Dbytes #143 (1 April 2014)

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

[In the spirit of April Fool’s Day] “A group of wealthy investors wanted to be able to predict the outcome of a horse race. So they hired a group of biologists, a group of statisticians, and a group of physicists. Each group was given a year to research the issue. After one year, the groups all reported to the investors. The biologists said that they could genetically engineer an unbeatable racehorse, but it would take 200 years and $100bn. The statisticians reported next. They said that they could predict the outcome of any race, at a cost of $100m per race, and they would only be right 10% of the time. Finally, the physicists reported that they could also predict the outcome of any race, and that their process was cheap and simple. The investors listened eagerly to this proposal. The head physicist reported, “We have made several simplifying assumptions: first, let each horse be a perfect rolling sphere… ” [Source: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/dec/29/scientists-favourite-jokes?CMP=ema_632]

General News

1. Agricultural profit map for Australia for the year 2005-2006

2. WCPA appeals to the Prime Minister to reverse conservation retreat

3. Introducing the Australasian Network for Ecology and Transportation

4. Release of national environmental standards for One-Stop Shop reforms

5. Australia’s State of the Forests Report 2013

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

General EDG News: CEED Mid-Term review underway & THE GREAT EDG VIDEO COMPETITION closes this Friday 4th April at 5pm.
Melbourne: Chris Baker blogs about confirmation and Jervis Bay
Brisbane: Dan Segan and James Watson from WCS will talk to UQ lab on Friday about a project in East Africa
Darren LeRoux and colleagues on the value of habitat structures in urban landscapes
Can we restore biodiverse carbon-rich eucalypt woodlands?


1. Agricultural profit map for Australia for the year 2005-2006

Data Collection Description:

The provided data (the Data) represent a raster map of agricultural profit at full equity (PFE) for Australia for the year 2005/06. Values of PFE are provided in ($/ha). PFE is a measure of profit which is calculated as the revenue from the sale of agricultural commodities minus all fixed and variable costs. https://data.csiro.au/dap/landingpage?pid=csiro:8113&v=1&d=true


2. WCPA appeals to the Prime Minister to reverse conservation retreat An open letter from the World Commission on Protected Areas to the Prime Minister “Despite significant progress over past decades, Australia is a long way from achieving a fully representative protected area system with nearly 40% of bioregions(35 of 89) having less than 10% representation and over 10% of subregions having no representation at all in the National Reserves System. Only 20% of threatened species are adequately represented in our protected areas. The task of building a truly comprehensive network of Marine Protected Areas is also unfinished. Almost 20% of Australia’s marine bioregions (16) have no representation at all in marine sanctuaries. Achieving representativeness of inshore and continental shelf systems should be a priority We therefore do not agree with any idea that our protected area system is sufficient or that we have too many protected areas. This suggestion goes against the great efforts of many Australians over the last decades to protect and restore land for conservation. These include farmers and other landholders who have chosen covenants on their lands as wildlife refuges, lndigenous communities who have embraced the concept of Indigenous Protected Areas which now make up 36% of the National Reserve System, and tens of thousands of individuals and families who have donated to conservancies to purchase critical land. It also challenges the major efforts of state and territory governments who have been systematically building their national parks systems for over a century.”

http://conservationplanning.org/2014/03/wcpa-appeals-to-prime-minister-to-reverse-conservation-retreat/ -~<>~-

3. Introducing the Australasian Network for Ecology and Transportation[A message from Kylie Soanes] The newly-formed Australasian Network for Ecology and Transportation (ANET) is a professional network dedicated to the research, design and implementation of environmentally-sensitive linear infrastructure (rail, roads and utility easements) across Australasia. ANET will be holding their inaugural conference in Coffs Harbour, July 20-23rd. The topics covered will range from incorporating research and monitoring into infrastructure design, designing offsets and mitigation and the opportunities and challenges facing road agencies and construction teams. This conference is a great chance to network with industry, government and research professionals from Australasia and across the globe. Abstracts submission close April 15th. http://ecoltrans.net/ -~<>~-

4. Release of national environmental standards for One-Stop Shop reforms “The Australian Government is making strong progress to deliver One-Stop Shop reforms to streamline environmental assessment and approval processes. Today the Government is releasing the accreditation standards for environmental approvals. The release of the Standards for Accreditation of Environmental Approvals under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 is an important step in progressing the One-Stop Shop policy reform. The standards set out the various matters for consideration in accrediting state and territory assessment and approval processes. This is to ensure high standards of environmental protection continue to be maintained.” http://www.environment.gov.au/minister/hunt/2014/mr20140328a.html?utm_source=mins&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=feed -~<>~-

5. Australia’s State of the Forests Report 2013 The Australia’s State of the Forests Report 2013 adopts a ‘multiple lines of evidence’ approach for measuring Australia’s forest area, giving greater certainty of reporting for areas of forest and non-forest areas.

The report found Australia has 125 million hectares of forest, making it the seventh-largest reported forest area of any country worldwide.

“The new approach for measuring Australia’s forested area will make it easier to monitor any changes in Australia’s forest area over future periods,” Senator Colbeck said. http://www.psmaff.gov.au/Pages/Media%20Releases/australia’s-state-of-the-forests-report.aspx



EDG News

General EDG News

CEED Mid-Term review underway Preparation for the CEED Mid-Term review is underway. It is the time, after 4 years of CEED (2011-2014) that the ARC decides whether we truly are a Centre of Excellence. The process includes a written submission due to the ARC on June 1 and a site visit to UQ to meet various members of CEED. Please keep this in mind if you are called on to help – hugely important!

THE GREAT EDG VIDEO COMPETITION closes this Friday 4th April at 5pm. Please make sure you get your entries to Don Driscoll by 5pm on Friday to be in the running for awesome prizes and glory. If entries are commercial-in-confidence, you may submit as a link to google-docs (indicating that the link is not for circulation), rather than YouTube. For competition details, see http://dondriscoll.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/edg-video-competition-entry-form-nov-2013.pdf

Melbourne: Chris Baker blogs about confirmation and Jervis Bay “It’s two weeks since I passed the one year mark of my phd. I’ve come a long way since joining the School of Botany last year: when people say ‘parameterise’, I think of the process of figuring out parameter values rather than an equation for a shape; I now know that what ecologists call a community matrix is really just what I know as a Jacobian; and when people say Xanthorrhoea, I know what they are talking about. Along with random ecological knowledge, a year as a PhD student in the School of Botany brings confirmation. http://cbakerresearch.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/confirmation-and-jarvis-bay/

Brisbane: Dan Segan and James Watson from WCS will talk to UQ lab on Friday about a project in East Africa: “Optimizing tradeoffs in woodland ecosystems: a case study in understanding the relationship between carbon, conservation and industrial development in East Africa: Rapid population growth, human-forced climate change and the quest of economic development is changing how governments and local communities view the landscapes they live in. In the past decade we have seen significant changes to ecosystems as they have been reshaped to meet the demands of a variety of stakeholders from subsistence farmers, to forestry and extractive industries. In allocating scarce conservation resources from funding sources like REDD+, stakeholders that include governments, local communities and large scale industrial developers have been challenged to deliver co-benefits for biodiversity conservation and sustainable livelihoods through the protection of ecosystem services. However it is not clear whether there are always win-wins for the environment and the development community. Using the Marxan decision support tool, we outline a scenario planning based approach to landscape analysis designed to allow different stakeholders to identify clear land-use objectives, explore trade-offs in achieving those objectives and promote thoughtful and informed land-use decisions. We discuss the experiences in applying the methodology in three East African landscapes.”

Canberra: Darren LeRoux and colleagues on the value of habitat structures in urban landscapes “-We quantified the availability of key habitat structures across an urban landscape. -Urban habitat structures were significantly reduced compared with semi-natural reserves. -Reductions in habitat structures jeopardises urban ecological sustainability. -Improvements to urban management policies and practices are urgently needed. -We recommend conservation reserves, spatial zoning and community engagement. Ref: Le Roux, D.S., Ikin, K. Lindenmayer, D.B., Blanchard, W., Manning, A.S. and Gibbons, P. (2014). Reduced availability of habitat structures in urban landscapes: Implications for policy and practice. Landscape and Urban Planning, 125, 57-64. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169204614000231

Perth: Can we restore biodiverse carbon-rich eucalypt woodlands? There is widespread recognition of the need to restore Australia’s degraded agricultural landscapes but limited scientific guidance as to how this might be practically achieved. The Gondwana Link Initiative in south-western Australia offers the opportunity to test the efficacy of large-scale ecological restoration. Peniup is a Gondwana Link property restored by Greening Australia in 2008. Justin Jonson designed the prototypes —a set of biodiverse carbon-rich woodlands for each combination of soil type and landscape position at Peniup. Lauren Hallett, Rachel Standish, Justin Jonson and Richard Hobbs have written a paper on establishment success for three prototypes. Their paper is titled “Seedling emergence and summer survival after direct seeding for woodland restoration on old-fields in south-western Australia” and will appear in the next issue of Ecological Management and Restoration. Also on the topic of biodiverse carbon-rich woodlands, Rachel Standish and Kris Hulvey have written a piece, published in the latest issue of the same journal, on the potential for the carbon market to drive ecological restoration in Australia’s agricultral landscapes.


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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