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 

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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

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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/ 

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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)

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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/

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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)

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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

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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

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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 #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’


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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 

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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/

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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/

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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)

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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)

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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

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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

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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

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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 #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

-~<>~-


About Dbytes

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

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

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

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

David


Dbytes #484 (14 July 2021)

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

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


In this issue of Dbytes

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


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

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

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

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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7. Environmental law’s extinction problem

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

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

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About Dbytes

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

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

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

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

David


Dbytes #483 (7 July 2021)

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

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


In this issue of Dbytes

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


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

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

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

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2. Extinction, law and thinking emotionally about invertebrates

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

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

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

Draft law is intended to prosecute offences against the environment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About Dbytes

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

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

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

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

David


Dbytes #482 (1 July 2021)

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

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


In this issue of Dbytes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and see
Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 2019

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

GBRMPA – Outlook Report 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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7. How best to serve young people with evidence?

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

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About Dbytes

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

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

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

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

David


Dbytes #481 (23 June 2021)

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

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


In this issue of Dbytes

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

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1. Sustainable oceans and coasts national strategy 2021-2030

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

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

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2. Great Barrier Reef in danger zone

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

Great Barrier Reef in Danger Zone | Climate Council

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

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3. A pathway for reforming national environmental law

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

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

[and see item 4]

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4. Crunch time for reform of national environmental law

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

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About Dbytes

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

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

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

David


Dbytes #480 (16 June 2021)

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

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


In this issue of Dbytes

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

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

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

ERPNC.pdf (unep.org)

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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4. A healthy environment as a human right

UN recognition would strengthen legal arguments for preserving nature

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

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5. Fat Chance: Writing about Probability

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About Dbytes

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

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

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

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

David


Dbytes #479 (9 June 2021)

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

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


In this issue of Dbytes

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


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

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

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


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

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2. Understanding biodiversity offsets

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

https://www.impactmitigation.org/videos

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

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

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

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

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

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About Dbytes

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

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

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

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

David


Dbytes #478 (2 June 2021)

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

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


In this issue of Dbytes

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

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


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

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

The Guardian

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

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

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

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3. Setting robust biodiversity goals

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

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

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4. Out of control with a smidgen of humility

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About Dbytes

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

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

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

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

David


Dbytes #477 (26 May 2021)

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

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


In this issue of Dbytes

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

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

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1. Threatened Species Strategy 2021-2031

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

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

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

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

and see item 2

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2. Words are cheap, but conservation is expensive

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

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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

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

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

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4. Climate adaptation interventions for iconic fauna

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

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

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5. Arctic assessment report shows faster rate of warming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About Dbytes

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

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

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

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

David


Dbytes #476 (19 May 2021)

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

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


In this issue of Dbytes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://moreofeverything.org/

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5. From Babel to babble and back again

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

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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6. Misinformation in and about science

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

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

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7. Australian mouse plague: ‘napalming’ rodents could kill native and domestic animals too

NSW government lodges emergency request to deploy powerful bait currently outlawed for use in fields

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/may/13/mice-napalm-to-combat-plague-could-also-kill-native-and-domestic-animals-experts-warn

Editor’s note: See Anticoagulant rodenticide use, non-target impacts and regulation: A case study from Australia
and
Academic warns new $50m mouse plague package will put other animals at risk – CSU News

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About Dbytes

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

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

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

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

David


Dbytes #475 (12 May 2021)

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

“This budget sees a marginal increase of $16m on last year’s spending for on-ground biodiversity work, but spending on these programs has declined by 39% since the Coalition came to office in 2013. Over the forward estimates (through to 2025) this budget projects a decline of 55% for on-ground biodiversity work from 2013.”
Australian Conservation Foundation [and see item 5]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Global policy for assisted colonization of species
2. Cross-boundary collaboration for action-based conservation in the Himalayas
3. Confronting Grief and Finding Hope in the Future of Conservation.
4. The Fraser Government 1975-1982: Greener than you might think
5. Coalition government spent just 16 cents on climate crisis out of every $100, analysis finds
6. Rock removal associated with agricultural intensification will exacerbate loss of reptile diversity
7. Scientists sound alarm about Australia’s 26 most endangered butterflies

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1. Global policy for assisted colonization of species

Negotiations in advance of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in October 2021 will set the course of international conservation for the next several decades, providing a critical opportunity to harmonize policy and set priorities for species conservation and climate change adaptation. The CBD is the foundational intergovernmental agreement on biodiversity conservation and drives both government actions and donor priorities. However, the treaty itself and its existing strategic framework (the “Aichi targets”) were agreed on some time ago (1992 and 2010, respectively) and so need to match advances in knowledge and evidence on the immediate and devastating impacts of climate change. Over just the past few years, the frequency and severity of extreme weather events have accelerated. By one recent estimate, one-third of species may now have an increased risk of extinction from climate change

Global policy for assisted colonization of species | Science (sciencemag.org)

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2. Cross-boundary collaboration for action-based conservation in the Himalayas

This video presents the importance of cross-boundary collaboration for biodiversity and ecosystem conservation in the Indian sub-continent and the Himalayas. The work is part of an ongoing joint Nepal-India-Australia project, and represents an international collaboration between the Biodiversity Research Group at the University of Queensland (Australia), the Center for Molecular Dynamics Nepal, Kathmandu University (Nepal), the National Centre for Biological Sciences (India), the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and international colleagues.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBP4vFzOVpU

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3. Confronting Grief and Finding Hope in the Future of Conservation.

Biodiversity conservation can be a difficult topic to study when catastrophic projections and bad news is ever-present, combined with the intense urgency to act. Soulé (1985) referred to it as a ‘crisis discipline’, while terms such as ‘eco-anxiety’ and ‘ecological grief’ are gaining popularity and relevance. Fischer and Riechers (2021) therefore try to understand how conservation professionals can change their inner worlds and perspectives, in order to confront feelings of grief, and channel these to more empowering and hopeful visions of the future.

Confronting Grief and Finding Hope in the Future of Conservation. – SCIENCE FOR SUSTAINABILITY (wordpress.com)

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4. The Fraser Government 1975-1982: Greener than you might think

Although they couldn’t bring themselves to stop the Franklin Dam by legislation, the Fraser government presided over an active environment agenda and a significant expansion of the federal environmental role. They were particularly strong on World Heritage. [Whereas today, see item 5]

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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5. Coalition government spent just 16 cents on climate crisis out of every $100, analysis finds

Australian Conservation Foundation calls for reform to tackle Australia’s declining environment funding ahead of this year’s budget

Coalition government spent just 16 cents on climate crisis out of every $100, analysis finds | Australia news | The Guardian

[Editor’s Note: This story was in the lead up to this year’s budget. On yesterday’s budget announcement:
– the AAS noted that “The Budget contains no significant new funding for fundamental discovery science and no initiatives to stem the loss of university science jobs”
-the Nature Conservation Council noted that the budget “slashes $32m from nature conservation, sinks another $265m into carbon capture and storage”
-the Greens note that again there is no funding for a new federal ICAC [a major weakness given the way this government spends money]
-and the ACF noted that: “The budget includes $29.3m over four years to implement the stalled reforms to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. There is no funding to help the states and territories assume national responsibilities for environmental approvals, as proposed by the Morrison government. Nor is there any funding to develop strong national environmental standards or to develop and implement a comprehensive response to Graeme Samuel’s independent review of the EPBC Act.”]

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6. Rock removal associated with agricultural intensification will exacerbate loss of reptile diversity

The conservation of reptiles in agricultural landscapes requires appropriate management and retention of surface rocks. Potential yield increases from destroying rock habitat to intensify or expand cropland will not compensate for the net loss of reptile populations dependent on non‐renewable resources. Financial incentives to prevent the expansion and transformation of non‐arable landscapes to cropland is required to prevent ongoing loss of biodiversity.

https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1365-2664.13897?campaign=wolacceptedarticle

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7. Scientists sound alarm about Australia’s 26 most endangered butterflies

There’s a very good chance of recovery for most species – if their habitat is protected

Scientists sound alarm about Australia’s 26 most endangered butterflies | Rural Australia | The Guardian

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About Dbytes

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

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

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

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

David


Dbytes #474 (5 May 2021)

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

“This reinsurance fund has really only got enough in it for two cyclone seasons. This leaves them wide open to unexpected natural disasters – events we are seeing more and more of.”
Allan Manning, the executive chairman of LMI Group
Coalition’s $10bn scheme to curb rising insurance premiums in Queensland may not improve affordability [and see item 1]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. The economics of climate change
2. A US ban on kangaroo leather would be an animal welfare disaster – and a missed farming opportunity
3. Reef snapshot 2020-21 released: relief for the Great Barrier Reef this summer
4. What Spurs People to Save the Planet? Stories or Facts?
5. Soil carbon is a highly flawed climate policy, Part 2
6. Limited fishing zones support reef conservation
7. Conservation status of the world’s skinks

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1. The economics of climate change

Climate change poses the biggest long-term risk to the global economy. No action is not an option.

A new report by Swiss Re—the worlds largest reinsurer—states that climate change poses the biggest long-term risk to the global economy and that by mid-century, the world stands to lose around 10 per cent of total economic value from climate change if temperature increases stay on the current trajectory and the Paris Agreement and 2050 net-zero emissions targets are not met. The reinsurer produced a climate economics index stress test, which shows how climate risks will impact 48 countries representing 90 per cent of the world economy. Australia ranked 33 out of 48 in terms of impact on GDP and 13 in terms of adaptive capacity with a total index rank of 14. The lower the ranking, the higher a countries’ exposure to climate risk.

The economics of climate change | Swiss Re

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2. A US ban on kangaroo leather would be an animal welfare disaster – and a missed farming opportunity

We have a combined 80 years experience in kangaroo management. In our view, this proposal is one of the most comprehensive own goals in history of improving kangaroo welfare. Our research shows the kangaroo industry leads to better kangaroo welfare, more stable populations and improved conservation outcomes.

A US ban on kangaroo leather would be an animal welfare disaster – and a missed farming opportunity (theconversation.com)

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3. Reef snapshot 2020-21 released: relief for the Great Barrier Reef this summer

This year, mild conditions during the recent summer months provided an opportunity for recovery for Australia’s best-loved natural icon, the Great Barrier Reef.

https://www.aims.gov.au/news-and-media/reef-snapshot-2020-21-released-relief-great-barrier-reef-summer

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4. What Spurs People to Save the Planet? Stories or Facts?

Johns Hopkins study finds it depends on whether you’re Republican or Democrat.

What Spurs People to Save the Planet? Stories or Facts? « News from The Johns Hopkins University (jhu.edu)

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5. Soil carbon is a highly flawed climate policy, Part 2

Ensuring additionality becomes even more difficult as time passes. Once the program is in place, it is impossible to know what participating farmers would have done without the program. If the practices that sequester carbon are as good for farm production as some advocates claim, you’d have to expect that many farmers would eventually adopt them anyway, even without payments. That’s exactly what happened with no-till/stubble retention. Early on in its adoption process in Australia, no-till would have looked like a great thing to support with incentive payments, but now we know that, from a climate-change perspective, it would have been a waste of money. Farmers would have been happy to get payments, of course, but the program would have made no genuine contribution to mitigating climate change because no-till was going to be adopted anyway.

347. Soil carbon is a highly flawed climate policy, Part 2 – Pannell Discussions

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6. Limited fishing zones support reef conservation
A world first study within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park has found limited fishing zones (yellow zones) are still important conservation and fisheries management tools when paired with no-fishing zones.

Limited fishing zones support reef conservation – ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (coralcoe.org.au)

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7. Conservation status of the world’s skinks

20% of skink species are threatened with extinction, and nine species are extinct. Key threats to skinks are agriculture, invasive species and biological resource use.

Conservation status of the world’s skinks (Scincidae): Taxonomic and geographic patterns in extinction risk – ScienceDirect
RRR

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About Dbytes

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

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

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

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

David


Dbytes #473 (28 April 2021)

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

“Climate change inaction is now the greatest threat to human security. Fossil fuels are the primary cause of the climate crisis yet expansion of oil, gas and coal continues.”
Laureate Professor Peter Doherty [see item 1 & 3]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Dalai Lama and Australia’s Peter Doherty among 101 Nobel Laureates Calling for End to Coal, Gas Expansion
2. Soil carbon is a highly flawed climate policy
3. Nine reasons to make more of an effort on climate change, PM
4. Scientific integrity and public policy in the post-truth world of Australian water reform
5. Rivers as living beings: rights in law, but no rights to water?
6. Opportunities for improving recognition of coastal wetlands in global ecosystem assessment frameworks
7. The Concept of Resilience in Recent Sustainability Research

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1. Dalai Lama and Australia’s Peter Doherty among 101 Nobel Laureates Calling for End to Coal, Gas Expansion

A global coalition of 101 Nobel Laureates, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Australia’s Professor Peter Doherty, are calling out the continued expansion of the fossil fuel industry as “unconscionable” in an open letter to political leaders on the eve of US President Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate. The Nobel Laureates – including economics, physics, peace, medicine, chemistry and literature prize winners – call for an end to coal, gas and oil development.

Dalai Lama and Australia’s Peter Doherty among 101 Nobel Laureates Calling for End to Coal, Gas Expansion | The Australia Institute

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2. Soil carbon is a highly flawed climate policy

David Pannell: The idea of paying farmers to sequester carbon in agricultural soils has once again become politically prominent. It is still an idea with little potential benefit for farmers.

346. Soil carbon is a highly flawed climate policy, Part 1 – Pannell Discussions


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3. Nine reasons to make more of an effort on climate change, PM
And if you can’t see the sense of this, then speak to your wife

Prime Minister, if you dismiss this chorus of pleas for greater effort (from world-leading and nation-leading scientists and institutions) then please have a chat with your wife, Jenny. You have repeatedly claimed she and your children are at the centre of your world yet your government’s inaction on climate change is destroying their future.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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4. Scientific integrity and public policy in the post-truth world of Australian water reform

Politicians come and go but ‘facts’ stand eternal. But how do we know which facts are ‘true’ in a post-truth world? In the past we’ve turned to scientists and the scientific method to determine which facts can be relied upon but there is growing evidence to suggest that not all scientists are ‘honest brokers’ and that in some situations there is ‘administrative capture’ of science. Scientific integrity is the keystone to our trust in science and it’s under attack. Matt Colloff, Quentin Grafton and John Williams examine the impediments to scientific integrity with an analysis of the water science-policy interface for the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB), Australia. They highlight the dangers to the public interest of ‘administrative capture’ of science and discuss how scientific integrity can be better protected.

https://globalwaterforum.org/2021/04/27/scientific-integrity-and-public-policy-in-the-post-truth-world-of-australian-water-reform/

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5. Rivers as living beings: rights in law, but no rights to water?

Since 2017, some of the most beloved and iconic rivers in the world have been recognised in law as legal persons and/or living entities, with a range of legal rights and protections. These profound legal changes can transform the relationship between people and rivers, and are the result of ongoing leadership from Indigenous peoples and environmental advocates. This paper uses a comparative analysis of the legal and/or living personhood of rivers and lakes in Aotearoa New Zealand, India, Bangladesh, Colombia to identify the legal status of specific rivers, and highlight the disturbing trend of recognising rivers as legal persons and/or living entities whilst also denying rivers the right to flow. Rather than empowering rivers in law to resist existential threats, the new legal status of rivers may thus make it even more difficult to manage rivers to prevent their degradation and loss. This paper highlights an ‘extinction problem’ for rivers that environmental law has exacerbated, by recognising new non-human living beings whilst simultaneously denying them some of the specific legal rights they need to remain in existence. The paper also shows how a pluralist analysis of the status of rivers can help to identify some potential ways to address this problem.

https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/UKMEPXMAIGDCYFMYXAMH/full?target=10.1080/10383441.2020.1881304

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6. Opportunities for improving recognition of coastal wetlands in global ecosystem assessment frameworks

Global ecosystem assessments inform conservation funding priorities. Seagrass, saltmarsh and mangroves are under-recognized in global assessments. Ecosystem assessments often overlook important functions, like fishery nurseries. Synthesis could fill gaps in data for global scale assessments. We recommend priorities for filling gaps in global assessments.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1470160X21003599?via%3Dihub

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7. The Concept of Resilience in Recent Sustainability Research

The concept of resilience gained increased attention in sustainability science, with a notable spike from 2014 onwards. However, resilience is a multifaceted concept with no unanimous definition, making applications in the context of sustainability, a similarly multifarious term, a challenge. Here, we examine the use of resilience in well-cited sustainability literature in the period from 2014 to 2018. Based on our analysis, resilience as a concept proves its analytical strength through a diverse set of frameworks, indicators, and models, while its usefulness as boundary object is less clear. Most of the examined publications do not cite one of the well-established resilience definitions as a conceptual basis. The normativity of resilience is often implicit and rarely critically questioned, and strong participatory approaches are lacking. A multivariate statistical full-text bibliographic analysis of 112 publications reveals four distinct research clusters with partial conceptual proximity but hardly any overlap. While the majority of publications consider human well-being as an integral factor in their research, some research marginalizes this concept. Resilience to climate change dominates the discourse in the literature investigated, which signifies a need to broaden research efforts to other equally pressing—but in terms of the concept, widely neglected—sustainability challenges.

Sustainability | Free Full-Text | The Concept of Resilience in Recent Sustainability Research | HTML (mdpi.com)

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About Dbytes

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

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

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

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

David


Dbytes #472 (21 April 2021)

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

“I think ecosystem accounts could have something in common with lasers: when first discovered, nobody knew quite what to do with them, but over time they have become indispensable.”
Peter Burnett [see item 4]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Species on the move around the Australian coastline: a continental scale review of climate‐driven species redistribution in marine systems
2. ‘Enormous sum of money’: $40m windfall from NSW environmental offsets sparks calls for inquiry
3. Victoria’s new feral horse plan could actually protect the high country. NSW’s method remains cruel and ineffective
4. At last, an international standard for ecosystem accounting! Now what?
5. New WWF analysis shows huge potential for river restoration through barrier removal in Europe
6. WMO: State of the Global Climate 2020
7. An informed thought experiment exploring the potential for a paradigm shift in aquatic food production

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1. Species on the move around the Australian coastline: a continental scale review of climate‐driven species redistribution in marine systems

Climate‐driven changes in the distribution of species are a pervasive and accelerating impact of climate change, and despite increasing research effort in this rapidly emerging field, much remains unknown or poorly understood. We lack a holistic understanding of patterns and processes at local, regional and global scales, with detailed explorations of range shifts in the southern hemisphere particularly under‐represented. Australian waters encompass the world’s third largest marine jurisdiction, extending from tropical to sub‐Antarctic climate zones, and have waters warming at rates twice the global average in the north and two‐four times in the south. Here, we report the results of a multi‐taxon continent‐wide review describing observed and predicted species redistribution around the Australian coastline, and highlight critical gaps in knowledge impeding our understanding of, and response to, these considerable changes. Since range shifts were first reported in the region in 2003, 198 species from nine Phyla have been documented shifting their distribution, 87.3% of which are shifting poleward. However, there is little standardisation of methods or metrics reported in observed or predicted shifts, and both are hindered by a lack of baseline data. Our results demonstrate the importance of historical datasets and underwater visual surveys, and also highlight that approximately one‐fifth of studies incorporated citizen science. These findings emphasise the important role the public has had, and can continue to play, in understanding the impact of climate change. Most documented shifts are of coastal fish species in sub‐tropical and temperate systems, while tropical systems in general were poorly explored. Moreover, most distributional changes are only described at the poleward boundary, with few studies considering changes at the warmer, equatorward range limit. Through identifying knowledge gaps and research limitations, this review highlights future opportunities for strategic research effort to improve the representation of Australian marine species and systems in climate‐impact research.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/gcb.15634?utm_sq=gphhy1yel4&campaign=wolacceptedarticle

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2. ‘Enormous sum of money’: $40m windfall from NSW environmental offsets sparks calls for inquiry

Consultants from a company that advised government on western Sydney development bought land in the area and profited from taxpayer-funded offsets

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/apr/16/enormous-sum-of-money-40m-windfall-from-nsw-environmental-offsets-sparks-calls-for-inquiry?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

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3. Victoria’s new feral horse plan could actually protect the high country. NSW’s method remains cruel and ineffective

Feral horses are a catastrophic problem for the environment, particularly in the high country that crosses the New South Wales and Victoria border. To deal with this growing issue, the Victorian government has released a draft feral horse action plan, which is open for comment until April 23. It comes after Victoria’s old action plan from 2018 proved ineffective, with feral horse numbers increasing in the most recent counts in 2019. This is similar to New South Wales’ current performance, where feral horses are legally protected and numbers are essentially unmanaged.

https://theconversation.com/victorias-new-feral-horse-plan-could-actually-protect-the-high-country-nsws-method-remains-cruel-and-ineffective-158317

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4. At last, an international standard for ecosystem accounting! Now what?

A backgrounder on the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting – Ecosystem Accounts.

The adoption of the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting – Ecosystem Accounts (SEEA EA) is a big deal. It should mean that national statisticians, treasury departments and other key government agencies will accept statistics derived from ecosystem accounts as being just as authoritative as mainstream economic statistics, which are derived from the National Accounts.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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5. New WWF analysis shows huge potential for river restoration through barrier removal in Europe

A new report published today by WWF demonstrates the massive potential of barrier removal to restore free-flowing rivers in Europe. The report analyses a sample of 30,000 barriers, such as dams and weirs, on large and medium-sized rivers in Europe and assesses their reconnection potential, providing a breakdown for Europe, the EU27, and by country.

https://www.wwf.eu/?2898441/New-WWF-analysis-shows-huge-potential-for-river-restoration-through-barrier-removal-in-Europe

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6. WMO: State of the Global Climate 2020

“It has been 28 years since the World Meteorological Organization issued the first state of the climate report in 1993, due to the concerns raised at that time about projected climate change. While understanding of the climate system and computing power have increased since then, the basic message remains the same and we now have 28 more years of data that show significant temperature increases over land and sea as well as other changes like sea level rise, melting of sea ice and glaciers and changes in precipitation patterns.  This underscores the robustness of climate science based on the physical laws governing the behaviour of the climate system,” said WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas.

Climate change indicators and impacts worsened in 2020 | World Meteorological Organization (wmo.int)

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7. An informed thought experiment exploring the potential for a paradigm shift in aquatic food production

Neolithic and Blue Revolutions comparison to explore two narratives: an aquaculture transition or coexistence with fisheries.
Environmental and cultural similarities provide support for a more ubiquitous transition from fishing to aquaculture.
Human advancements impact the trajectory, rate of change and/or potential replacement of fisheries by aquaculture in society.
Society can now choose the balance between fisheries and aquaculture through proactive governance mechanisms.

An informed thought experiment exploring the potential for a paradigm shift in aquatic food production – ScienceDirect

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About Dbytes

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

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

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

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

David

Dbytes #471 (14 April 2021)

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

“Our baseline model indicates that anthropogenic climate change has reduced global agricultural total factor productivity by about 21% since 1961, a slowdown that is equivalent to losing the last 7 years of productivity growth.”
Ortiz-Bobea et al, Nature Climate Change 2021


In this issue of Dbytes

1. The report: Risks to Australia of a 3°C warmer world
2. If 80% of Australians care about climate action, why don’t they vote like it?
3. Dead in the water
4. Applications open for Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot
5. Five great new green innovations – from pop-up rodent tents to tyre dust traps
6. Feral horse plan advocates shooting brumbies to save Victoria’s ‘vulnerable’ alpine region
7. Potential ecological impacts of climate intervention by reflecting sunlight to cool Earth

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1. The report: Risks to Australia of a 3°C warmer world

This report synthesises the observed impacts of climate change on Australia and the risk to our future of the current global trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions. It focuses on the consequences of 3°C of global warming in the absence of greater mitigation strategies for four areas of importance to Australia’s future: our ecosystems, food production, cities and towns, and health and wellbeing. The impacts of those changes on the lives and wellbeing of Australians are discussed in detail.

https://www.science.org.au/supporting-science/science-policy-and-analysis/reports-and-publications/risks-australia-three-degrees-c-warmer-world

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2. If 80% of Australians care about climate action, why don’t they vote like it?

what determines someone’s climate change attitude, and how does it translate into voting?

https://theconversation.com/if-80-of-australians-care-about-climate-action-why-dont-they-vote-like-it-157050

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3. Dead in the water

Earlier this year Richard Beasley, Senior Counsel Assisting at the Murray-Darling Royal Commission, published a book, Dead in the water, on what the Royal Commission found. You should read it. It should also be mandatory reading for anyone interested in the failure of our environmental law and policy.

Many angry texts have been written about how our environment has been let down by government but this book stands head and shoulders above them all in terms of forensic rage. Dead in the water takes readers on a whistle stop tour of the ill-fated Basin Plan, one of our Nation’s biggest environmental investments. The Plan was supposed to repair the mighty Murray Darling River system but is instead enabling (and probably accelerating) its continued degradation and desecration.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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4. Applications open for Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot

Under this pilot, farmers across six Natural Resource Management (NRM) regions will now be able to apply to receive a biodiversity payment in addition to what they would receive under the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) if they use regional specific planting protocols and comply with ERF methodologies.

Applications open for Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot | Ministers (awe.gov.au)

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5. Five great new green innovations – from pop-up rodent tents to tyre dust traps

The Earth Optimism 2021 summit is showcasing practical conservation solutions. We look at the ways technology is making a difference

Five great new green innovations – from pop-up rodent tents to tyre dust traps | Conservation | The Guardian

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6. Feral horse plan advocates shooting brumbies to save Victoria’s ‘vulnerable’ alpine region

A new draft plan to control feral horses rules out mustering, roping and re-homing the animals. The plan has been deemed cruel by some animal welfare groups, but the RSPCA supports it. Parks Victoria says vast areas of native animal habitats were lost to the bushfires and must be protected

Feral horse plan advocates shooting brumbies to save Victoria’s ‘vulnerable’ alpine region – ABC News

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7. Potential ecological impacts of climate intervention by reflecting sunlight to cool Earth

As the effects of anthropogenic climate change become more severe, several approaches for deliberate climate intervention to reduce or stabilize Earth’s surface temperature have been proposed. Solar radiation modification (SRM) is one potential approach to partially counteract anthropogenic warming by reflecting a small proportion of the incoming solar radiation to increase Earth’s albedo. While climate science research has focused on the predicted climate effects of SRM, almost no studies have investigated the impacts that SRM would have on ecological systems. The impacts and risks posed by SRM would vary by implementation scenario, anthropogenic climate effects, geographic region, and by ecosystem, community, population, and organism. Complex interactions among Earth’s climate system and living systems would further affect SRM impacts and risks. We focus here on stratospheric aerosol intervention (SAI), a well-studied and relatively feasible SRM scheme that is likely to have a large impact on Earth’s surface temperature. We outline current gaps in knowledge about both helpful and harmful predicted effects of SAI on ecological systems. Desired ecological outcomes might also inform development of future SAI implementation scenarios. In addition to filling these knowledge gaps, increased collaboration between ecologists and climate scientists would identify a common set of SAI research goals and improve the communication about potential SAI impacts and risks with the public. Without this collaboration, forecasts of SAI impacts will overlook potential effects on biodiversity and ecosystem services for humanity.

https://www.pnas.org/content/118/15/e1921854118

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About Dbytes

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

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

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

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

David


Dbytes #470 (7 April 2021)

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

“At 3℃ of global warming by 2100, oceans are projected to absorb five times more heat than the observed amount accumulated since 1970. Being far more acidic than today, ocean oxygen levels will decline at ever-shallower depths, affecting the distribution and abundance of marine life everywhere. At 1.5-2℃ warming, the complete loss of coral reefs is very likely.”
Ove Hoegh-Guldberg & Lesley Hughes [see item 1]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Seriously ugly: here’s how Australia will look if the world heats by 3℃ this century
2. One of Earth’s biggest carbon sinks has been overestimated
3. Solar Geoengineering: Ineffective, Risky, and Unnecessary
4. White Paper on the future of weather and climate forecasting (WMO)

5. Identifying a Safe and Just Corridor for People and the Planet
6. The nine boundaries humanity must respect to keep the planet habitable
7. The lost lizards of Christmas Island: A retrospective assessment of factors driving the collapse of a native reptile community

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1. Seriously ugly: here’s how Australia will look if the world heats by 3℃ this century

Imagine, for a moment, a different kind of Australia. One where bushfires on the catastrophic scale of Black Summer happen almost every year. One where 50℃ days in Sydney and Melbourne are common. Where storms and flooding have violently reshaped our coastlines, and unique ecosystems have been damaged beyond recognition – including the Great Barrier Reef, which no longer exists. Frighteningly, this is not an imaginary future dystopia. It’s a scientific projection of Australia under 3℃ of global warming – a future we must both strenuously try to avoid, but also prepare for.

https://theconversation.com/seriously-ugly-heres-how-australia-will-look-if-the-world-heats-by-3-this-century-157875?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=bylinetwitterbutton

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2. One of Earth’s biggest carbon sinks has been overestimated

The results contradict a widely accepted assumption in climate models that biomass and soil carbon will increase in tandem in the coming decades and highlight the importance of grasslands in helping to draw down carbon.

https://earth.stanford.edu/news/one-earths-biggest-carbon-sinks-has-been-overestimated#gs.xl0921

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3. Solar Geoengineering: Ineffective, Risky, and Unnecessary

Some people are proposing to counteract climate change by artificially dimming the Sun. But it’s largely ineffective. It’s potentially risky. And it’s unnecessary. Instead, we should focus on real-world solutions that work.

https://globalecoguy.org/solar-geoengineering-ineffective-risky-and-unnecessary-2d9850328fab

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4. White Paper on the future of weather and climate forecasting (WMO)

The White Paper traces the development of the weather enterprise and examines challenges and opportunities in the coming decade. It examines three overarching components of the innovation cycle: infrastructure, research and development, and operation.

White Paper on the future of weather and climate forecasting | World Meteorological Organization (wmo.int)

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5. Identifying a Safe and Just Corridor for People and the Planet

For the first time in human history, we are now forced to consider the real risk of destabilizing our home, planet Earth. This is an existential risk, as we all need a planet that can sustain life and provide the basis for the well‐being of all people. Here, we outline a conceptual framework for a global‐scale “safe and just corridor” that delivers on these goals for people and the planet. The recently formed Earth Commission will use this framework to map key functions that regulate the state of the Earth system and provide life support to us humans, including processes such as biodiversity and nutrient cycling. It will also analyze the related justice components, for each of these Earth system target domains, in terms of how such ranges can be defined and how nature’s contributions to people can be justly shared. Furthermore, social transformations that meet safe and just targets for all people and how the global‐scale targets can be translated to targets for actors at other scales will be explored.

https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2020EF001866

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6. The nine boundaries humanity must respect to keep the planet habitable

All life on Earth, and human civilization, are sustained by vital biogeochemical systems, which are in delicate balance. However, our species — due largely to rapid population growth and explosive consumption — is destabilizing these Earth processes, endangering the stability of the “safe operating space for humanity.”

https://news.mongabay.com/2021/03/the-nine-boundaries-humanity-must-respect-to-keep-the-planet-habitable/

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7. The lost lizards of Christmas Island: A retrospective assessment of factors driving the collapse of a native reptile community

Until recently, the reptile fauna of Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean comprised five endemic species (two skinks, two geckos, and one snake) and one native, non‐endemic skink. Four of these species were common and widespread until at least 1979, but by 2012 had disappeared from the wild. During the years of decline, little research was undertaken to examine why the species were disappearing. Here, we use a retrospective expert elicitation to rank potential factors that contributed to the loss of Christmas Island’s reptiles and to assess the likelihood of re‐establishing populations of two species now listed as Extinct in the Wild. We additionally considered why one endemic lizard, the Christmas Island giant gecko (Cyrtodactylus sadleiri), and three introduced lizards remain common. Experts considered that the introduced common wolf snake (Lycodon capucinus) was the most likely cause of decline, as its temporal and spatial spread across the island closely matched patterns of lizard disappearances. An Asian co‐occurrence in recent evolutionary timeframes of the common wolf snake with the Christmas Island giant gecko and three introduced reptiles was the most marked point of difference between the extant and lost lizard species. The demise in less than 20 years of 80% of Christmas Island’s native lizard assemblage highlights the vulnerability of island fauna to invading species.

https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/csp2.358

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About Dbytes

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

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

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

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

David


Dbytes #469 (31 March 2021)

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

“I believe it is time to recognize there is no such thing as a natural disaster – we’re doing it to ourselves. The world is losing ground in the battle to reduce disaster losses.”
Mami Mizutori, Head of UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction


In this issue of Dbytes

1. We Can’t Say We Weren’t Warned – A reader’s guide to the climate-change bookshelf
2. Threats of global warming to the world’s freshwater fishes
3. Does climate change challenge our concept of moral responsibility?
4. Where wildlife and traffic collide: Roadkill rates change through time in a wildlife-tourism hotspot
5. Yes, Australia is a land of flooding rains. But climate change could be making it worse
6. Environment as Quality of Life: The Whitlam Government 1972-1975
7. Threatened Australian shark and skates at ‘extreme risk’ of being wiped out

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1. We Can’t Say We Weren’t Warned – A reader’s guide to the climate-change bookshelf

Whether you are a believer or a denier, how much do you really know about climate change? Have you ever read a book on the subject? If not, a small army of authors is here to help.

https://calexan.substack.com/p/we-cant-say-we-werent-warned

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2. Threats of global warming to the world’s freshwater fishes

Climate change poses a significant threat to global biodiversity, but freshwater fishes have been largely ignored in climate change assessments. Here, we assess threats of future flow and water temperature extremes to ~11,500 riverine fish species. In a 3.2 °C warmer world (no further emission cuts after current governments’ pledges for 2030), 36% of the species have over half of their present-day geographic range exposed to climatic extremes beyond current levels. Threats are largest in tropical and sub-arid regions and increases in maximum water temperature are more threatening than changes in flow extremes. In comparison, 9% of the species are projected to have more than half of their present-day geographic range threatened in a 2 °C warmer world, which further reduces to 4% of the species if warming is limited to 1.5 °C. Our results highlight the need to intensify (inter)national commitments to limit global warming if freshwater biodiversity is to be safeguarded.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-21655-w

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3. Does climate change challenge our concept of moral responsibility?

Climate change is often described as being a “wicked problem” – a problem whose causes are fabulously complex and non-linear; a problem that implicates (almost) all of us, but for which none of us can straightforwardly take responsibility; a problem that requires mass action, but for just that reason invites “free-riding”; a problem whose sacrifices are immediate and unevenly apportioned, and whose benefits are disparate and far into the future. On each count, the climate change seems to defy attempts to take the problem “personally”, and therefore to embrace our own moral agency in trying to address it.

https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/theminefield/climate-change-and-moral-responsibility/13253978

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4. Where wildlife and traffic collide: Roadkill rates change through time in a wildlife-tourism hotspot

Understanding when and where roadkill is most likely to occur is vital to reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions. However, little is known about how roadkill rates change through time and whether or not the key influences on roadkill also change. Understanding changes in roadkill will facilitate the best implementation of mitigation measures. We aimed to determine how roadkill rates have changed between two distinct time periods and assess whether the spatial and temporal drivers of roadkill rates may have changed: with a view to informing taxon-specific mitigation strategies. We assess the spatial and temporal factors that influence road mortalities in two periods (1998–1999 and 2014) at the same site for multiple taxa. Bi-weekly surveys were undertaken from February to May 1998 and 1999 and again from February to June 2014. In total 2479 individual roadkill were recorded throughout the surveys, with 1.59 roadkill per km per month in the 1990s, increasing to 2.39 per km per month in 2014. Roadkill rates increased primarily with road speed limit with mortalities peaking at moderate (60–80 km/h) speeds, however, the structural complexity of roadside vegetation influenced roadkill rates for some taxa but not others. We show that roadkill rates have changed through time with shifts in both the temporal and spatial influences on these roadkill rates. These changes are likely associated with changes in the abundance of taxa and increased vehicle traffic. The spatial and temporal drivers of roadkill rates were found to be taxon specific, and although mitigation measures exist, assessment of their efficacy remains a priority.

Where wildlife and traffic collide: Roadkill rates change through time in a wildlife-tourism hotspot – ScienceDirect

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5. Yes, Australia is a land of flooding rains. But climate change could be making it worse

The recent flooding in New South Wales is consistent with what we might expect as climate change continues. Australia’s natural rainfall patterns are highly variable. This means the influence climate change has on any single weather event is difficult to determine; the signal is buried in the background of a lot of climatic “noise”. But as our planet warms, the water-holding capacity of the lower atmosphere increases by around 7% for every 1℃ of warming. This can cause heavier rainfall, which in turn increases flood risk.

Yes, Australia is a land of flooding rains. But climate change could be making it worse (theconversation.com)

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6. : Environment as Quality of Life: The Whitlam Government 1972-1975

Environment had become a ‘thing’ by 1972, and Australia’s then Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, was all for it. However, in many ways his government’s approach was cast in terms of ‘quality of life’ rather than ‘environment’ per se. He did however make specific environmental commitments relating to urban tree-planting, national parks, water conservation and heritage.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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7. Threatened Australian shark and skates at ‘extreme risk’ of being wiped out

At least four species of shark and skates unique to Australia are at an extreme risk of extinction unless urgent protections are put in place, according to a new report from conservationists. All four species – the whitefin swellshark, Sydney skate, grey skate and greeneye spurdog – spend their lives on the ocean floor but get caught in trawl nets.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/mar/15/threatened-australian-shark-and-skates-at-extreme-risk-of-being-wiped-out?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

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About Dbytes

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

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

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

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

David


Dbytes #468 (24 March 2021)

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

“Australia is widely viewed as an international climate laggard. In the 2020 Climate Change Performance Index, it received the lowest rating of 57 countries and the European Union. It also ranked second-worst on climate action, out of 177 countries, in the 2020 UN Sustainable Development Report.”
Lesley Hughes et al, in The Conversation
[see item 4]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Standards and Assurance) Bill 2021: What you need to know
2. Only the lonely: an endangered bird is forgetting its song as the species dies out
3. Why ‘technology, not taxes’ is such a bad idea
4. Wake up, Mr Morrison: Australia’s slack climate effort leaves our children 10 times more work to do
5. Australian climate politics from the outside in
6. We don’t know how extreme fire impacts Australian invertebrates
7. Bottom trawling releases as much carbon as air travel, landmark study finds

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1. Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Standards and Assurance) Bill 2021: What you need to know

The government has completely ignored a central thesis of the Samuel report – that standards should define environmental outcomes, not simply dictate process. To demonstrate it in simple terms, an outcome-oriented national environmental standard for threatened species would say critical habitats must be defined, identified and protected. A process-type standard would simply say critical habitats would need to be accounted for in any assessment of impacts. They may sound similar, but they clearly mean very different things.

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Standards and Assurance) Bill 2021: What you need to know – Australian Conservation Foundation (acf.org.au)

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2. Only the lonely: an endangered bird is forgetting its song as the species dies out

Just as humans learn languages, animals learn behaviours crucial for survival and reproduction from older, experienced individuals of the same species. In this way, important “cultures” such as bird songs are passed from one generation to the next. But global biodiversity loss means many animal populations are becoming small and sparsely distributed. This jeopardises the ability of young animals to learn important behaviours.

https://theconversation.com/only-the-lonely-an-endangered-bird-is-forgetting-its-song-as-the-species-dies-out-156950

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3. Why ‘technology, not taxes’ is such a bad idea

It’s a morally bankrupt and false argument on so many levels. A thin tissue of obfuscation, lies and smoke designed to kick the can down the road.

From the promise of technology to the ‘tragedy of the commons’

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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4. Wake up, Mr Morrison: Australia’s slack climate effort leaves our children 10 times more work to do

Our report, released today, pinpoints the emissions reduction burden Australians will bear in future decades if our Paris targets are not increased. Alarmingly, people living in the 2030s and 2040s could be forced to reduce emissions by ten times as much as people this decade, if Australia is to keep within its 2℃ “carbon budget”.

https://theconversation.com/wake-up-mr-morrison-australias-slack-climate-effort-leaves-our-children-10-times-more-work-to-do-157136

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5. Australian climate politics from the outside in

For over ten years – as I progressed from student, to activist, to public servant and back to student – I have watched powerful people shred my future while feeling increasingly desperate to understand why effective climate change action seems impossible. Only since September 2020, however, have I been divorced from the toxic environment of Australian climate politics and policy. Marooned in the UK, watching UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson bumble his way toward hosting COP26 in Glasgow later this year, I have realised that when it comes to climate change, Australia is not like other countries.

Australian climate politics from the outside in (thefifthestate.com.au)

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6. We don’t know how extreme fire impacts Australian invertebrates

After last year’s catastrophic megafires, the world’s attention rightly turned to the devastating impacts on our ecosystems and wildlife. We present an evidence-based perspective to show how invertebrates, and the ecosystems they support, face major threats as fire severity and frequency intensifies in response to global climate change. Our capacity to make effective decisions about ecosystem recovery and restoration funding after bushfires is hampered by the lack of knowledge on how invertebrates are impacted by fire, directly and indirectly, and how invertebrate communities influence ecosystem recovery.

New paper: we don’t know how extreme fire impacts Australian invertebrates – Ecology is not a dirty word

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7. Bottom trawling releases as much carbon as air travel, landmark study finds

Dragging heavy nets across seabed disturbs marine sediments, world’s largest carbon sink, scientists report.

Bottom trawling releases as much carbon as air travel, landmark study finds | Marine life | The Guardian

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About Dbytes

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

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

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

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

David


Dbytes #467 (17 March 2021)

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

“As the developed country that stands to lose the most from inaction, we [Australians] also stand to gain the most from bold climate action.”
Former Wallaby, David Pocock in Game, Set, Match: calling time on climate inaction (Climate Council)


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Environmental ‘Standards’ in name only?
2. Custodians of the globe’s blue carbon assets
3. COVID-19 wasn’t just a disaster for humanity – new research shows nature suffered greatly too
4. Humans control majority of freshwater ebb and flow on Earth
5. Temperature check: Greening Australia’s warming cities
6. Attribution of the Australian bushfire risk to anthropogenic climate change
7. Butterflies on the brink: identifying the Australian butterflies (Lepidoptera) most at risk of extinction

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1. ‘Standards’ in name only?
The government’s National Environmental Standards don’t do what you might expect

Last month the federal government introduced the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Standards and Assurance) Bill 2021 (the Standards and Assurance Bill). The standards should set hard environmental bottom lines, but if this bill goes through, they won’t. They open up a giant back door to ‘trade-off’ decisions, the very antithesis of meeting standards.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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2. Custodians of the globe’s blue carbon assets

This report is a first assessment of blue carbon assets across the UNESCO marine World Heritage sites, revealing their outsized role as custodians of globally relevant blue carbon resources, including the largest areas of seagrass and mangroves in the ocean. Despite representing less than 1% of the global ocean area, marine World Heritage sites and their immediate surrounding areas for which data was available comprise at least 21% of the global area of blue carbon ecosystems and 15% of global blue carbon assets. These carbon stores are equivalent to about 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2018. Investing in the conservation and restoration of UNESCO marine World Heritage sites offers significant opportunities to mitigate climate change, meet the goals of the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change by including these assets in Nationally Determined Contributions, and finance conservation, at least in part, through the resulting carbon credits.

https://ioc.unesco.org/index.php/news/unesco-marine-world-heritage-custodians-globes-blue-carbon-assets

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3. COVID-19 wasn’t just a disaster for humanity – new research shows nature suffered greatly too

It’s one year since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic. While the human and economic toll have been enormous, new findings show the fallout from the virus also seriously damaged nature. Conservation is often funded by tourism dollars – particularly in developing nations. In many cases, the dramatic tourism downturn brought on by the pandemic meant funds for conservation were cut. Anti-poaching operations and endangered species programs were among those affected.

https://theconversation.com/covid-19-wasnt-just-a-disaster-for-humanity-new-research-shows-nature-suffered-greatly-too-156838

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4. Humans control majority of freshwater ebb and flow on Earth, study finds

Humans have made a remarkable impact on the planet, from clearing forests for agriculture and urbanization to altering the chemistry of the atmosphere with fossil fuels. Now, a new study in the journal Nature reveals for the first time the extent of human impact on the global water cycle.

https://phys.org/news/2021-03-humans-ups-downs-freshwater-storage.html?utm_campaign=coschedule&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=H2OAlliance

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5. Temperature check: Greening Australia’s warming cities

A report commissioned by the Australian Conservation Foundation and prepared by Monash University researchers finds that increasing urban vegetation will become essential in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane by 2060–2080 to reduce the impacts of serious heatwaves. Summer temperatures are expected to “regularly” exceed 40°C in Melbourne and Brisbane and reach up to 50°C in Sydney. The urban heat island effect will likely “add several degrees on top of this”, the authors caution.

Temperature check: Greening Australia’s warming cities – Australian Conservation Foundation (acf.org.au)

6. Attribution of the Australian bushfire risk to anthropogenic climate change

The study reveals the complexity of the 2019/20 bushfire event, with some but not all drivers showing an imprint of anthropogenic climate change. Finally, the study concludes with a qualitative review of various vulnerability and exposure factors that each play a role, along with the hazard in increasing or decreasing the overall impact of the bushfires.

https://nhess.copernicus.org/articles/21/941/2021/

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7. Butterflies on the brink: identifying the Australian butterflies (Lepidoptera) most at risk of extinction

The diversity and abundance of native invertebrates is declining globally, which could have significant consequences for ecosystem functioning. Declines are likely to be at least as severe as those observed for vertebrates, although often are difficult to quantify due to a lack of historic baseline data and limited monitoring effort. The Lepidoptera are well studied in Australia compared with other invertebrates, so we know that some species are imperilled or declining. Despite this, few butterfly taxa are explicitly listed for protection by legislation. Here we aim to identify the butterfly taxa that would most benefit from listing by determining the Australian butterflies at most immediate risk of extinction. We also identify the research and management actions needed to retain them. For 26 taxa identified by experts and various conservation schedules, we used structured expert elicitation to estimate the probability of extinction within 20 years (i.e. by 2040) and to identify key threatening processes, priority research and management needs. Collation and analysis of expert opinion indicated that one taxon, the laced fritillary (Argynnis hyperbius inconstans), is particularly imperilled, and that four taxa (Jalmenus eubulusJalmenus aridusHypochrysops piceatus and Oreisplanus munionga larana) have a moderate–high (>30%) risk of extinction by 2040. Mapped distributions of the 26 butterflies revealed that most are endemic to a single state or territory, and that many occupy narrow ranges. Inappropriate fire regimes, habitat loss and fragmentation (through agricultural practices), invasive species (mostly through habitat degradation caused by weeds and rabbits) and climate change were the most prevalent threats affecting the taxa considered. Increased resourcing and management intervention will be required to prevent these extinctions. We provide specific recommendations for averting such losses.

Butterflies on the brink: identifying the Australian butterflies (Lepidoptera) most at risk of extinction – Geyle – – Austral Entomology – Wiley Online Library

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About Dbytes

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

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

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

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

David


Dbytes #466 (10 March 2021)

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

“It’s official. 34 mammal species have been lost from Australia and as these species are found nowhere else, we’ve also lost them from the planet and from all of time. There’s not another country, rich or poor, that has anything like this record.”
Suzanne Milthorpe, the Wilderness Society
[and see item 2 & 5]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Online survey: the future of (open-source) acoustic monitoring technology
2. Minister signs extinction certificates for 13 species
3. Re-conceptualizing the role(s) of science in biodiversity conservation
4. Revisiting Biodiversity Research and Action
5. How good is Australia?!!
6. Minister Ley to face legal challenge on refusal to grant access to documents about controversial ‘fast tracked’ projects
7. Vast majority of sharks caught in Great Barrier Reef drum lines died, despite tribunal’s orders

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1. Online survey: the future of (open-source) acoustic monitoring technology

Interested in acoustic monitoring of biodiversity and natural environments? We want to hear from you!

I’m José Lahoz-Monfort, researcher at the University of Melbourne and president of the Conservation Technology Working Group of the Society for Conservation Biology. We are conducting a short online survey (about 10 minutes) to understand the future needs of acoustic monitoring technology applied to the study of biodiversity in terrestrial and aquatic environments. By participating in this survey, you will be contributing to the development of a roadmap for acoustic monitoring technology, a publicly available document to support strategic and long-term planning of future open-source acoustic devices. We also aim to understand how willing people are to learn about open-source hardware and associated software to be able to customize their equipment.
Please pass along this survey to anyone who may be interested. We aim to get as many respondents as possible from all over the planet to better reflect the technology needs of the bio/ecoacoustics community. We’re particularly keen to hear the voice of those often underrepresented (e.g. Africa, South & Central America, Asia).
The survey will close on Friday 26th of March, and we’ll present the summarised results in this Wildlabs page. Take the survey: your needs and priorities for (open-source) acoustic monitoring technology | WILDLABS.NET

http://survey.alchemer.eu/s3/90316767/OpenSourceAcousticDevices

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2. Minister signs extinction certificates for 13 species

This latest update cements Australia’s reputation as the mammal extinction capital of the world with 34 extinct mammal species. The next nearest nation is Haiti with 9 extinct mammal species.

Minister signs extinction certificates for 13… | Wilderness Society
 and see
Australia confirms extinction of 13 more species, including first reptile since colonisation | Extinct wildlife | The Guardian

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3. Re-conceptualizing the role(s) of science in biodiversity conservation

Megan Evans reviewed the literature, found 10 existing reviews of conservation science, and found that although the diversification of ideas and frames predicted by Mace in 2014 was collectively apparent, review authors typically didn’t explicitly acknowledge the existence of multiple conservation goals or worldviews. There was also a lack of clarity over the role(s) of science. She includes a framework and some definitions in her paper to help clarify things in future.

Her take home message is, let’s take the time to think and reflect on the assumptions and worldviews we each bring to our work, and to seek to understand those of others. This can help to “open up” new pathways and roles for science in biodiversity conservation, and clarify pathways and roles for other actors, institutions and knowledges. Also, there’s space for everyone and their ideas and conceptualisations of science and conservation. So the next time you read a paper saying, for example, that scientists “should” or “shouldn’t” engage in protests, or “the” goal of conservation is X, please refer to her paper.

Re-conceptualizing the role(s) of science in biodiversity conservation | Environmental Conservation | Cambridge Core

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4. Revisiting Biodiversity Research and Action

Addressing interconnected challenges of environmental degradation and social justice requires revisiting the foundations of biodiversity research and action.

Revisiting Biodiversity Research and Action | Ideas for Sustainability (wordpress.com)

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5. How good is Australia?!!
How deep have we stuck our head in the sand when it comes to the environment?

Given our sad record of environmental decline and wretched environmental stewardship, our repeated and growing failure to protect those natural values we told ourselves and the world we would look after, the assertion that Australia is ‘good’ borders on the obscene; and yet it constantly goes unchallenged.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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6. Minister Ley to face legal challenge on refusal to grant access to documents about controversial ‘fast tracked’ projects

The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) will today file a case at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) challenging Environment Minister Sussan Ley’s refusal to release documents requested under Freedom of Information laws about 15 ‘fast tracked’ environmental approvals. ACF’s case will challenge the Government’s use of ‘national cabinet’ exemptions to avoid FOI disclosures. Legal advice obtained by ACF last year found it was not clear whether or not national cabinet documents would automatically attract the cabinet exemption.

Minister Ley to face legal challenge on refusal to grant access to documents about controversial ‘fast tracked’ projects – Australian Conservation Foundation (acf.org.au)

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7. Vast majority of sharks caught in Great Barrier Reef drum lines died, despite tribunal’s orders

Humane Society International, which won legal action against Queensland government last year, says 80% of sharks caught are still dying

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/mar/09/vast-majority-of-sharks-caught-in-great-barrier-reef-drum-lines-died-despite-tribunals-orders?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

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About Dbytes

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

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

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

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

David


Dbytes #465 (3 March 2021)

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

“Making peace with nature is the defining task of the 21st century. It must be the top priority for everyone, everywhere.”
António Guterres, secretary general of the UN, in The Guardian
[and see item 1]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Making peace with nature
2. Australian scientists warn urgent action needed to save 19 ‘collapsing’ ecosystems
3. Climate Change is Weakening the Ocean Currents That Shape Weather on Both Sides of the Atlantic
4. How Australia began dealing with this thing called ‘the Environment’?
5. Let’s talk about standards for scholarly opinion articles
6. What Scientists Have Learned from 100 Years of Bird Banding
7. The world’s forgotten fishes: Freshwater fish in ‘catastrophic’ decline

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1. Making peace with nature

A scientific blueprint to tackle the climate, biodiversity and pollution emergencies

This report outlines how climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution can be tackled jointly within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals. The report serves to translate the current state of scientific knowledge into crisp, clear and digestible facts-based messages that the world can relate to and follow up on. It first provides an Earth diagnosis of current and projected human-induced environmental change, by putting facts and interlinkages in perspective, including by using smart infographics. In building on this diagnosis, the report identifies the shifts needed to close gaps between current actions and those needed to achieve sustainable development.

The analysis is anchored in current economic, social and ecological reality and framed by economics and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. By synthesising the latest scientific findings from the global environmental assessments, the report communicates the current status of the world’s urgent issues and opportunities to solve them.

Making peace with nature (apo.org.au)

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2. Australian scientists warn urgent action needed to save 19 ‘collapsing’ ecosystems

A ‘confronting and sobering’ report details degradation of coral reefs, outback deserts, tropical savanna, Murray-Darling waterways, mangroves and forests

https://theconversation.com/existential-threat-to-our-survival-see-the-19-australian-ecosystems-already-collapsing-154077
and
Australian scientists warn urgent action needed to save 19 ‘collapsing’ ecosystems | Conservation | The Guardian

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3. Climate Change is Weakening the Ocean Currents That Shape Weather on Both Sides of the Atlantic

The change in the main ocean heat pump could bring more heat waves to Europe, increase sea level rise in North America and force fish to move farther north.

Climate Change is Weakening the Ocean Currents That Shape Weather on Both Sides of the Atlantic – Inside Climate News

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4. How Australia began dealing with this thing called ‘the Environment’?

A
toe in the water: Australia gets its first Federal environment minister (1971) and the world comes together in Stockholm (1972)

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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5. Let’s talk about standards for scholarly opinion articles

I’ve written a lot of posts here about how frustrating it is to try and publish conceptual or expert opinion-style articles in peer reviewed journals. Most journals have very few standards for this article category, and peer reviewers often don’t seem to have the guidance to know how to review them fairly.

Let’s talk about standards for scholarly opinion articles – Ecology is not a dirty word

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6. What Scientists Have Learned from 100 Years of Bird Banding

A rich archive of data has illuminated the secret lives of birds

What Scientists Have Learned from 100 Years of Bird Banding – Scientific American

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7. The world’s forgotten fishes: Freshwater fish in ‘catastrophic’ decline

Freshwater fishes are dazzlingly diverse. And they are critical for societies, economies & ecosystems…but they are undervalued and under threat.

https://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/wwfintl/freshwater_fishes_report/index.php#/p/1

and see

Extinction: Freshwater fish in ‘catastrophic’ decline
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-56160756

-~<>~-

About Dbytes

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

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

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

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

David


Dbytes #464 (24 February 2021)

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


“The fundamental conundrum of silviculture: to manage today’s forests, which have been shaped by yesterday’s decisions, to meet tomorrow’s objectives.”
Patrick Baker, University of Melbourne


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Are we burning in ignorance?
2. Gambling with Australia’s future – casinos before unis?
3. Our turtle program shows citizen science isn’t just great for data, it makes science feel personal
4. The stories we tell about biodiversity
5. ‘Development should stop’: serious flaws in offsets plan for new western Sydney airport
6. Reef Water Quality Report Card 2019
7. Teaming up for turtles

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1. Are we burning in ignorance?

This corner of Australia is recognised as a biodiversity hotspot. Now scientists are warning it’s becoming collateral damage from WA’s prescribed burn regime.

WA’s prescribed burning plan is putting rare South West ecosystems at risk – ABC News

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2. Gambling with Australia’s future – casinos before unis?

Building a resilient future requires supporting our higher education/research sector. But when a global disturbance in the form of a pandemic threatens to rip asunder our society, the Government finds a new way to disable the uni sector: by ignoring it.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3. Our turtle program shows citizen science isn’t just great for data, it makes science feel personal

We’ve found the benefits of citizen science extend well beyond data collection. In a new research paper, we show how our environmental citizen science program TurtleSAT is not only an important source of knowledge and skill development, but also influences participants’ attitudes and behaviours towards the environment.

https://theconversation.com/our-turtle-program-shows-citizen-science-isnt-just-great-for-data-it-makes-science-feel-personal-155142

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4. The stories we tell about biodiversity

In this review paper, the authors identify and discuss in detail archetypal biodiversity narratives and counter-narratives, and call for research to further explore these narratives and their transformative potential for biodiversity.

Louder, E. & Wyborn, C. (2020) Biodiversity narratives: stories of the evolving conservation landscape. Environmental Conservation.

The stories we tell about biodiversity – Please keep to the path

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5. ‘Development should stop’: serious flaws in offsets plan for new western Sydney airport

The site chosen to offset the massive Badgerys Creek project was already earmarked for protection. Experts accuse the government of ‘double-dipping.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/feb/17/development-should-stop-serious-flaws-in-offsets-plan-for-new-western-sydney-airport?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

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6. Reef Water Quality Report Card 2019

Results show progress in some areas, particularly at a regional and catchment level with improved practices leading to pollutant reductions. However, faster uptake of improved land management practices is required to meet the water quality targets.

Reef Water Quality Report Card | Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan (reefplan.qld.gov.au)

And see
Great Barrier Reef found to be in failing health as world heritage review looms
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/feb/18/great-barrier-reef-found-to-be-in-failing-health-amid-calls-for-urgent-action?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

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7. Teaming up for turtles

Cloud and AI automate and accelerate turtle nest monitoring and predator tracking, allowing Indigenous rangers from Cape York, Australia, to take swift, smart action.

Teaming up for turtles – CSIRO

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About Dbytes

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

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

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

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

David


Dbytes #463 (17 February 2021)

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


“In exposing a genuine conspiracy, first you find the evidence, then you make the claim. In alleging a conspiracy theory, first you make the claim, then you look for evidence.”
George Monbiot



In this issue of Dbytes

1. Australia must control its killer cat problem. A major new report explains how, but doesn’t go far enough
2. Our national water policy is outdated, unfair and not fit for climate challenges: major new report
3. ‘It’s an ecological wasteland’: offsets for Sydney toll road were promised but never delivered
4. Did farmers do the ‘heavy lifting’ under Kyoto?
5. Implications of the 2019–2020 megafires for the biogeography and conservation of Australian vegetation
6. Country-based rate of emissions reductions should increase by 80%
7. Preparing for a 3°C warmer future: the ideological shift and institutional response Australia will need.

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1. Australia must control its killer cat problem. A major new report explains how, but doesn’t go far enough

A recent parliamentary inquiry into the problem of feral and pet cats in Australia has affirmed the issue is indeed of national significance. The final report, released last week, calls for a heightened, more effective, multi-pronged and coordinated policy, management and research response. As ecologists, we’ve collectively spent more than 50 years researching Australia’s cat dilemma. We welcome most of the report’s recommendations, but in some areas it doesn’t go far enough, missing major opportunities to make a difference.

https://theconversation.com/australia-must-control-its-killer-cat-problem-a-major-new-report-explains-how-but-doesnt-go-far-enough-154931

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2. Our national water policy is outdated, unfair and not fit for climate challenges: major new report

A report by the Productivity Commission released today says the policy must be updated. It found the National Water Initiative is not fit for the challenges of climate change, a growing population and our changing perceptions of how we value water. The report’s findings matter to all Australians, whether you live in a city or a drought-ravaged town. If governments don’t manage water better, on our behalf, then entire communities may disappear. Agriculture will suffer and nature will continue to degrade. It’s time for a change.

https://globalwaterforum.org/2021/02/15/our-national-water-policy-is-outdated-unfair-and-not-fit-for-climate-challenges-major-new-report/

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3. ‘It’s an ecological wasteland’: offsets for Sydney toll road were promised but never delivered

The M7 was supposed to be offset by environmental protection 15 years ago. Leaked documents show that never happened.

‘It’s an ecological wasteland’: offsets for Sydney toll road were promised but never delivered | Environment | The Guardian

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4. Did farmers do the ‘heavy lifting’ under Kyoto?

The answer is ‘no’, because nobody (in Australia) did any heavy lifting under Kyoto. It is certainly true however that environmental laws have had an impact on farmers and that this has been the cause of considerable grief over the years. Perhaps we should pay them for ecosystem services from their properties.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2021/02/16/did-farmers-do-the-heavy-lifting-under-kyoto/

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5. Implications of the 2019–2020 megafires for the biogeography and conservation of Australian vegetation

-The Black Summer fires burnt more than seven million hectares of eucalypt forests and woodlands and more than 300,000 ha of rainforest.
-An estimated 816 vascular plant species had more than 50 per cent of their populations or ranges burn.
-More than 150 species of native vascular plants are estimated to have experienced fire across 90 per cent or more of their ranges.
-Species particularly vulnerable to the bushfires include epiphytic orchids, which grow on trees, and fire-sensitive rainforest species.
-More than three quarters of rainforest communities were burnt in parts of New South Wales. These contain many ancient Gondwanan plant lineages that are now only found in small, fragmented ranges.

Implications of the 2019–2020 megafires for the biogeography and conservation of Australian vegetation was published today in Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-21266-5
Plants most at risk after black summer megafires – CSIRO

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6. Country-based rate of emissions reductions should increase by 80%

A new study in Nature has found that, if all countries meet their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement and continue to reduce emissions at the same rate after 2030, the probability of limiting warming to 2°C is 26 per cent. On current trends the probability of staying below 2°C is only five per cent, according to the study.

Country-based rate of emissions reductions should increase by 80% beyond nationally determined contributions to meet the 2 °C target | Communications Earth & Environment (nature.com)

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7. Preparing for a 3°C warmer future: the ideological shift and institutional response Australia will need.

Three things are obvious. The collective emission reduction efforts of nations will not avoid 3oC global warming by the century’s end. Therefore, national adaptation actions will need prepare for the worse than expected scale and impact from the effects of climate change. As a result, earlier ideological assumptions about governments will have to give way to policies that are interventionist and systemic.

Preparing for a 3°C warmer future: the ideological shift and institutional response Australia will need. – Pearls and IrritationsPearls and Irritations (johnmenadue.com)

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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

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

David

Dbytes #462 (10 February 2021)

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


“We are not worried, or I’m certainly not worried, about what might happen in 30 years’ time,” Michael McCormack, Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the National Party (in The Guardian)

“Australians are five times more likely to be displaced by a climate change-fuelled disaster than someone living in Europe. In the Pacific, that risk is 100 times higher,”
Will Steffen (in The Climate Council’s new report: Hitting home: The compounding costs of climate inaction.)

Editor’s note: see item 7 on disasters


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Economics’ failure over destruction of nature presents ‘extreme risks’
2. The Adaptation Gap Report 2020 (and nature-based solutions)
3. To fix Australia’s environment laws, wildlife experts call for these 4 changes — all are crucial
4. Taking care of business: the private sector is waking up to nature’s value
5. Review of Indigenous engagement in the National Environmental Science Program
6. Emerging evidence that armed conflict and coca cultivation influence deforestation patterns
7. What a disaster – three recent reports on the growing frequency of ‘natural’ disaster and our inability to adapt to them

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1. Economics’ failure over destruction of nature presents ‘extreme risks’

New measures of success needed to avoid catastrophic breakdown, landmark Dasgupta Review finds

Economics’ failure over destruction of nature presents ‘extreme risks’ | Biodiversity | The Guardian

The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review can be found at
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/final-report-the-economics-of-biodiversity-the-dasgupta-review

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2. The Adaptation Gap Report 2020 (and nature-based solutions)

The Adaptation Gap Report 2020 found that 72 per cent of countries have adopted at least one national-level adaptation planning instrument, while a further 9 per cent are developing one. Most developing countries are preparing National Adaptation Plans.

More than half of countries have added nature-based solutions to their Nationally Determined Contributions – as climate pledges under the Paris Agreement are known. However, most of these describe broad goals and less than a third include measurable targets.

Adaptation Gap Report 2020 | UNEP – UN Environment Programme

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3. To fix Australia’s environment laws, wildlife experts call for these 4 changes — all are crucial

The independent review of Australia’s main environment law, released last week, provided a sobering but accurate appraisal of a dire situation. The review was led by Professor Graeme Samuel and involved consultation with scientists, legal experts, industry and conservation organisations. Samuel’s report concluded Australia’s biodiversity is in decline and the law (the EPBC Act) “is not fit for current or future environmental challenges”.

The findings are no surprise to us. As ecologists, we’ve seen first hand how Australia’s nature laws and governance failure have permitted environmental degradation and destruction to the point that species face extinction. Even then, continued damage is routinely permitted. And the findings aren’t news to many other Australians, who have watched wildlife and iconic places such as Kakadu and Kosciuszko national parks, and the Great Barrier Reef, decline at rates that have only accelerated since the act was introduced in 1999. Even globally recognisable wildlife, such as the platypus, now face a future that’s far from certain.

To fix Australia’s environment laws, wildlife experts call for these 4 changes — all are crucial (theconversation.com)

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4. Taking care of business: the private sector is waking up to nature’s value

For many businesses, climate change is an existential threat. Extreme weather can disrupt operations and supply chains, spelling disaster for both small vendors and global corporations. It also leaves investment firms dangerously exposed. Businesses increasingly recognise climate change as a significant financial risk. Awareness of nature-related financial risks, such as biodiversity loss, is still emerging.

My work examines the growth of private sector investment in biodiversity and natural capital. I believe now is a good time to consider questions such as: what are businesses doing, and not doing, about climate change and environmental destruction? And what role should government play?

https://theconversation.com/taking-care-of-business-the-private-sector-is-waking-up-to-natures-value-153786

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5. Review of Indigenous engagement in the National Environmental Science Program

The report and Appendices are over 430 pages, and provide a useful record of Indigenous engagement in the NESP over the period 2015 to 2020, and will provide a useful resource for the four new NESP Hubs that the Minister announced in December.

https://www.sgsep.com.au/projects/desk-top-review-of-indigenous-engagement-in-the-national-environmental-science-program

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6. Emerging evidence that armed conflict and coca cultivation influence deforestation patterns

The effect of armed conflict on deforestation in biodiverse regions across Earth remains poorly understood. Its association with factors like illegal crop cultivation can obscure its effect on deforestation patterns. We used Colombia, a global biodiversity hotspot with a complex political history, to explore the association of both armed conflict and coca cultivation with deforestation patterns. We generated spatial predictions of deforestation pressure based on the period 2000–2015 to understand how armed conflict and coca cultivation are associated with spatial patterns of deforestation and assess the spatial distribution of deforestation pressure induced by armed conflict and coca cultivation. Deforestation was positively associated with armed conflict intensity and proximity to illegal coca plantations.

Emerging evidence that armed conflict and coca cultivation influence deforestation patterns – ScienceDirect

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7. What a disaster – three recent reports on the growing frequency of ‘natural’ disaster and our inability to adapt to them

7.1. Exposure to natural hazard events unassociated with policy change for improved disaster risk reduction

Natural hazard events provide opportunities for policy change to enhance disaster risk reduction (DRR), yet it remains unclear whether these events actually fulfill this transformative role around the world. Here, we investigate relationships between the frequency (number of events) and severity (fatalities, economic losses, and affected people) of natural hazards and DRR policy change in 85 countries over eight years. Our results show that frequency and severity factors are generally unassociated with improved DRR policy when controlling for income-levels, differences in starting policy values, and hazard event types. This is a robust result that accounts for event frequency and different hazard severity indicators, four baseline periods estimating hazard impacts, and multiple policy indicators. Although we show that natural hazards are unassociated with improved DRR policy globally, the study unveils variability in policy progress between countries experiencing similar levels of hazard frequency and severity.

Exposure to natural hazard events unassociated with policy change for improved disaster risk reduction | Nature Communications

Editor’s note: Does it matter that we’re not learning from our experience with disasters? Of course it does, especially when you consider disasters are on the rise. Munich Re, one of the world’s leading reinsurers, has reported that natural catastrophes around the world resulted in losses of US$ 210 bn in 2020 (with insured losses of US$ 82 bn). This figure was up from US$ 166 bn losses in 2019, following a record hurricane season in the north Atlantic and historic wildfires in the western United States. Munich Re said that climate change “will play an increasing role in all of these hazards” and called on the global community to act to keep warming below 2°C.

7.2. Record hurricane season and major wildfires – The natural disaster figures for 2020

Record hurricane season: More storms in the North Atlantic than ever before
Historic wildfires in the western United States
Worldwide, natural disasters produced losses of US$ 210bn, with insured losses of US$ 82bn
Floods in China were responsible for the highest individual loss of US$ 17bn, only around 2% of which was insured

Five years after the Paris Climate Agreement: 2020 on the way to being the second warmest year on record

Record hurricane season and major wildfires – The natural disaster figures for 2020 | Munich Re

and also see the World Economic Forum’s
7.3 Global Risks Report 2021
Now in its 16th edition, the report finds that extreme weather, climate action failure and human-led environmental damage are among the highest likelihood risks over the next decade, with climate action failure considered “the most impactful and second most likely risk”.
WEF_The_Global_Risks_Report_2021.pdf (weforum.org)

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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

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

David


Dbytes #461 (3 February 2021)

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


“the Climate Change Authority [in 2014] recommended 2030 targets of at least 45% reduction on 2005 levels if Australia were to do its fair share of limiting global warming to well below 2°C. The current government’s target of 26-28% does not have its basis in any CCA or other science-based recommendation. It is a target that is not consistent with limiting global warming to well below 2°C.”
Climate Targets Panel, January 2021
ClimateTargetsPanelReport.pdf (unimelb.edu.au)


In this issue of Dbytes

1. A major report excoriated Australia’s environment laws. Sussan Ley’s response is confused and risky
2. Psychosocial drivers of land management behaviour: How threats, norms, and context influence deforestation intentions
3. Conservation Resource Allocation, Small Population Resiliency, and the Fallacy of Conservation Triage
4. Do academic book reviews deserve more credit?
5. Half a century of global decline in oceanic sharks and rays
6. Half a century of global decline of wetlands
7. University research funding: a quick guide

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1. A major report excoriated Australia’s environment laws. Sussan Ley’s response is confused and risky

You could hardly imagine a worse report on the state of Australia’s environment, and the law’s capacity to protect it, than that released yesterday. The review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity (EPBC) Act, by former competition watchdog chair Professor Graeme Samuel, did not mince words. Without urgent changes, most of Australia’s threatened plants, animals and ecosystems will become extinct.

Federal environment minister Sussan Ley released the report yesterday after sitting on it for three months. And she showed little sign of being spurred into action by Samuel’s scathing assessment. Her response was confusing and contradictory. And the Morrison government seems hellbent on pushing through its preferred reforms without safeguards that Samuel says are crucial.

A major report excoriated Australia’s environment laws. Sussan Ley’s response is confused and risky (theconversation.com)

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2. Psychosocial drivers of land management behaviour: How threats, norms, and context influence deforestation intentions

Understanding how private landholders make deforestation decisions is of paramount importance for conservation. Behavioural frameworks from the social sciences have a lot to offer researchers and practitioners, yet these insights remain underutilised in describing what drives landholders’ deforestation intentions under important political, social, and management contexts. Using survey data of private landholders in Queensland, Australia, we compare the ability of two popular behavioural models to predict future deforestation intentions, and propose a more integrated behavioural model of deforestation intentions. We found that the integrated model outperformed other models, revealing the importance of threat perceptions, attitudes, and social norms for predicting landholders’ deforestation intentions. Social capital, policy uncertainty, and years of experience are important contextual moderators of these psychological factors. We conclude with recommendations for promoting behaviour change in this deforestation hotspot and highlight how others can adopt similar approaches to illuminate more proximate drivers of environmental behaviours in other contexts.

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13280-020-01491-w

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3. Conservation Resource Allocation, Small Population Resiliency, and the Fallacy of Conservation Triage

Some conservation prioritization methods assume that conservation needs overwhelm current resources and not all species can be conserved; therefore, a “conservation triage” scheme (that is, when the system is overwhelmed, species should be divided into three groups based on likelihood of survival, and efforts should be focused on those species in the group with the best survival prospects and reduced or denied to those in the group with no survival prospects and to those in the group not needing special efforts for their conservation) is necessary to guide resource allocation. We argue that this decision‐making strategy is not appropriate because resources are not as limited as often assumed, and it is not evident that there are species that cannot be recovered. Small population size alone, as an example, does not doom a species to extinction, with examples from plants, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Although resources dedicated to conserving all threatened species are insufficient at present, the world’s economic resources are vast, and greater resources could be dedicated towards species conservation. The political framework for species conservation has improved, with initiatives such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals and other international agreements, funding mechanisms such as The Global Environment Facility, and the rise of many non‐governmental organizations with nimble, rapid response small grants programs. For a prioritization system to allow no extinctions, zero extinctions must be an explicit goal of the system. Extinction is not inevitable, and should not be acceptable. A goal of no human‐induced extinctions is imperative given the irreversibility of species loss.

https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/cobi.13696?campaign=wolacceptedarticle

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4. Do academic book reviews deserve more credit?

I’m currently collating my research outputs for a grant application, and I got to thinking about academic book reviews. I’m on the transition end of early career researchhood (where number of publications are counted and judged by funding bodies), and five of my ‘scholarly journal publications’ are book reviews – they appear in all the database publication lists, but you can’t technically count them as legitimate publications, because they aren’t peer reviewed.

Do academic book reviews deserve more credit? – Ecology is not a dirty word

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5. Half a century of global decline in oceanic sharks and rays

Overfishing is the primary cause of marine defaunation, yet declines in and increasing extinction risks of individual species are difficult to measure, particularly for the largest predators found in the high seas1,2,3. Here we calculate two well-established indicators to track progress towards Aichi Biodiversity Targets and Sustainable Development Goals4,5: the Living Planet Index (a measure of changes in abundance aggregated from 57 abundance time-series datasets for 18 oceanic shark and ray species) and the Red List Index (a measure of change in extinction risk calculated for all 31 oceanic species of sharks and rays). We find that, since 1970, the global abundance of oceanic sharks and rays has declined by 71% owing to an 18-fold increase in relative fishing pressure. This depletion has increased the global extinction risk to the point at which three-quarters of the species comprising this functionally important assemblage are threatened with extinction. Strict prohibitions and precautionary science-based catch limits are urgently needed to avert population collapse6,7, avoid the disruption of ecological functions and promote species recovery.

Half a century of global decline in oceanic sharks and rays | Nature

And see https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jan/27/sharks-rays-global-population-crashed-study

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6. Half a century of global decline of wetlands

World Wetlands Day & the Ramsar Convention – the good, the bad & the ugly
2nd of Feb should be a day of celebration for wetlands. However, 50 years on from its adoption, the Ramsar Convention, should also be a ‘call to arms’. Do more to protect them.
https://globalwaterforum.org/

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7. University research funding: a quick guide

This quick guide from the Parliamentary Library explains how Australian universities resource research activities. Based on key Australian Government data, it sets out the major sources and distribution of university research funding.

It shows, for example, that medical and health sciences get 30.6% of the available funding (in 2018) but environmental sciences gets only 3.5%; and the Go8 get two thirds of all available funding (while the other 35 unis battle for the remaining third).

University research funding: a quick guide – Parliament of Australia (aph.gov.au)

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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

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

David


Dbytes #460 (27 January 2020)

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


“there’s little evidence the [national Threatened Species] strategy has had a significant impact on threatened species conservation to date.”
Ritchie et al [see item 1]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. It’s not too late to save them: 5 ways to improve the government’s plan to protect threatened wildlife
2. Saving the Environment in a Day

3. Do offsets and biobanking protect biodiversity?
4. Governing for “no net loss” of biodiversity over the long term: challenges and pathways forward
5. Biodiversity and ecosystem services in strategic environmental assessment: An evaluation of six Australian cases
6. How to choose a cost‐effective indicator to trigger conservation decisions?
7. From conversion to conservation to carbon: The changing policy discourse on mangrove governance and use in the Philippines

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1. It’s not too late to save them: 5 ways to improve the government’s plan to protect threatened wildlife

Australia’s Threatened Species Strategy — a five-year plan for protecting our imperilled species and ecosystems — fizzled to an end last year. A new 10-year plan is being developed to take its place, likely from March. It comes as Australia’s list of threatened species continues to grow. Relatively recent extinctions, such as the Christmas Island forest skink, Bramble Cay melomys and smooth handfish, add to an already heavy toll.

https://theconversation.com/its-not-too-late-to-save-them-5-ways-to-improve-the-governments-plan-to-protect-threatened-wildlife-147669

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2. Saving the Environment in a Day

You have 24 hours to save the planet! Your time starts now.

There are many arguments for and against the big day for the environment. They focus awareness on single issues but they can give the impression that major issues of environmental degradation are being addressed when in fact they’re being ignored.  

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3. Do offsets and biobanking protect biodiversity?

Biodiversity offsets have become a widely-accepted way to attempt to compensate for the destruction of endangered habitat and species in mining and other large scale development projects, but do they work?

Do offsets and biobanking protect biodiversity? – ABC News

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4. Governing for “no net loss” of biodiversity over the long term: challenges and pathways forward

Economic development is increasingly impacting biodiversity, leading to a rise in biodiversity offset policies globally that aim to compensate for biodiversity losses. Many developments generating offsets create long-term, irreversible losses of biodiversity and, therefore, require biodiversity gains from offsets to be retained over the long term to have any hope of achieving “no net loss” (NNL) of biodiversity. This raises important ecological and institutional challenges that current offset mechanisms, built for politico-economic systems with short-term policy horizons, do not sufficiently consider. We explore this issue and discuss several responses to the problem ranging from incremental changes for improving on-ground management, through to major governance shifts required to support the long-term social-ecological resilience of offset sites. We argue that without these changes, at best, NNL policies participate in temporarily reducing permanent biodiversity loss. At worst, they participate in a false promise, distracting institutions from the transformative changes needed to reverse biodiversity depletion.

https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1cSX29C%7EItrtIS

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5. Biodiversity and ecosystem services in strategic environmental assessment: An evaluation of six Australian cases

Criteria are derived from best practice principles to evaluate strategic assessments in Australia.
No net loss goals are poorly specified limiting effectiveness.
Evidence to demonstrate adequate application of the mitigation hierarchy is limited.
Ecosystem services integration is also limited.
Monitoring, auditing and evaluation activities lack detail.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195925521000020?dgcid=author

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6. How to choose a cost‐effective indicator to trigger conservation decisions?

1. Effective biodiversity conservation requires responding to threats in a timely fashion. This entails understanding the impacts of threats on biodiversity and when interventions to mitigate threats need to be implemented. However, most ecological systems face multiple threats, so monitoring to assess their impacts on biodiversity is a complex task. Indicators help simplify the challenge of monitoring but choosing the best indicator(s) to inform management is not straightforward.

2. We provide a decision framework that can help identify optimal indicators to trigger management in a system faced with multiple threats. The approach evaluates indicators based on criteria spanning monitoring efficiency, management outcomes and the economic constraints for decision‐making. Critical decision factors (or parameters) are identified and detailed in a six‐step process to estimate the cost‐effectiveness of alternate indicators, including threat impacts, sensitivity of indicators to detect change, and the benefits, costs and feasibility of alternative indicators and management actions.

3. Using the Kimberley as a case study, we evaluate eighteen indicators for informing management of three key threats in the region: fire and grazing, feral cat predation, and weeds. We show that indicator selection based on our approach can help improve the expected outcome of management decisions under limited resources. By accounting for multiple factors in estimating benefit and costs of monitoring, our approach improves on common approaches that select indicators based only on whether they are sensitive to change and/or cheap to monitor. We also identify how uncertainty in decision factors influences indicator selection.

4. Although cost‐effectiveness analyses are gaining popularity, ours is the first study to integrate multiple selection criteria using a return on investment framework to compare indicators for monitoring multiple threats and triggering management.

How to choose a cost‐effective indicator to trigger conservation decisions? – Bal – – Methods in Ecology and Evolution – Wiley Online Library

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7. From conversion to conservation to carbon: The changing policy discourse on mangrove governance and use in the Philippines

This article engages with the social ramifications of the “blue carbon” discourse. We trace the dominant representations of mangrove forest governance over a 50-year period in the Philippines. Three key framings are clearance and conversion, replantation and conservation, and carbon sink. Each produces different sets of policies that change the functions and meanings of mangroves. Amid these shifting trends, coastal dwellers’ livelihoods and resource tenure are at risk of being marginalized and displaced.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0743016721000085?via%3Dihub

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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

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

David


Dbytes #459 (20 January 2020)

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


“Instead of doing a dry January, I should have just committed to have net zero drinks in 2050.”
Jamie Henn, Director of Fossil Free Media (@jamieclimate)


In this issue of Dbytes

1. More than ‘Indigenous Wisdom’ in the rights-of-nature debate
2. National Soil Strategy: submissions close 27 January 2020
3. Environmental activists in the dark as government refuses, delays access to information
4. Fifty countries, not including Australia, join global coalition at One Planet Summit vowing to protect 30 per cent of land and sea by 2030
5. Australia the only developed nation on world list of deforestation hotspots
6. Zero Attribution: Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology keeps silent on climate science
7. From Silent Spring to the Franklin and back to Lake Pedder?
8. Worried about Earth’s future? Well, the outlook is worse than even scientists can grasp

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1. More than ‘Indigenous Wisdom’ in the rights-of-nature debate

In 2017, in a world first, the Whanganui River in the North Island of New Zealand was given its own legal identity; with the rights, duties and liabilities of a legal person. Some believe that assigning ‘rights to nature’ is an important step towards acknowledging and protecting the many values of the natural environment, including an acknowledgement of Indigenous knowledge. However, as Virginia Marshall discusses here, the rights-of-nature approach is antithetical to First Nations’ rights and interests to control and manage the environment. It is a compromise that works against the central role of First Nations peoples in healing and restoring planet Earth.

https://globalwaterforum.org/2021/01/19/more-than-indigenous-wisdom-in-the-rights-of-nature-debate/

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2. National Soil Strategy: submissions close 27 January 2020

“Our vision: Australia’s soil resources are recognised and valued as a key national asset and are thus sustainably managed for the benefit of our, environment, economy, food and infrastructure security, health, and biodiversity – now and in the future.”

https://haveyoursay.awe.gov.au/national-soil-strategy

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3. Environmental activists in the dark as government refuses, delays access to information

An analysis of FOI statistics by the ACF has accused the federal transparency system of being “dysfunctional”, saying that information held in records of government decisions, correspondence, research and briefs was critical to environmental protection. But this information was too often withheld entirely or released too late or too heavily redacted to be of use.

The report Access Denied examined government FOI data for the past five years alongside the results of more than 130 of the ACF’s own FOI requests. It found FOI refusals by federal agencies with an environment-relevant portfolio had risen almost 50 per cent in that time while the number of requests released in full had nearly halved.

https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/environmental-activists-in-the-dark-as-government-refuses-delays-access-to-information-20210114-p56u2p.html

The Access Denied report can be found at:
https://www.acf.org.au/analysis_shows_government_is_stifling_access_to_information_about_the_environment

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4. Fifty countries, not including Australia, join global coalition at One Planet Summit vowing to protect 30 per cent of land and sea by 2030

At least 50 countries committed to protecting 30 per cent of the planet, including land and sea, over the next decade to halt species extinction and address climate change issues, during a global summit aimed at protecting the world’s biodiversity.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-01-12/50-countries-vow-to-protect-30-per-cent-of-land-and-sea-by-2030/13050048

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5. Australia the only developed nation on world list of deforestation hotspots

Australia remains one of the world’s hotspots for deforestation according to a new report by WWF, which finds an area six times the size of Tasmania has been cleared globally since 2004. The analysis identifies 24 “deforestation fronts” worldwide where a total of 43 million hectares of forest was destroyed in the period from 2004 until 2017.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jan/13/australia-the-only-developed-nation-on-world-list-of-deforestation-hotspots

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6. Zero Attribution: Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology keeps silent on climate science

Meteorological services around the world have embraced climate attribution science, which ascertains the effect of climate change on extreme weather events. Not so Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, which is remarkably coy about its work in this field.

Zero Attribution: Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology keeps silent on climate science – Michael West

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7. From Silent Spring to the Franklin and back to Lake Pedder?

Our inability to find a collaborative way of dealing with what are, after all, shared environmental problems, remains our heaviest policy shackle. Lessons from the book Silent Spring and the Franklin campaign.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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8. Worried about Earth’s future? Well, the outlook is worse than even scientists can grasp

Anyone with even a passing interest in the global environment knows all is not well. But just how bad is the situation? Our new paper shows the outlook for life on Earth is more dire than is generally understood.

https://theconversation.com/worried-about-earths-future-well-the-outlook-is-worse-than-even-scientists-can-grasp-153091

See the paper: Underestimating the Challenges of Avoiding a Ghastly Future
Frontiers | Underestimating the Challenges of Avoiding a Ghastly Future | Conservation Science (frontiersin.org)

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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

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

David


Dbytes #457 (22 December 2020)

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


“10,000 years ago humans were in charge of only 0.1% of the Earth’s non-aquatic vertebrate biomass. Today it’s 98%. Mainly cows. I guess we showed them.”
Shaun Micallef


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Forest Bach
2. The 2020 Threatened Species Index
3. Red lines for green values – What ‘standards’ are we prepared to accept in an overhaul of Australia’s national environment protection laws?
4. Tropical cyclones and climate change
5. Recognising regulatory capture as a form of corruption in government water agencies
6. Human-made objects to outweigh living things
7. ‘I felt immense grief’: one year on from the bushfires, scientists need mental health support

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1. Forest Bach

[Dbytes wishes you a very merry xmas:]
An enormous xylophone in the woods of Kyushu, Japan, plays Bach’s ‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring’ when a wooden ball rolls down each note, with the sounds of the forest (water and birds) in the background..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMMCkFLICDo

(You can see the making of the xylophone here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VD44QhKuG1U&feature=youtu.be)

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2. The 2020 Threatened Species Index

Australia’s new Threatened Species Index (TSX) for birds, mammals and plants was released this month. According to the data released in the 2020 TSX, threatened plants have declined by 72% between 1995 and 2017 on average across all sites. At sites where conservation management actions were taken this decline is less pronounced, with a 60% average decline over the same time period. At sites with no known management, the average decline was 80%.

TSX – A threatened species index for Australia

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3. Red lines for green values – What ‘standards’ are we prepared to accept in an overhaul of Australia’s national environment protection laws?

Apart from being innovative in themselves, the ‘standards’ introduce policy concepts such as a ‘principle of non-regression’ and the ‘ecological feasibility’ of biodiversity offsets. They also give new recognition to some not-so-new concepts such as the need to consider the impacts of development proposals on a cumulative basis.

Environmental standards present the Aust Govt with a conundrum. The potential of the standards as a foundation for action is great. But implementing standards would require a major and costly upgrade of our regulatory infrastructure.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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4. Tropical cyclones and climate change

Tropical Cyclone Yasa, which ripped through Fiji’s northern island of Viti Levu on Thursday 17 December, displayed many of the characteristics we’ve been warned to expect of cyclones as the world warms. It was extraordinarily strong for this early in the season (the earliest category five South Pacific cyclone on record), it intensified very rapidly, it moved slowly (causing tremendous damage as it lingered for many hours over the western side of Vanua Levu), and brought extremely high winds and rainfall.

Fact Sheet: Tropical Cyclones and Climate Change | Climate Council

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5. Recognising regulatory capture as a form of corruption in government water agencies

A couple of weeks ago the Independent Commission Against Corruption found that the New South Wales Government was favouring irrigators over other water users in a manner that went against its own laws. And yet the Commission did not find that this was corrupt behaviour. Here, Bradley Moggridge, Emma Carmody and Erin O’Donnell discuss this finding, whose interests have been hurt, and the challenge of addressing regulatory capture.

https://globalwaterforum.org/

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6. Human-made objects to outweigh living things

Scientists say the weight of human-made objects will likely exceed that of living things by the end of the year. In other words, the combined weight of all the plastic, bricks, concrete and other things we’ve made in the world will outweigh all animals and plants on the planet for the first time.

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-55239668

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7. ‘I felt immense grief’: one year on from the bushfires, scientists need mental health support

One night in January 2020, I couldn’t sleep. I kept waking to check my phone for news from Kangaroo Island, off South Australia. Fires had already burned through several sites where I’d researched the island’s endangered glossy black cockatoos, and now it was tracking towards two critical habitat areas.

https://theconversation.com/i-felt-immense-grief-one-year-on-from-the-bushfires-scientists-need-mental-health-support-148251

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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

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

David


Dbytes #456 (15 December 2020)

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


“The European bison and twenty-five other species recoveries documented in today’s IUCN Red List update demonstrate the power of conservation Yet the growing list of Extinct species is a stark reminder that conservation efforts must urgently expand. To tackle global threats such as unsustainable fisheries, land clearing for agriculture, and invasive species, conservation needs to happen around the world and be incorporated into all sectors of the economy.”
Bruno Oberle, IUCN Director General [see item 2]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Understanding Australia’s Kyoto Carryover Credits
2. European bison recovering, 31 species declared Extinct – IUCN Red List
3. 2040 foresight – humanity’s shifting niche in the Anthropocene
4. Indigenous and Local Knowledge in Environmental Management for Human-Nature Connectedness
5. A robust goal is needed for species in the Post‐2020 Global Biodiversity Framework
6. Tasmanian devils look set to conquer their own pandemic
7. A famous failure: Why were cane toads an ineffective biocontrol in Australia?

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1. Understanding Australia’s Kyoto Carryover Credits

The Australien Government was not allowed to speak at the latest Climate Summit, so it made an ad about its climate policy instead – and it’s surprisingly honest and informative.

[This very funny parody comes with a language warning. I highly recommend it as an excellent guide to our country’s duplicity over climate change. Think of it as my Christmas Card to you, which is why I rank it as item 1. The Editor]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92t8np88fEI

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2. European bison recovering, 31 species declared Extinct – IUCN Red List

The European bison (Bison bonasus), Europe’s largest land mammal, has moved from Vulnerable to Near Threatened thanks to continued conservation efforts, according to today’s update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. With this update, 31 species also move into the Extinct category, and all of the world’s freshwater dolphin species are now threatened with extinction.

European bison recovering, 31 species declared Extinct – IUCN Red List | IUCN

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3. 2040 foresight – humanity’s shifting niche in the Anthropocene
Banking on yesterday’s ‘normal’ is the worst form of denial

In Australia we are led by a Conservative government that is in profound denial of what the ‘new normal’ means. They place their faith in technology to deliver an endlessly growing economy in which no-one needs to sacrifice a scintilla of their way of life – it’s win win all the way. They believe the certainty of yesteryear will return with a few percentage points of extra productivity and maybe a slightly better resourced emergency services sector.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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4. Indigenous and Local Knowledge in Environmental Management for Human-Nature Connectedness

Indigenous peoples represent 5% of the world population. Although they play a key role in environmental management as they influence more than one quarter of the earth’s surface and hold unique indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) valuable for sustainable stewardship of nature, the consideration of ILK in environmental management is still limited. In their recent study, Burgos-Ayala et al. (2020) explore how environmental government institutions in Colombia have involved indigenous communities and their ILK in environmental management projects between 2004 and 2015. In order to identify where and how these projects fostered transformative change within indigenous territories, the authors applied a leverage points (LP) perspective.

Indigenous and Local Knowledge in Environmental Management for Human-Nature Connectedness: A Leverage Points Perspective – SCIENCE FOR SUSTAINABILITY (wordpress.com)

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5. A robust goal is needed for species in the Post‐2020 Global Biodiversity Framework

In 2010, Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 to address the loss and degradation of nature. Subsequently, most biodiversity indicators continued to decline. Nevertheless, conservation actions can make a positive difference for biodiversity. The emerging Post‐2020 Global Biodiversity Framework has potential to catalyze efforts to “bend the curve” of biodiversity loss. Thus, the inclusion of a goal on species, articulated as Goal B in the Zero Draft of the Post‐2020 Framework, is essential. However, as currently formulated, this goal is inadequate for preventing extinctions, and reversing population declines; both of which are required to achieve the CBD’s 2030 Mission. We contend it is unacceptable that Goal B could be met while most threatened species deteriorated in status and many avoidable species extinctions occurred. We examine the limitations of the current wording and propose an articulation with robust scientific basis. A goal for species that strives to end extinctions and recover populations of all species that have experienced population declines, and especially those at risk of extinction, would help to align actors toward the transformative actions and interventions needed for humans to live in harmony with nature.

The Society for Conservation Biology (wiley.com)

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6. Tasmanian devils look set to conquer their own pandemic

In the midst of a human pandemic, we have some good news about a wildlife one: our new research, published today in Science, shows Tasmanian devils are likely to survive despite the infectious cancer that has ravaged their populations.

Tasmanian devils look set to conquer their own pandemic (theconversation.com)

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7. A famous failure: Why were cane toads an ineffective biocontrol in Australia?

In 1935, cane toads (Rhinella marina) were brought to Australia to control insect pests. The devastating ecological impacts of that introduction have attracted extensive research, but the toads’ impact on their original targets has never been evaluated. Our analyses confirm that sugar production did not increase significantly after the anurans were released, possibly because toads reduced rates of predation on beetle pests by consuming some of the native predators of those beetles (ants), fatally poisoning others (varanid lizards), and increasing abundances of crop‐eating rodents (that can consume toads without ill‐effect). In short, any direct benefit of toads on agricultural production (via consumption of insect pests) likely was outweighed by negative effects that were mediated via the toads’ impacts on other taxa. Like the toad’s impacts on native wildlife, indirect ecological effects of the invader may have outweighed direct effects of toads on crop production.

The Society for Conservation Biology (wiley.com)

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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

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

David


Dbytes #455 (10 December 2020)

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


“Over the coming 50 years, 1 to 3 billion people are projected to be left outside the climate conditions that have served humanity well over the past 6,000 years,”
Xu et al, 2020 (see item 4) [and then reflect on items 1,2 and 3]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Climate change now top threat to natural World Heritage – IUCN report
2. Climate change is resulting in profound, immediate and worsening health impacts, over 120 researchers say
3. Measuring What Matters: A New Approach to Assessing Sovereign Climate Risk
4. Future of the human climate niche
5. VicForests allowed to resume logging despite risk of ‘irreversible damage’ in fire-hit Gippsland
6. Reforming Australia’s national environmental law
7. Transforming Australia SDG progress report

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1. Climate change now top threat to natural World Heritage – IUCN report

Gland, Switzerland, 2 December 2020 (IUCN) – Climate change is now the biggest threat to natural World Heritage, according to a report published today by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). A third (33%) of natural World Heritage sites are threatened by climate change, including the world’s largest coral reef, the Great Barrier Reef, assessed as having a “critical” outlook for the first time.

Climate change now top threat to natural World Heritage – IUCN report | IUCN

And see Great Barrier Reef outlook ‘critical’ as climate change called number one threat to world heritage
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/dec/03/great-barrier-reef-outlook-critical-as-climate-change-called-number-one-threat-to-world-heritage

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2. Climate change is resulting in profound, immediate and worsening health impacts, over 120 researchers say

Climate change is resulting in profound, immediate and worsening health impacts, and no country is immune, a major new report from more than 120 researchers has declared. This year’s annual report of The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change, released today, presents the latest data on health impacts from a changing climate.

https://theconversation.com/climate-change-is-resulting-in-profound-immediate-and-worsening-health-impacts-over-120-researchers-say-151027

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3. Measuring What Matters: A New Approach to Assessing Sovereign Climate Risk

41% of the global population and 57% of the economy could be exposed to flooding by 2040 and over a third of today’s agricultural land will be under high water stress.

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201203005359/en/Measuring-What-Matters-A-New-Approach-to-Assessing-Sovereign-Climate-Risk

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4. Future of the human climate niche

We show that for thousands of years, humans have concentrated in a surprisingly narrow subset of Earth’s available climates, characterized by mean annual temperatures around ∼13 °C. This distribution likely reflects a human temperature niche related to fundamental constraints. We demonstrate that depending on scenarios of population growth and warming, over the coming 50 y, 1 to 3 billion people are projected to be left outside the climate conditions that have served humanity well over the past 6,000 y. Absent climate mitigation or migration, a substantial part of humanity will be exposed to mean annual temperatures warmer than nearly anywhere today.

https://www.pnas.org/content/117/21/11350

And see Marten Scheffer explain the consequences of this finding at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROtJXNES1aY&feature=youtu.be

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5. VicForests allowed to resume logging despite risk of ‘irreversible damage’ in fire-hit Gippsland

Victoria’s publicly owned forestry agency has been allowed to restart logging in bushfire-ravaged east Gippsland despite a warning from a regulator there was a risk of “serious and irreversible damage” to the state’s biodiversity. A report released under freedom of information laws show the state’s conservation regulator twice wrote to VicForests during and after last summer’s catastrophic bushfires advising it should apply the “precautionary principle” when logging in the area.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/dec/08/vicforests-allowed-to-resume-logging-despite-risk-of-irreversible-damage-in-fire-hit-gippsland

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6. Reforming Australia’s national environmental law

Our national government has been quietly planning to devolve most decision-making under the EPBC Act to the States before a major review of the Act hit the deck. It looks like they’ve failed but their machinations behind the scenes bear scrutiny.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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7. Transforming Australia SDG progress report

How is Australia going on meeting the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals?

-The report shows that Australia is performing well in health and education, but is failing to reduce CO2 emissions, waste and environmental degradation, and to address cost of living pressures and economic inequality.

-Of the 56 indicators examined in this report, only 12 are assessed as on track to meet the 2030 targets. 23 indicators are assessed as off track, 11 are classified as breakthrough needed and 10 need improvement.

-The report also shows COVID-19 has exacerbated trends — including higher levels of unemployment, poverty and psychological distress — that were emerging before COVID-19, and that could fracture Australian society.

Transforming Australia SDG progress report | APO

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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

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

David


Dbytes #454 (2 December 2020)

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


“Carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for centuries and in the ocean for even longer. The last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5 million years ago, when the temperature was 2-3°C warmer and sea level was 10-20 meters higher than now. But there weren’t 7.7 billion inhabitants,” said WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas. [see item 2]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Coextinction of Pseudococcus markharveyi (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae): a case study in the modern insect extinction crisis
2. Carbon dioxide levels continue at record levels, despite COVID-19 lockdown
3. 2020 hindsight
4. Native species under threat as new research finds platypus populations could disappear ‘without ever returning’
5. Conservation in heavily urbanized biodiverse regions requires urgent management action and attention to governanc
e
6. New study shows bushfires hit platypus numbers hard
7. International lawyers draft plan to criminalise ecosystem destruction

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1. Coextinction of Pseudococcus markharveyi (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae): a case study in the modern insect extinction crisis

The majority of modern insect extinctions are likely unrecorded, despite increasing concern for this hyperdiverse group. This is because they are either yet to be discovered and described, their distributions and host associations are poorly known, or data are too sparse to detect declines in populations. Here, I outline the likely extinction of an Australian mealybug, Pseudococcus markharveyi Gullan 2013, which was discovered and described less than 15 years ago but was highlighted recently as one of five most threatened invertebrates in Australia from recent bushfires. The synergistic threats of dieback disease (Phytophthora cinnamomi Rands 1922) and inappropriate fire regime as a consequence of climate change have decimated host plant populations of the critically endangered Banksia montana (George 1996) Mast & Thiele 2007 and the montane habitat of both organisms, thereby leading to the coextinction of the mealybug. Its loss occurred despite attempts at conservation management and illustrates the general insect extinction crisis that Australia, and the world, is facing. The majority of Australian mealybugs are not receiving the same attention as P. markharveyi. Many poorly known species either remain undetected, without formal names, or data on their distribution, abundance and critical habitat are too scant to assess their conservation status. I also discuss the diversity of Australian mealybugs more generally and their need for conservation.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/aen.12506

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2. Carbon dioxide levels continue at record levels, despite COVID-19 lockdown

Geneva, 23 November 2020 (WMO) – The industrial slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic has not curbed record levels of greenhouse gases which are trapping heat in the atmosphere, increasing temperatures and driving more extreme weather, ice melt, sea-level rise and ocean acidification, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The lockdown has cut emissions of many pollutants and greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. But any impact on CO2 concentrations – the result of cumulative past and current emissions – is in fact no bigger than the normal year to year fluctuations in the carbon cycle and the high natural variability in carbon sinks like vegetation.

Carbon dioxide levels saw another growth spurt in 2019 and the annual global average breached the significant threshold of 410 parts per million, according to the WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin. The rise has continued in 2020. Since 1990, there has been a 45% increase in total radiative forcing – the warming effect on the climate – by long-lived greenhouse gases, with CO2 accounting for four fifths of this.

Carbon dioxide levels continue at record levels, despite COVID-19 lockdown | World Meteorological Organization (wmo.int)

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3. 2020 hindsight

Earth, fire and water; and a deep foreboding on opportunities lost
But think where things were only 20 years ago. Imagine what we might have achieved if we had been honestly thinking about the costs we (and our children) would be paying in a couple of decades.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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4. Native species under threat as new research finds platypus populations could disappear ‘without ever returning’

Dams, land clearing and introduced predators are among the biggest threats. One of the lead authors of the study says platypuses may disappear from rivers “without ever returning”. The news comes as the Federal Government commits $18 million to koala conservation.

Native species under threat as new research finds platypus populations could disappear ‘without ever returning’ – ABC News

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5. Conservation in heavily urbanized biodiverse regions requires urgent management action and attention to governance

The study applies a Priority Threat Management decision framework to identify the management actions needed to recover 102 species in the Fraser River estuary (Vancouver and surrounds, Canada) – from orca and salmon to migratory birds, western toad and pink fawn lily. We estimate the cost of these actions, their benefit to species recovery and their feasibility. In doing so, we provide a costed prospectus for action to save these species.

“Our study reveals that it is not too late to save species from extinction in the Fraser River Estuary. But to do so, an investment of $381M over 25 years is required along with a co-governance structure to ensure successful implementation of priority management strategies. This is equivalent to 1 frosty beverage per person/ year in Vancouver.

“The plan includes the implementation of an environmental co-governance body that sees First Nation, federal and provincial governments working together with municipalities, NGOs and industry to implement these strategies. The research finds that co-governance underpins conservation success in urban areas, by increasing the feasibility of management strategies.”

“The good news, we can save all of these species, if we act now.  The bad news, many are expected to become functionally extinct in the next 25 years, if we continue ‘business as usual’.”

http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/csp2.310
And check out the short video on the work here https://vimeo.com/477338437

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6. New study shows bushfires hit platypus numbers hard

The first landscape-scale study of the impact of bushfires on platypuses estimates a 14 to 18% decline in populations of the iconic species in fire affected areas in the nine months following last summer’s devastating fires. The study by Cesar Australia for the Australian Conservation Foundation found the fires burnt a large area of the best remaining platypus habitat in south-eastern Australia, affecting 13.6% of the species’ total range. The analysis estimates that 2% of the total population of the species could have been killed as a result of the catastrophic bushfires of 2019/20.

New study shows bushfires hit platypus numbers hard – Australian Conservation Foundation (acf.org.au)

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7. International lawyers draft plan to criminalise ecosystem destruction

Plan to draw up legal definition of ‘ecocide’ attracts support from European countries and small island nation.

International lawyers draft plan to criminalise ecosystem destruction | International criminal justice | The Guardian

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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

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

David


Dbytes #453 (25 November 2020)

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


“The window of opportunity presented by the COVID crisis for transformational change will be short,” Brian Walker et al, 2020 [see item 5]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. We found a huge flaw in Australia’s environment laws. Wetlands and woodlands will pay the price
2. Record horse sightings
3. Where There’s Smoke, There are Conspiracy Theorists
4. The hidden biodiversity risks of increasing flexibility in biodiversity offset trades
5. Navigating the chaos of an unfolding global cycle
6. Landmark research finds the platypus should be listed as a threatened species
7. Humans are changing fire patterns, and it’s threatening 4,403 species with extinction

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1. We found a huge flaw in Australia’s environment laws. Wetlands and woodlands will pay the price

From ethereal kelp forests off the south east Australian coast to grassy woodlands and their stunning wildflowers, many ecological communities are under threat in Australia. But national environment legislation — the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act — has so far been ineffective at protecting them. In our recent paper, we identify a major flaw in the current approach to listing threatened ecological communities for protection under the EPBC Act: the requirement to meet unrealistic condition thresholds. In other words, where areas of a community do not meet these specific minimum thresholds, they’re considered too degraded to warrant conservation and aren’t protected under the EPBC Act.

https://theconversation.com/we-found-a-huge-flaw-in-australias-environment-laws-wetlands-and-woodlands-will-pay-the-price-150083

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2. Record horse sightings

“You can help Reclaim Kosci this summer

In preparation for the call in early 2021 for submissions on the draft management plan for feral horses in Kosciuszko, we’d like your help in recording sightings of feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park and adjacent areas. We would like to determine the current extent of the feral horse population in the national park and surrounds. We are particularly interested in sightings that indicate expansion of the horses into new areas. The previous (2016) draft plan for management of feral horses in Kosciuszko contained a map of the main horse-present areas. Based on that, we have drawn up a map (.gpx, .kml) of the areas with previously no or few feral horses. They include the Main Range from Mt Kosciuszko north to Mt Selwyn, the Grey Mare/Dargal area, all the Snowy River Valley upstream of Lake Jindabyne and some areas of the lower Snowy.”

https://reclaimkosci.org.au/record-horse-sightings/

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3. Where There’s Smoke, There are Conspiracy Theorists

“So, we have serious and extremely damaging fires, and conspiracy theories about the causes of the fires, which implicitly or explicitly deny the role of climate change as a contributing factor. Moreover, these conspiracy theories are widespread and even find some degree of support at the level of government. This should sound all too familiar to Australian ears. Earlier this year, during our own catastrophic bushfire season, we saw an almost identical narrative unfold. The names and places have changed, but the plot is the same. In particular, recall that Liberal MP Craig Kelly registered his own deep scepticism about the connection between climate change and the 2019–2020 bushfires.”

M. Colyvan, H. Tierney, T. Smartt, 2020. ‘Where There’s Smoke, There are Conspiracy Theorists’, in ABC Religion and Ethics, Tuesday 3 November 2020.

https://www.abc.net.au/religion/where-there-is-smoke-there-are-conspiracy-theorists/12845552

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4. The hidden biodiversity risks of increasing flexibility in biodiversity offset trades

As a market-like mechanism, biodiversity offsetting is perceived to function poorly. In some systems, there is a trend towards more flexible offset trading rules. Increasing ecological flexibility may undermine biodiversity impact avoidance. Geographical flexibility may undermine offset additionality. Improving public awareness and regulatory certainty can improve market function.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320720309198?dgcid=coauthor

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5. Navigating the chaos of an unfolding global cycle

There are many calls to use the COVID 19 crisis as an opportunity for transforming to a future trajectory that is more equitable and environmentally sustainable. What is lacking is a cohesive framework for bringing these calls together. We propose that such transitions could be informed by lessons from three decades of scholarship on abrupt and surprising change in systems of humans and nature. Over time, many social-ecological systems exhibit cycles of change consisting of sequential patterns of growth, development, crisis, and reorganization. A critical phase in the cycle is the brief period after crisis when novelty and innovation can change the future trajectory. Without being prepared for this window of opportunity, deep, systemic change may be unachievable.

https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol25/iss4/art23/

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6. Landmark research finds the platypus should be listed as a threatened species

The parts of Australia where platypuses are found has shrunk by at least 22% or about 200,000 km² – an area almost three times the size of Tasmania – in the past 30 years, new research led by UNSW Sydney reveals.

Landmark research finds the platypus should be listed as a threatened species – Australian Conservation Foundation (acf.org.au)

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7. Humans are changing fire patterns, and it’s threatening 4,403 species with extinction

Last summer, many Australians were shocked to see fires sweep through the wet tropical rainforests of Queensland, where large and severe fires are almost unheard of. This is just one example of how human activities are changing fire patterns around the world, with huge consequences for wildlife. In a major new paper published in Science, we reveal how changes in fire activity threaten more than 4,400 species across the globe with extinction. This includes 19% of birds, 16% of mammals, 17% of dragonflies and 19% of legumes that are classified as critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable.

Humans are changing fire patterns, and it’s threatening 4,403 species with extinction (theconversation.com)

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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

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

David


Dbytes #452 (19 November 2020)

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


“Narratives are not trivial things to mess with. They help us form stable cognitive and emotional patterns that are resistant to change and potentially antagonistic to agents of change (such as people trying to make us change our mind about something we believe).”
Peter Ellerton on ‘why do humans instinctively reject evidence contrary to their beliefs?’ [see item 2.]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Linking biodiversity into national economic accounting
2. Climate explained: why do humans instinctively reject evidence contrary to their beliefs?
3. In praise of pardalotes, unique birds living in a damaged country
4. Biodiversity narratives: stories of the evolving conservation landscape
5. Red handfish juveniles released to boost endangered wild population
6. State of the Climate 2020 shows continued warming and increase in extreme weather events
7. How not to do peer review

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1. Linking biodiversity into national economic accounting

A discussion of a framework that links biodiversity indicators to national economic accounts. Case studies presenting the state of the art in accounting for biodiversity. Informing holistic land use and economic planning for sustainable development.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1462901120313769

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2. Climate explained: why do humans instinctively reject evidence contrary to their beliefs?

Why do humans instinctively reject evidence contrary to their beliefs? Do we understand why and how people change their mind about climate change? Is there anything we can do to engage people? These are three very significant questions. They could be answered separately but, in the context of climate science, they make a powerful trilogy.

https://theconversation.com/climate-explained-why-do-humans-instinctively-reject-evidence-contrary-to-their-beliefs-149436

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3. In praise of pardalotes, unique birds living in a damaged country

“I’ve spent more of my life with pardalotes than with most other acquaintances. They are an obscure and odd group of four species of small (thumb-sized) birds. They have little public profile, not helped by the awkward name. But they are quintessentially Australian, occurring nowhere else in the world.”
John Woinarski
https://theconversation.com/friday-essay-in-praise-of-pardalotes-unique-birds-living-in-a-damaged-country-148921

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4. Biodiversity narratives: stories of the evolving conservation landscape

Narratives shape human understanding and underscore policy, practice and action. From individuals to multilateral institutions, humans act based on collective stories. As such, narratives have important implications for revisiting biodiversity. There have been growing calls for a ‘new narrative’ to underpin efforts to address biodiversity decline that, for example, foreground optimism, a more people-centred narrative or technological advances. This review presents some of the main contemporary narratives from within the biodiversity space to reflect on their underpinning categories, myths and causal assumptions. It begins by reviewing various interpretations of narrative, which range from critical views where narrative is a heuristic for understanding structures of domination, to advocacy approaches where it is a tool for reimagining ontologies and transitioning to sustainable futures. The work reveals how the conservation space is flush with narratives. As such, efforts to search for a ‘new narrative’ for conservation can be usefully informed by social science scholarship on narratives and related constructs and should reflect critically on the power of narrative to entrench old ways of thought and practice and, alternatively, make space for new ones. Importantly, the transformative potential of narrative may not lie in superficial changes in messaging, but in using narrative to bring multiple ways of knowing into productive dialogue to revisit biodiversity and foster critical reflection.

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/environmental-conservation/article/biodiversity-narratives-stories-of-the-evolving-conservation-landscape/857FFCB16378AC8827B463943EBB268F

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5. Red handfish juveniles released to boost endangered wild population

Juvenile Red handfish hatched and raised from eggs at IMAS, CSIRO and Seahorse World have been released back into the wild to help the species avoid extinction. This week, 42 Red handfish were released, likely doubling the size of one of the remaining populations.

https://www.csiro.au/en/News/News-releases/2020/Red-handfish-juveniles-released-to-boost-endangered-wild-population

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6. State of the Climate 2020 shows continued warming and increase in extreme weather events

Continued warming of Australia’s climate, an increase in extreme fire weather and length of the fire season, declining rainfall in the southeast and southwest of the continent, and rising sea levels are some of the key trends detailed in the latest State of the Climate report, released today by the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO. Drawing on the latest climate observations, analyses and projections, the biennial report provides a comprehensive and scientifically rigorous analysis of Australia’s changing climate, today and into the future.

http://media.bom.gov.au/releases/805/state-of-the-climate-2020-shows-continued-warming-and-increase-in-extreme-weather-events/

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7. How not to do peer review

Academia may be unique among careers in its lack of standardised processes or training for so many of the common activities that are essential to being an academic. Instead, new researchers have to bumble blindfolded through the dark room of early career researchhood to work out how to literally do the academic parts of their job. Sometimes we’re lucky to have a supervisor, colleague, or mentor who might guide us to a door (but it may not always be the right door). Publishing and peer review are part of this bumbling process. Publishing our research in peer-reviewed literature is a key part of our job description, to share knowledge with the discipline and beyond.

https://ecologyisnotadirtyword.com/2020/11/17/how-not-to-do-peer-review/

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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

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

David


Dbytes #451 (11 November 2020)

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


“The biggest threat to the species [orange bellied parrot] is its small population, so I will celebrate every time there’s more birds that survive migration and winter,” Dejan Stojanovic in Orange bellied parrot: best year in a decade for critically endangered bird


In this issue of Dbytes

1. The politics of biodiversity offsetting across time and institutional scales
2. The frog in the equation – in this story, the sting is in the tale.
3. Great Barrier Reef credit scheme sees global bank paying farmers to improve practices
4. Navigating spaces between conservation research and practice: Are we making progress?
5. COVID-19 Response and Recovery – Nature-Based Solutions for People, Planet and Prosperity
6. National Priority List of Exotic Environmental Pests, Weeds and Diseases released
7. Importance of species translocations under rapid climate change


-~<>~-

1. The politics of biodiversity offsetting across time and institutional scales

Biodiversity offsetting—actions aimed to produce biodiversity gains to compensate for development impacts—has become an important but controversial instrument of sustainability governance. To understand how this occurred, we conducted a discourse analysis, iteratively applying a qualitative coding system to 197 policy documents produced between 1958 and 2019 across four institutional scales. We show that offsetting has historically been promoted by reformist approaches, which encourage economic growth without consideration of biocultural limits. More recently, those promoting more transformative approaches have reinterpreted offsetting as an instrument to transition towards sustainable economies respectful of planetary boundaries. However, we show that enacting this approach requires major structural governance changes that challenge the dominance of reformist coalitions across scales. Such changes would need to include a commitment by institutions to renounce non-essential projects and avoid damage and for offset stakeholders to become aware of how their contributions become enrolled in the service of specific discourses. Without such changes, offsetting risks structurally encouraging conservationists to produce natures compatible with a status quo development, rather than to advance transformative practices for biocultural diversity.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-020-00636-9

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2. The frog in the equation – in this story, the sting is in the tale.

What do boiling frogs, drowning frogs and disappearing frogs have to tell us about sustainability? (And why has that canary just fallen of its perch? And who let in that elephant?!)

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3. Great Barrier Reef credit scheme sees global bank paying farmers to improve practices

HSBC has become the first corporate investor in reef credits, paying a farmer to improve practices to protect the Great Barrier Reef. Australian company GreenCollar launches a market mechanism in response to calls for an incentivised water-quality program. The farmer was paid an undisclosed sum to prevent 3,000kg of nitrogen from entering the reef.

ABC Rural

-~<>~-

4. Navigating spaces between conservation research and practice: Are we making progress?

Despite aspirations for conservation impact, mismatches between research and implementation have limited progress towards this goal. There is, therefore, an urgent need to identify how we can more effectively navigate the spaces between research and practice.

In 2014, we ran a workshop with conservation researchers and practitioners to identify mismatches between research and implementation that needed to be overcome to deliver evidence‐informed conservation action. Five mismatches were highlighted: spatial, temporal, priority, communication, and institutional.

Here, we report on the outcomes of a follow up workshop in 2019, reflect on what has changed over the past 5 years, and offer 10 recommendations for strengthening the alignment of conservation research and practice.

https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2688-8319.12028

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5. COVID-19 Response and Recovery – Nature-Based Solutions for People, Planet and Prosperity

WASHINGTON (October 28, 2020)—Today CEOs from 22 leading conservation and sustainable development organizations, including the World Resources Institute, have come together in unparalleled consensus to urge policymakers to integrate nature into COVID-19 response and recovery efforts. The group released a set of recommendations for policymakers, COVID-19 Response and Recovery: Nature-Based Solutions for People, Planet and Prosperity.

https://www.wri.org/news/2020/10/statement-covid-19-response-and-recovery-nature-based-solutions-people-planet-prosperity?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=worldresources&utm_campaign=socialmedia&utm_term=75bbca2e-cb1c-49c1-b2d8-7933e2c75c92

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6. National Priority List of Exotic Environmental Pests, Weeds and Diseases released

The National Priority List of Exotic Environmental Pests, Weeds and Diseases was released today which delivers on a recommendation of the 2017 review of Australia’s biosecurity system.

https://minister.awe.gov.au/littleproud/media-releases/national-priority-list-exotic-environmental-pests-weeds-and-diseases-released

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7. Importance of species translocations under rapid climate change

Species that cannot adapt or keep pace with a changing climate are likely to need human intervention to shift to more suitable climates. While hundreds of articles mention using translocation as a climate‐change adaptation tool, in practice, assisted migration as a conservation action remains rare, especially for animals. This is likely due to concern over introducing species to places where they may become invasive. However, there are other barriers to consider, such as time‐frame mismatch, sociopolitical, knowledge and uncertainty barriers to conservationists adopting assisted migration as a go‐to strategy. We recommend the following to advance assisted migration as a conservation tool: attempt assisted migrations at small scales, translocate species with little invasion risk, adopt robust monitoring protocols that trigger an active response, and promote political and public support.

https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cobi.13643#.X4ZBwDcEiI4.twitter

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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

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

David


Dbytes #450 (4 November 2020)

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


“The Academy considers this is an unacceptable situation, one that is not tolerated in other domains such as weather information, biosecurity, health and welfare,” Craig Moritz for the Australian Academy of Science (on biodiversity monitoring and evaluation). [see item 1]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Academy Fellows say it’s time to establish an independent biodiversity agency
2. New Threatened Species Strategy
3. Game of Species: Budget Estimates October 2020
4. Let the games begin – antechinus vs bee eater
5. What happens when an endangered species recovers?
6. Does anyone really believe we are going to avert a climate catastrophe?
7. Set ambitious goals for biodiversity and sustainability

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1. Academy Fellows say it’s time to establish an independent biodiversity agency

With Australia failing to halt species decline and our biodiversity management systems broken, now is the time to establish a new independent agency to manage our nation’s biodiversity data, according to Australia’s leading scientists.

The recommendation by the Australian Academy of Science is part of a brief that has been sent to all Australian MPs and senators ahead of debate, expected in the Senate in November, on the Australian Government’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Streamlining Environmental Approvals) Bill 2020. The government is arguing that the legislation forms part of phase one of Professor Graeme Samuel’s proposal for reform, with the amendments described as the first tranche of reforms associated with the legislative review of the EPBC Act.

Australian Academy of Science Fellow, Professor Craig Moritz, said the Academy welcomes the interim findings of the Samuel review.

https://www.science.org.au/news-and-events/news-and-media-releases/academy-fellows-time-establish-independent-biodiversity-agency

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2. New Threatened Species Strategy

“We are developing a new 10-year Threatened Species Strategy. The Strategy is our guiding policy document. It outlines our approach to protecting and recovering threatened species. Our current Strategy includes a 5-year Action Plan. This launched in mid-2015 and concluded in June 2020.”

https://haveyoursay.awe.gov.au/1new-threatened-species-strategy

[And see item 3, Game of Species]

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3. Game of Species: Budget Estimates October 2020
“Yes Senator? When will we save that adorable possum? I’ll take that on notice.”

The story is no better and the information no more forthcoming at a higher level. So, on this matter of 172 species and ecological communities awaiting a recovery plan and not a single plan being finalised in the last 16 months: And how long will it take to get through this backlog, asked one Senator? “It will take a very long time,” came the helpful senior official’s reply.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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4. Let the games begin – antechinus vs bee eater

A mini essay of natural history by Geoff Park (follow the link to see Geoff’s images of the contestants):

“For much of the year these two species, the Yellow-footed Antechinus and the Rainbow Bee-eater, maintain a more than adequate social distance.

Rainbowbirds, of course, are in northern Australia from late March until early October. It’s only when they return to central Victoria to reoccupy their breeding tunnels – usually from mid November until about Xmas, that they resume contact with one of their arch enemies.

Yellow-footed Antechinus are restless hunters of insects, lizards and if they get the opportunity, eggs and nestling birds. At present Yellow-footed Antechinus have young – if you are lucky you might see a female playing ‘piggyback’ with its brood. They will happily forage on the vertical faces of erosion gullies, typical sites for Rainbow Bee-eater nests.

Each summer I watch the contest between these two amazing animals as the bee-eaters chase the antechinus away whenever they venture near an active nest. In times past other predators would have also been a concern – Eastern Quoll (to roosting birds), dunnarts and other antechinus species – sadly all now locally extinct or rare. I imagine the Brush-tailed Phascogale may also pose a threat, but they are much less abundant than their smaller cousin … and I’m not sure they could squeeze into a bee-eater tunnel!”

https://geoffpark.wordpress.com/2020/10/29/let-the-games-begin/

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5. What happens when an endangered species recovers?
[From Parks Australia science news; Edition 9—October 2020]
This is an interesting and important question. There are quite a few cases of species declines being reversed, such as humpbacked whales, Indian rhinoceros and tigers. Many ecologists might guess that population size will approach an equilibrium or carrying capacity and stay there. However, this is not necessarily so, as theory predicts that a range of outcomes are possible including increase followed by rapid decline. A population crash can occur if abundance doesn’t closely track resources. Animals are left without sufficient food to survive because they have consumed it all.

We explored this question in a recent publication using data from Australia’s many fox control programs implemented to rescue relict populations of terrestrial mammals. We fitted a range of models describing different population trajectories once they had been freed from predation by foxes. Of the 169 populations of 20 mammal species, 44 exhibited eruptive dynamics characterised by an increase followed by dramatic decrease.

https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ecy.3175

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6. Does anyone really believe we are going to avert a climate catastrophe?

An energy transition is underway but it is too slow to avert a climate catastrophe and it ignores many other environmental and social challenges that need tackling now. Capitalism has got us into this mess but doesn’t have the tools to get us out of it. Perhaps ecosocialism and Extinction Rebellion provide some answers.

https://johnmenadue.com/does-anyone-really-believe-we-are-going-to-avert-a-climate-catastrophe/?mc_cid=cdbc00fb33&mc_eid=bdd43ba6c5

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7. Set ambitious goals for biodiversity and sustainability

Global biodiversity policy is at a crossroads. Recent global assessments of living nature (1, 2) and climate (3) show worsening trends and a rapidly narrowing window for action. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has recently announced that none of the 20 Aichi targets for biodiversity it set in 2010 has been reached and only six have been partially achieved (4). Against this backdrop, nations are now negotiating the next generation of the CBD’s global goals [see supplementary materials (SM)], due for adoption in 2021, which will frame actions of governments and other actors for decades to come. In response to the goals proposed in the draft post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) made public by the CBD (5), we urge negotiators to consider three points that are critical if the agreed goals are to stabilize or reverse nature’s decline. First, multiple goals are required because of nature’s complexity, with different facets—genes, populations, species, deep evolutionary history, ecosystems, and their contributions to people—having markedly different geographic distributions and responses to human drivers. Second, interlinkages among these facets mean that goals must be defined and developed holistically rather than in isolation, with potential to advance multiple goals simultaneously and minimize trade-offs between them. Third, only the highest level of ambition in setting each goal, and implementing all goals in an integrated manner, will give a realistic chance of stopping—and beginning to reverse—biodiversity loss by 2050.

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/370/6515/411

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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

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

David

Dbytes #449 (28 October 2020)

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


“If you are not going to effectively control feral horses in national parks you are better off handing the land back to the graziers.”
Andrew Cox [see item 1]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Guy Fawkes horse cull – two decades on and national parks in crisis
2. Disbanding of GBR Ministerial Council
3.
Dissonance & disaster
4. Government wants military response to climate change breakdown
5. Questioning the extinction of experience hypothesis – urban residents do care about nature!
6. Debunking Handbook 2020
7. Australian threatened species at risk with no recovery plans finalised in past 18 months

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1. Guy Fawkes horse cull – two decades on and national parks in crisis

An environmental crisis in NSW national parks is the fallout from two decades of failed horse control sparked by the controversial Guy Fawkes River National Park feral horse cull 20 years ago.

“The field evidence is in and the blanket ban on aerial culling in NSW has been a disaster for our national parks as horse populations in parks are without effective control,” Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox said today.
“Horse numbers have exploded and native wildlife are slowly being replaced by a single species – the common horse.
“On the 20th anniversary of the Guy Fawkes incident it is time we learnt from the past and came up with more effective ways of controlling feral horses in remote and inaccessible national parks.”

https://invasives.org.au/media-releases/guy-fawkes-horse-cull-two-decades-on-and-national-parks-in-crisis/

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2. Disbanding of GBR Ministerial Council

Review of COAG Councils and Ministerial Forums (the Conran Report) recommends disbanding of GBR Ministerial Council and some other env councils

https://www.pmc.gov.au/sites/default/files/final-report-review-coag-councils-ministerial-forums.pdf?fbclid=IwAR10BcV76PlaDo1I3kQkGMz57c8FlJkiL1tgmi6uZ2850qWtku-6J4V6-Ek

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3. Dissonance & disaster
In the last two decades there have been 7,348 recorded disaster events worldwide. By comparison, the previous 20-year period saw 4,212 reported disasters from natural hazards. The rise in climate-related emergencies was the main reason for the spike. And poorer nations experience deaths rates more than four times higher than richer nations. It’s not fair or sustainable.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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4. Government wants military response to climate change breakdown

The hypocrisy is extraordinary. On the one hand the Coalition Government reluctantly concedes that climate change exists at all and does little of substance to try to counteract it . Yet on the other hand it is dedicating substantial resources to establish a wide-ranging and powerful authority to tackle what it sees as the perceived threats of disaster from climate change. A bill being rushed through parliament – the Defence Legislation Amendment (Enhancement of Defence Force Response to Emergencies) Bill 2020 – is raising concerns that the Government is preparing for a militarised response to climate breakdown.

https://www.michaelwest.com.au/government-wants-military-response-to-climate-change-breakdown/

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5. Questioning the extinction of experience hypothesis – urban residents do care about nature!

We found that urban residents today are more strongly connected to nature, and had similar daily experiences of nature, compared to those from 22 years ago.

https://keeptothepath.com/2020/10/23/questioning-the-extinction-of-experience-hypothesis-urban-residents-do-care-about-nature/

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6. Debunking Handbook 2020

The Debunking Handbook 2020 summarises the current state of the science of misinformation and its debunking. It was written by a team of 22 prominent scholars of misinformation and its debunking, and it represents the current consensus on the science of debunking for engaged citizens, policymakers, journalists, and other practitioners.

https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/debunking-handbook-2020/

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7. Australian threatened species at risk with no recovery plans finalised in past 18 months

The federal environment department has not finalised a single recovery plan for threatened species in nearly 18 months despite 172 remaining outstanding. A Senate committee has heard the department last completed a recovery plan for a threatened species in June 2019 and has no timeframe for addressing the backlog, which includes critically endangered animals such as the Leadbeater’s possum.

Greens senators said the revelation was “appalling” and accused the Morrison government of prioritising the fast-tracking of development over environmental protection. The Australian Conservation Foundation said the figures were “exceptionally troubling”, particularly when considered in light of the 2019-20 bushfire crisis.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/oct/19/australian-threatened-species-at-risk-due-to-government-inaction-over-backlog-of-recovery-plans?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

From the Dbytes archive: Does recovery planning benefit threatened species?
And what should we do if it doesn’t?

Bottrill MC, JC Walsh, JEM Watson, LN Joseph, A Ortega-Argueta & HP Possingham (2011). Does recovery planning improve the status of threatened species?
Biological Conservation doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2011.02.008

http://decision-point.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/DPoint_50.pdf
see page 4-5

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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

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

David


Dbytes #448 (23 October 2020)

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


“Brazilian rosewood remains threatened, and illegal logging of rosewood species elsewhere is a major problem. Of all the species protected under CITES, rosewood (covering all rosewood species) is the most trafficked commodity, far exceeding traffic in things like elephant ivory.”
Richard Hobbs on the The Cadillac of Woods: Brazilian Rosewood
[Editor’s note: For those that don’t know, Richard is a restoration guru and a guitar nut. In his new blog he combines his two passions.]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Rewild to mitigate the climate crisis, urge leading scientists
2. Wellbeing, values, and planning in environmental management
3. What is carbon offsetting and is it worthwhile?
4. Artificial nesting hollows are providing a ‘cockatoo Club Med’ on farms in Western Australia
5. ‘We have to change Queensland’: the environmental issues at stake in the election
6. Changing the narrative of climate change
7. Dishing the dirt: Australia’s move to store carbon in soil is a problem for tackling climate change

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1. Rewild to mitigate the climate crisis, urge leading scientists

Restoring degraded natural lands highly effective for carbon storage and avoiding species extinctions

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/oct/14/re-wild-to-mitigate-the-climate-crisis-urge-leading-scientists

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2. Wellbeing, values, and planning in environmental management

Concepts of human wellbeing and values are central to environmental planning.
A mid-level theory is developed to link wellbeing, values, elements, and processes.
This approach supports group deliberations in environmental management.
Arguments concerning plural values versus monism are addressed.
Debates concerning intrinsic value of nature are resolved at the level of principles.

From the lead author, Ken Wallace: “’Values’ and ‘wellbeing’ have long been considered important in planning the conservation and use of natural resources. Yet, in 2019 an article on ecosystem service frameworks bemoaned the lack of connection between these and wellbeing. At the same time our Treasurer scoffed at the idea of a wellbeing budget, and we have been subjected to poorly constructed binary trade-offs such as ‘health’ vs ‘economics’. It seems like a good time to thoroughly think through concepts of values and wellbeing, and their connection to the use and conservation of natural resources.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301479720313724?dgcid=author

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3. What is carbon offsetting and is it worthwhile?

One topic that is raised time and again by our community is whether, and how, to offset greenhouse gas emissions.

https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/resources/carbon-offsetting-worthwhile/

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4. Artificial nesting hollows are providing a ‘cockatoo Club Med’ on farms in Western Australia

Artificial hollows are helping Carnaby’s Black cockatoos breed. Researchers say sites need to be well chosen. Community help is wanted to identify nesting sites.

ABC News

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5. ‘We have to change Queensland’: the environmental issues at stake in the election

Can Queensland break away from fossil fuel extraction and develop jobs and growth in a way that protects the state’s landscapes and ocean wonders?

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/oct/18/we-have-to-change-queensland-the-environmental-issues-at-stake-in-the-election?CMP=share_btn_tw

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6. Changing the narrative of climate change

Social identity, not scientific evidence, drives many people’s attitudes on climate change.

https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/changing-narrative-climate-change

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7. Dishing the dirt: Australia’s move to store carbon in soil is a problem for tackling climate change

But the government’s plan contains misconceptions about both biochar, and the general effectiveness of soil carbon as an emissions reduction strategy.

https://apo.org.au/node/308687?mc_cid=c3c1c710aa&mc_eid=05cef4328a

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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

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

David


Dbytes #447 (15 October 2020)

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


“How do we draw the line between sustainability science and sustainability activism? What is a good scientific argument, and what is merely a political argument? I see in our students that their passion to change the world for the better, collectively, is at an all time high. But what is the role of science in this?”
Joern Fischer on Teaching environmental science in an era of destruction


In this issue of Dbytes

1. ‘Devastating’: The Morrison government cuts uni funding for environment courses by almost 30%
2. Why common names are essential for bee conservation
3. Scoping the State of the Environment Report 2021
4. Making the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration a Social-Ecological Endeavour
5. An uninhabitable hell’: UN says climate change ‘doubled the rate’ of disasters
6. Australian court calls into question RFAs
7. Living Planet Index for Migratory Freshwater Fish

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1. ‘Devastating’: The Morrison government cuts uni funding for environment courses by almost 30%

There has been much attention on how the Morrison government’s university funding reforms will increase the cost of humanities degrees. But another devastating change has passed almost unnoticed: a 29% cut to funding to environmental studies courses. This is one of the largest funding cuts to any university course. Universities will receive almost A$10,000 less funding for each student undertaking environmental studies.

https://theconversation.com/devastating-the-morrison-government-cuts-uni-funding-for-environment-courses-by-almost-30-147852

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2. Why common names are essential for bee conservation

Lately on social media I have seen some spread of the idea that common names for bee species are detrimental to the science and conservation of bees and so should be avoided. I disagree, and in fact I regard common names as a vital part of bee conservation. Let me explain why…

https://ecologyisnotadirtyword.com/2020/10/08/why-common-names-are-essential-for-bee-conservation/

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3. Scoping the State of the Environment Report 2021

 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedinEmail this link
DAWE is seeking feedback on the scoping papers for the 2021 State of the Environment report. Submissions close on 25 October 2020.

https://haveyoursay.awe.gov.au/state-of-environment

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4. Making the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration a Social-Ecological Endeavour

The UN declared 2021–2030 the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, and this opens new opportunities for restoration ecologists. We argue that ecosystem restoration will be most effective if approached from a social-ecological perspective. We synthesize key insights from the field of social-ecological systems research that are particularly relevant for ecosystem restoration.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169534720302482

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5. An uninhabitable hell’: UN says climate change ‘doubled the rate’ of disasters

Climate change is largely responsible for a doubling in the number of natural disasters since 2000, the United Nations said Monday, as it warned that the Earth was becoming uninhabitable for millions of humans.

https://www.theage.com.au/environment/climate-change/an-uninhabitable-hell-un-says-climate-change-doubled-the-rate-of-disasters-20201013-p564hj.html

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6. Australian court calls into question RFAs

The Federal Court has found that VicForests, a Victorian Government forestry corporation, was in breach of a statutory Code of Practice for Timber Production that had been accredited under a federal-state Regional Forest Agreement (RFA). As a result, RFAs are being challenged elsewhere. In one respect the end of RFAs would be unfortunate, as the underlying model of regional environmental assessments and approvals is a good one. In another respect, if RFAs simply provide cover for defensive box ticking and green-washing rather than substantive conservation, this would be no great loss.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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7. Living Planet Index for Migratory Freshwater Fish

The Living Planet Index for Migratory Freshwater Fish is the first comprehensive global report on the status of migratory fish. The technical report finds migratory freshwater fish are under immense threat from human-made impacts and urgent action is required to halt and then reverse the alarming decline.

https://worldfishmigrationfoundation.com/living-planet-index-2020/

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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

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

David


Dbytes #446 (7 October 2020)

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


“I argue that international summits on protecting the living world may be worse than useless, as the pledges leaders make are designed to spread false assurance.”
George Monbiot


In this issue of Dbytes

1. National Feral Cat Management Survey
2. Trust lies bleeding
3. World Habitat Day – Oil and gas infrastructures become fish havens
4. Rain in the Condamine – agriculture versus environment; the wealthy versus the dispossessed. Water is dividing us in the Murray-Darling Basin.
5. 84% of global freshwater species populations lost since 1970: can we ‘bend the curve’ of this trend?
6. Australia joins US, China and Russia in refusing to sign leaders’ pledge on biodiversity
7. Connecting Research With Policy: Guide to Writing for Policy-Makers

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1. National Feral Cat Management Survey

Researchers from RMIT University are looking for volunteers to participate in a survey that asks questions about feral cat management in Australia. The information collected will help to generate a better understanding of feral cat management across the nation, including how to make improvements. The online survey should take around 5 to 10 minutes to complete and will consist primarily of short, multiple-choice questions about feral cats and efforts taken to manage them. Participation is voluntary and, if you choose to participate, you will remain completely anonymous. The survey will be open until November 1st.

If you would like to participate in this survey and help with this research, please visit the following link – https://bit.ly/Cats2020ind

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2. Trust lies bleeding

Their capacity to spread untruth is only made possible when a significant portion of the community don’t trust the mainstream media or the science it reports on. Anti-vaxxers and Q-Anonists don’t get to spread their vicious conspiracies if the broader public is resistant to their poison; informed and responsive to real emerging threats. And climate deniers (and the many vested interests that use them to sustain their wealth) won’t be able to distort and pervert important policy reform to move humanity to a more sustainable footing.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3. World Habitat Day – Oil and gas infrastructures become fish havens

The 5 October was World Habitat Day and while the United Nations’ emphasis is on shelter for humans, man-made structures can make the most unlikely homes for other species. A project funded by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation explores the pros and cons of leaving old oil and gas infrastructures in the waters off Karratha in northern Western Australia as they are now home to a myriad of marine species. 

https://www.frdc.com.au/media-publications/news-and-media-releases/Oil-and-gas-infrastructures-become-fish-havens

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4. Rain in the Condamine – agriculture versus environment; the wealthy versus the dispossessed. Water is dividing us in the Murray-Darling Basin.

In the Condamine Catchment, and others in the northern Murray-Darling Basin, the rains came but for many downstream on the Baaka/Darling, the river still failed to flow. Bitter tears were shed as people desperate for water discovered the rules had dealt them out of the equation. Matt Colloff takes a hard look at what is happening along the Condamine Catchment and concludes it’s time to stop the water wars and find ways of re-framing the values that legitimise the rights and benefits of the few at the expense of the many.
https://globalwaterforum.org/

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5. 84% of global freshwater species populations lost since 1970: can we ‘bend the curve’ of this trend?

Global populations of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish have, on average, declined by two-thirds since 1970, according to the latest WWF Living Planet Report, released earlier this month. Continuing the trends shown in past reports, freshwaters are particularly imperilled: with 84% of global freshwater species populations lost between 1970 and 2016. The bi-annual Living Planet Report tracks trends in global wildlife abundance, based on data from 21,000 populations of more than 4,000 vertebrate species. Population declines in freshwater ecosystems – which equate to an average annual loss of 4% globally – were higher than those in terrestrial and oceanic environments.

https://freshwaterblog.net/2020/09/25/84-of-global-freshwater-species-populations-lost-since-1970-can-we-bend-the-curve-of-this-trend/

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6. Australia joins US, China and Russia in refusing to sign leaders’ pledge on biodiversity
Scott Morrison declined as 10-point plan calls for commitments considered inconsistent with government policy

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/sep/29/australia-joins-us-china-and-russia-in-refusing-to-sign-leaders-pledge-on-biodiversity

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7. Connecting Research With Policy: Guide to Writing for Policy-Makers

“In the course of their research, most environmental researchers are likely to identify issues that have implications for government policy-makers and decision-makers. This guide has been designed by the NESP TSR Hub to support researchers working in the environmental field to develop communications tailored for these end-users. It outlines four types of products designed to communicate research with policy end-users”

https://www.nespthreatenedspecies.edu.au/media/eb1d1aq2/science-for-policy-guidelines-report_v13.pdf

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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

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

David


Dbytes #445 (30 September 2020)

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

“You can’t offset geological carbon — ie fossil fuels — with biological carbon. It’s only a buffer that gives you a bit of time to get your geological carbon under control.”
Will Steffen

In this issue of Dbytes

1. Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth: China in Action
2. Conservation Status Assessment Project, Victoria
3. Environmental Standards: are they really the treasure at the end of the rainbow?
4. Comparing threatened species recovery plans from USA, NSW and NZ
5. ‘Citizen sensing: Sensing the risk
6. Expansion of Vertebrate Pest Exclusion Fencing and Its Potential Benefits for Threatened Fauna Recovery in Australia
7. Scientists map the potential for natural forest regrowth to capture carbon

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1. Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth: China in Action

Position Paper of the People’s Republic of China for the United Nations Summit on Biodiversity

“As the incoming presidency of the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), China is a staunch advocate of multilateralism and has always been an active participant and facilitator of the multilateral process of biodiversity. China stands for the balanced implementation of the Convention’s three objectives, namely the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources. China urges all parties, under the principles of fairness, transparency and parties-driven process, to broaden consensus, move in the same direction, and facilitate the adoption of an ambitious, balanced and realistic Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, and move toward a more just and equitable biodiversity governance system that embodies the best efforts of all parties.”

http://au.china-embassy.org/eng/sghdxwfb_1/t1817741.htm

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2. Conservation Status Assessment Project, Victoria

DELWP has re-assessed the conservation status of all animals, plants and fungi that are currently considered to be rare or threatened in Victoria, and these are now available for public comment. Submissions close on November 20, 2020.

https://www.environment.vic.gov.au/conserving-threatened-species/conservation-status-assessment-project

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3. Environmental Standards: are they really the treasure at the end of the rainbow?

‘Environmental Standards’ look set to become part of environmental regulation in Australia and many people are wondering whether they will be good enough and, even if they are, how will it change things.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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4. Comparing threatened species recovery plans from USA, NSW and NZ

Researchers examine threatened species recovery plans from USA, NSW and NZ, to look at how much is spent on research and monitoring versus direct recovery actions. It turns out that over 50% of budgets in recovery plans are allocated to research and monitoring. This seems like an awful lot, and I [Joe Bennet] suspect it may be higher in other places where plans are not as carefully constructed. In fact, some species in USA had almost their entire budgets allocated to monitoring. Species with higher proportions of budgets spent on monitoring tended to fare worse over time. We recommend carefully prioritizing monitoring actions alongside other actions, to make sure the information that is critical to decisions is obtained.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-18486-6

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5. Citizen sensing: Sensing the risk

An accessible ‘toolbox’ for interested citizen science communities and policy-makers wishing to integrate citizen-sensed data into risk governance and environmental decisions.

https://digi-courses.com/openpresstiu-sensing-the-risk/

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6. Expansion of Vertebrate Pest Exclusion Fencing and Its Potential Benefits for Threatened Fauna Recovery in Australia

Globally, there is a need to preserve threatened species before they disappear. The management of these species is often aided, particularly in Australia, by the addition of exclusion fences that prevent the movement of invasive or pest predators and competitors into the conservation area. Widespread use of conservation fences is limited by the availability of suitable conservation land and the relatively high costs of such fencing. Here, we discuss the potential conservation benefit of pest exclusion fences erected on agricultural land. We assess the spatial overlap of existing agricultural exclusion fences (known as “cluster fences”) with the potential habitat of listed threatened species and consider whether or not identified threats to these species are potentially alleviated within cluster fences. We find that there are several species that face threats which may be alleviated with cluster fences and propose that active recovery of threatened species on fenced agricultural land be seriously considered.

https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/10/9/1550?utm_source=CISS+external+e-news+subscriber+list&utm_campaign=fbfd823df5-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_01_09_01_25_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_dca65e59c7-fbfd823df5-85300405

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7. Scientists map the potential for natural forest regrowth to capture carbon

Dr Roxburgh said the study found climate, rather than past land use, was the most important driver of potential carbon accumulation, with the work providing an important benchmark to assess the global potential of forest regrowth as a climate mitigation strategy.

https://www.csiro.au/en/News/News-releases/2020/Scientists-map-the-potential-for-natural-forest-regrowth-to-capture-carbon

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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

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

David


Dbytes #493 (15 September 2021)

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

“It appears that lobbying fossil fuel companies have hijacked climate policy from the Australian people.”
Angela Dewan, CNN, Australia is shaping up to be the villain of COP26 climate talks


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Unleash the environmental watchdogs
2. Predicted protected area downsizing impedes conservation progress across terrestrial ecoregions in the tropics and subtropics
3. Saving these family-focused lizards may mean moving them to new homes. But that’s not as simple as it sounds
4. It’s not sustainable’: overcrowding is changing the soul of US national parks
5. Amazon and The Nature Conservancy announce launch of Agroforestry and Restoration Accelerator
6. Nearly a third of the world’s tree species threatened with extinction, says report
7. Religious Australians Call on Scott Morrison to do more on climate


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1. Unleash the environmental watchdogs

Court tells NSW EPA to do its duty and make policies to protect the state environment from climate change

When governments establish independent watchdogs, often enshrining their independence in law, they do so in the knowledge that there are ‘back door’ ways to control them. And yet Matt Kean seems to want them to do their job.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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2. Predicted protected area downsizing impedes conservation progress across terrestrial ecoregions in the tropics and subtropics

Protected areas remain a key tool in the fight against biodiversity loss and have expanded rapidly in recent decades. However, protected areas are also increasingly experiencing downsizing events that reduce the total amount of area legally under protection. Here we explore how future predicted protected area expansion and downsizing (by 2045) will impact the ability for countries to meet representation and area-based protection targets, such as those set by the Convention on Biological Diversity. We found that predicted protected area downsizing will likely decrease habitat representation equality and mean area-based target (30% target) achievement by 50% and >80%, respectively, of the 36 countries analyzed across four scenarios (no protection, business as usual, random and optimal protection). Prioritizing protection of underrepresented ecoregions could offset these unfavorable outcomes, increasing representation equality, on average, by >60% and mean target achievement by >30%. We identify countries that are expected to decrease both representation equality and mean target achievement (~50% of countries across scenarios) with predicted downsizing. These countries need to pay particular attention to strategic protected area expansion and policies that prevent downsizing in parks with under-represented habitats. Finally, we identify cases where downsizing events improve protected area metrics, such as India and Nigeria, highlighting the complexities and potential trade-offs of protected area dynamics. A deeper understanding of the influence of protected area downsizing on conservation outcomes is urgently needed to ensure representative and adequate protected area networks.

The Society for Conservation Biology (wiley.com)

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3. Saving these family-focused lizards may mean moving them to new homes. But that’s not as simple as it sounds

Spiny-tailed skinks (Egernia stokesii badia), known as meelyu in the local Badimia language in Western Australia, are highly social lizards that live together in family groups — an uncommon trait among reptiles. They’re culturally significant to the Badimia people but habitat degradation and mining has put them under threat of extinction. These sturdy, mottled lizards — which live in colonies in the logs of fallen trees and branches — are a candidate for what researchers call “mitigation translocation”.

https://theconversation.com/saving-these-family-focused-lizards-may-mean-moving-them-to-new-homes-but-thats-not-as-simple-as-it-sounds-162998

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4. It’s not sustainable’: overcrowding is changing the soul of US national parks

Travelers, tour guides and service workers share how years of record-high tourism levels are reshaping popular destinations

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/10/overcrowding-changing-us-national-parks

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5. Amazon and The Nature Conservancy announce launch of Agroforestry and Restoration Accelerator

The initiative will focus on reforestation and regenerative agroforestry in the Amazon rainforest, removing up to 10 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions through 2050.

Amazon and The Nature Conservancy announce launch of Agroforestry and Restoration Accelerator – Climate Action

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6. Nearly a third of the world’s tree species threatened with extinction, says report

Almost 40 percent of trees in sub-Saharan African are threatened. At least 142 of the world’s tree species are already extinct in the wild. More than half of the world’s trees exist only within single countries.

Report: Nearly a third of the world’s tree species threatened with extinction (globallandscapesforum.org)

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7. Religious Australians Call on Scott Morrison to do more on climate

Over six hundred people of faith from around Australia have penned hand-written letters calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to do more to protect the climate.

One of the letter-writers and Pentecostal Pastor at the large and influential Bayside Church in Melbourne, Pastor Rob Buckingham, said ‘Our faith teaches us that we should care for God’s creation. I appeal to the Prime Minister as a man of faith and ask him to carefully consider his government’s responsibility to ensure the earth’s environment is protected for the generations to come.’

Religious Australians Call on Scott Morrison to do more on climate (medianet.com.au)

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About Dbytes

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

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

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

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

David


Dbytes #491 (1 September 2021)

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

“Once a project is approved, it is not reassessed, even if a species becomes vulnerable and a wildfire burns much of its habitat.”
Watchorn and Ashman [see item 5]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Pacific Island bats are utterly fascinating, yet under threat and overlooked. Meet 4 species
2. Passing the buck – the rights and responsibilities of fossil fuel divestment
3. Climate risk governance guide
4. A brief history of the northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus): a systematic review
5. Australia has failed greater gliders: since they were listed as ‘vulnerable’ we’ve destroyed more of their habitat
6. Ten large-scale climate solutions
7. Using knowledge to care for country: Indigenous-led evaluations of research to adaptively co-manage Kakadu National Park, Australia
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1. Pacific Island bats are utterly fascinating, yet under threat and overlooked. Meet 4 species

A whopping 191 different bat species live in the Pacific Islands across Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia — but these are, collectively, the most imperilled in the world. In fact, five of the nine bat species that have gone extinct in the last 160 years have come from this region. For too long, the conservation of Pacific Island bats has been largely overlooked in science. Of the 191 existing species, 25% are threatened with extinction, and we lack information to assess the status of a further 15%.

Pacific Island bats are utterly fascinating, yet under threat and overlooked. Meet 4 species (theconversation.com)

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2. Passing the buck – the rights and responsibilities of fossil fuel divestment

It’s a win-win for the corporates (and their shareholders), and a lose-lose for the planet (and its inhabitants). Of course, one day the music will stop and the corporates betting their profits on stranded fossil fuel assets will find there’s no chair for them to sit on. The Bank for International Settlements has suggested that when this happens there could be a collapse in asset prices of fossil fuel industries that could lead to a wider economic collapse along the lines of the GFC.

What might a win-win look like? That’s a win for corporates and a win for society. Based on a realistic costing of the impacts of climate change in coming years* and being realistic about the tiny chance that the big corporates play fair (ie, be true to their social responsibility and not interfere with governmental policy), I think the best we could hope for might be governments stepping in and buying out the whole fossil fuel sector at some cut (heavily-discounted) rate based on their falling asset value.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3. Climate risk governance guide

An introductory resource for directors on climate risk governance. This guide is an introductory resource for directors on climate change risk governance. It provides a plain-language introduction to fundamental climate change concepts and considers this issue in the context of the non-executive directors’ role and duties.

Climate risk governance guide (apo.org.au)

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4. A brief history of the northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus): a systematic review

In response to Australia’s current extinction crisis, substantial research efforts have been targeted towards some of the most imperilled species. One such species is the northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus), a marsupial predator that has recently suffered substantial declines in range and is now listed as Endangered. We conducted a systematic review of all literature relevant to the conservation and ecology of northern quolls. We reviewed 143 studies, including research articles, government and industry reports, theses, and books, and quantified research effort in terms of topic, location, and publication period. We then summarised research relevant to northern quoll taxonomy, genetics, distribution, habitat associations, diet, reproduction, movement, threats, management, and Indigenous knowledge. Research effort was higher between 2011 and 2020 than the previous four decades combined. Northern quolls in the Northern Territory were the most studied, followed by the Pilbara, the Kimberley, and Queensland populations. Most studies focused on northern quoll distribution and habitat, management, and threats – primarily cane toads, predation, and fire. We conclude with a non-exhaustive list of ten future research directions. If pursued, these future research directions should provide information critical to managing and conserving northern quolls.

https://www.publish.csiro.au/AM/AM21002

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5. Australia has failed greater gliders: since they were listed as ‘vulnerable’ we’ve destroyed more of their habitat

In just five years, greater gliders — fluffy-eared, tree-dwelling marsupials — could go from vulnerable to endangered, because Australia’s environmental laws have failed to protect them and other threatened native species.

https://theconversation.com/australia-has-failed-greater-gliders-since-they-were-listed-as-vulnerable-weve-destroyed-more-of-their-habitat-164872

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6. Ten large-scale climate solutions

The latest IPCC report could not be clearer: we either dramatically reduce global greenhouse gas emissions this decade, or face catastrophic climate impacts. The strong message is that although time is running out, we still have control over what the future looks like. Co-ordinated ambitious action taken today can dramatically reduce future harm. At the Climate Council, we are often asked about the best solutions to climate change that are available today and can drive Australia’s emissions down quickly. So our research team has compiled this list of their top ten large-scale climate solutions – in no particular order – which would see our emissions plummet.
Top 10 Large-Scale Climate Solutions | Explainer | Climate Council

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7. Using knowledge to care for country: Indigenous-led evaluations of research to adaptively co-manage Kakadu National Park, Australia

Sustainability science research conducted with Indigenous collaborators must be Indigenous-led and achieve impacts that are grounded in local values and priorities, both for ethical reasons and to achieve more robust outcomes. However, there has been limited focus on determining how best to evaluate the way research is used, shared and created to adaptively solve complex sustainable issues facing Indigenous lands. In this paper, we outline a collaborative and adaptive approach for conducting Indigenous-led evaluations of sustainability research and show how this approach was applied to evaluate cross-cultural knowledge co-production practice and impact in Australia’s jointly managed and World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park. As part of an Indigenous-led research project, indicators were co-developed by Indigenous and non-Indigenous research team members to monitor the health of the knowledge-sharing and co-production practices that underpinned the design, management and success of the project’s research activities. The evaluations focused on determining whether research activities were providing negotiated benefits for local Indigenous people; helping to restore and protect agreed values in priority areas; and supporting Indigenous-led collaborative knowledge sharing and research practices. In Kakadu, we show how the Indigenous-led design of the research evaluation empowered the usability and benefits of knowledge which was negotiated, shared and co-created. The approach shows how sustainability science can be evaluated by Indigenous leaders to test if and how research practice and impact is responding to their priorities for their traditional estates.

Using knowledge to care for country: Indigenous-led evaluations of research to adaptively co-manage Kakadu National Park, Australia | SpringerLink

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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