Dbytes #170 (21 October 2014)

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

“Biodiversity loss is linked to so many of society’s ills, including increased frequency of natural disasters, climate change and food insecurity. It is imperative that governments place biodiversity conservation far higher up the political agenda and convert the fine words and pledges made at this meeting into tangible action for the sake of life on earth.”
Jane Smart, IUCN Global Director, Biodiversity Conservation Group, at the IUCN meeting in South Korea last week http://www.iucn.org/news_homepage/?18485/Governments-still-behind-on-commitments-to-avert-biodiversity-crisis

General News

1. Celebrating Australia’s wetlands – A showcase of Australia’s Ramsar sites

2. The Outback Papers

3. Want to influence science and technology policy?

4. Calculating the cost of ocean acidification

5. Nature is speaking

EDG News

Brisbane: Marxan courses at UQ in November
Canberra: David Lindenmayer and colleagues on complementary niches for conservationists
Perth: Keren Raiter et al on mitigating enigmatic ecological impacts of development
Melbourne: Brendan Wintle video interview on natural value

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General News

1. Celebrating Australia’s wetlands – A showcase of Australia’s Ramsar sites

“Australia was one of the first signatories to the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, also known as the Ramsar Convention. As evidence of its leadership and commitment to the Convention, Australia designated Cobourg Peninsula in the Northern Territory as the world’s first Ramsar wetland in 1974. As part of the ongoing celebrations of the 40th anniversary of this listing, the Commonwealth Environment Water Office has released a new publication Celebrating Australia’s wetlands – A showcase of Australia’s Ramsar sites. The sites include the iconic Kakadu National Park in the top end, Barmah Forest in the Murray-Darling Basin, the Coorong and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert Ramsar wetland in South Australia, and Moulting Lagoon in Tasmania. The publication highlights their unique environmental and cultural values, and demonstrates the wide diversity of wetland ecosystems across the country.

http://www.environment.gov.au/water/wetlands/publications/celebrating-australias-wetlands

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2. The Outback Papers

Pew Charitable Trusts have released the first of its papers in a series on the Australian outback: ‘The Outback Papers’. Lead author, Professor John Woinarski says the paper is about conservation, focusing more broadly than national parks and threatened species, and discusses practical approaches that are already improving development and conservation outcomes. http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/reports/2014/10/the-modern-outback

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3. Want to influence science and technology policy? Do you have big ideas about how to represent Australian science and technology?

Want to support over 68,000 scientists and technologists? And talk about science with government, industry, and the community? Join Science & Technology Australia’s Executive committee. Nominations are now open and close 5 pm 14 November 2014. Four positions are available: President-elect (one-year term, then two-year term as President); Secretary (two-year term); Chair of the Policy Committee (two-year term); Early-career researcher (one-year term). The successful candidates will join Ross Smith (President 2014 – 2015), Emma Johnston (Vice President), Peter Adams (Treasurer) and Catriona Jackson (CEO) on the STA Executive. A candidate must be a financial member of a member society and receive the support of two other individuals who are themselves members of a member society. http://scienceandtechnologyaustralia.org.au/focus-on/nominations-for-sta-executive-committee-positions/

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4. Calculating the cost of ocean acidification

The global economy could be losing as much as $1 trillion annually by the end of the century if countries do not take urgent steps to stop ocean acidification, according to a United Nations report. Ocean acidification is the ongoing decrease in the pH of the earth’s oceans, caused by a drastic increase in carbon dioxide emissions due to human activity. The $1 trillion figure reflects the economic loss for industries linked to coral reefs alone, which are some of the most vulnerable species to this phenomenon.

http://www.cbd.int/doc/publications/cbd-ts-75-en.pdf

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5. Nature is speaking
[contributed by Kerrie Wilson]

Conservation International has produced a series of short videos narrated by famous actors (such as Kevin Spacey and Ed Norton) pointing out the various values Nature provides. As part of a promotion for the project, every time you use the #NatureIsSpeaking hashtag in social media, HP will donate $1 to Conservation International up to $1 million.

http://natureisspeaking.org/

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EDG News

Brisbane: Marxan courses at UQ in November Using Marxan, conservation planners can identify an efficient system of conservation sites that include a suite of biodiversity targets at a minimal cost. Marxan provides a unique method for designing reserves that is systematic and repeatable. Registrations are now open for the Introduction to Marxan course (18-19 Nov), and Marxan Train the Trainer Course (17-19 Nov). http://www.uq.edu.au/marxan/intro-register http://www.uq.edu.au/marxan/ttt-register

Canberra: David Lindenmayer and colleagues on complementary niches for conservationists A divergence of values has become apparent in recent debates between conservationists who focus on ecosystem services that can improve human well-being and those who focus on avoiding the extinction of species. These divergent points of view fall along a continuum from anthropocentric to biocentric values, but most conservationists are relatively closer to each other than to the ends of the spectrum. We have some concerns with both positions but emphasize that conservation for both people and all other species will be most effective if conservationists focus on articulating the values they all share, being respectful of divergent values, and collaborating on common interests. The conservation arena is large enough to accommodate many people and organizations whose diverse values lead them to different niches that can, with good will and foresight, be far more complementary than competitive. Reference: HUNTER, M. L., REDFORD, K. H. and LINDENMAYER, D. B. (2014), The Complementary Niches of Anthropocentric and Biocentric Conservationists. Conservation Biology, 28: 641–645. doi: 10.1111/cobi.12296 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cobi.12296/abstract

Perth: Keren Raiter et al on mitigating enigmatic ecological impacts of development In their review paper, currently in press in Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Raiter et al discuss what they call ‘enigmatic ecological impacts’ which undermine the potential for successful impact mitigation. Enigmatic ecological impacts are those that tend to pass under the radar of impact evaluations, and evade being considered in environmental impact assessments, offset calculations, and conservation or land-use plans. The paper proposes a framework for conceptualising these impacts and discusses ways of addressing them. Reference: Raiter, Keren G., Hugh P. Possingham, Suzanne M. Prober and Richard J. Hobbs, 2014 Under the radar: mitigating enigmatic ecological impacts. Trends in Ecology & Evolution. http://www.cell.com/trends/ecology-evolution/abstract/S0169-5347(14)00198-0

Melbourne: Brendan Wintle video interview on natural value Natural value: Pricing ecosystems, and its implications for conservation policy Conservation ecologist Assoc. Prof. Brendan Wintle considers the difficult questions and dilemmas that arise in decisions around species and ecosystem conservation, and whether a monetary value can or should be applied to nature. http://upclose.unimelb.edu.au/episode/316-natural-value-pricing-ecosystems-and-its-implications-conservation-policy

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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.

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Please pass this link to any others who may want to subscribe too.

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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