Dbytes #163 (26 August 2014)

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

“Olympic gymnasts peak in their teens; poets in their twenties; chess players in the thirties; applied economists in their forties; and the average age of a Fortune 500 CEO is 55.” Nate Silver on the ageing curve (from The signal and the noise).

General News

1. The Red List of Ecosystems: A new global standard

2. New maps help protect our native species

3. New atlas of Southern Ocean marine life

4. Scaling in Ecology and Biodiversity Conservation

5. Of river reds and Kangaroo Island narrow-leaved mallee

EDG News

Canberra: Megan Evans on an informed debate on biodiversity offsets
Perth: Melinda Moir on ‘What has bug poo got to do with invasive ants?’
Melbourne: Luke, Emily and Tracey are Eureka finalists
Brisbane: James Watson co-authors articles on policy for conservation of primary forests

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General News

1. The Red List of Ecosystems: A new global standard In May, during the IUCN’s 83rd meeting in Switzerland, the categories and criteria for the identification of threatened ecosystems and the creation of Red Lists of Ecosystems were officially adopted. (The criteria are described in Keith et al (2013).) This marks the end of a process that started in 2007, led by Jon Paul Rodríguez and David Keith (UNSW), with contributions by many including Ed Barrow (IUCN), Katherine Rodríguez-Clark, Tracey Regan and Emily Nicholson. For the full history of the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems see http://www.iucnredlistofecosystems.org/press/news-releases/adopted-cc-iucn-rle/ or read our story in Decision Point #72 [Editor’s note: While the IUCN announcement was a few months ago, it’s pretty significant and I haven’t listed this in Dbytes till now. However, it’s quite topical at this instant in that the team behind this development are finalists in this year’s Eureka Prizes. See the Melbourne News]

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2. New maps help protect our native species

The Department of the Environment has released more than 1700 new maps and data that local communities can use to find threatened species in their area. The maps and data focus on native flora and fauna that are listed under national environment law as vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered. The maps were developed using details from state, territory and national databases as well as information published in species recovery plans and listing advice. The maps are general enough to ensure threatened plants and wildlife can’t be illegally collected or disturbed. The maps can be downloaded from http://www.environment.gov.au/science/erin/databases-maps/snes

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3. New atlas of Southern Ocean marine life

A new marine biodiversity atlas that provides the most thorough audit ever of marine life in the Southern Ocean has distinct Australian links. Leading marine geoscientists, biologists and oceanographers from all over the world, have spent the last four years compiling everything they know about marine life in the Southern Ocean and the environments that support this marine life. Dr Alix Post from Geoscience Australia, author and editor of the environmental chapter, said the atlas is a great resource that provides a single point of call for accessing the latest information on Southern Ocean environments. The new Biogeographic Atlas of the Southern Ocean, published by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, includes a wide range of information from the dynamics of the surface waters, and distribution of sea ice, through to the shape and composition of the seafloor. http://atlas.biodiversity.aq/

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4. Scaling in Ecology and Biodiversity Conservation

“SCALES (http://www.scales-project.net), a research project lasting for five years from May 2009 to July 2014, was seeking for ways to build the issue of scale into policy and decision-making and biodiversity management. It has greatly advanced our knowledge of how anthropogenic and natural processes interact across scales and affect biodiversity and it has evaluated in a very practical way how this knowledge can be used to improve the scale-sensitivity and effectiveness of policy instruments for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.” SCALES has now terminated though it will keep working on the topic for the time coming. One of the final deliverable was the SCALES Book in which the group summarizes some of the results achieved in the project. http://ab.pensoft.net/articles.php?id=1169

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5. Of river reds and Kangaroo Island narrow-leaved mallee

5.1: River red gum – more than just a tree So much more than just a tree, the river red gum has been central to the tensions between economic, social and environmental values of rivers and floodplain landscapes in Australia – perhaps more so than any other Australian plant or animal. Flooded Forest and Desert Creek: Ecology and History of the River Red Gum, a new CSIRO book, examines not only the ecology of one of the most iconic Australian trees, but how changes in attitudes towards it have reflected broader shifts in values of Australian society. Author, CSIRO’s Dr Matthew Colloff, said that given the prominence of the river red gum in Australian culture, we know surprisingly little about the ecology and life history of it. http://www.csiro.au/Portals/Media/River-red-gum-more-than-just-a-tree.aspx

5.2 Landholders guide to Kangaroo Island Narrow-leaved Mallee Woodland Dept of the Environment issued a landholders fact sheet on Kangaroo Island Narrow-leaved Mallee Woodland which was recently listed as critically endangered.This guide is intended to help the public understand what the Kangaroo Island Narrow-leaved Mallee (Eucalyptus cneorifolia) Woodland ecological community is, why it is nationally protected, what the listing aims to achieve, and what the listing means for people in the region.

http://www.environment.gov.au/resource/kangaroo-island-mallee-eucalyptus-cneorifolia-woodland-ecological-community

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EDG News

Canberra: Megan Evans on an informed debate on biodiversity offsets

“I never thought I’d be in a situation where I felt the need to defend Gina Rinehart. I’m pro-mining tax, love the Great Barrier Reef, pro-divestment and pro-safe climate. But, I want an informed debate on these issues – and in the case of the proposed Abbot Point coal terminal development, we need to have a decent understanding of the environmental policies which guide the environmental impact assessment process.” http://mcevansresearch.wordpress.com/2014/08/21/gina-vs-the-reef-a-plea-for-informed-debate-on-biodiversity-offsets/

Perth: Melinda Moir on ‘What has bug poo got to do with invasive ants?’ Melinda Moir and collaborators at James Cook University and CSIRO are uncovering the mechanisms behind the success of invasive yellow crazy ant in Arnhem Land (Northern Territory) and New Caledonia. Preliminary results indicate that carbohydrate availability (as honeydew, or as kids like to describe it, bug poo) correlates with ant abundance and trophic position. These results have been presented at two conferences last month; the Annual Meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, and the International Union for the Study of Social Insects. In relation to this study, Melinda is also constructing a standardized method to determine the presence of honeydew.

Melbourne: Luke, Emily and Tracey are Eureka finalists Three EDG/University of Melbourne postdocs are finalists for the 2014 Eureka Prize for Environmental Research. Luke Kelly and team have been nominated for their work on the Mallee Fire and Biodiversity Project. Emily Nicholson and Tracey Regan and team have been nominated for their work on the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems. http://australianmuseum.net.au/2014-Finalists-Eureka

Brisbane: James Watson co-authors articles on policy for conservation of primary forests [Note from James]: “A new article on the international policy options needed to save primary forests globally is just out in Conservation Letters, which I thought might be of interest to you, your colleagues or students. In the paper, we look at how much primary forest is left at a global scale, how much is currently protected, and what nations needed to step up to ensure these forests persist. We also explored the implications that primary forests are almost entirely ignored in the international policy realm (e.g. UNFCCC, CBD, UN Forum on Forests), and identify four distinct policy solutions. Brendan Mackey and I wrote a Op Ed for National Geographic on the back of the paper (which some nice photos) for your interest: http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2014/08/22/who-will-save-the-last-primary-forests-on-earth/ .”

Reference Mackey, B., DellaSala, D. A., Kormos, C., Lindenmayer, D., Kumpel, N., Zimmerman, B., Hugh, S., Young, V., Foley, S., Arsenis, K. and Watson, J. E.M. (2014), Policy Options for the World’s Primary Forests in Multilateral Environmental Agreements. Conservation Letters. doi: 10.1111/conl.12120 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/conl.12120/abstract

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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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