Dbytes #187 (12 March 2015)

 Info & news for members and associates of the Environmental Decision Group “formalising a clear and detailed Australian Government policy framework to prioritise our effort has never been more important to ensure efficient and transparent threatened species investment.” Gregory Andrews, Threatened Species Commissioner in his report to the Minister for the Environment (see item 1).

General News

1. Threatened Species Commissioner report to the Minister for the Environment – February 2015

2. What should the Intergenerational Report 2015 say about climate change?

3. Australia’s environment ministers make statement on threatened spp listings

4. Inappropriate’ back-burns could drive species extinct

5. British Science Association Blog

EDG News

Canberra: Laura Rayner et al on avifauna and urban encroachment
Perth:
Jodi Price visited the Macroecology work group at the University of Tartu, Estonia
Brisbane:
Josie Carwardine et al on spatial priorities for carbon and threatened veg
Melbourne: Nigel Latta (& Amy Whitehead) in Antarctica (on the telly)
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General News

1. Threatened Species Commissioner report to the Minister for the Environment – February 2015 Australia’s first Threatened Species Commissioner was appointed in July 2014 to bring a new national focus and effort to secure our threatened flora and fauna. Gregory Andrews, part of the senior executive team in Australia’s Department of the Environment, took up the role, with support from a threatened species unit and an informal group of expert advisers. The Commissioner’s report on his first six months in the job outlines achievements in: growing community awareness and support; drawing attention to the threat of feral cats; and investing in threatened species conservation projects. It also highlights key findings and future directions. http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/tsc-report-feb2015

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2. What should the Intergenerational Report 2015 say about climate change? The Climate Institute issued a Research Brief: ‘What should the Intergenerational Report 2015 say about climate change?’ http://www.climateinstitute.org.au/articles/media-releases/intergenerational-report-2015-intergenerational-responsibility-or-neglect.html/section/397

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3. Australia’s environment ministers make statement on threatened spp listings Environment ministers from all of Australia’s jurisdictions met at the end of February to progress key environment issues of national significance. Ministers discussed clean air strategies, waste and recycling initiatives, regulatory reform, threatened species listing processes, and climate change policies. Their official statement had this to say on threatened species: “Ministers committed to work together to establish a common assessment method for assessing and listing threatened species and, where agreed by jurisdictions, ecological communities, resulting in a single operational list in each jurisdiction. The common assessment method will be consistent with the best practice standards set by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and will ensure that efforts by all Governments to protect species will be targeted at those species in the greatest need of protection. This commitment will be progressed through an overarching memorandum of understanding to be considered by Ministers by mid 2015. An expert advisory panel will provide scientific advice on the process and community input will be encouraged.” http://www.environment.gov.au/about-us/mem

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4. Inappropriate’ back-burns could drive species extinct [Recommended by Shana Nerenberg]
ABC Environment story by Nardine Groch: Scientists warn that the wrong fire patterns could see more losses of threatened species across the country. http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2015/03/02/4185527.htm -~<>~-

5. British Science Association Blog “Our blog covers a wide range of topics in science and how it is communicated. We are interested in many different aspects of science policy, education, public engagement, funding and how science fits in our culture and society.” http://www.britishscienceassociation.org/Blogs/bsa-blog -~<>~-

EDG News

Canberra: Laura Rayner et al on avifauna and urban encroachment Urban expansion significantly alters fringe environments often with undesirable impacts on biodiversity. Consequently, there is a need to define clear conservation objectives for areas subject to urban encroachment. Urban fringe development is a highly dynamic process, both spatially and temporally, but few studies are equipped to examine its temporal effects on biota. We aimed to explore the impacts of urban encroachment on avifauna through space and time. Our results [in the ACT region] indicated that the occurrence of approximately half of the study region’s avifauna is strongly linked to the proximity of their habitat to the urban fringe, but that the impact of urban fringe development on the occurrence of some species changed through time. We identified several species of conservation concern that respond negatively to large annual increases in urban fringe development, irrespective of its proximity to suitable habitat. Species responses to urban proximity were linked to life history traits, with small, migratory, woodland-dependent species that rely on mid- and upper-canopy structures, clearly disadvantaged by urban environments. Our findings demonstrate the breadth of species responses to urban encroachment over much larger distances than is typically investigated in urban ecological studies. We identify guilds vulnerable to the impacts of urban fringe development and therefore in need of ecologically sensitive urban design. We argue that future urban expansion towards important fringe habitats will need to be planned strategically through space and time. Rayner, L., Evans, M., Gibbons, P., Ikin, K. and Lindenmayer, D.B. (2014). Avifauna and urban encroachment. Diversity and Distributions, doi:10.1111/ddi.12293. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ddi.12293/abstract

Perth: Jodi Price visited the Macroecology work group at the University of Tartu, Estonia Jodi Price recently visited her collaborators Prof Meelis Pärtel, Dr Antonio Gazol (Spanish National Research Council), and Dr Riin Tamme (UNSW) at the University of Tartu in Estonia. Together, they are working on various projects associated with global grassland community assembly patterns and processes. For more information on these projects see http://www.botany.ut.ee/macroecology/en/news

Brisbane: Josie Carwardine et al on spatial priorities for carbon and threatened veg The paper presents a continental analysis of spatial priorities for sequestering carbon and restoring threatened vegetation types across Australia under different carbon market conditions. Our key findings are that: carbon market conditions impact the potential for meeting biodiversity goals through carbon plantings, with lower carbon prices limiting options – spatial planning for both carbon and biodiversity together highlights priorities for meeting both goals cost-effectively, and failing to plan simultaneously misses many of these opportunities – there are reforestation opportunities in most states of Australia where significant amounts of vegetation has been cleared Carwardine, J., Hawkins, C., Polglase, P., Possingham, H.P., Reeson, A., Renwick, A., Watts, M. & T.G. Martin. Spatial priorities for restoring biodiverse carbon forests. Bioscience, In Press. http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2015/02/23/biosci.biv008.abstract

Melbourne: Nigel Latta (& Amy Whitehead) in Antarctica (on the telly)

“Last season, when I was in Antarctica, we had a visit from Nigel Latta, a criminal psychologist turned comedic documentary-maker who makes humorous shows about serious subjects. He was sent to Scott Base, Antarctica to live among the scientists and to discover what life on the Ice is really like and whether it holds the key to our futures.”

https://amywhiteheadresearch.wordpress.com/2015/03/03/nigel_latta_on_thin_ice/ -~<>~-

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. 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/

Decision Point: http://www.decision-point.com.au/

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