Dbytes #137 (18 February 2014)

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

“deeply entrenched bureaucracies are characteristically unresilient to new challenges because the system discourages innovation or other behavioral variance. This is clearly evidenced by merely presenting a unique situation to a clerk who has been narrowly trained in a highly standardized bureaucracy and watching the incredulous reply, or by the typically negative response to and occasional punishment of a government employee who offers an alternative perspective to the standard operating procedure.” Holling and Meffe, 1996
[Holling, C.S. and Meffe, G. K. (1996), Command and Control and the Pathology of Natural Resource Management. Conservation Biology, 10: 328–337.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1523-1739.1996.10020328.x/abstract]

General News

1. Policy Handbook guide to the text: Biodiversity and Environmental Change
2. New maps reveal locations of species at risk as climate changes
3. Independent Evaluation – report on the National Environmental Research Programme
4. Entries are open for the 2014 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes.
5. Citizen scientists take the weather with them

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

Canberra: David Lindenmayer speaks on value of Victorian ash forest
Perth: Graeme Doole and colleagues publish on tender and offset programmes for Australian biodiversity conservation
Melbourne:
Cindy Hauser’s recommended reading in January
Brisbane:
Hugh Possingham speak in Radio National debate on extinction

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General News

1. Policy Handbook guide to the text: Biodiversity and Environmental Change

Biodiversity and Environmental Change describes changes in a range of Australian ecosystems that have been subject to detailed long-term research. The overarching purpose of these long-term studies has been to document the changes, identify the drivers of change and provide the evidence and knowledge needed to better inform natural resource management in Australia.

 

This Policy Handbook describes the key findings and messages from long-term ecological research for policy makers and the general public.

The Policy Handbook can be downloaded from the LTERN website.

http://www.tern.org.au/Long-Term-Ecological-Research-Network-pg17872.html

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2. New maps reveal locations of species at risk as climate changes

An international team of scientists has produced global maps showing how fast and in which direction local climates have shifted. In research published today in the journal Nature, CSIRO and an international team of scientists revealed global maps showing how fast and in which direction local climates are shifting. This new study points to a simpler way of looking at climatic changes and their likely effects on biodiversity. As climate change unfolds over the next century, plants and animals will need to adapt or shift locations to track their ideal climate.

The study analysed 50 years of sea surface and land temperature data (1960-2009) and also investigated two future scenarios for marine environments (‘business as usual’ and a 1.75°C temperature increase).

http://www.csiro.au/Portals/Media/New-maps-reveal-locations-of-species-at-risk-as-climate-changes.aspx

Reference
Burrows MT, Schoeman DS, Richardson AJ, Molinos JG, Hoffmann A, Buckley LB, Moore PJ, Brown CJ, Bruno JF, Duarte CM, Halpern BS, Hoegh-Guldberg O, Kappel CV, Kiessling W, O’Connor MI, Pandolfi JM, Parmesan C, Sydeman WJ, Ferrier S, Williams KJ, Poloczanska ES. 2014. Geographical limits to species-range shifts are suggested by climate velocity [external link]. Nature. DOI: doi:10.1038/nature12976.

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3. Independent Evaluation – report on the National Environmental Research Programme

An independent report on the National Environmental Research Program (NERP) prepared by Vista Advisory has been provided to the Department and the Minister. The Department would like to thank the 124 interviewees and more than 300 survey respondents who generously provided input on their views and experience to Vista Advisory as part of the evaluation.

http://www.environment.gov.au/topics/science-and-research/national-environmental-research-program/evaluation

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4. Entries are open for the 2014 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes.

Help us reward great Australian science by entering or nominating for one of the 15 prizes on offer this year. The Australian Museum Eureka Prizes offer opportunities for researchers, innovators, leaders, communicators and students to win widespread recognition and cash prizes. The closing date for entries is 7pm AEST Friday 2 May.

http://australianmuseum.net.au/eureka
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5. Citizen scientists take the weather with them

WOW – The Weather Observations Website – provides an online weather community in Australia where everyone can share information and photos about the weather. This free online service lets you view and contribute historic, real-time or automated weather observations, sightings and weather snaps, or simply send in a quick report such as “Thunderstorm on the horizon!”

http://www.bom.gov.au/wow-support/

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EDG News

Canberra: David Lindenmayer speaks on value of Victorian ash forest
David Lindenmayer speaks in a YouTube video on the values of the Victorian ash forests and how they are currently being mismanaged. It’s part of a campaign to establish a new Great Forest National Park, a proposal to create a two-tiered park system for bush users and bush lovers alike that protects and maintains this important ecosystem function.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSbGzkBGpkA&feature=youtu.be

Perth: Graeme Doole and colleagues publish on tender and offset programmes for Australian biodiversity conservation
Graeme Doole, Steven Schilizzi and Louise Blackmore have recently published a paper in Land Use Policy entitled “Determinants of cost-effectiveness in tender and offset programmes for Australian biodiversity conservation” http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264837713001166
Summary: Trying to get farmers to protect biodiversity is a difficult task, particularly as it often imposes a cost on them. However, Australia has been at the forefront of the use of payments to encourage land retirement, in both the short- and long-term, or other activities associated with improving biodiversity conservation. Based on this experience, this study sought to identify the factors that are important within these programs to help achieve maximum conservation benefit at least cost. This is done through the statistical analysis of information collected from a survey of people experienced in the analysis, design, and implementation of these programs. Conservation tender programs, in which farmers compete for conservation funding, are shown to require adequate funding, flexible designs, sufficient landholder competition, and low-cost monitoring. In contrast, biodiversity offset markets, in which activities that augment or reduce biodiversity are traded, are shown to require efficient organisational processes, a short time lag between development and restoration of ecological assets, long contracts, and investment in landholder education and support. Overall, this study shows that while Australia is a world leader in the use of economic instruments to protect biodiversity, a number of key improvements are required if these programs are to be broadly effective.

Melbourne: Cindy Hauser’s recommended reading in January
includes: -The Hairpin interviews statistician Susan Murphy.
-The Buckley Ecology Lab is currently located in both Australia and Ireland! Yi Han and other lab members share tips for effective remote supervision, and I think many of them are useful for any supervisory relationship.
-Here’s a tone-deaf way to include more women and/or other minority groups in your STEM event….
-…. and an even worse way to prove your tenacity in a job application.
-Kate Clancy wants to retire the idea that science should be privileged over scientists.
-and Nature might’ve lost the thread on balanced reporting. (via @SanaBau).

For all this and more, see
http://cindyehauser.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/recommended-reading-january-2014/

Brisbane: Hugh Possingham speak in Radio National debate on extinction
A panel of experts discusses the science and ethics of bringing back extinct species. Hugh Possingham is one of them and takes on Mike Archers dream of bringing back Tassie Tigers.
Listen to the podcast at
http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bigideas/ancient-dna/5215272

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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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