Dbytes #124 (29 October 2013)

Dbytes #124 (29 October 2013)
Info & news for members and associates of the Environmental Decision Group

“Science does not provide the solutions [to environmental problems], but it can help understand the consequences of different choices.”
Jane Lubchenco (Ref: Lubchenco, J. (1998) Entering the century of the environment: a new social contract for science. Science, 279, 491–497.)
General News

1. What do you think of ECOS?
2. eXchange for environmental info
3. Strategic review of the Department of the Environment
4. Making the scientific workshop work
5. The Big Picture could be worth big bucks!

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

Editor’s note: Cutting EDG!: 4x4x4
I think this week’s EDG news is quite special. It features four publications just out on four cutting-edge topics (fossil fuel extraction and conservation; regen of ash forests after Black Saturday; monocultures vs tree mixes in carbon plantings; and translocation in times of climate change); in four top-notch journals (Science, Ecosystems, Nature Climate Change and PloS ONE) led by four early career, up-and-coming women (Nathalie Butt, Annabel Smith, Kristin B. Hulvey and Tracy Rout).

Brisbane: Nathalie and Hawthorne on how fossil fuel extraction affects biodiversity.
Canberra:
Annabel Smith et al on mountain ash regen post fire
Perth: Kristin Hulvey and co discuss the benefits of tree mixes in carbon plantings.
Melbourne: Tracy Rout and colleagues publish on the problem of moving species threatened by climate change.

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General News

1. What do you think of ECOS?

ECOS has been telling the story of science and sustainability in Australia for almost 40 years. CSIRO would like to find out if the ECOS community is still satisfied with the online magazine, and how it might be changed to better meet readers’ needs. If you are interested in taking part in the ECOS online survey, go to the website and click on the survey link. You could win a nature photography book prize!

http://www.ecosmagazine.com/

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2. eXchange for environmental info

Developed under the auspices of the National Plan for Environmental Information initiative, eXchange is an eNewsletter that aims to improve cross-agency awareness about the diversity of environmental information activity occurring in Australia and internationally. eXchange’s informs of new environmental information initiatives, products, publications and services, major events and data releases from Australian Government agencies. The e-magazine is free and the electronic format makes it very easy to subscribe.

http://e.bom.gov.au/link/id/zzzz524cd7a80f116225/page.html#zzzz524cd79b1214e686

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3. Strategic review of the Department of the Environment

23 October 2013
The Department of the Environment will conduct an internal strategic review of its operations over coming months to examine its core objectives, roles and responsibilities, and to inform its future priorities and organisational arrangements.

http://www.environment.gov.au/about/media/dept-mr/dept-mr20131023.html

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4. Making the scientific workshop work
[A ConservationBytes blog, recommended by Anna Renwick]

I’ve said it before, but it can stand being repeated: done right, workshops can be some of the most efficient structures for doing big science.”
It then goes on to the 16 secret ingredients of a successful workshop.

http://conservationbytes.com/2013/10/28/making-the-scientific-workshop-work/#more-10598

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5. The Big Picture could be worth big bucks!

The California Academy of Sciences, is hosting an international photo competition that spotlights the work of conservation photographers from around the world. First prize is $20,000 USD in cash and photography equipment!
Closes March 2014
http://bigpicturecompetition.org/

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EDG News

Brisbane: Nathalie and Hawthorne on how fossil fuel extraction affects biodiversity.
Nathalie Butt and Hawthorne Beyer talk about their new paper in Science in The Conversation:
“Greenhouse gases produced by the burning of fossil fuels have resulted in well-publicised changes to the Earth’s climate. But the impacts of fossil fuels start long before their carbon dioxide reaches the atmosphere. Our new research, published today in Science, looks at the effects of coal, oil and gas extraction on biodiversity.”
http://theconversation.com/leave-it-in-the-ground-how-fossil-fuel-extraction-affects-biodiversity-19484

Ref: N. Butt, H. L. Beyer, J. R. Bennett, D. Biggs, R. Maggini, M. Mills, A. R. Renwick, L. M. Seabrook, and H. P. Possingham. Biodiversity Risks from Fossil Fuel Extraction.Science 25 October 2013: 342 (6157), 425-426. [DOI:10.1126/science.1237261]

Canberra: Annabel Smith et al on mountain ash regen post fire
Mountain ash forests regenerated prolifically following the 2009 ‘Black Saturday’ wildfires in Victoria, and we studied factors affecting regeneration throughout the range of this species. We found that rates of seedling establishement were lower in the warmer, drier areas of its range (at low elevations) and were also lower in younger forest compared with old growth forest. The continued warming and drying of the climate in southern Australia and associated changes in fire regimes may cause cumulative or synergistic impacts on forest regeneration.

Ref: Smith, A.L., Blair, D., McBurney, L., Banks, S.C., Barton, P.S., Blanchard, W., Driscoll, D.A., Gill, A.M., Lindenmayer, D.B., 2013. Dominant drivers of seedling establishment in a fire-dependent obligate seeder: climate or fire regimes? Ecosystems DOI: 10.1007/s10021-013-9721-9.

Perth: Kristin Hulvey and co discuss the benefits of tree mixes in carbon plantings.
Important findings indicating that the assumed trade-off between carbon and biodiversity  in carbon plantings may not occur. In a meta-analysis, mixtures of tree species stored at least as much carbon as monoculture plantings comprised of the single most productive species in the mixture.  Additionally, at times, mixes outperformed monoculture plantings. In mixed-species stands, individual species, and in particular nitrogen-fixing trees, increased stand biomass.

 

Ref: Kristin B. Hulvey, Richard J. Hobbs, Rachel J. Standish, David B. Lindenmayer, Lori Lach and Michael P. Perring 2013. Benefits of tree mixes in carbon plantings. Nature Climate Change 3: 869-874.

Melbourne: Tracy Rout and colleagues publish on the problem of moving species threatened by climate change.
“The major problem with climate change is not so much that climate is changing, but that it is changing faster than species can move or adapt. One of the solutions is to move species to places with a more suitable climate. But the idea of introducing species to areas where they have never occurred before is controversial, because species introduced to somewhere they’ve never lived could have devastating consequences for the species already there. Just think of foxes, lantana, cane toads and other invasive species in Australia.
So how do we weigh up the costs and benefits? In a new study published today in journal PLOS ONE, we developed a way of finding the answer.”
http://tracyroutresearch.wordpress.com/2013/10/23/should-we-move-species-threatened-by-climate-change/

Ref: Rout TM, McDonald-Madden E, Martin TG, Mitchell NJ, Possingham HP, et al. (2013) How to Decide Whether to Move Species Threatened by Climate Change. PLoS ONE 8(10): e75814. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075814
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0075814

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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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