Dbytes #146 (29 April 2014)

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

“You are not entitled to your opinion. You are only entitled to what you can argue for.”
Patrick Stokes (see https://theconversation.com/no-youre-not-entitled-to-your-opinion-9978)

General News

1. Emissions Reduction Fund White Paper

2. Alpine grazing: does it reduce blazing?

3. Review of Natural Temperate Grasslands of the South Eastern Highlands Bioregion

4. The Queensland Plan

5. An integrated assessment of the impact of wild dogs in Australia

EDG News

Perth: Ram Pandit & Maksym Polyakov publish on valuing public and private urban tree canopy cover

Melbourne: QAECO’s tips for running a successful workshop

Brisbane: James Watson joins the IPBES task force

Canberra: Driscoll et al on the trajectory of dispersal research in conservation biology


1. Emissions Reduction Fund White Paper The Government released the Emissions Reduction Fund White Paper on 24 April 2014. The White Paper sets out the final design for the Emissions Reduction Fund, the centrepiece of the Australian Government’s efforts to tackle climate change. http://www.environment.gov.au/topics/cleaner-environment/clean-air/emissions-reduction-fund


2. Alpine grazing: does it reduce blazing? ESA hot topics summary of the topic. https://www.ecolsoc.org.au/hot-topics/alpine-grazing-does-it-reduce-blazing


3. Review of Natural Temperate Grasslands of the South Eastern Highlands Bioregion

On behalf of the Threatened Species Scientific Committee (the Committee), the Australian Government Department of the Environment (the Department) is undertaking public consultation on the review of the Natural Temperate Grasslands of the Southern Tablelands of NSW and the ACT. In 2000, this ecological community was listed as endangered under Australia’s national environmental law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act).

The period of consultation closes on 30 May 2014. http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/nominations/comment/natural-temp-grasslands-se-highlands-bioregion


4. The Queensland Plan [Recommended by Jessie Wells] 80,000 Queenslanders have contributed their vision for the state’s future over the coming 30 years to the participatory process for developing the Queensland Plan, through workshops, meetings, surveys and online discussions. This is “among the most extensive public consultation processes ever undertaken by an Australian or state government” Coal, oil and gas do not appear in the Draft Queensland Plan: 30 year vision. Mining appears only once (within natural resources management: “Agricultural and mining industries are integrated, equitable, profitable and environmentally responsible” (p.20)

“Instead, people have expressed a clear preference for developing agriculture, ecotourism, education, research and development, and alternative energy”.

The big question is how these views will be reflected in the final ‘30 year Vision’ to be released in mid-2014, and how the Government will respond. The Conversation – article on the Queensland Plan by John Cole. http://theconversation.com/australias-biggest-coal-state-plans-for-life-beyond-coal-24673


5. An integrated assessment of the impact of wild dogs in Australia Wild dogs are a significant pest animal in Australia. They are widespread in Queensland, the Northern Territory and much of Western Australia and South Australia, as well as being present in parts of New South Wales and Victoria. Wild dogs are known to have a significant detrimental effect on the agricultural sector, but they also cause adverse social impacts and are perceived to cause environmental damage as well. ABARES used an integrated approach to evaluate the economic, environmental and social impacts of wild dogs in Australia and assessed the costs and benefits of investing in wild dog management to prioritise future investments using a cost-benefit analysis framework, which was applied to three case study regions:

South Western Queensland

Eastern Victoria

South Australian Arid Lands

Integrating the economic impacts of wild dogs on Australian agriculture with non-market environmental and social impacts enabled a more accurate estimation of the return to the entire Australian community of investments to control wild dogs. The outputs from this report can inform prioritisation of future investment in wild dog management. http://www.daff.gov.au/abares/pages/publications/display.aspx?url=


EDG News 

Perth: Ram Pandit & Maksym Polyakov publish on valuing public and private urban tree canopy cover Ram Pandit and Maksym Polyakov publish on valuing public and private urban tree canopy cover in the Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics. They estimated the effect of tree canopy cover on values of urban residential properties in Perth. They found that trees located on adjacent public space such as street verges and neighbourhood parks increase property values, while trees on adjacent private space have a negative effect and trees on the property have no measurable effect. The results suggest that by implementing urban tree planting programs local councils provide significant biodiversity, aesthetic and recreational benefits and these are captured by homeowners in property values. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8489.12037

Melbourne: QAECO’s tips for running a successful workshopOur group runs a lot of workshops in many forms: structured decision making processes; expert elicitation; targeted analyses with many participants; brainstorming of broad issues; and everything in between. Collectively we’ve learnt a few dos and don’ts. In a previous post we covered workshop facilitation and introduced the four Ps: here, we expand on these points and add a fifth (Place). http://qaeco.com/2014/04/23/qaecos-tips-for-running-a-successful-workshop/#more-2345

Brisbane: James Watson joins the IPBES task force James Watson has been selected to be a member of the task force on knowledge and data for the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

Canberra: Driscoll et al on the trajectory of dispersal research in conservation biology Dispersal knowledge is essential for conservation management, and demand is growing. But are we accumulating dispersal knowledge at a pace that can meet the demand? To answer this question we tested for changes in dispersal data collection and use over time. Our systematic review of 655 conservation-related publications compared five topics: climate change, habitat restoration, population viability analysis, land planning (systematic conservation planning) and invasive species. We analysed temporal changes in the: (i) questions asked by dispersal-related research; (ii) methods used to study dispersal; (iii) the quality of dispersal data; (iv) extent that dispersal knowledge is lacking, and; (v) likely consequences of limited dispersal knowledge. Research questions have changed little over time; the same problems examined in the 1990s are still being addressed. The most common methods used to study dispersal were occupancy data, expert opinion and modelling, which often provided indirect, low quality information about dispersal. Although use of genetics for estimating dispersal has increased, new ecological and genetic methods for measuring dispersal are not yet widely adopted. Almost half of the papers identified knowledge gaps related to dispersal. Limited dispersal knowledge often made it impossible to discover ecological processes or compromised conservation outcomes. The quality of dispersal data used in climate change research has increased since the 1990s. In comparison, restoration ecology inadequately addresses large-scale process, whilst the gap between knowledge accumulation and growth in applications may be increasing in land planning. To overcome apparent stagnation in collection and use of dispersal knowledge, researchers need to: (i) improve the quality of available data using new approaches; (ii) understand the complementarities of different methods and; (iii) define the value of different kinds of dispersal information for supporting management decisions. Ambitious, multi-disciplinary research programs studying many species are critical for advancing dispersal research. Reference: Driscoll, D.A., Banks, S.C., Barton, P.S., Ikin, K., Lentini, P., Lindenmayer, D.B., Smith, A.L., Berry, L.E., Burns, E.L., Edworthy, A., Evans, M.J., Gibson, R., Heinsohn, R., Howland, B., Kay, G., Munro, N., Scheele, B.C., Stirnemann, I., Stojanovic, D., Sweaney, N., Villaseñor, N.R., and Westgate, M.J. (2014). The trajectory of dispersal research in conservation biology: Systematic review. PLOS One, 9, e95053. http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0095053


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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