Dbytes #165 (9 September 2014)

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

“Overall, the benefits of doing the blog have been much greater than I expected or imagined.” David Pannell on his blog turning 10 (=271 blogs; see Perth news)

General News

1. Draft Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds

2. Draft Recovery Plan for the Alpine Sphagnum Bogs and Associated Fens ecological community

3. The Joint committee on Northern Australia issued its final report.

4. What’s the weather like in 2050?

5. ACF lists the Federal Governments 10 most significant environment policy decisions in its first year

EDG News

General EDG News: Registration is now OPEN for the 2015 Student Conference on Conservation Science
Melbourne:
Cindy Hauser’s recommended reading
Brisbane:
Hugh Possingham in a multimedia Sydney Morning Herald special on triage and the loss of the Xmas Island pipistrelle.
Canberra: Damian Michael on agri-environment schemes and reptiles
Perth: Pannell Discussions turns 10

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General News

1. Draft Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds Dept of the Environment issued a draft Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds. Public comment closes 3 December. http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/publications/draft-wildlife-conservation-plan-migratory-shorebirds Note: EDG scientists from Richard Fuller’s lab have put out a press release on their work documenting the decline of two migratory shore birds: the curlew sandpiper and the eastern curlew. See http://www.nerpdecisions.edu.au/nerp-latest-news/85-long-distance-aussie-travellers-under-threat.html

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2. Draft Recovery Plan for the Alpine Sphagnum Bogs and Associated Fens ecological community Dept of the Environment issued a draft Recovery Plan for the Alpine Sphagnum Bogs and Associated Fens ecological community. Public comment closes 3 December. http://www.environment.gov.au/resource/draft-recovery-plan-alpine-sphagnum-bogs-and-associated-fens-ecological-community

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3. The Joint committee on Northern Australia issued its final report. 267 pages long, mentions biodiversity on four occasions (but only in passing), sets out how Australia can realise the ‘dream’ of transforming 40% of Australia. http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/Northern_Australia/Inquiry_into_the_Development_of_Northern_Australia/Tabled_Reports -~<>~-

4. What’s the weather like in 2050?

[Contributed by Nathalie Butt] From the World Meteorological Organization: “How will climate change impact our weather at mid-century? To find out what could lie in store, the World Meteorological Organization invited television weather presenters from around the world to imagine a “weather report from the year 2050.” What they created are only possible scenarios, of course, and not true forecasts. Nevertheless, they are based on the most up-to-date climate science, and they paint a compelling picture of what life could be like on a warmer planet. WMO is launching these videos during the month of September to support the UN Secretary-General’s call for world leaders to support ambitious action on climate change at the UN Climate Summit. https://www.wmo.int/pages/mediacentre/news/Weatherreportfor2050inBrazil_en.html

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5. ACF lists the Federal Governments 10 most significant environment policy decisions in its first year As the Abbott Government’s first anniversary approaches, the Australian Conservation Foundation has taken a look back over the big decisions the government has made that affect Australia’s environment in the last 12 months. ACF has released a list (follow link) of the Government’s ten most significant environment policy decisions in its first year – and sadly it’s all bad news for Australia’s unique nature. http://www.acfonline.org.au/news-media/media-release/year-reckless-governing-australia%E2%80%99s-environment

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EDG News

General EDG News: Registration is now OPEN for the 2015 Student Conference on Conservation Science

Registration is now OPEN for the 2015 Student Conference on Conservation Science (SCCS-Aus 2015), so please pass this link around all your networks, especially in the pacific and south-east Asian areas. The cheapest, most exciting conference of the year. For students, By Students. Early bird registration – 1 -30 September 2014; Full fees – 1-31 October 2014 http://www.sccs-aus.org/

Melbourne: Cindy Hauser’s recommended reading “At long last, a female Fields Medal winner. (via Fiona Fidler) Academic urban legends. (via @willozap) Shining the spotlight on Australia’s best ecology blogs daily. Our duty is clear: to build and maintain those robots… and probably, for now at least, to analyse the data they’re collecting. (via Michael Livingston) Science Headlines That Mallory Ortberg Would Like To See More Of.” http://cindyehauser.wordpress.com/2014/08/29/recommended-reading-august-2014/

Brisbane: Hugh Possingham in a multimedia Sydney Morning Herald special on triage and the loss of the Xmas Island pipistrelle. [Spotted and contributed by Nancy Auerbach]

“Hugh Possingham remembers when the penny dropped for him. Then an academic with the University of Adelaide, he was in Canberra in 1999 in a meeting with the federal government’s threatened species unit when it dawned on him that funds were being allocated to species with no real hope of rehabilitation.” http://www.smh.com.au/multimedia/triage/

Canberra: Damian Michael on agri-environment schemes and reptiles To examine whether agri-environment schemes protect and increase herpetofauna, Damian Michael and colleagues from the ANU established a landscape-wide biodiversity monitoring program in threatened semi-arid and temperate woodland communities in south-eastern Australia. With 31 species recorded, regional herpetofaunal diversity was relatively high, whereas local diversity was low. Herpetofaunal richness and reptile assemblage structure did not differ significantly between sites under agri-environment schemes and sites managed for livestock production. A gradient in species richness as a function of time-since-management intervention was not evident, although the abundance of one lizard species increased under vegetation management. Reptile richness and frog abundance differed significantly among vegetation types. Herpetofaunal richness was positively related to native plant richness and bare ground cover, whereas Boulenger’s skink Morethia boulengeri was negatively affected by bare ground cover. The ragged snake-eyed skink Cryptoblepharus pannosus was positively related to the amount of woody debris. In this system, strong habitat specificity implies local-scale management interventions under agri-environment schemes may not significantly increase herpetofaunal diversity in the short term. Vegetation management is likely to increase the abundance of common lizard species rather than increase local species richness due to barrier effects. Future incentive schemes should focus on improving habitat connectivity, enhancing pasture condition and increasing woody debris in the agricultural matrix to dissolve dispersal barriers and mitigate the legacy of historical land-use practices. The researchers propose that agri-environment schemes which manage mosaics of intergrading vegetation types at multiple spatial scales will protect maximum herpetofaunal diversity. Reference: Michael DR, JT Wood, M Crane, R Montague-Drake & DB Lindenmayer (2014). How effective are agri-environment schemes for protecting and improving herpetofaunal diversity in Australian endangered woodland ecosystems? Journal of Applied Ecology 51: 494–504.

Perth: Pannell Discussions turns 10 [Editor’s note: anyone who’s toyed with the idea of starting a blog should read this one.] “I just noticed (a few months late) that it’s been 10 years since I started writing Pannell Discussions. Time for some reflections on the benefits and costs of doing so. In 2004 I decided I wanted to increase my outreach to non-economists and to people outside academia. I wanted to put out material that would be interesting and engaging, and would increase people’s understanding of economic issues in agriculture and natural resource management. I decided to write brief articles on a range of topics, and put them on my web site. Initially I didn’t think of this as being a blog, but eventually I accepted that this is what it is.” http://www.pannelldiscussions.net/2014/09/271-10-years-of-blogging/ -~<>~-

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/

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