Dbytes #142 (25 March 2014)

 Info & news for members and associates of the Environmental Decision Group “What I would actually want to be judged on as Environment Minister as much as anything else at the end of three years is to improve the trajectory of as many species as possible.” Greg Hunt, Minister for the Environment (On Lateline, http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2014/s3967505.htm) [Plus see item 2 for background on Greg Hunt]

General News

1. CSIRO issued ‘Baseline map of organic carbon in Australian soil’

2. Minister Hunt delivers the inaugural Alan Hunt Oration

3. A senate inquiry into “The history, appropriateness and effectiveness of the use of environmental offsets in federal environmental approvals in Australia”

4. MDBA launches smart phone game to teach environmental water decision making

5. 2014 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science

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

Perth: Melinda Moir and colleagues publish on coextinction and climate change

Melbourne: Laura Pollock presents to the Royal Society

Brisbane: Anna Renwick et al on biodiverse planting for carbon and biodiversity on Indigenous land

Canberra: Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, launches David Lindenmayer et al (2014) Booderee National Park: The Jewel of Jervis Bay

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1. CSIRO issued ‘Baseline map of organic carbon in Australian soil’ CSIRO has produced a map showing organic carbon stored in Australian soil. The map provides an important benchmark which will help Australia track changes in soil carbon stocks and assist with strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. http://csiro.au/soilcarbonmap

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2. Minister Hunt delivers the inaugural Alan Hunt Oration [From the NERP Chirp] The Hon Alan Hunt AM, a former Minister in the Hamer Government (Victoria) and regarded by many as the architect of much of Melbourne’s strategic planning, including the introduction of the Green Wedge strategy, was honoured by the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) on 7 March 2014. The inaugural Alan Hunt Oration to the UDIA was given by The Hon Greg Hunt MP in honour of his late father. The speech is well worth reading for an insight into how politics and families mix, and how Minister Hunt’s family has influenced his vision for the future. A transcript of the Minister’s speech is available here http://www.environment.gov.au/minister/hunt/2014/sp20140307.html

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3. A senate inquiry into “The history, appropriateness and effectiveness of the use of environmental offsets in federal environmental approvals in Australia” Including: a. the principles that underpin the use of offsets; b. the processes used to develop and assess proposed offsets; c. the adequacy of monitoring and evaluation of approved offsets arrangements to determine whether promised environmental outcomes are achieved over the short and long term; and d. any other related matters. Submissions should be received by 4 April 2014. The reporting date is 16 June 2014. Details here: http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Environment_and_Communications/Environmental_Offsets Here’s the SMH discussion of the enquiry http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/senate-inquiry-into-failure-of-environmental-offsets-20140304-341ud.html

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4. MDBA launches smart phone game to teach environmental water decision making [Did you know March 22 was World Water Day? Neither did I.] Run the River – a water sharing challenge is an interactive game designed for smart devices (iPads, iPhones and Android devices) and combines elements of the natural water cycle with the challenges of balancing water use between various water consumers including the river mouth, wetlands, farms, towns and cities. The app has been developed with historic and modelled data from on the Murray–Darling Basin. In this game, players must deliver water from the river to wetlands, farms and communities, and keep the river mouth connected to the ocean. The player can control dam releases to ensure enough water is provided to all of the water consumers in the game. Difficulty increases with each level as new challenges appear including flood, drought, evaporation, seasonal changes, salinity, watertable rise and increased water demand. http://www.mdba.gov.au/what-we-do/education/students/fun-and-games/run-the-river

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5. 2014 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science CLOSING DATE: 29 May 2014 Online nominations: http://www.industry.gov.au/scienceprizes The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science are Australia’s national annual awards for recognition of outstanding achievement in science and excellence in science education. Nominations are open to Australian citizens and Australian permanent residents. The two awards relevant to EDG are: The Prime Minister’s Prize for Science (AUD$300,000); The Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year (AUD$50,000);

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EDG News

Perth: Melinda Moir and colleagues publish on coextinction and climate change Melinda Moir, Peter Vesk (UniMelb) and their colleagues have just published an open access review paper in Ecology & Evolution on the threat posed by climate change to plant-dwelling invertebrates. Given the current political climate, all we may be able to do in Australia is monitor this emerging mass extinction event for these hyperdiverse taxa). Ref: Moir ML, Lesley Hughes, Peter Vesk and Mei Chen Leng (2014). Which host-dependent insects are most prone to coextinction under changed climates? Ecology and Evolution. View the paper at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ece3.1021/full

Melbourne: Laura Pollock presents to the Royal Society Laura Pollock, one of our postdocs recently presented to the Royal Society in London, which was featured on The Naked Scientists http://lshirleypollock.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/featured-on-the-naked-scientists/

Brisbane: Anna Renwick et al on biodiverse planting for carbon and biodiversity on Indigenous land We provide a spatial analysis of the carbon and biodiversity potential of planting biodiverse native vegetation, on Indigenous land across Australia. We discover significant potential for opportunities for Indigenous communities to achieve carbon sequestration and biodiversity goals through biodiverse plantings, largely in southern and eastern Australia, but the economic feasibility of these projects depend on carbon market assumptions. Our national scale cost-effectiveness analysis is critical to enable Indigenous communities to maximise the benefits available to them through participation in carbon offset schemes. Reference: Renwick AR, Robinson CJ, Martin TG, May T, Polglase P, et al. (2014) Biodiverse Planting for Carbon and Biodiversity on Indigenous Land. PLoS ONE 9(3): e91281. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0091281 http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0091281

Canberra: Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, launches David Lindenmayer et al (2014) Booderee National Park: The Jewel of Jervis Bay Greg Hunt officially launched the natural history coffee-table book: Booderee National Park: The Jewel of Jervis Bay at the Fenner School. This book outlines the biology and ecology of Booderee National Park and highlights the value of the relationship between research and management. Lindenmayer, D.B., MacGregor, C.M., Dexter, N., and Fortescue, M. (2014). Booderee National Park: The Jewel of Jervis Bay. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne. http://www.publish.csiro.au/pid/7149.htm

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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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