Dbytes #127 (19 November 2013)

Dbytes #127 (19 November 2013)
Info & news for members and associates of the Environmental Decision Group

‘What good is a cynic…. With no better plan’
Ben Harper (contributed by Rachel Standish)

General News

1. ‘Irreplaceable’ homes of endangered animals mapped – but did they get it right?
2. ‘Un-mappable’ Great Barrier Reef finally mapped
3. Improving Australia’s forest area estimate using a Multiple Lines of Evidence approach
4. ‘Expertise and public policy: a conceptual guide’
5. Proofreading your own writing

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

General: The Great EDG Video Competition
Melbourne:
Mat Hardy and Alex Kusmanoff survive their PhD confirmation
Brisbane:
Tessa Mazor et al on Large-scale conservation planning in a multinational marine environment
Canberra:
Megan Evans blogs on ‘irreplaceability’
Perth: Do decision tools influence conservation policy?

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General News

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1. ‘Irreplaceable’ homes of endangered animals mapped – but did they get it right?

A Conversation editorial on a new study in Science magazine on the irreplaceability of our protected areas. Comments from several EDG scientists were included in the editorial (namely Megan Evans, Mick McCarthy and Martine Maron – plus see Megan’s blog in Canberra news).

“Kakadu National Park, Western Australia’s Shark Bay and Queensland’s wet tropics are among the world’s most important protected areas for conserving species, according to a study published today in the journal Science. However, a number of scientists have questioned the study’s method and findings, warning it was based on flawed assumptions about how well World Heritage-listed sites protect animals, and that it risked making conservation efforts too slow and reactive.”

https://theconversation.com/irreplaceable-homes-of-endangered-animals-mapped-but-did-they-get-it-right-20261

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2. ‘Un-mappable’ Great Barrier Reef finally mapped

German and Australian scientists today launched a set of groundbreaking, high resolution, shallow water topography maps for the entire Great Barrier Reef. These world-first digital maps of the coral reefs, using satellite derived depth (bathymetry) techniques, are a critical step towards identifying, managing and essentially preserving and protecting what lies within the waters of this global icon. Project partner, Dr Robin Beaman of James Cook University, says the product is different to anything else available, as until now, nearly half of the shallow water reef areas on the Great Barrier Reef were not mapped using modern digital surveys. While these coral reefs are the most ecologically significant, they are also the most difficult to map due to being either too remote or because of their shallow nature, which makes them navigationally dangerous.

Instead of relying on traditional surveying vessels or aircraft to map the many ‘un-mappable’ areas of the reef, Germany-based aquatic remote-sensing company EOMAP used space-borne satellites to overcome these hurdles. The result is the largest project of its kind ever conducted in Australia, and possibly the entire world. The 3D water depth maps have a 30m horizontal resolution over approximately 350,000 km2 of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and Torres Strait, providing not only more detailed individual reef data, but also a complete picture of Earth’s largest coral reef ecosystem.

http://www.eomap.de/great-barrier-reef
More info: EOMAP media team: media@eomap.com

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3. Improving Australia’s forest area estimate using a Multiple Lines of Evidence approach
ABARES Report
This report outlines a new methodology used to determine national forest cover statistics for Australia’s National Forest Inventory (NFI). The area of forest cover provides the footprint against which many other indicators of sustainable forest management are reported, including forest type and tenure, forest fragmentation, forest ecosystem services, forest production, forest ecosystem health, and investment in forest management. ABARES has developed an innovative Multiple Lines of Evidence (MLE) approach to reduce uncertainty in Australia’s native forest cover.

http://www.daff.gov.au/abares/publications_remote_content/recent-20?sq_content_src=%2BdXJsPWh0dHAlM0ElMkYlMkYxNDMuMTg4LjE3LjIwJTJGYW5yZGwlMkZEQUZGU2VydmljZSUyRmRpc3BsYXkucGhwJTNGZmlkJTNEcGJfaWFmYWVkOWFiZnMyMDEzMTExOV8xMWEueG1sJmFsbD0x

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4. ‘Expertise and public policy: a conceptual guide’

A paper put out by the Parliamentary Library

http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp1314/PublicPolicy

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5. Proofreading your own writing

A blog from the Australian Science Communicators that brings together a range of tips, tricks and resources to improve proofreading your own wordss.

http://www.asc.asn.au/blog/2013/11/02/from-the-discussion-list-proofreading-your-own-writing/

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EDG News

General: The Great EDG Video Competition
Calling all members of the Environmental Decision Group. If you have a good idea for communicating your science or the science of the EDG network, then here is a chance for you to show your creative colours, be in the running for some great prizes and have your work promoted to the world. We want you to make a short video explaining the value of your research.

Entries are now open to all members of the Environmental Decision Group.
Entries close April 4, 2014.
Visit http://dondriscoll.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/edg-video-competition-entry-form-nov-2013.pdf for the brochure.

Melbourne: Mat Hardy and Alex Kusmanoff survive their PhD confirmation
Mat Hardy and Alex Kusmanoff have survived the PhD confirmation process at RMIT University. Mat’s project is looking at using decision theoretic approaches to improve resource allocation in private land conservation, and Alex is looking at ways to improve the framing of conservation issues.


Brisbane: Tessa Mazor et al on Large-scale conservation planning in a multinational marine environment
“We have a new paper about planning conservation in large-scale multinational marine environments – we use the Mediterranean Sea as an example. Our main point is that cost matters when planning marine protected areas – we find that the most effective cost surrogates are those that account for multiple sectors/stakeholders.”
It is currently available online as a preprint version http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/13-1249.1
Citation:
Mazor, T., Giakoumi, S., Kark, S. & Possingham. H. P. In Press. Large-scale conservation planning in a multinational marine environment: cost matters. Ecological Applications. http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/13-1249.1

Canberra: Megan Evans blogs on ‘irreplaceability’
Megan Evans discusses the concept of ‘irreplaceability’ as discussed by a recent article in Science magazine (see General News item 1).
“Essentially what this study does is to overlap maps of the current global protected area network, with the maps of distributions of major vertebrate groups: mammals, birds and amphibians. What they do is fairly straightforward – they calculate a score which they term ‘irreplaceability’[fn1]: the weighted sum of species (i.e species richness) found in that particular protected area. The weighting is found by calculating the proportion of each species’ global range that is contained in that particular protected area.
http://economical-ecology.com/2013/11/15/does-irreplaceability-tell-us-where-to-prioritise-protected-area-management/

Perth: Do decision tools influence conservation policy?
Researchers from the Environmental Decisions and Marine Biodiversity Hubs met at the University of Western Australia to explore the extent to which decision tools, like Marxan, are used to inform conservation policy. We used a series of interviews with policy makers from a range of Commonwealth agencies to figure out why particular decision tools were used in some policies and not others. Marine and terrestrial policies and regulations were considered.
More info: Fiona Gibson fiona.gibson@uwa.edu.au

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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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