Dbytes #134 (28 January 2014)

Info & news for members and associates of the Environmental Decision Group

“The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at and repair.”
Douglas Adams

General News

1. New book: Biodiversity and Environmental Change – Monitoring, Challenges and Direction
2. FameLab
3. Potential environmental contribution of recreational hunting systems
4. Community Engagement with Nature Conservation, Australia
5. West Wimmera landowner to pay penalty after infringement

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

Perth: Jennifer Funk visits from California
Melbourne:
Tracy Rout in Science for Environment Policy for translocation paper
Brisbane: Hugh Possingham meets the Minister
Canberra:
Phil Gibbons writes in the Conversation on bushfires and home survival

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General News

1. New book: Biodiversity and Environmental Change – Monitoring, Challenges and Direction

This data-rich book demonstrates the value of existing national long-term ecological research in Australia for monitoring environmental change and biodiversity. Long-term ecological data are critical for informing trends in biodiversity and environmental change. The Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) is a major initiative of the Australian Government and one of its key areas of investment is to provide funding for a network of long-term ecological research plots around Australia (LTERN). LTERN researchers and other authors in this book have maintained monitoring sites, often for one or more decades, in an array of different ecosystems across the Australian continent – ranging from tropical rainforests, wet eucalypt forests and alpine regions through to rangelands and deserts. This book highlights some of the temporal changes in the environment that have occurred in the various systems in which dedicated field-based ecologists have worked. Many important trends and changes are documented and they often provide new insights that were previously poorly understood or unknown. These data are precisely the kinds of data so desperately needed to better quantify the temporal trajectories in the environment in Australia.
The book’s editors are by David Lindenmayer, Emma Burns, Nicole Thurgate and Andrew Lowe.
http://www.publish.csiro.au/nid/21/pid/7009.htm

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2. FameLab

FameLab is an international communication competition for scientists, including engineers and mathematicians. Designed to inspire and motivate young researchers to actively engage with the public and with potential stakeholders, FameLab is all about finding the best new voices of science and engineering across the world.

Founded in 2005 by The Times Cheltenham Science Festival, FameLab, working inpartnership with the British Council, has already seen more than 5000 young scientists and engineers participate in over 23 different countries. Now, FameLab comes to Australia in a landmark collaboration with Fresh Science, Australia’s very own communicating science competition.

FameLab contestants are coached and mentored by some of the best science communicators in the world. The result is a celebrated alumni of scientists and engineers able to get everyone ‘talking science’ in the media-intensive environment in which we all live. By entering FameLab, you will begin a journey with like-minded people, explore your own potential and, most of all, take your work to the international stage.

They are looking for 60 early career researchers for FameLab Australia. Nominations close 27 February 2014.

http://www.britishcouncil.org.au/famelab

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3. Potential environmental contribution of recreational hunting systems

The WA Government is holding an Inquiry into the ‘Potential environmental contribution of recreational hunting systems’. Submissions are due by Friday 28 March. The Inquiry’s terms of reference are that the Council acknowledges the use in other States of regulated, licensed recreational hunting systems and the potential environmental contribution made in controlling pest animals on public lands, together with the possible economic, cultural and recreational benefits to the community. The Public Administration Committee will inquire into the benefits or otherwise of a similar system being adopted in Western Australia to report by 4 December 2014.

http://www.parliament.wa.gov.au/parliament/commit.nsf/%28$all%29/E0E21CA76ECE2ADD48257C38001297F1?opendocument
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4. Community Engagement with Nature Conservation, Australia
The ABS issued ‘Microdata: Community Engagement with Nature Conservation, Australia, 2011-12’.

http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4602.0.30.001?OpenDocument

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5. West Wimmera landowner to pay penalty after infringement

A landowner in the West Wimmera region of Victoria will pay a substantial penalty and will regenerate 4000 buloke trees following a contravention of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Between January 2007 and December 2010, Bill Bourchier Pty Ltd and its director contravened national environment law by removing approximately 343 buloke trees and 106 eucalypt trees from the property, an action likely to significantly impact the endangered south-eastern red-tail black cockatoo.

Buloke trees provide important foraging habitat for the cockatoo and eucalypt trees provide potential hollows for nesting. Approximately 42 per cent of the cockatoo’s feeding habitat has been cleared in Victoria, and 87 per cent cleared in South Australia.

Although the company and its director deny they acted in breach of the law, or that their actions are likely to result in a significant impact on the endangered south-eastern red-tail black cockatoo, they agreed to pay $70 000 as part of an out of court settlement reached with the Federal Environment Department.

http://www.sciencemedia.com.au/downloads/2014-1-14-3.pdf

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EDG News

Perth: Jennifer Funk visits from California
Jennifer Funk spent the week with Rachel Standish analysing plant trait data they have collected with others in the five Mediterranean-climate regions of the world. Traits of native species reflect their adaptations to frequent disturbances including drought, grazing and fire, and infertile soils. Jen, Rachel and their co-authors aim to determine if there is evidence for similar ‘habitat filtering’ among the invasive species prevalent in these regions. They are also interested in the potential for native species to fill the ‘weed-shaped’ holes currently occupied by invasive species. They decided collecting the data was more fun than analysing it.

Melbourne: Tracy Rout in Science for Environment Policy for translocation paper
The research led by Tracy Rout on a decision framework to help decide whether to translocate species threatened by climate change has been featured by the European Commission’s Science for Environment Policy service.
http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/357na2.pdf

Brisbane: Hugh Possingham meets the Minister
Hugh Possingham is jetting into Canberra to meet Greg Hunt, the Minister for the Environment. Hugh will be talking about the good work of NERP ED and be part of a roundtable discussion on future environmental challenges. Hugh will be joining other Hub directors and environmental science leaders.

Canberra: Phil Gibbons writes in the Conversation on bushfires and home survival
“After the early onset of the 2013-14 bushfire season, it is worth reviewing which homes are more likely to be left standing when the fires inevitably return.

One of the most important factors to note is that most house losses during bushfires in Australia have occurred within 100 metres of bushland – and virtually all losses within 700 metres of bushland. So the measures discussed here relate principally to houses close to bushland areas.”
http://theconversation.com/which-homes-will-survive-this-bushfire-season-20072

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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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