Dbytes #191 (7 April 2015)

Info & news for members and associates of the Environmental Decision Group “You hear the number of feral cats in Australia reported as being anywhere up to 18 million. The truth is we just don’t know how many there are. We think that the figures currently used are from someone just multiplying the feral cat density estimates from one study in northwest Victoria in 1982 by the total landmass of Australia.”
Tony Buckmaster (see item 3)

General News

1. Thirsty Country: Climate Change and Drought in Australia

2. Have your say on marine pest biosecurity

3. In the dark about feral cat numbers

4. Conservation triage according to First Dog on the Moon

5. Draft National Recovery Plan for the Southern Bent-wing Bat

EDG News

Canberra: Nicole Sweaney and colleagues on beetles in plantations and farmlands
Perth: David Pannell’s framework used for WAMSI Blueprint2050
Brisbane: Hugh Possingham helps launch BHA’s science plan
Melbourne:
RSPB award to Gurutzeta Guillera-Arroita

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General News

1. Thirsty Country: Climate Change and Drought in Australia

The Climate Council has issued ‘Thirsty Country: Climate Change and Drought in Australia’ (by Will Steffen) 4 KEY FINDINGS 1. Climate change is likely making drought conditions in southwest and southeast Australia worse. 2. Droughts have far-reaching impacts on health, agriculture and native species in Australia. 3. Water scarcity will become an increasing challenge as the pressure on urban water supplies intensifies. 4. Droughts are likely to worsen in severity and duration in southern Australia if greenhouse gas emissions are not cut deeply and rapidly. http://www.climatecouncil.org.au/droughtreport2015

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2. Have your say on marine pest biosecurity

The Australian Government is calling for people with an interest in Australia’s marine environment, including those in the fishery and aquaculture industries, to get involved in a review of national marine pest biosecurity arrangements. http://www.agricultureminister.gov.au/Pages/Media%20Releases/have-your-say-on-marine-pest-biosecurity-.aspx

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3. In the dark about feral cat numbers How many feral cats are there in Australia? That is the big unknown according to a research study from the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre and the University of Canberra’s Institute for Applied Ecology which states that the numbers of feral cats, feral pigs and red kangaroos across Australia is unknown and there has been a bias towards citing large numbers that lack the scientific evidence to back them up.
http://www.invasiveanimals.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/MRFeralCatNumbers_27March2015.pdf

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4. Conservation triage according to First Dog on the Moon http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/30/you-can-only-budget-for-one-save-a-stick-insect-or-fire-a-minister-into-the-sun#img-1 & http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/01/wont-somebody-think-of-the-swift-parrots#img-1

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5. Draft National Recovery Plan for the Southern Bent-wing Bat You are invited to comment on this draft recovery plan in accordance with the provisions of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The public comment period closes 1 July 2015. http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/recovery-plans/comment/draft-southern-bent-wing-bat

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EDG News

Canberra: Nicole Sweaney and colleagues on beetles in plantations and farmlands “We studied ground-active beetles in a patchy landscape with two matrix types. The plantation matrix had fewer and less diverse species than farmland matrix. Patches with edges of both matrices were not intermediate in community composition. Species in the plantation matrix likely caused biotic homogenisation in patches. Conservation efforts should concentrate on increasing matrix similarity to patches.” Reference: Nicole Sweaney, Don A. Driscoll, D.B. Lindenmayer, Nicholas Porch, Plantations, not farmlands, cause biotic homogenisation of ground-active beetles in south-eastern Australia, Biological Conservation, Volume 186, June 2015, Pages 1-11, ISSN 0006-3207, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2015.02.026.(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320715000968)

Perth: David Pannell’s framework used for WAMSI Blueprint 2050
The Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI) Blueprint 2050 report has just been launched by the WA Premier see http://www.wamsi.org.au/a-blueprint-marine-science . The development team for this blueprint utilised a framework for project prioritisation provided by David Pannell. Professor Alistar Robertson, who advised the team, commented that they “applied the framework across a range of areas of knowledge needs provided by different sectors involved in use and management of the marine environment. We then had sector specialists review and adjust our scoring/ranking based on their superior knowledge. It worked well and applied the necessary degree of rigor we needed in distilling a large number of recorded knowledge needs to a priority list of research themes”.

Brisbane: Hugh Possingham helps launch BHA’s science plan Hugh Possingham delivers guest speech at Bush Heritage Australia’s announcement of their ten year science plan to ramp up the fight against Australia’s extinction crisis and save native species and their habitats. (The event will be held tomorrow at BHA’s Scottsdale Reserve.) Bush Heritage is looking to double its research capacity to protect threatened species, reconnect and restore habitat and address threats likes feral animals.

Melbourne: RSPB award to Gurutzeta Guillera-Arroita Congratulations to Gurutzeta Guillera-Arroita, who won the RSPB’s 2015 award for an outstanding PhD. Guru completed her PhD at Kent, and is now a post doc with CEED. (RSPB stands for Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) Her PhD was titled “Occupancy modelling: study design and models for data collected along transects”. Guru’s current work expands on this topic to include optimal monitoring, study design, the modelling of species detectability and adaptive management. Congratulations to Guru and the other RSPB prize winners.
http://qaeco.com/2015/03/24/rspb-award-to-gurutzeta-guillera-arroita/ -~<>~-

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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