Dbytes #141 (18 March 2014)

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

“the most indefensible position of all – certainly the least defensible position of all – is that of policymakers who profess to accept the science but are not prepared to follow through with appropriate actions, and I fear that Australia is in danger of moving in that direction.”

Bernie Fraser, Chair of the Climate Change Authority, and former governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, in an address to the National Press Club, 13 March 2014.
http://www.sciencemedia.com.au/downloads/2014-3-14-1.pdf

General News

1. TERN NCRIS Final Report now available
2. Standing Committee on the Environment will inquire into streamlining environmental regulation
3. CSIRO chief’s parting makeover (and the death of climate adaptation)
4. L’Oréal For Women in Science Fellowships opening today

5. ARC: How random is the grant system?


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

Canberra: Phil Gibbons (and Richard Hobbs) star in Background Briefing on offsets
Perth: Adapting conservation goals to global change
Melbourne:
Ascelin Gordon and colleagues on background biodiversity trends and offsets
Brisbane:
Megan Barnes in response to McCauley on protecting nature in remote regions.

-~<>~-

General News

1. TERN NCRIS Final Report now available

TERN’s final report for NCRIS, which represents a culmination of over four years of commitment and vision towards building an ecosystem science research network for Australia, is now availble.

“Due to the Commonwealth investment in the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN), for the first time in the history of Australian ecosystem science: Infrastructure exists that enables ecosystem scientists to collaborate and share data within and between disciplines and all levels of government, efficiently and effectively; Coordinated capacity exists for consistent collection, storage, publication and sharing of ecosystem data, especially long-term and continental-scale datasets; and Dedicated synthesis projects are using these resources to actively pursue answers to complex environmental science and management questions that were intractable prior to TERN.
http://www.tern.org.au/TERN-NCRIS-Final-Report-now-available-bgp2936.html

-~<>~-

2. Standing Committee on the Environment will inquire into streamlining environmental regulation
 and one-stop-shops for environmental assessments and approvals.
Submissions are due by Friday 11 April.
[contributed by Mat Hardy]

http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/House_of_Representatives/About_the_House_News/HouseNews/Enviro-03032014

-~<>~-

3. CSIRO chief’s parting makeover (and the death of climate adaptation)

“The CSIRO flagships that will go are climate adaptation (dubbed by some scientists as “the research that dares not breathe its name”) and preventative health. The nine new flagships are agricultural productivity, future manufacturing, digital productivity and services, energy, mineral resources, oceans and atmosphere, food and nutrition, land and water, and biosecurity.

This is the swansong of the outgoing chief executive Megan Clark, who told The Australian Financial Review with characteristic bluntness that she was completely confident the new structure was the right way to go, after intensive testing with focus and reference groups. The change will enable CSIRO to focus on the biggest challenges that face Australia and differentiate it nationally and globally.

http://www.theland.com.au/news/agriculture/general/news/csiro-chiefs-parting-makeover/2691427.aspx

-~<>~-

4. L’Oréal For Women in Science Fellowships opening today

Three $25,000, one-year fellowships for early-career women scientists. Applications close Wednesday 16 April 2014.

http://www.scienceinpublic.com.au/loreal/

-~<>~-

5. ARC: How random is the grant system?

Professor Hans Bachor AM, Chair of the Aust Academy Science’s National Committee for Physics, has written a piece on the Australian Research Council (ARC) grant system and application writing which might be useful. Professor Bachor has a long history of writing and judging the grants for the ARC.

“The 2014 ARC round is in full swing again, DP and Linkage grants and DECRA Fellowships are all being evaluated and selected in the next few months. The future plans of many and the careers of some depend on the outcome. Some cynics would claim that the process is largely random – and also too time consuming for applicants and assessors. Is this correct – are we seeing a lottery? How can this game we won?”

http://www.science.org.au/natcoms/documents/Bachor%20ARC%20article%202014.pdf

-~<>~-

EDG News

Canberra: Phil Gibbons (and Richard Hobbs) star in Background Briefing on offsets
Phil Gibbons was interviewed on biodiversity offsets last Sunday on Radio National’s Background Briefing. (Richard Hobbs from UWA also featured making it a very EDGesque take on offsets.)
Here’s a quote from Phil: ‘Anything that you do in terms of an offset must be a genuine gain, must be something that would not have happened anyway as under business as usual,’ Gibbons said. ‘I think what people are doing is getting very creative in finding biodiversity gains when really they are things that would have happened anyway.’
http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/backgroundbriefing/2014-03-16/5312944

Perth: Adapting conservation goals to global change
In a paper just out in Conservation Biology, Nicole Heller (Duke University) and Richard Hobbs (CEED, Perth) examine the conundrums facing conservation managers, who increasingly have to choose, or find a balance between, future-looking management emphasizing change and past-looking management emphasizing persistence. The authors consider ways that particular concepts of nature are interwoven into management goals, and then explore whether goals provide sufficient flexibility to accommodate pattern and process and past and future simultaneously. Current goals focused on endpoint targets tend to create a set of essentialisms about nature that limit the options of managers to accommodate global change and new ecological science. To address this limitation, the authors propose focusing on the characteristics of management intervention. The proposed “natural practice” attends to both biotic interactions and conservation virtues as a method to establish how, when, and where to intervene.
Heller, N.E., Hobbs, R.J., 2014. Development of a natural practice to adapt conservation goals to global change. Conservation Biology DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12269

Melbourne: Ascelin Gordon and colleagues on background biodiversity trends and offsets
Ascelin Gordon, Joe Bull, Liz Law and E.J. Milner-Gulland have just published a paper in Conservation Biology: “Importance of Baseline Specification in Evaluating Conservation Interventions and Achieving No Net Loss of Biodiversity”, showing how the consideration of background biodiversity trends is of fundamental importance for the success of biodiversity offset policy. The article is open access and available here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cobi.12243/abstract

Brisbane: Megan Barnes in response to McCauley on protecting nature in remote regions.
Megan was one of the coauthors in the response on protecting nature in remote regions.
“In a recent perspectives article, McCauley et al. (2013) proposed that major conservation gains can be made by protecting nature in remote regions and that the conservation community should “intensify” or “redouble” its efforts in these parts of the world. There are four serious problems with this argument, relating to its novelty, rationale, implications for international conservation policy, and the protection of biodiversity.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320714000937

-~<>~-

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