Dbytes #126 (13 November 2013)

Dbytes #126 (13 November 2013)
Info & news for members and associates of the Environmental Decision Group

‘Many politicians are so ecologically illiterate they would think a food chain is a line of supermarkets’
Norman Myers (as quoted by John Lawton, Ecology, politics and policy, Journal of Applied Ecology. 44: 465–474, 2007)

General News

1. Wentworth Group Science Program scholarships
2. The Great Barrier Reef Strategic Assessment consultation
3. OECD backs carbon taxes and emissions trading systems
4. Special issue of Frontiers assesses climate change on ecosystems
5. Carbon farming: it’s a nice theory, but don’t get your hopes up
6. 2014 Conference on Natural Resource Modelling

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

General: NERP evaluation now underway
Perth: The value of non market valuation to policy
Melbourne: Chris Ives on the Nature of Cities
Brisbane:
Tak Iwamura and colleagues on sea level rise impacts on migratory birds
Canberra: David Lindenmayer on Gardening Australia

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General News

1. Wentworth Group Science Program scholarships

Applications are open for the 2014 Wentworth Group Science Program scholarships.

The Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists is offering scholarships to Australian postgraduate students to assist them in bridging the gap between science and public policy. The group is seeking students committed to advancing solutions that will secure the long term health of Australia’s land, water, coasts and biodiversity.
Applications close at 5pm on Friday 6 December 2013.

http://wentworthgroup.org/programs/science-program/

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2. The Great Barrier Reef Strategic Assessment consultation

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Queensland Government are undertaking a comprehensive strategic assessment of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and adjacent coastal zone. The draft strategic assessment and program reports are now available for public comment. The draft reports look at the Reef’s values and how these values are being protected now and into the future, while enabling the sustainable development of the coastal zone.

Consultation closes on Friday 31 January 2014.

http://www.reefhaveyoursay.com.au/have-your-say

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3. OECD backs carbon taxes and emissions trading systems

The studyEffective Carbon Pricesshowed that taxes and trading systems were preferable to other policies, such as feed-in tariffs, subsidies and other regulatory instruments. For example, it said, the average cost of reducing a tonne of carbon emissions in the road transport sector could be up to eight times higher when instruments other than fuel taxes were used.

http://www.oecd.org/env/tools-evaluation/carbon-prices.htm

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4. Special issue of Frontiers assesses climate change on ecosystems

The November 2013 issue of the Ecological Society of America’s journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment is devoted to an assessment of climate change effects on ecosystems, and the consequences for people. The Special Issue tackles five major topics of concern: Biodiversity, Ecosystem functionality, Ecosystem Services, Combined effects of climate and other pressures, Preparation for change.

http://www.esa.org/esa/?p=10058

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5. Carbon farming: it’s a nice theory, but don’t get your hopes up
[Recommended by Megan Evans]
A 24-year-old conservation cropping experiment in rural Australia has become a test case for capturing carbon

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/29/carbon-farming-its-a-nice-theory-but-dont-get-your-hopes-up?CMP=soc_568

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6. 2014 Conference on Natural Resource Modelling
[Recommended by Hugh Possingham]

Registration and abstract submission is now open for the 2014 Conference on Natural Resource Modelling to be held in Vilnius (Lithuania) July 8-11, 2014.

http://www.resourcemodellingconference2014.com/conference-announcement.html

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EDG News

General: NERP evaluation now underway
[A message from the Department of the Environment]

Do you receive funding from NERP (National Environmental Research Program) or have any association with the NERP program? If you do, we would would like to hear from you. The NERP evaluation is now underway. We have sent the first survey to hub participants (approx. 500 across all hubs, including researchers) on the 11 November 2013. This was the first of three surveys that will be sent to different stakeholder groups. A second survey will be sent out to Environment portfolio end-users and stakeholders (incl. Parks Aust, GBRMPA etc.), and the third to end-users and stakeholders outside the portfolio (incl. NRM bodies, state and local governments etc.).

We want to capture your experiences, no matter how large or small, in your hub(s) or emerging priority projects. An important input into the evaluation is feedback from a broad range of stakeholders impacted by the program. The surveys close on 25 November 20130 at 2pm AEDT.

If you have not received an email link to the survey and would like to contribute, please request it be sent out to you by contacting the NERP evaluation mailbox nerpevaluation@environment.gov.au and identify which stakeholder category is relevant to you (participant, end-user within the Environment portfolio, or end-user or stakeholder outside the Environment portfolio).

Perth: The value of non market valuation to policy
The research team from CEEP, including Abbie Rogers, Marit Kragt, Fiona Gibson, Michael Burton, Elizabeth Petersen and David Pannell, investigate the extent to which the effort put into non-market valuation research influences environmental decision making in Australia. Non-market valuation is an economic technique to estimate the intangible values of the environment through hypothetical markets. The results of the study highlight a lack of knowledge on both sides of the researcher-policy divide in terms of: researchers’ perceptions about the impact of non-market valuation on policy, and decision makers’ understanding about the technique. The article provides recommendations on how we can increase the use of non-market valuation in policy.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1467-8489.12031/abstract

Melbourne: Chris Ives on the Nature of Cities
Chris Ives, RMIT, has just written an article for the blog “The Nature of Cities”, about reconciling the different approaches used to promote biodiversity in cities:
“The question of what exactly we are working towards when we talk about nature in the city has been bothering me for some time now. I work as a research fellow in conservation science at RMIT University, Melbourne, and much of my time is spent working on challenges to do with minimizing negative impacts on biodiversity in urban landscapes.
http://www.thenatureofcities.com/2013/11/04/the-urban-nature-continuum-different-natures-different-goals/

Brisbane: Tak Iwamura and colleagues on sea level rise impacts on migratory birds
Sea level rise is expected to impact on the habitats of many shore birds. A new analysis is suggesting the impacts may be worse than previously expected for migratory shore species. Habitat loss is widely used as a measurement of the risk of extinction, but because many coastal species are migratory, the impact of habitat loss to sea level rise will depend not only on its extent, but also on where it occurs. Takuya Iwamura and colleagues have developed a novel graph-theoretic approach to measure the vulnerability of a migratory network to the impact of habitat loss from sea level rise based on population flow through the network. They show that reductions in population flow far exceed the proportion of habitat lost for ten long-distance migrant shorebirds using the East Asian–Australasian Flyway. They estimate that sea level rise will inundate 23–40% of intertidal habitat area along their migration routes, but cause a reduction in population flow of up to 72% across the taxa. This magnifying effect was particularly strong for taxa whose migration routes contain bottlenecks—sites through which a large fraction of the population travels. The researchers develop the ‘bottleneck index’, a new network metric that positively correlates with the predicted impacts of habitat loss on overall population flow. These results suggest that migratory species are at greater risk than previously realized.
Reference: Iwamura T, HP Possingham, I Chadès, C Minton, NJ Murray, DI Rogers, EA Treml & RA Fuller (2013). Migratory connectivity magnifies the consequences of habitat loss from sea-level rise for shorebird populations. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences. 280: 20130325.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2013.0325

Canberra: David Lindenmayer on Gardening Australia
David Lindenmayer recently filmed a segment for ABC TV’s Gardening Australia program. The segment will go to air on Saturday 16 November at 6.30pm, repeated Sundays at 1pm. It can be downloaded or streamed after the broadcast from
http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/

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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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