Dbytes #130 (10 December 2013)

Dbytes #130 (10 December 2013)
Info & news for members and associates of the Environmental Decision Group

“Most of the time, most of us behave as if our ongoing destruction of biological diversity and natural ecosystems has a net beneficial effect on our personal wellbeing. This is because it often has—locally, in the short term, and for people with the most power. However, when a longer-term view is taken, conserving biodiversity and the services it provides emerges as essential to human self-interest.”
Balmford et al (The Convention on Biological Diversity’s 2010 target, Science, vol 307, 2005)

General News

1. Feedback sought on Draft Koala referral guidelines
2. Feedback sought on Posidonia australis complex seagrass meadows ecological community

3. Do offset schemes protect biodiversity in the face of development?
4. The value of Environmental Citizen Science
5. The potential to use carbon offsetting mechanisms (such as the CFI) to deliver a range of social and environmental co-benefits

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

Perth: Richard Hobbs (and colleagues) comment on biodiversity conservation and governance in Cons Biol
Melbourne: Freya Thomas wins ‘best student presentation at EcoTas2013
Brisbane:
Anna Renwick on The real cost of pesticides in Australia’s food boom
Canberra:
Sam Banks and colleagues on ecological disturbance and genetic diversity

-~<>~-

General News

1. Feedback sought on Draft Koala referral guidelines

The Australian Government is currently seeking public comment on its draft referral guidelines for the Koala (combined populations of Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory). The public comment period closes at 5pm on 7 February 2014.

http://www.environment.gov.au/resource/draft-koala-referral-guidelines

-~<>~-

2. Feedback sought on Posidonia australis complex seagrass meadows ecological community

On behalf of the Threatened Species Scientific Committee, the Australian Government Department of the Environment is undertaking public consultation on the assessment of the Posidonia seagrass meadows as a potentially threatened ecological community under the EPBC Act.

The Department would appreciate feedback and comments on:

Whether the ecological community merits listing in the ‘Endangered’ category.

Whether the draft description (in particular, the draft key diagnostic characteristics and draft condition thresholds) could be improved and if so, how.

The period of consultation closes on 16 February 2014. More information is available here.
http://www.environment.gov.au/node/34821
-~<>~-

3. Do offset schemes protect biodiversity in the face of development?

Biodiversity offset schemes do not always fully compensate for loss of habitat due to development, new research suggests. Of 66 development projects in France with offset schemes, it was found that numbers of species in offset sites was on average five times lower than in the land destined for development. Furthermore, even endangered species were not always protected by these offset sites.

Source: Regnery, B., Couvet, D. & Kerbiriou, C. (2013). Offsets and Conservation of the Species of the EU Habitats and Birds Directives. Conservation Biology. DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12123.

-~<>~-

4. The value of Environmental Citizen Science

Citizen science’s value for science, society, education and environmental policymaking are considered in this In-depth Report, which explores academic research into citizen science practice and theory and outlines a number of case study projects. Overall, the report finds its potential value is high, but that this potential, particularly for citizens and policymakers, remains largely untapped.

This is part of a series of publications from Science for Environment Policy (EU), which take a comprehensive look at the latest science for key policy topics.

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/indepth_reports.htm

-~<>~-

5. The potential to use carbon offsetting mechanisms (such as the CFI) to deliver a range of social and environmental co-benefits

the Net Balance Foundation released a new report on the potential to use carbon offsetting mechanisms (such as the CFI) to deliver a range of social and environmental “co-benefits”.

http://www.netbalance.com/sites/all/themes/netbalance/research/CoBenefits_Report.pdf

-~<>~-

EDG News

Perth: Richard Hobbs (and colleagues) comment on biodiversity conservation and governance in Cons Biol
An editorial involving several EDG researchers has just been published in Conservation Biology highlighting recent policy and governance issues affecting conservation in Australia:

Ritchie, E. G., Bradshaw, C.J.A., Dickman, C. R., Hobbs, R. Johnson, C. N., Johnston, E.L., Laurance, W.F., Lindenmayer, D. McCarthy, M.A., Nimmo, D.G., Possingham, H.H., Pressey,R.L., Watson, D.M. and Woinarski, J. 2013. Continental-scale governance and the hastening of loss of Australia’s biodiversity. Conservation Biology 27:1133-1135.

Melbourne: Freya Thomas wins ‘best student presentation at EcoTas2013
Freya won ‘best student presentation at EcoTas2013 recently held in Auckland for talk ‘Incorporating functional traits into multi-species model of plant growth.’

Brisbane: Anna Renwick on The real cost of pesticides in Australia’s food boom
Anna was one of the co-authors of this recent Conversation editorial
“Most of us want cheap, perfect-looking produce and farmers want to make a decent living. Agricultural pesticides have undoubtedly reduced food loss and helped farmers provide the unblemished produce we have grown so used to. But pesticides also represent a significant source of risk for human and wildlife health, and pollution into our waterways. Should we be concerned about these “costs”, and how do we account for them?”
http://theconversation.com/the-real-cost-of-pesticides-in-australias-food-boom-20757

Canberra: Sam Banks and colleagues on ecological disturbance and genetic diversity
Environmental disturbance underpins the dynamics and diversity of many of the ecosystems of the world, yet its influence on the patterns and distribution of genetic diversity is poorly appreciated. We argue here that disturbance history may be the major driver that shapes patterns of genetic diversity in many natural populations. We outline how disturbance influences genetic diversity through changes in both selective processes and demographically driven, selectively neutral processes. Our review highlights the opportunities and challenges presented by genetic approaches, such as landscape genomics, for better understanding and predicting the demographic and evolutionary responses of natural populations to disturbance. Developing this understanding is now critical because disturbance regimes are changing rapidly in a human-modified world.
Sam C. Banks, Geoffrey J. Cary, Annabel L. Smith, Ian D. Davies, Don A. Driscoll, A. Malcolm Gill, David B. Lindenmayer, Rod Peakall, How does ecological disturbance influence genetic diversity?, Trends in Ecology & Evolution, Volume 28, Issue 11, November 2013, Pages 670-679, ISSN 0169-5347, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2013.08.005 .


-~<>~-

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/

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s