Dbytes #164 (2 September 2014)

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

“Every natural resource management conundrum has a potential mathematical formulation and hence a good solution. The challenge is translating policy and management aspirations into maths.” Hugh Possingham

General News

1. The ultimate bird list

2. Understanding the capacity of NRMs to manage invasive animals

3. A time to cull? The battle over Australia’s brumbies

4. Human Values and Biodiversity Conservation: The Survival of Wild Species

5. Recovery Plan for the Grey Nurse Shark

EDG News
Michael Wysong on ‘The Truth About Cats and Dogs’
Melbourne: Freya Thomas has won a 2014 Victoria Fellowship
EDG at Antarctic Research conference in Auckland
Canberra: Karen Ikin and colleagues on veg cover and woodland birds in ag landscapes


General News

1. The ultimate bird list

The first ever Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World is really two works in one. It is a complete checklist whose taxonomy incorporates the most up-to-date information and an exhaustive methodology in an entirely systematic and consistent way. At the same time, it contains illustrations and distribution maps for every bird species in the world. This includes the original artwork from the HBW series, as well as hundreds of new illustrations, all in two compact volumes. (Price: US$190) http://www.lynxeds.com/product/hbw-and-birdlife-international-illustrated-checklist-birds-world


2. Understanding the capacity of NRMs

The report Understanding the capacity of NRMs to manage invasive animal impacts: Results from the 2013 National NRM Survey has been published in the PestSmart series and is now available online. Prepared by Jessica Marsh and Annette Brown as part of the IA CRC National NRM Facilitator Project, the report examines a survey of staff responsible for pest animal management in each of the 54 NRM regions. The NRM Survey was designed to collect regional NRM staff thoughts, needs and issues regarding pest animal management information and expertise. The survey covered issues and barriers to effective pest animal management as well as sources of and preferences for information exchange. Funding, extent of pest problems, availability of skilled labour & short time frames of programs were all considered major factors influencing the ability of NRM organisations to achieve their pest animal related goals. “The difficulties we encountered with identifying correct personnel for the survey highlights the issue of high staff turnover and unrest in the industry. Constant staff and agency name changes, shifting responsibilities, and short-term funding cycles leads to a lack of program continuity over the longer term, which directly conflicts with recommended best practice in pest management. It also impacts on the community, who often struggle to identify the right person to talk to, or which agency to contact regarding pest animal issues.http://www.feral.org.au/2013-national-nrm-survey/


3. A time to cull? The battle over Australia’s brumbies

It’s been a hard winter for Australia’s wild horses. But things may be about to get much worse for these totemic animals. Their swelling numbers are damaging the continent’s precious alpine ranges, and tensions are mounting over what needs to happen next. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/20/-sp-a-time-to-cull-the-battle-over-australias-brumbies


4. Human Values and Biodiversity Conservation: The Survival of Wild Species by Clement Tisdell (UQ) “Clement Tisdell combines original theories, survey results and experimental findings to assess the economic benefit of conserving particular wild species and to suggest strategies for a sustainable future. With a detailed analysis of 25 species, covering the three classes (mammals, birds and reptiles), this book examines how variations in knowledge and social factors can influence individuals’ evaluation of species. Moreover, economics and ecology are combined to propose sound policies for wildlife management and to provide estimates of the net economic benefit of conserving particular species. http://www.e-elgar.co.uk/bookentry_main.lasso?id=15295&breadcrumlink=&breadcrum=&sub_values


5. Recovery Plan for the Grey Nurse Shark

Dept of the Environment issued ‘Recovery Plan for the Grey Nurse Shark’. http://www.environment.gov.au/resource/recovery-plan-grey-nurse-shark-carcharias-taurus


EDG News Perth:

Michael Wysong on ‘The Truth About Cats and Dogs’ The Department of Parks and Wildlife recently completed their annual Eradicat aerial baiting of Lorna Glen Reserve; a 244,000 ha reserve in the central arid rangelands of WA managed jointly by the Department and the Wiluna aboriginal community. PhD student, Michael Wysong, collared 16 dingoes and 21 feral cats prior to this baiting event as part of his research on the relationship between these two predators. While post-bait spatial data is still being collected, the pre-bait data showed that there was strong habitat segregation between the two predators. This habitat segregation was exciting and was not observed from the camera trap study conducted at the same time last year. Michael presented the results of these two studies at the annual Australian Mammal Society Conference in Melbourne in July of this year. Michael is headed back to Lorna Glen this month to collect camera traps which have been deployed prior to and following the baiting period. He will use this data, together with the GPS collar data, to examine how the activities and occupancies of these two species are affected by the Eradicat baiting.

Melbourne: Freya Thomas has won a 2014 Victoria Fellowship Freya Thomas from the University of Melbourne (QAECO) has won a 2014 Victoria Fellowship to assist her in her research in South Africa, Ireland, Spain, France and the USA using tools for supporting biodiversity in fire prone environments. The Victoria Fellowships aim to support and celebrate the work of the people who drive Victoria’s science and innovation capabilities. http://www.veski.org.au/minister-announces-2014-victoria-prize

Brisbane: EDG at Antarctic Research conference in Auckland UQ PhD students Jasmine Lee and Yi Han, with Justine Shaw attended the International Scientific Committee of Antarctic Research conference in Auckland. Justine presented a talk in plenary entitled “Remedying terrestrial protected areas planning deficiencies” following which she sat on an expert panel on Antarctic Conservation, with international researchers and policy makers. Yi and Justine also held several workshop with experts on decision making around eradications in Antarctica.

Canberra: Karen Ikin and colleagues on veg cover and woodland birds in ag landscapes Abstract: Improving biodiversity conservation in fragmented agricultural landscapes has become an important global issue. Vegetation at the patch and landscape-scale is important for species occupancy and diversity, yet few previous studies have explored multi-scale associations between vegetation and community assemblages. Here, we investigated how patch and landscape-scale vegetation cover structure woodland bird communities. We asked: (1) How is the bird community associated with the vegetation structure of woodland patches and the amount of vegetation cover in the surrounding landscape? (2) Do species of conservation concern respond to woodland vegetation structure and surrounding vegetation cover differently to other species in the community? And (3) Can the relationships between the bird community and the woodland vegetation structure and surrounding vegetation cover be explained by the ecological traits of the species comprising the bird community? We studied 103 woodland patches (0.5 – 53.8 ha) over two time periods across a large (6,800 km2) agricultural region in southeastern Australia. We found that both patch vegetation and surrounding woody vegetation cover were important for structuring the bird community, and that these relationships were consistent over time. In particular, the occurrence of mistletoe within the patches and high values of woody vegetation cover within 1,000 ha and 10,000 ha were important, especially for bird species of conservation concern. We found that the majority of these species displayed similar, positive responses to patch and landscape vegetation attributes. We also found that these relationships were related to the foraging and nesting traits of the bird community. Our findings suggest that management strategies to increase both remnant vegetation quality and the cover of surrounding woody vegetation in fragmented agricultural landscapes may lead to improved conservation of bird communities. Reference: Ikin, K., Barton, P.S., Stirnemann, I.A., Stein, J.R., Michael, D., Crane, M., Okada, S. & Lindenmayer, D.B. (2014). Multi-Scale Associations between Vegetation Cover and Woodland Bird Communities across a Large Agricultural Region. PLoS ONE, 9, e97029.


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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