Dbytes #181 (27 January 2015)


Info & news for members and associates of the Environmental Decision Group
“Another year of poaching like 2014 and it becomes increasingly difficult to see a positive conservation future for South African rhinos. We’re facing a ‘do or die’ situation right now.” Tom Milliken, TRAFFIC’s Elephant and Rhino Programme Leader. (see item 1)

General News

1. South Africa confirms 2014 worst on record for rhino poaching

2. LAP Hub – Social attitudes to sustainable tourism

3. Great Barrier Reef Long Term Sustainability Plan 2050

4. Citizen scientists help reveal effects of roads on frogs and toads

5. Invasive Animals CRC after views on how to improves laws and funding arrangements

EDG News

Melbourne: Hannah Pearson on online conferences
Brett Howland on the impact of roos on grasslands
Perth: Maksym Polyakov on capitalized amenity value of native vegetation on farms
Brisbane: Claire Runge on the extinction risk of nomadic species -~<>~-

General News

1. South Africa confirms 2014 worst on record for rhino poaching South Africa, 22nd January 2015—Official figures released today by South Africa confirmed that 2014 was the worst on record for rhino poaching. A total of 1,215 rhinos were poached in South Africa in 2014, an average of more than three animals per day or 100 per month. The latest figures illustrate the severity of the rhino poaching crisis with losses substantially increasing for seven consecutive years. The number of animals killed now raises concerns that rhino populations in South Africa may be in decline for the first time in nearly 100 years. http://www.traffic.org/home/2015/1/22/south-africa-confirms-2014-worst-on-record-for-rhino-poachin.html


2. LAP Hub – Social attitudes to sustainable tourism Study leader, Anne Hardy and her research team (Leonie Pearson, Lorne Kriwoken and Penny Davidson) are pleased to announce their final report for the Understanding Social Attitudes to Sustainable Tourism study is available on the hub’s website. The study was commissioned by the Department of the Environment to support regional sustainability planning. The research team explored the attitudes towards sustainable tourism development in sensitive areas recognised for the presence of Matters of National Environmental Significance (MNES) in Tasmania. The research was conducted in three significant regions of Tasmania: the Tarkine, the Bay of Fires and the Bathurst Harbour. They also explored the likely economic impacts of sustainable tourism through scenarios linked to current visitation trends in Tasmania. The outcome of this research is a series of recommendations for acceptable tourism development to inform local and regional planning frameworks in Tasmania. A four-page summary outlining the research is available: What do people think about Sustainable Tourism in Tasmania? and a related article appeared in The Conversation: Paradise gained – how tourism could help Tasmania’s wilderness. http://www.nerplandscapes.edu.au/publication/sustainable-tourism-development


3. Great Barrier Reef Long Term Sustainability Plan 2050 And Investment proposal on water quality, catchment and coastal repair by GBR Natural Resource Management Organisations. http://www.canberraiq.com.au/downloads/2015-1-19-1.pdf


4. Citizen scientists help reveal effects of roads on frogs and toads

Roads reduce the species diversity and distribution of frogs and toads, a new US study reports. The large-scale study used data from a national citizen science programme in which members of the public help monitor amphibian populations. Source: Cosentino, B.J., Marsh, D.M., Jones, K.S., et al. (2014). Citizen science reveals widespread negative effects of roads on amphibian distributions. Biological Conservation. 180(0): 31-38. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2014.09.027.


5. Invasive Animals CRC after views on how to improves laws and funding arrangements Do you have views about how to improve the laws, funding arrangements and program management of other aspects of invasive species management? The Invasive Animals CRC really wants to hear from you, as part of a program targeting reform of invasive species institutions. A brief report (33 pages) based on available information has been prepared that sets out some initial ideas. http://us5.campaign-archive1.com/?u=6cfe22da6ed670c7a15d28b44&id=583080da5f#seven


EDG News

Melbourne: Hannah Pearson on online conferences Why online conference could be better than traditional ones:

A group of researchers from the University of Melbourne QAECO and CEBRA labs got together and brainstormed ways that communicating your research and finding out about other people’s research might be easier or more difficult at traditional vs online conferences. The following is an account of what we spoke about…”


Canberra: Brett Howland on the impact of roos on grasslands “We investigated the relationship between (1) density of native eastern grey kangaroos, Macropus giganteus, and grass structure, and (2) grass structure and reptiles (i.e. abundance, richness, diversity and occurrence) across 18 grassland and grassy Eucalyptus woodland properties in south-eastern Australia. There was a strong negative relationship between kangaroo density and grass structure after controlling for tree canopy cover. We therefore used grass structure as a surrogate for grazing intensity. Changes in grazing intensity (i.e. grass structure) significantly affected reptile abundance, reptile species richness, reptile species diversity, and the occurrence of several ground-dwelling reptiles. Reptile abundance, species richness and diversity were highest where grazing intensity was low. Importantly, no species of reptile was more likely to occur at high grazing intensities. Legless lizards (Delma impar, D. inornata) were more likely to be detected in areas subject to moderate grazing intensity, whereas one species (Hemiergis talbingoensis) was less likely to be detected in areas subject to intense grazing and three species (Menetia greyii, Morethia boulengeri, and Lampropholis delicata) did not appear to be affected by grazing intensity. Our data indicate that to maximize reptile abundance, species richness, species diversity, and occurrence of several individual species of reptile, managers will need to subject different areas of the landscape to moderate and low grazing intensities and limit the occurrence and extent of high grazing.”

Reference: Howland, B., Stojanovic; D., Gordon. I.J., Manning, A.D., Fletcher, D. and Lindenmayer, D.B. (2014). Eaten out of house and home: Impacts of grazing on ground-dwelling reptiles in Australian grasslands and grassy woodlands. PLOS One, 9, e105966. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0105966

Perth: Maksym Polyakov on capitalized amenity value of native vegetation on farms This study that estimates how landholders in rural Victoria value native vegetation on their properties. Private benefits of native vegetation are greater per unit area on lifestyle and medium-sized properties and smaller on large production-oriented farms. The value of additional hectare of native vegetation decreases as its proportion on a property increases. This information could be used to target ecological restoration on private lands by identifying landholders who likely to value native vegetation the most. Those landholders would be more likely to participate in ecological restoration projects and projects on their properties could be implemented at lower public cost. Reference: POLYAKOV, M., D. PANNELL, R. PANDIT, S. TAPSUWAN, AND G. PARK. 2015. Capitalized amenity value of native vegetation in a multifunctional rural landscape. American Journal of Agricultural Economics. 97(1):299–314. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajae/aau053

Brisbane: Claire Runge on the extinction risk of nomadic species “Geographic range size is often conceptualized as a fixed attribute of a species and treated as such for the purposes of quantification of extinction risk. However many species move around and these movements can lead to substantial temporary expansion and contraction of geographic ranges, to levels which may pose an extinction risk. We modelled the dynamic distributions of 43 arid-zone nomadic bird species across the Australian continent for each month over 11 years and calculated minimum range size and extent of fluctuation in geographic range size from these models. There was enormous variability in predicted spatial distribution over time; during times of poor environmental conditions, several species not currently classified as globally threatened contracted their ranges to very small areas, despite their normally large geographic range size. This finding raises questions about the adequacy of conventional assessments of extinction risk based on static geographic range size (e.g., IUCN Red Listing). Our approach provides a tool for discovering spatial dynamics in data-poor and highly mobile species and can be used to unlock valuable information for improved extinction risk assessment and conservation planning.” Ref: Runge, C. A., Tulloch, A., Hammill, E., Possingham, H. P. and Fuller, R. A. (2015), Geographic range size and extinction risk assessment in nomadic species. Conservation Biology. doi: 10.1111/cobi.12440 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cobi.12440/abstract -~<>~-

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

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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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