Dbytes #154 (24 June 2014)

 Info & news for members and associates of the Environmental Decision Group
“nearly 14 years after the enactment of the EPBC Act, Environment is yet to establish mature administrative arrangements to effectively discharge its regulatory responsibilities in relation to approved controlled actions. As a consequence, the assurance that the department has regarding proponents’ compliance with action approval conditions, which are designed to address the risks posed to Matters of National Environmental Significance, is limited.” The Auditor-General on managing compliance with the EPBC Act (see item 1)

General News

1. Auditors assess government’s capacity to manage compliance of EPBC Act

2. Great Barrier Reef Report Card 2012 and 2013

3. Natural regeneration and rainforest restoration

4. International climate action: priorities for the next agreement

5. Recommendations to improve the management of the Brigalow and Nandewar State Conservation Areas (NSW)

EDG News
Brisbane:
Hugh Possingham on NSW biodiversity review
Canberra:
Darren Le Roux publishes on the future of large old trees in urban landscapes
Perth: Ram Pandit to work with IPBES
Melbourne: Chris Ives on the role of social values in the management of ecological systems

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General News

1. Auditors assess government’s capacity to manage compliance of EPBC Act The ANAO issued a performance audit: ‘Managing Compliance with Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 Conditions of Approval’. According to the ACF (http://www.acfonline.org.au/news-media/media-release/audit-finds-serious-problems-administration-national-environment-law), the Auditor-General’s report found the Department:

-Does not have an effective capability to collect, store and analyse intelligence relating to compliance with the Act -Does not have an appropriate set of risks to matters of national environmental significance against which approved controlled actions can be assessed -Does not have ‘mature administrative arrangements to effectively discharge its regulatory responsibilities in relation to approved controlled actions’. http://www.anao.gov.au/Publications/Audit-Reports/2013-2014/Managing-Compliance-with-EPBC-Act-1999-Conditions-of-Approval

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2. Great Barrier Reef Report Card 2012 and 2013

The Great Barrier Reef Report Card 2012 and 2013 was released by Federal Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt MP and Queensland Minister for the Environment and Heritage Protection Andrew Powell MP. Their announcement includes a $15 million commitment from the Reef Trust for projects to improve the health of the GBR. The report card measures progress in action taken to improve water quality in the reef between July 2009 and June 2013.

http://www.reefplan.qld.gov.au/measuring-success/report-cards/2012-2013-report-card.aspx

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3. Natural regeneration and rainforest restoration – outcomes, pathways and management of regrowth Carla P. Catterall, Luke P. Shoo and Kylie Freebody About half of the world’s tropical forests have suffered some form of clearing, mostly for conversion to agricultural land. This has generated significant carbon emissions, depleted important ecosystem services (such as flood mitigation) and threatened global biodiversity. Natural forest regeneration following retirement of agricultural land will help to reverse these declines. This fact sheet discusses the nature of regrowth in rainforest landscapes, its pathways of development, associated uncertainties, and how it could be harnessed in conservation efforts. Note: Luke Shoo is a joint appointment between NERP TE hub and the NERP ED hub http://www.nerptropical.edu.au/sites/default/files/publications/files/Regrowth%20Fact%20Sheet_formatted_draft_v8_Jun14.pdf

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4. International climate action: priorities for the next agreement This research paper identifies key priorities for international co-operation on climate change that will encourage greater national emissions reductions. Strong international action to reduce emissions is in every country’s interest, including Australia’s. This action will reduce the risks and likely impacts of climate change. This research paper identifies key priorities for international co-operation on climate change that will encourage greater national emissions reductions. The international community is now negotiating a post-2020 framework for global climate action. The key parts of the post-2020 framework are planned to be agreed in Paris at the end of 2015. http://climatechangeauthority.gov.au/Node/219

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5. Recommendations to improve the management of the Brigalow and Nandewar State Conservation Areas (NSW) The Natural Resources Commission (NRC) submitted a draft report to the Premier, the Deputy Premier, the Minister for the Environment, the Minister for Primary Industries, and the Minister for Natural Resources, Lands and Water. The draft report outlines findings and recommendations to improve the management of the Brigalow and Nandewar State Conservation Areas, and was informed by public submissions and targeted consultation with relevant industry, Aboriginal, environment and community groups. The draft report was also informed by new spatial data and analysis on the density and distribution of white cypress pine in the State Conservation Areas. The NRC is now accepting submissions on the draft report until 1 August 2014. The report and information on how to make a submission can be found at: http://www.nrc.nsw.gov.au/Workwedo/ActiveAndAdaptiveManagementOfCypressForestsInTheBrigalowAndNandewarStateConservationAreas.aspx -~<>~-

EDG News

Brisbane: Hugh Possingham on NSW biodiversity review The Minister for the Environment (NSW) has appointed Hugh Possingham on to an independent panel to conduct a review of the State’s biodiversity legislation. Other members of the Biodiversity Legislation Review Panel are: Dr Neil Byron, Dr Wendy Craik and Dr John Keniry. http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/BiodiversityLegislation/BLRevpanel.htmCanberra:

Darren Le Roux publishes on the future of large old trees in urban landscapes “Few studies have investigated the decline of large old trees in urban landscapes. Using a simulation model, we predicted the future availability of native hollow-bearing trees (a surrogate for large old trees) in an expanding city in southeastern Australia. In urban greenspace, we predicted that the number of hollow-bearing trees is likely to decline by 87% over 300 years under existing management practices. Under a worst case scenario, hollow-bearing trees may be completely lost within 115 years. Conversely, we predicted that the number of hollow-bearing trees will likely remain stable in semi-natural nature reserves. Sensitivity analysis revealed that the number of hollow-bearing trees perpetuated in urban greenspace over the long term is most sensitive to the: (1) maximum standing life of trees; (2) number of regenerating seedlings ha−1; and (3) rate of hollow formation. We tested the efficacy of alternative urban management strategies and found that the only way to arrest the decline of large old trees requires a collective management strategy that ensures: (1) trees remain standing for at least 40% longer than currently tolerated lifespans; (2) the number of seedlings established is increased by at least 60%; and (3) the formation of habitat structures provided by large old trees is accelerated by at least 30% (e.g. artificial structures) to compensate for short term deficits in habitat resources.” Reference: Le Roux, D.S., Ikin, K., Lindenmayer, D.B., Manning, A.D. and Gibbons, P. (2014). The future of large old trees in urban landscapes. PLOS One, 9, e99403. http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0099403

Perth: Ram Pandit to work with IPBES
Ram Pandit has been nominated by the Nepalese Government (Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment) and selected by the IPBES (Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services) as an expert to work on its deliverable 3(d): Policy support tools and methodologies regarding the diverse conceptualization of values of biodiversity and nature’s benefits to people. More info: http://www.ipbes.net/work-programme/objective-3/45-work-programme/461-deliverable-3d.html

Melbourne: Chris Ives on the role of social values in the management of ecological systems “The concept of values is increasingly brought up in the context of conservation and ecosystem management. However, there is often a great deal of confusion around what social values are and how they can be applied in practice. In this article, we review a broad range of literature and highlight differences in how values are understood and used. We argue that recognising the different ways people value nature can improve ecological conservation and management outcomes. Practical guidelines are provided to help researchers and practitioners to apply social values in their work.”

Reference: Christopher D. Ives and Dave Kendal (2014). The role of social values in the management of ecological systems. Journal of Environmental Management 144 (2014) 67e72 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301479714002539

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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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