Dbytes #139 (4 March 2014)

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

“A man with a conviction is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point.”
Leon Festinger

General News

1. Australia’s most effective pseudoscience: climate change denial
2. Inquiry into streamlining environmental regulation, ‘green tape’, and one stop shops
3. Draft risk analysis report for the release of Cydia succedana for the biological control of gorse (ulex europaeus)
4. A Scientist’s Guide To Social Media

5. Visualising Australia’s carbon emissions

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

Melbourne: Mick McCarthy has been honoured into the Acizzia club
Brisbane:
Duan Biggs contributes to IIED policy brief on the impacts of prohibition on wildlife conservation
Canberra:
David Lindenmayer et al on empirical assessment and comparison of species-based and habitat-based surrogates
Perth:
Banksia dieback reduces habitat for honeyeaters


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General News

1. Australia’s most effective pseudoscience: climate change denial
The motivated rejection of science permeates the most powerful office in our country. No other pseudoscientific venture can lay claim to such a gleaming trophy
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/25/australias-most-effective-pseudoscience-climate-change-denial

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2. Inquiry into streamlining environmental regulation, ‘green tape’, and one stop shops
On Thursday, 27 February 2014 the Minister for the Environment, The Hon Greg Hunt MP, asked the House Committee to inquire into and report on streamlining environmental regulation, ‘green tape’, and one stop shops. The Committee invites interested persons and organisations to make submissions addressing the terms of reference by Friday, 11 April 2014.
http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House_of_Representatives_Committees?url=environment/greentape/index.htm

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3. Draft risk analysis report for the release of Cydia succedana for the biological control of gorse (ulex europaeus)

This Biosecurity Advice notifies stakeholders of the release of a draft risk analysis report to consider a proposal for the release of the tortricid moth Cydia succedana for the biological control of gorse (Ulex europaeus). The draft report is being issued for 30 days consultation. Written comments and submissions are invited by 31 March 2014.
http://www.daff.gov.au/ba/reviews/biological_control_agents/risk_analyses/curent_risk_analyses/draft-report-release-cydia-succedana

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4. A Scientist’s Guide To Social Media
Social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter can be intimidating for introverted scientists—all that interaction, 24/7. But actually, online communities are perfect for people who want to cogitate before they comment. Social networks also give extroverts a channel for real-time global intercommunication. No matter your personality type, career advisors recommend that postdocs use online networking tools to make connections, exchange scientific ideas, and advance a career. This guide is designed to nudge reluctant networkers to get started with an online professional profile and help social media experts get even more out of social networking. By Chris Tachibana.

http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_magazine/previous_issues/articles/2014_02_28/science.opms.r1400141

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5. Visualising Australia’s carbon emissions

A Conversation editorial by David Holmes

Being able to visualise the impacts, the process and causes of climate change is not easy. Taking on board the abstract scale of the changes is challenging. Sometimes we need to refer to images from our past, such as borrowing a nuclear metaphor to imagine global warming progressing at four Hiroshima bombs per second.

We can also visualise the meaning of a 2 degrees Celsius hotter earth by showing how strange the planet looked at 2 degrees Celsius cooler. Harder to explain is the 10 day masking effect of aerosols, which are shielding us from the fact that we have already committed ourselves to a world much warmer than we are experiencing currently.

But of all the forces at play in the chemistry of global warming, the most important is the uniquely human contribution to these equations: CO2. Australia has a clear carbon budget which, according to the Climate Change Authority, we are going to exceed unless we step up our emissions reductions targets.

http://theconversation.com/visualising-australias-carbon-emissions-23816

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EDG News

Melbourne: Mick McCarthy has been honoured into the Acizzia club
Mick McCarthy has been honoured into the Acizzia club and joins other notable ecologists Lesley Hughes and Peter Vesk (see http://mickresearch.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/the-yellow-bellied-sapsucker-i/). For those of you not in the know, Acizzia is a genus of sap-sucking bug and these three scientists all have sap-sucking bugs named after them. But don’t worry, Melinda Moir and Gary Taylor (sap-sucking bug taxonomists) say that there are a few more species yet to be named….

Brisbane: Duan Biggs contributes to IIED policy brief on the impacts of prohibition on wildlife conservation
Together with colleagues from the IUCN, Duan contributed to this IIED (iied.org) policy briefing which came out during the United for Wildlife Conference in London in which Prince William and other royalty pledged their support to tackle illegal wildlife trade. The policy briefing argues why a sole policy focus on the prohibition and enforcement against trade has deleterious impacts on communities where wildlife occur, and removes incentives for those communities to participate in, and benefit from, conservation. Ultimately this will have a negative impact on conservation outcomes.
http://pubs.iied.org/17205IIED.html

Canberra: David Lindenmayer et al on empirical assessment and comparison of species-based and habitat-based surrogates
“A holy grail of conservation is to find simple but reliable measures of environmental change to guide management. For example, particular species or particular habitat attributes are often used as proxies for the abundance or diversity of a subset of other taxa. However, the efficacy of such kinds of species-based surrogates and habitat-based surrogates is rarely assessed, nor are different kinds of surrogates compared in terms of their relative effectiveness. We use 30-year datasets on arboreal marsupials and vegetation structure to quantify the effectiveness of: (1) the abundance of a particular species of arboreal marsupial as a species-based surrogate for other arboreal marsupial taxa, (2) hollow-bearing tree abundance as a habitat-based surrogate for arboreal marsupial abundance, and (3) a combination of species- and habitat-based surrogates.”

Lindenmayer, D.B., Barton, P.S., Lane, P.W., Westgate, M.J., McBurney, L., Blair, D., Gibbons, P., and Likens, G.E. (2014). An empirical assessment and comparison of species-based and habitat-based surrogates: A case study of forest vertebrates and large old trees. PLOS One, 9, e89807.
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0089807


Perth: Banksia dieback reduces habitat for honeyeaters

Leonie Valentine at UWA was part of a study examining how changes in plant and vegetation structure, caused by the soil-borne plant pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi , alter bird communities in Banksia woodlands. Diseased sites had reduced plant species richness, with less flowering, and lower numbers of western spinebills and brown honeyeaters.
Davis RA, Valentine LE, Craig MD, Wilson B, Bancroft WJ, Mallie M (2014) Impact of Phytophthora-dieback on birds in banksia woodalnds in south west Western Australia. BIological Conservation 171: 136-144.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320714000299

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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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