Dbytes #122 (15 October 2013)

Dbytes #122 (15 October 2013)
Info & news for members and associates of the Environmental Decision Group

‘It is preferable that we obtain imperfect knowledge about the important issues of our times than precise answers to what are, in the overall scheme of things, trivial questions.”
Richard Eckersley

General News

1. Towards national reporting on agricultural land use change in Australia
2. The Chief Scientist issued ‘Climate Change: The story so far’
3. Science and taboo secure a fishier future for Fiji
4. More on who’s Afraid of Peer Review?
5. Moshe Sniedovich on Info-Gap Decision Theory

EDG News
(more details on these items follows general news)

Perth:
Richard Hobbs gets award from Society for Ecological Restoration
Melbourne: Engagement Award for hawkweed program
Brisbane: Joe Bennett publishes on SDMs and conservation at multiple scales
Canberra: David Lindenmayer publishes on six principle for managing forests sustainably

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General News

1. Towards national reporting on agricultural land use change in Australia

The report describes changes in key land uses (grazing, cropping and nature conservation) over the period 1992-93 to 2005-06, nationally and at the regional scale.

http://www.daff.gov.au/abares/publications_remote_content/recent-20?sq_content_src=%2BdXJsPWh0dHAlM0ElMkYlMkYxNDMuMTg4LjE3LjIwJTJGYW5yZGwlMkZEQUZGU2VydmljZSUyRmRpc3BsYXkucGhwJTNGZmlkJTNEcGJfbnJsdWNkOWFibG0wODMyMDEzMTAxMV8xMWEueG1sJmFsbD0x

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2. The Chief Scientist issued ‘Climate Change: The story so far’

http://www.chiefscientist.gov.au/2013/10/climate-change-the-story-so-far/

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3. Science and taboo secure a fishier future for Fiji
In Kubulau District, Fiji, local fishers, marine biologists and staff of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) are combining ancient tabu (taboo) customs and modern science to manage fish stocks. The communities of Kubulau – pronounced Kumbulau – have extended their network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to cover almost half their traditional fisheries area using a mix of traditional and “western” management styles.

“The practice of establishing a tabu – which places temporary bans on fishing in certain areas – goes back hundreds of years in Fijian history,” says Dr Rebecca Weeks from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoECRS), Australia and James Cook University. “But growing populations, modern fishing methods, increasing water pollution, climate change and deforestation have seen fish stocks dwindle. By working together to create a network of tabu areas, and adding some large, permanently closed MPAs, the communities in Kubulau are making sure that their management efforts are better able to address the problem of sustainable fishing in the 21st century.”

Reference
“Adaptive Co-management of a Marine Protected Area Network in Fiji” by Rebecca Weeks and Stacy Jupiter is available online in the journal Conservation Biology.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cobi.12153/abstract

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4. More on who’s Afraid of Peer Review?
In the last Dbytes we included a reference to a spoof paper concocted by Science that suggested little or no scrutiny at many open-access journals.
See http://www.sciencemag.org/content/342/6154/60.full

Fiona Mae Caryl sent in the following links providing interesting reflections on this whole issue (and none of them were complimentary of Science).

Scientific Publishing Sting: a Missed Opportunity?
http://www.theguardian.com/science/grrlscientist/2013/oct/08/1?CMP=twt_gu
Open access publishing hoax: what Science magazine got wrong
http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/blog/2013/oct/04/science-hoax-peer-review-open-access
I confess, I wrote the Arsenic DNA paper to expose flaws in peer-review at subscription based journals http://www.michaeleisen.org/blog/?p=1439#sthash.U4dOlufu.dpuf
Science Magazine rejects data, publishes anecdote
http://bjoern.brembs.net/2013/10/science-magazine-rejects-data-publishes-anecdote/

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5. Moshe Sniedovich on Info-Gap Decision Theory

Editor’s note: Moshe Sniedovich from the University of Melbourne has been a long term critic of the Info-Gap Decision Theory. He has recently submitted an article on info gap to Decision Point. Due the back log of existing stories waiting to get into Decision Point, I responded by saying I wouldn’t be publishing his story in the near future. However, you can read his story on info gap at his website.
http://info-gap.moshe-online.com/DecisionPoint/

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EDG News

Perth: Richard Hobbs gets award from Society for Ecological Restoration
Richard Hobbs was conferred a ‘Special Recognition Award’ from the Society for Ecological Restoration. The prize reflects Richard’s achievements as Editor-in-Chief of the Society’s flagship journal, Restoration Ecology. It was presented to him at the 5th World Conference on Ecological Restoration, Wisconsin, USA.

Melbourne: Engagement Award for hawkweed program
Cindy Hauser reports on a Uni of Melb award for a project on an invasive weed management that she has been involved with for some time.

“This morning the hawkweed program that I’ve been involved in for several years had some gratifying recognition, receiving one of the Vice-Chancellor’s Staff Engagement Excellence Awards for 2013.”
http://cindyehauser.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/engagement-award-for-hawkweed-program/

Brisbane: Joe Bennett publishes on SDMs and conservation at multiple scales
“In this paper, I provide a step-by-step process to test for spatial autocorrelation, account for it in models, and then decide whether accounting for it is necessary or simpler models will do the trick. I also show that modelling distributions at more than one scale may be necessary to avoid inefficient or potentially counterproductive management action.
Ref: Bennett, J. R. (2013), Comparison of native and exotic distribution and richness models across scales reveals essential conservation lessons. Ecography. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0587.2013.00393.x
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1600-0587.2013.00393.x/abstract

Canberra: David Lindenmayer publishes on six principle for managing forests sustainably
Ref: David B. Lindenmayer & Saul A. Cunningham (2013). Six principles for managing forests as ecologically sustainable ecosystems. Landscape Ecology 28(6) July 2013: 1099-1110.
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10980-012-9720-9/fulltext.html

Abstract: We present six general principles for sustainable forest landscape management derived from insights in an array of natural and commodity production ecosystems in south-eastern Australia but which are likely to have broad applicability to many forested ecosystems worldwide. These principles are: (1) Landscape management problems are typically underpinned by human-use drivers that over-commit natural resources and undermine the ecosystem services which support the replenishment of those resources. (2) Not all parts of a landscape are equal in their contribution to species persistence and ecological processes. Special steps are needed to secure the ecological integrity of these disproportionately important areas. (3) Managing connectivity is critical, but it is essential to determine what kind of connectivity is desirable, and for what species and processes. (4) Land use practices can produce spatial and temporal cumulative effects with negative impacts on biodiversity and ecological processes. (5) Land use decisions on the land sparing–land sharing spectrum are highly scale and context dependent. (6) Our understanding of landscape-scale processes is shaped by our conceptual model of the landscape. It is therefore important to check if a given mental model is appropriate for a given landscape and the species or ecological processes of concern.


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About Dbytes
Dbytes is the eNewsletter of the Environmental Decisions Group. 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 (David.Salt@anu.edu.au). Please keep them short and provide a link for more info. Also, email David if you want to unsubscribe (or subscribe someone else). While Dbytes is primarily aimed at members of the EDG, anyone is welcome to receive it.

About EDG
The Environmental Decision Group (EDG) is a network of conservation researchers working on the science of effective decision making to better conserve biodiversity. Our members are largely based at the University of Queensland, the Australian National University, the University of Melbourne, the University of Western Australia, RMIT and CSIRO. The EDG is jointly funded by the Australian Government’s National Environmental Research Program (NERP) and the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence program (CEED).

CEED: http://ceed.edu.au/
NERP ED: http://www.nerpdecisions.edu.au/
EDG: http://www.edg.org.au/

EDG major events: http://www.edg.org.au/events.html
Decision Point: http://www.decision-point.com.au/

 

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