Dbytes #175 (25 November 2014)

 Info & news for members and associates of the Environmental Decision Group “We recognize that threats to nature, its biological diversity and protected areas are now at the highest level in human history, due to a convergence at immense scale of the impacts of human consumption patterns, population growth, and industrial activity. Many protected and conserved areas are at risk or are poorly managed, and many rangers on the frontline have sacrificed everything for this cause. This reality must be faced directly, truthfully, and collaboratively. Bold vision and concerted action are required if we are to meet both conservation goals and human aspirations for current and future generations. There is no time to lose.” Extract from the ‘The Promise of Sydney Vision’ (see item 1)

General News

1. The Promise of Sydney (the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 wraps up)

2. Murray-Darling Basin Plan reviewed

3. Homeward Bound – women, science, leadership and Antarctica

4. How do conservation NGOs respond to economic conditions?

5. Lima Climate Summit: Striding or Shuffling to Paris

EDG News

Perth: Abbie Rogers and colleagues publish on farmer preferences for salinity policy
Brisbane: Liz Law’s five tips for PhD students
Melbourne: Geoff Heard on the Wonders of Convergence
Canberra: Melissa Wynn features in ‘the centipede that ruined Christmas

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General News

1. The Promise of Sydney (the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 wraps up)

The IUCN World Parks Congress 2014, the once-in-a-decade global forum on protected areas, has closed with the release of The Promise of Sydney. The Promise sets out an ambitious agenda to safeguard the planet’s natural assets, ranging from halting rainforest loss in the Asia-Pacific and tripling ocean protection off Africa’s coasts to a business commitment to plant 1.3 billion trees along the historic Silk Road. The Promise includes pledges from governments, international organizations, the private sector, Indigenous leaders, community groups and individuals, with many more still being recorded. http://www.iucn.org/media/news_releases/?18645/IUCN-summit-delivers-major-commitments-to-save-Earths-most-precious-natural-areas

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2. Murray-Darling Basin Plan reviewed

On the second anniversary of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan becoming law, a major review of the plan’s implementation, by the Australian Conservation Foundation, finds progress towards some of the plan’s environmental goals is under threat. Restoring our lifeblood: Progress on returning water to the rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin warns that while some aspects of the plan are proceeding as intended, other key areas are not on track and some are in danger of going backwards. The report flags several areas of concern: -Water recovery – the cost of returning water through infrastructure upgrades is increasing, jeopardising the ability to recover 3,200 gigalitres for the rivers of the basin (as the federal government refuses to directly buy back more than 1,500 gigalitres). -Water offsets – governments are creating unrealistic expectations that 650 gigalitres of environmental water can be removed from the plan and offset with ‘supply measures’ that re-engineer the floodplain, with dangerous side effects for the river. -Excessive state-based charges – prohibitive state-based fees and charges for the movement and storage of water are limiting the delivery of environmental water. http://www.acfonline.org.au/news-media/media-release/two-years-there-are-risks-basin-plan-progress

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3. Homeward Bound – women, science, leadership and Antarctica [recommended by Justine Shaw] Expressions of interest are being sort for women who would like to partake in a journey to Antarctica exploring and learning about women in science and leadership. A once in a lifetime journey. Its open to all women across the globe, there are 45 places. Watch the video and visit the web page and learn more about what’s involved and the cost (its not free). https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1rJ9SQowE27mANkdNQLlknFBuWMGJdHWYXzJo8Yx7rPA/viewform and https://www.facebook.com/WomeninPolarScience?ref=br_tf

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4. How do conservation NGOs respond to economic conditions?

According to a recent paper co-authored by EDG associate Paul Armsworth, there is little evidence of any response. “Employment, the stock market, a recession—they are all assumed to impact how conservation organizations do their work. But it is all talk and no data,” said Peter Kareiva, chief scientist at The Nature Conservancy. “This is the first study I know that actually used hard-nosed analysis to find out how conservation organizations change their behavior, or not, in response to economic shocks.” http://tntoday.utk.edu/2014/11/04/evidence-conservation-organizations-respond-economic-signals/

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5. Lima Climate Summit: Striding or Shuffling to Paris

InLima Climate Summit: Striding or Shuffling to Paris?, the Climate Institute lays out the process for the year ahead of the Paris climate summit, when the new international climate framework will be agreed, suggests possible scenarios for Lima (Stride, Shuffle or Collapse), and considers an appropriate role for Australia. http://www.climateinstitute.org.au/articles/media-releases/stride-or-shuffle-at-the-upcoming-lima-climate-talks.html

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EDG News

Perth: Abbie Rogers and colleagues publish on farmer preferences for salinity policy EDG researcher Abbie Rogers and colleagues Jonelle Cleland and Michael Burton, from The University of Western Australia, have published on the topic of farmers’ preferences for salinity policy in Western Australia. They found that rural stakeholders preferred policy approaches that focus on avoiding losses in rural assets, rather than advancing gains, and that involve the community in consultation, but not to the extent that the community are empowered to make their own decisions. Importantly, the results indicated that targeted investment was supported over a more equitable distribution of funds for salinity management. This result provides evidence towards the acceptance of decision frameworks that promote targeted investment according to public benefit. Reference Cleland, JA, Rogers, AA, Burton, MP, 2015, Investigating stakeholder reactions to a bold salinity policy using a choice experiment. Land Use Policy, DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2014.10.010 http://authors.elsevier.com/a/1PyTTyDvLtS5U

Brisbane: Liz Law’s five tips for PhD students “I’m not going to pretend I am an expert on this. Far from, I just submitted my thesis last week! But fresh in my memory, I thought I would share five little gobbets of advice from my experience as a PhD student: 1. Make it easy for people to help you 2. Write papers with people other than your supervisor 3. Write and format your thesis as you go 4. Backup your data and hardware, and look after yourself! 5. Take opportunities, and if you find yourself running out of time…” http://wilsonconservationecology.com/2014/11/19/five-tips-for-phd-students/

Melbourne: Geoff Heard on the Wonders of Convergence
“One of the most captivating things about evolution is its propensity to produce identical twins on opposite sides of the globe. Species that are near inseparable morphologically, ecologically and behaviorally, but which have very different DNA. They don’t have common forebears, at least not recent ones. Instead, having been buffeted by equivalent forces over the millennia, and run a parallel race of natural selection, they’ve reached the same evolutionary sweet spot. They’ve been sculpted by the same chisel and converged. The wonders of convergence were bought home to me again this week while working on a paper I’ve been meaning to write for some time. It concerns the phenology of mate-calling among frogs from my home town of Melbourne, in southern Australia (‘phenology’ being the timing and determinants of periodic biological events)…” http://gwheardresearch.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/the-wonders-of-convergence/

Canberra: Melissa Wynn features in ‘the centipede that ruined Christmas “They’re voracious killers… They’re pretty venomous as well; you don’t really want to get bitten by them,” is how ecologist Melissa Wynn describes the giant centipedes which are the prime suspects in the destruction of Christmas Island’s lizards. She’s the principal researcher charged with finding out exactly what impact the centipedes and other pests are having. http://www.abc.net.au/local/photos/2014/11/18/4130988.htm See also http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-18/endangered-reptiles-on-christmas-island-under-threat/5898028

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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. While Dbytes is primarily aimed at members of the EDG, anyone is welcome to receive it. To unsubscribe or change your details please visit: http://lists.science.uq.edu.au/mailman/listinfo/dbites

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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