia puts forward case to UNESCO for protecting Great Barrier Reef
4. ‘A drop in the ocean’: government’s $50m koala pledge won’t tackle root cause of decline
5. Native birds have vanished across the continent since colonisation. Now we know just how much we’ve lost
6. The existential toll of climate change on wetlands – maybe we should go with the flow.
7. The benefits and risks of rewilding

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1. British Columbia doctors can now prescribe national park passes to patients

A new collaboration between a national nature prescription program called PaRx and Parks Canada has enabled B.C. doctors to prescribe national park passes to patients. Speaking with Global News, PaRx director and family physician Dr. Melissa Lem said the organization generally recommends patients spend at least two hours a week in nature. That can be broken up over several visits, so long as they are a minimum duration of 20 minutes.

https://www.theweathernetwork.com/ca/news/article/b-c-doctors-can-now-prescribe-national-park-passes-to-patients

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2. Future loss of local-scale thermal refugia in coral reef ecosystems

A new study finds that a global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees will leave only 0.2 per cent of coral reefs in areas with temperatures safe for these ecosystems, a figure that would drop to zero per cent with a warming of 2 degrees.

Future loss of local-scale thermal refugia in coral reef ecosystems (plos.org)

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3. Australia puts forward case to UNESCO for protecting Great Barrier Reef

The federal government has updated the United Nations on the health of the Great Barrier Reef as a draft recommendation to list it as “in danger” hangs over the World Heritage site.

https://www.themandarin.com.au/180476-australia-puts-forward-case-to-unesco-for-protecting-great-barrier-reef/

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4. ‘A drop in the ocean’: government’s $50m koala pledge won’t tackle root cause of decline

Campaigners say ‘money isn’t the issue’ when there’s no koala recovery plan, while other threatened species receive little funding

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/feb/06/a-drop-in-the-ocean-governments-50m-koala-pledge-wont-tackle-root-cause-of-decline?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

and see the ACF statement: Federal government has approved the clearing of 25,000 hectares of koala habitat in the last 10 years
Federal government has approved the clearing of 25,000 hectares of koala habitat in the last 10 years – Australian Conservation Foundation (acf.org.au)

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5. Native birds have vanished across the continent since colonisation. Now we know just how much we’ve lost

In the 250 years since Europeans colonised Australia, native birdlife has disappeared across the continent. Our new research has, for the first time, registered just how much Australia has actually lost – and our findings are astonishingly sad. We focused on 72 species of birds faced with extinction today, including the Kangaroo Island glossy black cockatoo, regent honeyeater, and night parrot. We found 530 million hectares, or 69%, of Australia, has lost at least one bird species. In some parts of the country, we’ve lost up to 17 birds.

Native birds have vanished across the continent since colonisation. Now we know just how much we’ve lost (theconversation.com)

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6. The existential toll of climate change on wetlands – maybe we should go with the flow.

In some cases, wetlands have the capacity to move (migrate) with the water level as it changes. Some research is suggesting that sea levels could rise faster than a wetland’s natural migration rate. Other studies have shown their capacity to move is limited by how land is being used around existing wetlands.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/


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7. The benefits and risks of rewilding
An IUCN Issues Brief

Rewilding aims to restore ecosystems and reverse biodiversity declines by allowing wildlife and natural processes to reclaim areas no longer under human management.
Misunderstanding of the rewilding concept has led to applications that harm communities and biodiversity, and threaten to undermine an approach with enormous conservation potential.
Well-applied rewilding can restore ecosystems at a landscape scale, help mitigate climate change, and provide socio-economic opportunities for communities.
Evidence-based rewilding principles will guide practitioners to rewild safely, help assess the effectiveness of projects, and incorporate rewilding into global conservation targets.

https://www.iucn.org/resources/issues-briefs/benefits-and-risks-rewilding

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About Dbytes

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

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

Dbytes #509 (2 February 2022)

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

“As the Murray-Darling Basin experience shows, throwing funding at an environmental catastrophe does not fix the problem, especially if the core issue remains unaddressed.”
Day and Heron on the billion dollar funding for the Great Barrier Reef [see item 2]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Water & wetlands – go with the flow.
2. The $1 billion Great Barrier Reef funding is nonsensical. Australians, and their natural wonder, deserve so much better
3. How do you feel about wildlife in your backyard? Does it contribute to your wellbeing?
4. ‘The Big Shift’– when sustainable development came to Australia
5. Environmental and public health co-benefits of consumer switches to immunity-supporting food
6. An introduction to decision science for conservation
7. Saving species beyond the protected area fence: Threats must be managed across multiple land tenure types to secure Australia’s endangered species

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1. Water & wetlands – go with the flow.

Happy World Wetlands Day. Keep in mind that the best protected wetland in the world ceases to be without water. And too much water with rising sea levels, will have the same outcome. We need to ‘make room’ for our wetlands.

https://globalwaterforum.org/2022/02/02/water-and-wetlands-maybe-we-should-go-with-the-flow-climate-change-and-world-wetlands-day-2022/

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2. The $1 billion Great Barrier Reef funding is nonsensical. Australians, and their natural wonder, deserve so much better

The measures to be funded are all important. But they’re nowhere near as important as addressing the root cause of climate change: greenhouse gas emissions. Most of the $1 billion should have been used to help Australia phase out fossil fuels. What’s more, the federal and Queensland governments continue to approve new coal and gas projects. Doing all this, while knowing the grave threat climate change poses to the Great Barrier Reef, demonstrates the incoherence of government policies.

The $1 billion Great Barrier Reef funding is nonsensical. Australians, and their natural wonder, deserve so much better (theconversation.com)

And the Climate Council describes the funding as a “golden bandaid”
A Band-Aid on a broken leg: Reef cash useless without deep emissions cuts this decade | Climate Council

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3. How do you feel about wildlife in your backyard? Does it contribute to your wellbeing?

Please help WA researchers investigate whether wildlife & wildlife friendly gardening have biodiversity & human wellbeing benefits by taking this short survey (c 10 mins): https://uwa.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9zV9qRv64evFDvg

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4. ‘The Big Shift’– when sustainable development came to Australia

These days we always talk about economic and societal trade-offs when we discuss the environment. But such thinking really only began in the late 1980s. And it was championed – surprise surprise – by the Minister for Agriculture!

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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5. Environmental and public health co-benefits of consumer switches to immunity-supporting food

During COVID-19, there has been a surge in public interest for information on immunity-boosting foods. There is little scientific support for immunitysupporting properties of specific foods, but strong evidence for food choice impacts on other health outcomes (e.g. risk of non-communicable disease) and environmental sustainability. Here, we relate online recommendations for ‘‘immunity-boosting’’ foods across five continents to their environmental and human health impacts. More frequently recommended food items and groups are plant based and have lower land use and greenhouse gas emission impacts plus more positive health outcomes (reducing relative risks of mortality or chronic diet-related diseases) per serving of food. We identify trade-offs between environmental outcomes of increasing consumption of recommended food items, with aquatic environment impacts increasing with food recommendation frequency. People’s reliance on the Internet for health information creates an opportunity to consolidate behaviour change towards consuming foods with multiple co-benefits. Our study identifies win–win options for nudging online information-seeking behaviour towards more sustainable choices for terrestrial biodiversity conservation and human health.

Environmental and public health co-benefits of consumer switches to immunity-supporting food (springer.com)

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6. An introduction to decision science for conservation

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

https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/cobi.13868

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7. Saving species beyond the protected area fence: Threats must be managed across multiple land tenure types to secure Australia’s endangered species

The authors show that nearly half (48%) of Australia’s threatened species’ distributions occur on private land, and that 75% occur across multiple tenures. Conservation across tenures will therefore determine the fate of our threatened species.

https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/csp2.617

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About Dbytes

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

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

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

Dbytes #508 (27 January 2022)

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

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



In this issue of Dbytes

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

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

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

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

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2. Measuring comprehensive carbon prices of national climate policies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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7. Conservation frontiers: understanding the geographic expansion of conservation

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

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

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About Dbytes

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

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

and click the ‘follow’ button.

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

Dbytes #507 (20 January 2022)

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

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


In this issue of Dbytes

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

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1. Understanding the Rights of Nature

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

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

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2. BCA criticisms: “discounting is bad”

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

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

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

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

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/  

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4. Why environmental impact assessments often fail

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

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

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

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

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

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6. Pushing the frontiers of social-ecological resilience

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

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

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

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

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

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About Dbytes

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

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

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

Dbytes #506 (15 December 2021)

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

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

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


In this issue of Dbytes

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

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

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

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

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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5. Widespread homogenization of plant communities in the Anthropocene

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

Widespread homogenization of plant communities in the Anthropocene | Nature Communications

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

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

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

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7. An introduction to decision science for conservation

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

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

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About Dbytes

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

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

David Salt
follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

Dbytes #505 (8 December 2021)

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

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


In this issue of Dbytes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About Dbytes

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

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

David Salt
follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

Dbytes #504 (1 December 2021)

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

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


In this issue of Dbytes

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

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

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

apo-nid315253.pdf

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-~<>~-

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

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

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

-~<>~-

6. ‘Lawless’ loggers

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

ABC News

-~<>~-

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

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

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

-~<>~-

About Dbytes

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

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

David Salt
follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

Dbytes #503 (24 November 2021)

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

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


In this issue of Dbytes

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

-~<>~-

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

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

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

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

-~<>~-

2. The Global Fishing Index 2021

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

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

-~<>~-

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

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

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

-~<>~-

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

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

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

-~<>~-

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

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

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

-~<>~-

6. Climate lessons help investors tackle biodiversity loss

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

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

Climate lessons help investors tackle biodiversity loss | ACSI

-~<>~-

7. And for my next environmental trick …

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

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

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

-~<>~-

About Dbytes

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

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

David Salt
follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

Dbytes #502 (17 November 2021)

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

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


In this issue of Dbytes

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

-~<>~-

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

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

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

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

-~<>~-

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

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

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

-~<>~-

3. From natural capital accounting to natural capital banking

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

Nature Sustainability

-~<>~-

4. Rabbits threaten more native wildlife than cats or foxes

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

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

-~<>~-

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

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

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

-~<>~-

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

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

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

-~<>~-

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

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

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

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

-~<>~-


About Dbytes

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

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

David Salt
follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

Dbytes #501 (10 November 2021)

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

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

In this issue of Dbytes

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

-~<>~-

1. Management of threatened species and ecological communities

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

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

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

-~<>~-

2. Undermining climate action: the Australian way

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

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

-~<>~-

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

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

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

-~<>~-

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

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

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

-~<>~-

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

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

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

-~<>~-

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

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

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

-~<>~-

7. Academic stereotypes: where are the positive stories?

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

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

-~<>~-

About Dbytes

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

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

David Salt
follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

Dbytes #500 (3 November 2021)

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

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


In this issue of Dbytes

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

-~<>~-

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

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

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

-~<>~-

2. Entering the Absurdicene as the Anthropocene loses its relevance

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

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

-~<>~-

3. Building Australia’s natural capital

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

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

-~<>~-

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

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

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

-~<>~-

5. Bushfires and fuel reduction burning

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

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

-~<>~-

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

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

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

-~<>~-

7. Measuring wellbeing

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

355. Wellbeing – Pannell Discussions

-~<>~-

About Dbytes

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

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

David Salt
follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

Dbytes #499 (28 October 2021)

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

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


In this issue of Dbytes

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


-~<>~-

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

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

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

-~<>~-

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

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

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

-~<>~-

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

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

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

-~<>~-

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

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

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

-~<>~-

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

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

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


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

-~<>~-

6. BCA criticisms: “any result you want”

By David Pannell

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

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

-~<>~-

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

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

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

-~<>~-

8. Notes on the history and future of Dbytes’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

David
Sept/Oct 2021

-~<>~-

About Dbytes

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

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

David Salt
follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

Dbytes #498 (20 October 2021)

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

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


In this issue of Dbytes

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

1. Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2020

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

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

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

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

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

-~<>~-

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

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

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

-~<>~-

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

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

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

-~<>~-

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

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

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

-~<>~-

6. Australian Academy of Science statement on biodiversity conservation

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

Biodiversity Conservation | Australian Academy of Science

-~<>~-

7. Virtual issues of AJARE on climate change

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

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

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

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

-~<>~-

8. Notes on the history and future of Dbytes’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

David
Sept/Oct 2021

-~<>~-

About Dbytes

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

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

David Salt
follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

Dbytes #497 (13 October 2021)

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

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


In this issue of Dbytes

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


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

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

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

-~<>~-

2. Projecting biodiversity benefits of conservation behavior-change programs

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

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

-~<>~-

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

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

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

-~<>~-

4. Born into the climate crisis

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

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

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

-~<>~-

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

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

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

-~<>~-

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

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

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

-~<>~-

7. Comparing projects of different lifespans in BCA

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

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

-~<>~-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

David
Sept/Oct 2021

-~<>~-

About Dbytes

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

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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

David Salt
follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

Dbytes #496 (6 October 2021)


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

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

In this issue of Dbytes

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


-~<>~-

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

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

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

-~<>~-

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

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

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

-~<>~-

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

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

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

-~<>~-

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

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

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

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

-~<>~-

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

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

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

-~<>~-

6. Adoption and Behaviour Change in Agricultural Policy

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

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

-~<>~-

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

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

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

-~<>~-

8. Notes on the history and future of Dbytes’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

David
Sept/Oct 2021

-~<>~-

About Dbytes

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

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

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list. Or you could subscribe to the WordPress version by visiting https://ozdbytes.wordpress.com/about/ , scroll to the bottom of the page and ‘follow’ Dbytes.

David Salt
follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

Dbytes #495 (29 September 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“The age of electronic newsletters may be coming to a close, and Dbytes is possibly a dinosaur watching an asteroid streak overhead. But this dinosaur still has a few issues left in it. With luck, we might even reach that magical issue #500.”
The Editor, Dbytes [see item 8]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Changing how we engage social norms in behavior change interventions
2. Policy solutions to facilitate restoration in coastal marine environments
3. A tale of two Ramsar wetlands – what a difference a minister makes
4. Conservationists say rocket launch site could push endangered southern emu-wren to extinction
5. Models – what are they good for?
6. Serious Integrity Concerns Around Australia’s ‘Junk’ Carbon Credits
7. They Knew: How the U.S. Government Helped Cause the Climate Crisis
8. Notes on Dbytes’ history and future

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1. Changing how we engage social norms in behavior change interventions

While seeking to change individual conservation behaviors via social norm messaging can be effective, it is limited to those contexts where there is a favorable existing norm. Learning how to initiate social processes to shift unfavorable norms towards those which support key conservation behaviors would enhance the repertoire of conservationists seeking to harness the power of social influence.

Changing how we engage social norms in behavior change interventions – Please keep to the path

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2. Policy solutions to facilitate restoration in coastal marine environments

A range of barriers exist for successful marine restoration in Australia, including legislative complexity and a lack of enabling policy. For example, marine restoration in Australia is regulated through a framework designed to limit environmental harm, rather than through a process aimed at achieving net environmental benefit. For example, certain marine restoration projects may trigger the same permitting process as an infrastructure development project. We reviewed the regulatory frameworks for marine restoration projects in North America and Europe to uncover the regulatory and policy settings that support restoration of marine ecosystems. We identified a range of strategies that could better facilitate restoration in marine and coastal environments in Australia, including:
-Clearer guidance on the regulatory frameworks for restoration;
-A more structured approach to risk management in marine restoration;
-Including marine ecosystem restoration in regional and state coastal management planning;
-Better national coordination for restoration projects that can address large scale issues (e.g. climate mitigation).

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308597X21004000?dgcid=author

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3. A tale of two Ramsar wetlands – what a difference a minister makes

In both cases the federal environment department advised the minister that the projects should be rejected upfront as ‘clearly unacceptable’, without going through the full EIA process. One minister ignored the advice.

https://bit.ly/2MsmLyX

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4. Conservationists say rocket launch site could push endangered southern emu-wren to extinction

An Adelaide firm’s plans for permanent facilities at Whaler’s Bay on the Eyre Peninsula could wipe out prime habitat, environment group warns

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/28/conservationists-say-rocket-launch-site-could-push-endangered-southern-emu-wren-to-extinction?

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5. Models – what are they good for?

The key, to paraphrase Einstein, is to make the models as simple as possible, but no simpler. That is easy to say, but it is perhaps the most challenging thing to deliver.

Models are everywhere at the moment! Everyone in Australia will have heard of the Doherty model, which has helped set Australia’s path out of the pandemic. Modelling from the Burnett Institute is helping to steer both New South Wales and Victoria out of their lockdowns. But what are scientific models, and why are they useful? Answering these questions is not easy. Sure, there are various answers to the questions. But the answers are not always easy to communicate, and secondly, the answers depend on the purpose of the models. While models are used for a range of reasons including synthesis, explanation, estimation, experimental design, etc., I will focus here on models that are used for prediction…

https://mickresearch.wordpress.com/2021/09/24/models-what-are-they-good-for/

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6. Serious Integrity Concerns Around Australia’s ‘Junk’ Carbon Credits

One in five carbon credits issued by the Federal Government’s $4.5 billion Emission Reduction Fund (ERF) do not represent real abatement and are essentially ‘junk’ credits, according to new research by the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Australia Institute Climate & Energy Program.

Serious Integrity Concerns Around Australia’s ‘Junk’ Carbon Credits – The Australia Institute

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7. They Knew: How the U.S. Government Helped Cause the Climate Crisis

How seven successive U.S. administrations failed to take effective action on halting greenhouse gas emissions and encouraged the extraction and use of fossil fuels.

They Knew: How the U.S. Government Helped Cause the Climate Crisis – Yale E360

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8. Notes on Dbytes’ history and future

Dbytes began around 10 years ago. I created it as an internal newsletter of the Environmental Decisions Group, a network of conservation scientists (led by Hugh Possingham at UQ). It became quite popular and subscriptions were opened to anyone with an interest in better environmental decision making. Dbytes’ network grew to around 800 subscribers; including academics, policy makers and conservation managers.

The Environmental Decisions Group formally concluded at the end of 2018 with the end of funding of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) which was the main sponsor of Dbytes over its life till then. However, I decided to continue on with Dbytes as my own project. I did this because I enjoy collating the information I include in each issue, I am still very interested in environmental decision science, and the feedback I get from many people who receive Dbytes suggests it does make a difference to conservation in Australia. As one example, several colleagues have told me they use Dbytes in their university teaching.

Dbytes is not a big thing. I don’t promote it much and it runs on the smell of an oily rag. In spite of this, it has retained much of its audience (currently over 600 subscribers) and I still get regular requests to add subscribers.

In recent months, however, I have had feedback that Dbytes is being increasingly blocked by uni spam filters as unis everywhere attempt to make their IT environments more secure. I have attempted to modify things on the Mailchimp platform that sends out Dbytes but my efforts so far have not been very effective (a reflection of my age and lack of IT capacity).

I will continue to work on this but thought I should briefly describe the situation. I will run this note over several issues. Of course, people who like Dbytes but are having it blocked may never see this note but I’m hoping word will get around.

One alternative people might consider is subscribing to the WordPress version of Dbytes. I established the WordPress version of Dbytes several years ago as a backup web version. You can subscribe to this site by visiting https://ozdbytes.wordpress.com/about/ Go to the bottom of the page and become a follower (I have 70 followers at the moment, many of whom are people who have randomly stumbled over Dbytes). Followers are sent an email whenever I post a new issue. That email contains the whole contents of Dbytes, it just looks a little different to the Mailchimp version. So far, WordPress emails are not being blocked by uni filters (to the best of my knowledge).

Who knows, the age of electronic newsletters may be coming to a close, and Dbytes is possibly a dinosaur watching an asteroid streak overhead. But this dinosaur still has a few issues left in it. With luck, we might even reach that magical issue #500.

Regards

David

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #494 (22 September 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“We understand the proposed changes would see only 238 – just 12% – of Australia’s 1,900 threatened species and ecological communities continue to be supported by a recovery plan.”
Brendan Sydes, ACF (see item 2)


In this issue of Dbytes

1. The costs and benefits of restoring a continent’s terrestrial ecosystems
2. Proposed changes to conservation planning decisions (Minister decides that a recovery plan is not required)
3. Destroying vegetation along fences and roads could worsen our extinction crisis — yet the NSW government just allowed it
4. Measuring social preferences for conservation management in Australia
5. The new private space race is as unsustainable as it is unfair
6. ‘Like nothing in my lifetime’: researchers race to unravel the mystery of Australia’s dying frogs
7. What the Mauritius kestrel can teach us about wildlife reintroductions
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1. The costs and benefits of restoring a continent’s terrestrial ecosystems

We find that spending approximately AU$2 billion (0.1% of Australia’s 2019 Gross Domestic Product) annually for 30 years could restore 13 million ha of degraded land without affecting intensive agriculture and urban areas. This initiative would result in almost all (99.8%) of Australia’s degraded terrestrial ecosystems reaching 30% vegetation coverage, enabling a trajectory to recover critical ecological functions, abate almost one billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent and produce AU$12–46 billion net present value in carbon offset revenue. The carbon market revenue is estimated to cover up to 111% of the investment required for the restoration. Our research shows that the recovery of degraded ecosystems in Australia is both attainable and affordable.

Key points:
– Creates a nationwide plan to restore degraded ecosystems while sequestering carbon on marginal farming land
– Costs 0.1% of GDP each year for 30 years restoring every habitat type to 30%
– It would meet one-sixth of Australia’s Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Climate Agreement
– Cumulative carbon abatement of almost 1 billion tonnes of CO2e
– De-bugs myth we can’t have a healthy environment and strong economy

https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2664.14008

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2. Proposed changes to conservation planning decisions (Minister decides that a recovery plan is not required)

The public is invited to provide comment to the Minister on the Minister’s proposed subsequent decision (to not have a recovery plan) for 28 ecological communities and 157 species (comprising 104 plant, 14 mammal, 19 bird, 3 fish, 3 frog, 6 invertebrate, and 8 reptile species).
Comments to the Minister can be made electronically or in writing and must be received by Tuesday 2 November 2021.

Proposed changes to conservation planning decisions | Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment

And see the ACF’s commentary on this proposal: Hundreds of threatened species abandoned by government

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3. Destroying vegetation along fences and roads could worsen our extinction crisis — yet the NSW government just allowed it

The NSW government last week made it legal for rural landholders to clear vegetation within 25 metres of their property boundaries, without approval. This radical measure is proposed to protect people and properties from fires, despite the lack of such an explicit recommendation from federal and state-based inquiries into the devastating 2019-20 bushfires.
This is poor environmental policy that lacks apparent consideration or justification of its potentially substantial ecological costs. It also gravely undermines the NSW government’s recent announcement of a plan for “zero extinction” within the state’s national parks, as the success of protected reserves for conservation is greatly enhanced by connection with surrounding “off-reserve” habitat.

https://theconversation.com/destroying-vegetation-along-fences-and-roads-could-worsen-our-extinction-crisis-yet-the-nsw-government-just-allowed-it-167801

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4. Measuring social preferences for conservation management in Australia

Conservation management is a rapidly evolving field in which scientific innovation and management practice can run ahead of social acceptability, leading to dispute and policy constraints. Here we use best-worst scaling (BWS) to explore the social preferences for two broad areas of threatened species management in Australia as well as support for extinction prevention as a whole. Of the 2430 respondents to an online survey among the Australian general public, 70% stated that extinction should be prevented regardless of the cost, a sentiment not fully reflected in existing policy and legislation. There was strong support for existing measures being taken to protect threatened species from feral animals, including explicit support for the killing of feral animals, but the demographic correlations with the results suggest approval is lower among women and younger respondents. There was a particularly high level of support for moving species to new places, which does not match current capabilities of managers responsible for assisted migration, suggesting messaging about the current limitations needs to be improved, or for resources to overcome them greatly increased. There was less support for genetic interventions than the feral animal control and other land management measures. A small majority of respondents thought it would be better for a species to cope without assistance than invasively alter their genome. This suggests that greater community consultation is desirable before applying genetic management approaches more interventionist than interbreeding subspecies.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S000632072100375X?via%3Dihub

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5. The new private space race is as unsustainable as it is unfair

The private space rockets of the 21st Century are acts of blind faith in the face of environmental collapse: ‘My faith is strong, my God will protect me, and here is my technological monument to prove it.’ The billionaire’s space club is the latest manifestation of the disconnection between the wealthy elite and the planet that supports them.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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6. ‘Like nothing in my lifetime’: researchers race to unravel the mystery of Australia’s dying frogs

After asking for public help with their investigations, scientists have received thousands of reports and specimens of dead, shrivelled frogs

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/19/like-nothing-in-my-lifetime-researchers-race-to-unravel-the-mystery-of-australias-dying-frogs

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7. What the Mauritius kestrel can teach us about wildlife reintroductions

Using decades of data, a recent study analyzed long-term population trends for the Mauritius kestrel, a bird of prey endemic to the island of Mauritius, which was once considered the rarest bird in the world. While an intensive recovery program for the kestrel helped increase the population to an estimated 400 individuals by the 1990s, scientists now estimate there are fewer than 250 in the wild. They link this decline to a halt in monitoring efforts, which occurred, ironically, after the species’ conservation status had improved and prompted conservation donors to stop funding the recovery efforts. Scientists say the key to wildlife reintroduction success is maintaining post-release monitoring efforts after captive rearing, a conservation tool that can be used for species beyond birds of prey.

https://news.mongabay.com/2021/09/what-the-mauritius-kestrel-can-teach-us-about-wildlife-reintroductions

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #492 (8 September 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“Making ecocide an international crime is an appropriate response to the gravity of this harm and could help prevent mass environmental destruction. But whether it does so will depend on how the crime is defined.”
Burke and Celermajer [see item 5]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. How you can help save nature
2. Street life ain’t easy for a stray cat, with most dying before they turn 1. So what’s the best way to deal with them?
3. Extinction is a process, not an event
4. Buried Queensland government report found Adani plan to protect black-throated finch was ‘superficial’
5. Human progress is no excuse to destroy nature. A push to make ‘ecocide’ a global crime must recognise this fundamental truth
6. Elon Musk’s SpaceX launch site threatens wildlife
7. Climate change means Australia may have to abandon much of its farming


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1. How you can help save nature

There are many behaviours and campaigns that promote things like energy saving, reduced water consumption, recycling, etc, but there are few that are specifically targeted at protecting biodiversity. To address this, Selinske et al. used a behavioural prioritization method to identify and rank individual ‘everyday’ behaviours that could help deliver benefits for biodiversity.

Blog: How you can help save nature – Please keep to the path
Paper: Identifying and prioritizing human behaviors that benefit biodiversity (wiley.com)

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2. Street life ain’t easy for a stray cat, with most dying before they turn 1. So what’s the best way to deal with them?

Odds are, if you’ve seen a cat prowling around your neighbourhood, it doesn’t have an owner. Australia is home to hordes of unowned cats, with an estimated 700,000 living without appropriate care in urban areas, around rubbish dumps or on farms.

Street life ain’t easy for a stray cat, with most dying before they turn 1. So what’s the best way to deal with them? (theconversation.com)

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3. Extinction is a process, not an event

Every year, the September 7 marks National Threatened Species Day. Why this day? September 7 is the day the last known Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger) died in the Hobart Zoo back in 1936. National Threatened Species Day is a time to reflect on all of the species currently facing extinction. It’s a day to raise awareness, and a call to action.

Setting aside a single day of the year for threatened species awareness posits extinction as an event. But extinction is a process. It’s a process that unfolds remarkably quickly in some cases, but usually one that plays out over many, many years. By seeing extinction as a process, it becomes a trajectory along which there are many opportunities for intervention.

https://www.rememberthewild.org.au/threatened-species-day-is-an-event-but-extinction-is-a-process/

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4. Buried Queensland government report found Adani plan to protect black-throated finch was ‘superficial’

Scientific panel finds Adani’s conservation aims for the endangered black-throated finch ‘do not meet the content requirements of an acceptable plan’

The Queensland government commissioned, mostly ignored, and then tried to keep secret the findings of an independent scientific panel that concluded Adani’s conservation plans for the endangered black-throated finch were “superficial” and not backed by evidence.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/sep/02/buried-queensland-government-report-found-adani-plan-to-protect-black-throated-finch-was-superficial

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5. Human progress is no excuse to destroy nature. A push to make ‘ecocide’ a global crime must recognise this fundamental truth

Scientists recently confirmed the Amazon rainforest is now emitting more carbon dioxide than it absorbs, due to uncontrolled burning and deforestation. It brings the crucial ecosystem closer to a tipping point that would see it replaced by savanna and trigger accelerated global heating. This is not an isolated example of nature being damaged at a mass scale. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change this month confirmed global heating is now affecting every continent, region and ocean on Earth. That includes Australia, which is a global deforestation hotspot and where the Great Barrier Reef is headed for virtual extinction.

In the face of such horrors, a new international campaign is calling for “ecocide” – the killing of ecology – to be deemed an international “super crime” in the order of genocide. The campaign has attracted high-profile supporters including French President Emmanuel Macron, Pope Francis and Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.

https://theconversation.com/human-progress-is-no-excuse-to-destroy-nature-a-push-to-make-ecocide-a-global-crime-must-recognise-this-fundamental-truth-164594

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6. Elon Musk’s SpaceX launch site threatens wildlife

The private space race is already causing concern about the potential climate impacts of the fuel needed to propel the rockets. But environmentalists on the ground in south Texas say SpaceX’s testing site is having more immediate impacts.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX launch site threatens wildlife, Texas environmental groups say | Texas | The Guardian

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7. Climate change means Australia may have to abandon much of its farming

The findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggest Australia may have to jettison tracts of the bush unless there is a massive investment in climate-change adaptation and planning. The potential impacts of climate change on employment and the livability of the regions have not been adequately considered. Even if emissions are curtailed, Australia likely faces billions of dollars of adaptation costs for rural communities.

Climate change means Australia may have to abandon much of its farming (theconversation.com)

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David

Dbytes #490 (25 August 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“Tragically, we have identified an additional three frog species that are very likely to be extinct. Another four species on our list are still surviving, but not likely to make it to 2040 without help.”
Gillespie et al [see item 5]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Dead, shrivelled frogs are unexpectedly turning up across eastern Australia. We need your help to find out why
2. Navigating Trade-Offs Between Dams and River Conservation
3. Administrative law: like the Curate’s egg, boring in parts, but environmentally useful nonetheless
4. Conservation needs to break free from global priority mapping
5. We name the 26 Australian frogs at greatest risk of extinction by 2040 — and how to save them
6. Land of opportunity: more sustainable Australian farming would protect our lucrative exports (and the planet)
7. Putting the cat before the wildlife: Exploring cat owners’ beliefs about cat containment as predictors of owner behavior
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1. Dead, shrivelled frogs are unexpectedly turning up across eastern Australia. We need your help to find out why

Over the past few weeks, we’ve received a flurry of emails from concerned people who’ve seen sick and dead frogs across eastern Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

Dead, shrivelled frogs are unexpectedly turning up across eastern Australia. We need your help to find out why (theconversation.com)

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2. Navigating Trade-Offs Between Dams and River Conservation

Connected and healthy rivers deliver diverse benefits that are often overlooked: freshwater fish stocks that improve food security for hundreds of millions of people, nutrient-rich sediment that supports agriculture and keeps deltas above rising seas, floodplains that help mitigate the impact of floods, and a wealth of biodiversity. Navigating Trade-Offs Between Dams And River Conservation, a new report in the journal, Global Sustainability, reveals that if all proposed hydropower dams are built, over 260,000 km of rivers (160,000 miles), including the Amazon, Congo, Irrawaddy, and Salween mainstem rivers, will lose free-flowing status.

Navigating Trade-Offs Between Dams and River Conservation (newsecuritybeat.org)

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3. Administrative law: like the Curate’s egg, boring in parts, but environmentally useful nonetheless

Anyone who has followed environmental issues through the courts will know that many court cases concerning the environment turn not on environment-specific principles (such as precaution or intergenerational equity), but on general principles of administrative law.

https://bit.ly/2MsmLyX

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4. Conservation needs to break free from global priority mapping

Global priority maps have been transformative for conservation, but now have questionable utility and may crowd out other forms of research. Conservation must re-engage with contextually rich knowledge that builds global understanding from the ground up.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-021-01540-x

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5. We name the 26 Australian frogs at greatest risk of extinction by 2040 — and how to save them

Our new study published today, identified the 26 Australian frogs at greatest risk, the likelihood of their extinctions by 2040 and the steps needed to save them. Tragically, we have identified an additional three frog species that are very likely to be extinct. Another four species on our list are still surviving, but not likely to make it to 2040 without help.

We name the 26 Australian frogs at greatest risk of extinction by 2040 — and how to save them (theconversation.com)

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6. Land of opportunity: more sustainable Australian farming would protect our lucrative exports (and the planet)

In addition to a substantial greenhouse gas footprint from agriculture, Australia also has a truly terrible record on biodiversity loss. The argument for farmers to adopt more sustainable practices – and for governments to help the shift – is growing ever more compelling. Not only would it safeguard our exports, it would cut emissions and help protect nature.

https://theconversation.com/land-of-opportunity-more-sustainable-australian-farming-would-protect-our-lucrative-exports-and-the-planet-166177

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7. Putting the cat before the wildlife: Exploring cat owners’ beliefs about cat containment as predictors of owner behavior

Free-roaming domestic cats pose risks to wildlife, domestic animals, humans, and importantly, the cats themselves. Behavior change campaigns that seek to minimize these risks by increasing cat containment require an understanding of the factors that predict cat owners’ containment behaviors. We conducted an online survey in Victoria, Australia (N = 1,024) to identify cat owners’ (N = 220) behaviors in containing their cats, explore beliefs and attitudes that predict containment behavior, and compare attitudes about cat containment with respondents that do not own cats (N = 804). We found that 53% of cat owning respondents do not allow any roaming. These respondents were more likely to hold concerns about risks to cats’ safety while roaming and less likely to perceive that cats have a right to roam. Concern about impacts to wildlife was not a significant predictor of containment behavior. Expectations that cat owners should manage cats’ roaming behavior was a social norm among cat owners and other respondents, and cat containers were more likely to indicate that they would try to change behaviors of their peers that they perceived to be harmful to the environment. Cat containment campaigns could be improved by appealing to owners’ concerns about cat well-being, engaging respected messengers that align with these concerns, including owners who already contain their cats.

The Society for Conservation Biology (wiley.com)

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #489 (18 August 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“We found invasive species now cost Australia around A$24.5 billion a year, or an average 1.26% of the nation’s gross domestic product. The costs total at least A$390 billion in the past 60 years.”
Corey Bradshaw and Andrew Hoskins [see item 7]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Scientific foundations for an ecosystem goal, milestones and indicators for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework
2. Three experts and a politician in a sandpit – who has the real insight on climate policy in a connected society
3.What’s a national park and why does it matter?
4. Advancing Social Equity in and Through Marine Conservation
5. The political effects of emergency frames in sustainability
6. Fossil fuel misinformation may sideline one of the most important climate change reports ever released
7. Pest plants and animals cost Australia around $25 billion a year – and it will get worse

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1. Scientific foundations for an ecosystem goal, milestones and indicators for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework

Despite substantial conservation efforts, the loss of ecosystems continues globally, along with related declines in species and nature’s contributions to people. An effective ecosystem goal, supported by clear milestones, targets and indicators, is urgently needed for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and beyond to support biodiversity conservation, the UN Sustainable Development Goals and efforts to abate climate change. Here, we describe the scientific foundations for an ecosystem goal and milestones, founded on a theory of change, and review available indicators to measure progress. An ecosystem goal should include three core components: area, integrity and risk of collapse. Targets—the actions that are necessary for the goals to be met—should address the pathways to ecosystem loss and recovery, including safeguarding remnants of threatened ecosystems, restoring their area and integrity to reduce risk of collapse and retaining intact areas. Multiple indicators are needed to capture the different dimensions of ecosystem area, integrity and risk of collapse across all ecosystem types, and should be selected for their fitness for purpose and relevance to goal components. Science-based goals, supported by well-formulated action targets and fit-for-purpose indicators, will provide the best foundation for reversing biodiversity loss and sustaining human well-being.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-021-01538-5

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2. Three experts and a politician in a sandpit – who has the real insight on climate policy in a connected society

A scientist, an economist and a lawyer take on a politician about climate action (in a sandpit).

Who wins?

It’s depends on the criticality of the sandpile.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3.What’s a national park and why does it matter?

With over 9 percent of NSW protected in national parks it’s easy to see how ‘national park’ has become shorthand for any protected area, or even areas of bushland, in the state. As usual, the reality is much more complicated, and there are many types of reserves and protected areas in NSW.

https://blog.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/whats-a-national-park-and-why-does-it-matter/

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4. Advancing Social Equity in and Through Marine Conservation

Though it is mandated by international law and central to conservation policy, less attention has been given to how to operationalize social equity in and through the pursuit of marine conservation. In this article, we aim to bring greater attention to this topic through reviewing how social equity can be better integrated in marine conservation policy and practice. Advancing social equity in marine conservation requires directing attention to: recognition through acknowledgment and respect for diverse peoples and perspectives; fair distribution of impacts through maximizing benefits and minimizing burdens; procedures through fostering participation in decision-making and good governance; management through championing and supporting local involvement and leadership; the environment through ensuring the efficacy of conservation actions and adequacy of management to ensure benefits to nature and people; and the structural barriers to and institutional roots of inequity in conservation.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2021.711538/full

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5. The political effects of emergency frames in sustainability

Emergency frames are mobilized in contemporary sustainability debates, both in response to specific events and strategically. The strategic deployment of emergency frames by proponents of sustainability action aims to stimulate collective action on issues for which it is lacking. But this is contentious due to a range of possible effects. We critically review interdisciplinary social science literature to examine the political effects of emergency frames in sustainability and develop a typology of five key dimensions of variation. This pinpoints practical areas for evaluating the utility of emergency frames and builds a shared vocabulary for analysis and decision-making.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-021-00749-9

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6. Fossil fuel misinformation may sideline one of the most important climate change reports ever released

This week’s landmark report on the state of the climate paints a sobering picture. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that, without deep and immediate cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, the world is very likely headed for climate catastrophe. In November, world leaders will gather in Glasgow for the latest round of United Nations climate talks. It’s the most crucial round of climate negotiations since those which led to the Paris Agreement in 2015. The question is: will governments around the world now listen to the climate science? Or will misinformation campaigns backed by vested interests continue to delay action?

https://theconversation.com/fossil-fuel-misinformation-may-sideline-one-of-the-most-important-climate-change-reports-ever-released-165887

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7. Pest plants and animals cost Australia around $25 billion a year – and it will get worse

Shamefully, Australia has one of the highest extinction rates in the world. And the number one threat to our species is invasive or “alien” plants and animals. But invasive species don’t just cause extinctions and biodiversity loss – they also create a serious economic burden. Our research, published today, reveals invasive species have cost the Australian economy at least A$390 billion in the last 60 years alone. Our paper – the most detailed assessment of its type ever published in this country – also reveals feral cats are the worst invasive species in terms of total costs, followed by rabbits and fire ants.

Pest plants and animals cost Australia around $25 billion a year – and it will get worse (theconversation.com)

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David

Dbytes #488 (11 August 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“This is a code red for humanity. The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable… This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet,” — UN Secretary General, António Guterres on the latest IPCC report.S


In this issue of Dbytes

1. A national-scale dataset for threats impacting Australia’s imperiled flora and fauna.
2. Six modes of co-production for sustainability
3. Feral honey bees and competition for natural cavities
4. The early Hawke Governments and the environment: 1983-1987
5. Do conservation covenants consider the delivery of ecosystem services?
6. US forest fires threaten carbon offsets as company-linked trees burn
7. Key factors for effective partner integration and governance for threatened species recovery

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1. A national-scale dataset for threats impacting Australia’s imperiled flora and fauna.

Using expert consultation, we compile the first complete, validated, and consistent taxon-specific threat and impact dataset for all nationally listed threatened taxa in Australia. We think this dataset will provide critical information to our work, including:
– help inform conservation and management strategies for Australia’s threatened species and threatening processes at local, regional, and national scales.
– help guide actions for abating existing threats to bushfire-impacted species to help aid recovery and avoid further declines.
– help infer the benefit of managing a particular threat and aid in recovery planning.
– used at the local scale, where decision-makers can use the severity score to decide which of the threats present in their jurisdiction are the most important and feasible to address.
– help to refine regulatory processes given the level of impact to particular taxa. For example, under the EPBC Act, actions associated with a particular development proposal or other activities that are likely to cause “significant impact” to a threatened taxon require special consideration. This dataset may aid decision-makers in determining “significant impact” of potential activities for each of Australia’s nationally listed threatened taxa.

http://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.7920

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2. Six modes of co-production for sustainability

The promise of co-production to address complex sustainability challenges is compelling. Yet, co-production, the collaborative weaving of research and practice, encompasses diverse aims, terminologies and practices, with poor clarity over their implications. To explore this diversity, we systematically mapped differences in how 32 initiatives from 6 continents co-produce diverse outcomes for the sustainable development of ecosystems at local to global scales. We found variation in their purpose for utilizing co-production, understanding of power, approach to politics and pathways to impact. A cluster analysis identified six modes of co-production: (1) researching solutions; (2) empowering voices; (3) brokering power; (4) reframing power; (5) navigating differences and (6) reframing agency. No mode is ideal; each holds unique potential to achieve particular outcomes, but also poses unique challenges and risks. Our analysis provides a heuristic tool for researchers and societal actors to critically explore this diversity and effectively navigate trade-offs when co-producing sustainability.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-021-00755-x

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3. feral honey bees and competition for natural cavities

Our new paper is out in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment (open access). We used a combined search of peer-reviewed literature and iNaturalist observations to determine what evidence is available on the use of natural cavities and hollows by feral (wild) western honey bees (Apis mellifera). Our paper addresses an important knowledge gap on how invasive honey bees compete with native species in their introduced range.

New paper: feral honey bees and competition for natural cavities – Ecology is not a dirty word

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4. The early Hawke Governments: 1983-1987

If the Hawke Government were an environmental policy student in 1985, its report card would start with an A+, followed by a string of D’s. The card would bear the teacher’s comment that ‘this talented student has lost interest and is skipping class’.

https://bit.ly/2MsmLyX
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5. Do conservation covenants consider the delivery of ecosystem services?

Conservation covenants promote the conservation of biodiversity and compatible ecosystem services. However, it is not clear whether ecosystem services co-benefits arise incidentally or through explicit policy design. We undertook a content analysis of conservation covenant documents and policy frameworks to examine this issue. We found that the requirements of conservation covenants did not widely consider the management ecosystem services. When covenant clauses did focus on ecosystem services, they primarily considered the ecosystem services flows. Conservation covenants can improve the delivery ecosystem services by considering ecosystem services supply and flows within the policy design process.

Do conservation covenants consider the delivery of ecosystem services? – ScienceDirect

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6. US forest fires threaten carbon offsets as company-linked trees burn

BP and Microsoft among groups that bought into projects designed to help achieve net-zero emissions targets.

https://www.ft.com/content/3f89c759-eb9a-4dfb-b768-d4af1ec5aa23

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7. Key factors for effective partner integration and governance for threatened species recovery

The common assumption that partnerships increase the effectiveness of threatened species conservation has never been tested. This question is complex, as there are many types of partnership, reasons to partner, and various costs incurred, and potential benefits received. Here we investigate the collaborative process of partnerships and how they can lead to better outcomes for threatened species conservation. We assess the conditions where partnerships have supported the solving of environmental problems, the activities carried out and the goals achieved, including whether ecological, economic and social objectives have been met. We did so by interviewing people from a cross-section of partnerships across Australia that have focused on threatened species or threatened ecological communities. We conducted 44 interviews with partners from 24 partnerships focused on 23 threatened species or threatened ecological communities. We attempted to interview two or more organisation types involved in each case study to capture differing sentiments. The semi-structured interviews were carried out over the phone, recorded and transcribed. A deductive coding method was used to identify common themes within the interview data and NVivo was used to code the data. The results of our thematic analysis of interviews provide an overview of the reasons why groups and individuals are embarking on partnerships for threatened species across Australia. We describe the aims and benefits of these partnerships, common challenges to be overcome and the key ingredients of partnerships if they are to achieve recovery objectives. We outline common pathways for partnership initiation, the roles and timeframes around which partnerships structure themselves and how these partnerships tend to be managed. Our study describes the circumstances where a partnership is likely to increase effectiveness, the roles partners play in threatened species recovery, and the costs associated with establishing and maintaining partnerships. The results of this study can help both practitioners developing programs for threatened species and ecological communities, and agencies, governments, conservation organisations, and land managers who make decisions on whether to invest in establishing and servicing partnerships to support threatened species conservation.

Skroblin, A., Currey, K., Grindrod, J., Nally, S., Morgain, R., Pandit, R., Garnett, S.T. (2020). Key factors for effective partner integration and governance for threatened species recovery. NESP Threatened Sprecies Recovery Hub Project 6.6 final report, Brisbane.

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David

Dbytes #487 (4 August 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“Even with that decline in air transport and the general slowdown in human movement [due to COVID], it generally didn’t have an overall impact on greenhouse gas emissions.”
Thomas Newsome [see item 7]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. A Comprehensive Overview of Technologies for Species and Habitat Monitoring and Conservation
2. Don’t make silver bullets policy priorities for climate change
3. Academic blogs: knowing where your work ends up
4. Environment officials questioned use of land government already owned as offset for western Sydney airport
5. Threatened Species Index has moved to TERN
6. Betting big on bioacoustics
7. Climate emergency not slowed by COVID-19 pandemic and planet’s ‘vital signs’ worsening, scientists say

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1. A Comprehensive Overview of Technologies for Species and Habitat Monitoring and Conservation

From José Lahoz-Monfort: We’ve just published an overview paper in journal BioScience, with the first comprehensive compilation of technologies for wildlife & habitat monitoring & conservation. No future promises: the technologies that are available today, from the well-established to the more forward-thinking, including terrestrial and aquatic environments. With 25 pages, it’s almost a small book on conservation tech, the first of its kind by the breadth of technologies covered (from sensors to AI, from airborne to animal-borne). We think it might be a good resource for those wanting to get into this field (including students) or on the lookout for different tech options, and we’ve made it open access.

https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/advance-article/doi/10.1093/biosci/biab073/6322306

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2. Don’t make silver bullets policy priorities for climate change

The Morrison Government is placing enormous faith in silver bullets to solve Australia’s biggest challenges. Selling silver bullets as policy solutions mean a failure to acknowledge the real problem, a diversion of resources away from solutions that do address the challenge, and the loss of critical time.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3. Academic blogs: knowing where your work ends up
By Manu Saunders

This week, a syndicated article appeared across a number of online media platforms under various different headlines. It covers the doomsday insect apocalypse narrative and appears to cast doubt on the issue of insect decline, largely blaming media and ‘activists’ for promoting the hype. The author links to my blog posts on the insect apocalypse, my BioScience paper co-authored with Jasmine Janes & James O’Hanlon, and my American Scientist article as evidence against the hype, and some sections paraphrase or directly quote from my work. To the average reader, it could appear that I have talked to the author, and that I endorse the article. I did not, I do not, and I was not aware the article was being written.

Academic blogs: knowing where your work ends up – Ecology is not a dirty word

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4. Environment officials questioned use of land government already owned as offset for western Sydney airport

Green group decries infrastructure department’s ‘dodgy offset’ plan to use government site that already had protections

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/aug/02/environment-officials-questioned-use-of-heritage-listed-land-as-offset-for-western-sydney-airport

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5. Threatened Species Index has moved to TERN

The Australian government’s National Environmental Science Program (NESP) funding for the Threatened Species Recovery Hub finished in June this year, but the future of one of its achievements, the Threatened Species Index (TSX), has been secured with TERN becoming the new custodian of the index project. With support from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment for the foreseeable future, TERN will ensure continued access for all stakeholders to data on changes in the abundance of 254 species of threatened Australian mammals, birds and plants. The first of its type in the world, the TSX provides reliable and robust measures of changes in the relative abundance of Australia’s threatened and near-threatened species at national, state and regional levels.

Threatened Species Index has moved to TERN – TERN Australia

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6. Betting big on bioacoustics

Lisa Yang is an investor and philanthropist who donated $24 million last month to establish the K. Lisa Yang Center for Conservation Bioacoustics at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Yang told Mongabay that she focused on bioacoustics due to the great potential for scaling the effectiveness of conservation efforts: “The technology can provide an effective way of assessing conservation practices.”

Betting big on bioacoustics: Q&A with philanthropist Lisa Yang (mongabay.com)

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7. Climate emergency not slowed by COVID-19 pandemic and planet’s ‘vital signs’ worsening, scientists say

Scientists have declared Earth’s “vital signs” are worsening, despite a change in habits because of COVID-19. Emissions have reached an all-time high even though air traffic has declined. Australia is an outlier in both setting targets and strategies to reduce emissions.

Climate emergency not slowed by COVID-19 pandemic and planet’s ‘vital signs’ worsening, scientists say – ABC News

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David

Dbytes #486 (28 July 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“This is history repeating itself. In 2015, I was asked to review a UNESCO report on climate change and World Heritage sites, which included the Great Barrier Reef. In the final report, all mention of the Reef was cut completely, after the Australian government successfully pressured UNESCO to remove any reference to it.”
Will Steffen on UNESCO decision not to list the GBR on ‘in danger’ list.
[and see item 4]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Natural Climate Solutions for Corporates
2. Fixing the Environment is the right thing to do? Isn’t it?
3. Nature’s Paris moment: does the global bid to stem wildlife decline go far enough?
4. Not declaring the Great Barrier Reef as ‘in danger’ only postpones the inevitable
5. The mismeasure of conservation
6. Amazonia as a carbon source linked to deforestation and climate change
7. Rapid increases and extreme months in projections of United States high-tide flooding

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1. Natural Climate Solutions for Corporates

A high-level guide to the credible use of natural climate solutions credits by corporate entities. From the Natural Climate Solutions Alliance.

http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_NCSA_NCS_for_Corporates_2021.pdf

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2. Fixing the Environment is the right thing to do? Isn’t it?
Beware the Siren’s call of populism

Why do we find ourselves stuck in reform gridlock? Could it be the rise of neoliberalism is pushing out ‘capital C’ Conservatism? While material wealth is up, it’s just as important to note that commitment-driven behaviour, such as church-going, volunteering and even sticking with one football team for life, is down.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3. Nature’s Paris moment: does the global bid to stem wildlife decline go far enough?

There are concerns a new UN biodiversity framework is not ambitious enough and calls for Australia to take a leading role

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/24/natures-paris-moment-does-the-global-bid-to-stem-wildlife-decline-go-far-enough

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4. Not declaring the Great Barrier Reef as ‘in danger’ only postpones the inevitable

After much anticipation, the World Heritage Committee on Friday decided against listing the Great Barrier Reef as “in danger”. The decision ignored the recommendation of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre — a recommendation based on analyses by Australian scientific experts of the reef’s declining condition.

https://theconversation.com/not-declaring-the-great-barrier-reef-as-in-danger-only-postpones-the-inevitable-164867

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5. The mismeasure of conservation

A key role of area-based conservation is saving biodiversity or achieving conservation impact by avoiding loss and/or promoting recovery.
Conservation measures commonly used as policy targets, such as extent of protection and representation of ecosystems and species, are unreliable guides to conservation impact.
Most evaluations of the impact of area-based measures have been retrospective, but with lessons for future decisions.
Recent developments in impact evaluation show the feasibility of predicting conservation impact as a basis for setting targets and priorities, applicable to a wide range of area-based measures.
The post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework has the potential to guide jurisdictions in achieving quantitative targets for impact instead of targets based on measures that could cause area-based conservation interventions to fail in protecting imperiled biodiversity.

The mismeasure of conservation – ScienceDirect
&
Measuring conservation in a way that counts – ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (coralcoe.org.au)

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6. Amazonia as a carbon source linked to deforestation and climate change

Amazonia hosts the Earth’s largest tropical forests and has been shown to be an important carbon sink over recent decades1,2,3. This carbon sink seems to be in decline, however, as a result of factors such as deforestation and climate change1,2,3. Here we investigate Amazonia’s carbon budget and the main drivers responsible for its change into a carbon source. We performed 590 aircraft vertical profiling measurements of lower-tropospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide at four sites in Amazonia from 2010 to 20184. We find that total carbon emissions are greater in eastern Amazonia than in the western part, mostly as a result of spatial differences in carbon-monoxide-derived fire emissions. Southeastern Amazonia, in particular, acts as a net carbon source (total carbon flux minus fire emissions) to the atmosphere.

Amazonia as a carbon source linked to deforestation and climate change | Nature

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7. Rapid increases and extreme months in projections of United States high-tide flooding

Coastal locations around the United States will experience significantly more frequent and intense high-tide flooding during the mid-2030s due to the combined effects of climate change-induced sea level rise and the nodal cycle. The nodal cycle, described as a “moon wobble” that occurs on an 18.6 year cycle, causes higher-than-usual tides.

Rapid increases and extreme months in projections of United States high-tide flooding | Nature Climate Change

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Dbytes #485 (21 July 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“A key challenge is getting acceptance in society that protecting natural capital is a higher priority than achieving economic growth.”
Michael Vardon et al [see item 3]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. A New Global Framework for Managing Nature Through 2030
2. The blue carbon wealth of nations
3. From natural capital accounting to natural capital banking
4. Forget charisma, save our insects!
5. Artificial refuges for wildlife conservation: what is the state of the science?
6. Repeating mistakes: why the plan to protect the world’s wildlife falls short
7. New research reveals how Australia and other nations play politics with World Heritage sites

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1. A New Global Framework for Managing Nature Through 2030

The Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has released the first draft of a new global biodiversity framework, to guide actions worldwide through 2030, to preserve and protect nature and its essential services to people.

https://www.cbd.int/article/draft-1-global-biodiversity-framework

[and see item 6]

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2. The blue carbon wealth of nations

Carbon sequestration and storage in mangroves, salt marshes and seagrass meadows is an essential coastal ‘blue carbon’ ecosystem service for climate change mitigation. Here we offer a comprehensive, global and spatially explicit economic assessment of carbon sequestration and storage in three coastal ecosystem types at the global and national levels. We propose a new approach based on the country-specific social cost of carbon that allows us to calculate each country’s contribution to, and redistribution of, global blue carbon wealth. Globally, coastal ecosystems contribute a mean ± s.e.m. of US$190.67 ± 30 bn yr−1 to blue carbon wealth. The three countries generating the largest positive net blue wealth contribution for other countries are Australia, Indonesia and Cuba, with Australia alone generating a positive net benefit of US$22.8 ± 3.8 bn yr−1 for the rest of the world through coastal ecosystem carbon sequestration and storage in its territory.

The blue carbon wealth of nations | Nature Climate Change

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3. From natural capital accounting to natural capital banking

Natural capital accounting will confirm what we know — without change, we are headed for environmental disaster resulting from economic growth. We propose a natural capital bank, a new institution to help maintain natural capital adequacy and chart a course to a sustainable future via accounting.
From natural capital accounting to natural capital banking | Nature Sustainability
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4. Forget charisma, save our insects!

Never underestimate the politics swirling around charismatic megafauna because they always get the biggest chunk of the tiny conservation pie. Sadly it’s a powerful political reflex.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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5. Artificial refuges for wildlife conservation: what is the state of the science?

Artificial refuges are used across the globe to mitigate the impacts of a variety of threats on wildlife, such as habitat loss and degradation. However, there is little understanding of the science underpinning artificial refuges, and what comprises best practice for artificial refuge design and implementation for wildlife conservation. We address this gap by undertaking a systematic review of the current state of artificial refuge research for the conservation of wildlife.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/brv.12776

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6. Repeating mistakes: why the plan to protect the world’s wildlife falls short

This week the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity released a draft of its newest ten-year global plan. Often considered to be the Paris Agreement of biodiversity, the new plan aims to galvanise planetary scale action to achieve a world “living in harmony with nature” by 2050. But if the plan goes ahead in its current form, it will fall short in safeguarding the wonder of our natural world. This is primarily because it doesn’t legally bind nations to it, risking the same mistakes made by the last ten-year plan, which didn’t stop biodiversity decline.

https://theconversation.com/repeating-mistakes-why-the-plan-to-protect-the-worlds-wildlife-falls-short-164497

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7. New research reveals how Australia and other nations play politics with World Heritage sites

Some places are considered so special they’re valuable to all humanity and must be preserved for future generations. These irreplaceable gems – such as Machu Picchu, Stonehenge, Yosemite National Park and the Great Barrier Reef – are known as World Heritage sites. When these places are threatened, they can officially be placed on the “List of World Heritage in Danger”. This action brings global attention to the natural or human causes of the threats. It can encourage emergency conservation action and mobilise international assistance. However, our research released today shows the process of In Danger listings is being manipulated for political gain. National governments and other groups try to keep sites off the list, with strategies such as lobbying, or partial efforts to protect a site. Australian government actions to keep the Great Barrier Reef off the list are a prime example.

https://theconversation.com/new-research-reveals-how-australia-and-other-nations-play-politics-with-world-heritage-sites-142918

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David