Dbytes #168 (7 October 2014)

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

“Populations of these great travellers have crashed, with drops in numbers over the past 20 years of more than 75% for the curlew sandpiper, and 68% for the eastern curlew. This is a devastating loss for species that were once quite common.”
Richard Fuller (see item 5)

General News

1. Tourism ideas for NT’s parks and reserves

2. Climate Change: Evidence and Causes

3. Not so foolish (on reason, intuition and decision making)

4. Global public opinion survey on space for nature

5. Two curlews, an antechinus, a bottlebrush and the black gum – should they be listed as threatened?

EDG News

Perth: Richard Hobbs and Rachel Standish speak on resilience at CEER
Laura Mumaw presents early findings on her wildlife gardening research
Brisbane: Kate Helmstedt on two fences or one
Canberra: David Lindenmayer revisits the Ten Commitments


General News

1. Tourism ideas for NT’s parks and reserves
[Editor’s note: Can tourism contribute to conservation science? Check out Duan Bigg’s story on p13 of the current issue of Decision Point http://www.decision-point.com.au/]

The Northern Territory Government is opening its parks and reserves to allow and encourage new and exciting visitor experiences that not only attract greater visitor numbers but also complement the parks’ existing conservation values. Expressions of Interest are invited from entrepreneurs, investors, traditional owners and tourism operators to put forward fresh ideas for new tourism and recreation initiatives on parks or reserves in the Territory. The Territory Government seeks to spark developments that enrich the visitor experience while maintaining the integrity of our natural areas. The Territory’s striking landscape has proven to be one of its greatest commercial assets, with tourism ranking second in earnings behind mining while employing more Territorians than any other economic sector. But the government believes there is room for greater private sector participation. EOI submissions close 2.00pm (ACST) Wednesday 12 November 2014. http://www.parksandwildlife.nt.gov.au/pwc/eoi#.VA_DHk0cRaQ


2. Climate Change: Evidence and Causes

The leadership of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the U.K.’s Royal Society convened a UK-US team of leading climate scientists to produce this brief, readable reference document for decision makers, policy makers, educators, and other individuals seeking authoritative information on the some of the questions that continue to be asked.


-~<>~- 3. Not so foolish (on reason, intuition and decision making) An AEON essay [recommended by Sarah Bekessy]

We are told that we are an irrational tangle of biases, to be nudged any which way. Does this claim stand to reason? “Kahneman divides the mind into two allegorical systems, the intuitive ‘System 1’, which often gives wrong answers, and the reflective reasoning of ‘System 2’. ‘The attentive System 2 is who we think we are,’ he writes; but it is the intuitive, biased, ‘irrational’ System 1 that is in charge most of the time.”


-~<>~- 4. Global public opinion survey on space for nature

ZSL, in collaboration with IUCN and freuds, is carrying out the first ever systematic global public opinion survey on the question of how much space we should set aside for nature, and why, to help steer the future vision for the world’s protected areas. Under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)’s Aichi Target 11, the governments of the world have pledged to protect at least 17% of the world’s terrestrial and inland water areas and 10% of its coastal and marine areas by 2020. However, this target has been largely agreed through a political process, and there has been little consultation with the public on what areas we should protect for nature, and why. In November this year, the conservation community will meet to decide on a vision for the world’s protected areas beyond 2020 at the once-in-a-decade IUCN World Parks Congress, and it is critical that the views of this global constituency are incorporated into this process.



5. Two curlews, an antechinus, a bottlebrush and the black gum – should they be listed as threatened?

Dept of Environment invited comment to the Threatened Species Scientific Committee on the status of two species of bird, two plant species, and a marsupial. http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/nominations/comment

[Editor’s note: Catastrophic recent declines in populations of the curlew sandpiper and eastern curlew have resulted in their nomination for threatened status, and this is based on work led by researchers at the NERP Environmental Decisions Hub. see: http://www.nerpdecisions.edu.au/nerp-latest-news/85-long-distance-aussie-travellers-under-threat.html%5D


EDG News

Perth: Richard Hobbs and Rachel Standish speak on resilience at CEER Richard Hobbs and Rachel Standish invited speakers in a symposium on resilience at the Conference on Ecological and Ecosystem Restoration (CEER) in New Orleans, Louisiana, and post-conference trip to field sites along the Gulf of Mexico. The participation in ecological restoration is particularly strong in North America. Restoration of coastal communities is critical in the south because these communities can act as important buffers against the impacts of frequent hurricane disturbance. Twenty-five hurricanes have hit Louisiana’s coastline since 1940. The effects of the most damaging hurricanes in recent history—Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005—were still evident in the landscape and etched in the minds of the local people. The other predominant feature of Louisiana is the Mississippi River, which empties into the Gulf of Mexico at New Orleans after draining almost 60 % of land in continental United States of America. The Mississippi River is incredibly dynamic due to continual changes in sediment deposition in space and time, and the delta is currently experiencing a period of land loss (some estimate land the size of a football field is lost every hour), which together with the frequent hurricane disturbance, creates a significant challenge for ecological restoration and environmental management. Despite these challenges the region is a hotspot of economic and cultural activity. The conference and amazing post-conference field trip to swamp, marsh and woodland communities along the gulf coast offered an opportunity to reflect on the challenges and lessons learned by ecologists, practitioners and policy-makers working to restore the unique Mississippi River Delta.

Melbourne: Laura Mumaw presents early findings on her wildlife gardening research Laura Mumaw, PhD candidate in the RMIT ICS group, presented early findings from her research on wildlife gardening programs and how they engage and retain urban residents to support indigenous biodiversity in partnership with local government at the Victorian Local Government Professional Association on the ‘Business of Biodiversity’. A working group has been formed to explore regionalising the concept.

Brisbane: Kate Helmstedt on two fences or one From Kate: “My first paper from my PhD has just come out in Ecological Applications. In this paper we investigate the trade-off required between the higher abundance afforded by large fenced reserves vs mitigating the risk of catastrophic events by constructing two smaller fences. We found that a single fence more frequently results in a much higher net cost than two fences separated in space. We include threatened species population demographics in this analysis, as well as real-world ongoing maintenance and management costs that are required when operating fenced reserves.” Ref: Kate J. Helmstedt, Hugh P. Possingham, Karl E. C. Brennan, Jonathan R. Rhodes, and Michael Bode 2014. Cost-efficient fenced reserves for conservation: single large or two small? Ecological Applications 24:1780–1792. http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/13-1579.1

Canberra: David Lindenmayer revisits the Ten Commitments Ten Commitments Revisited is edited by David Lindenmayer, Stephen Dovers and Steve Morton and tackles the question what are the 10 key issues that must be addressed urgently to improve Australia’s environment? In this follow up to the highly successful book Ten Commitments, Australia’s leading environmental thinkers have written provocative chapters on what must be done to tackle Australia’s environmental problems – in terms of policies, on-ground actions and research. http://www.publish.csiro.au/nid/21/pid/7276.htm



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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