Dbytes #192 (14 April 2015)

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

“The space-time-community co-ordinates of liberal democracies are ill-suited to serving the long-term public good of environmental protection. This arises from not only short-term election cycles but also inequalities of political participation and bargaining power in the policymaking process, low levels of ecological literacy and, in cases of concentrated media ownership, a distorted public sphere.” Robyn Eckersley (See the whole Conversation editorial on Anthropocene raises risks of Earth without democracy and without us at http://theconversation.com/anthropocene-raises-risks-of-earth-without-democracy-and-without-us-38911 )

General News

1. ABS releases 2015 Australian Environmental-Economic Accounts

2. Academy of Science position statement on the final (revised) 2050 GBR Sustainability Plan.

3. Draft threat abatement plan for predation by feral cats

4. Bush Heritage Australia launches 10-year plan

5. CSIRO and BoM launch new climate change website

EDG News

General News: The CEED 2014 Annual Review
Perth:
The value to homeowners of a nearby iconic freshwater ecosystem Brisbane: Hugh Possingham speaks on ‘Survival of the cheapest’
Melbourne: Lucie Bland on IUCN Red List of Ecosystems meeting
Canberra:
Karen Ikin writes on biodiversity-sensitive cities and towns for the Ecological Society of Australia

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General News

1. ABS releases 2015 Australian Environmental-Economic Accounts Australian Bureau of Statistics released the 2015 edition of the Australian Environmental-Economic Accounts. The publication brings together all the ABS environmental-economic accounts (environmental accounts) in one place to deliver a broad and cohesive picture of the environmental stocks, flows and transactions of relevance to the Australian economy and society. Australian Environmental-Economic Accounts, 2015 expands the content of last year’s inaugural edition through including information on carbon stocks and environmental expenditure accounts. http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4655.0

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2. Academy of Science position statement on the final (revised) 2050 GBR Sustainability Plan.

The Australian Academy of Science is committed to working constructively with governments on the development and implementation of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan, which is critical to ensuring a healthy and vibrant Great Barrier Reef for future generations. During 2014, the Australian Government called for comments on the draft Reef 2050 Long-term Sustainability Plan and, in response, The Academy reviewed the Plan and identified a number of areas where further improvements were warranted. The final Plan has since been released, and the Academy sought advice from its Fellows and other experts who reviewed the draft plan on the nature of the changes that have been made and the extent to which they reflect the science. https://www.science.org.au/reef-2050-long-term-sustainability-plan

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3. Draft threat abatement plan for predation by feral cats

Dept of Environment invited comment on a draft threat abatement plan for predation by feral cats. The public comment period closes on 8 July 2015. http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/threat-abatement-plans/draft-feral-cats-2015

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4. Bush Heritage Australia launches 10-year plan Bush Heritage Australia has launched an ambitious 10-year plan to slow the nation’s extinction crisis. As part of the plan, 50 scientists from 15 universities across the country will collaborate on 55 conservation projects. The Saving Our Species plan has been devised by Bush Heritage Australia, a not-for-profit philanthropic conservation organisation that hopes to raise $20 million to fund it. [Hugh Possingham was guest speaker at the launch of the plan last week.] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-08/ten-year-plan-to-combat-australias-extinction-crisis/6376128

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5. CSIRO and BoM launch new climate change website

The Climate Change in Australia website (launched by CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology) gives decision makers unprecedented access to climate change projections data. The website is part of extensive research undertaken to better prepare natural resource management decision makers to plan for climate change. Some of the tools available on the site include” • Climate analogues tool – Helps users to answer questions like ‘What will Melbourne’s climate be like in 2050 under high greenhouse gas emissions?’ through finding analogue towns with a current climate that matches the annual average rainfall and temperature of the future scenario. • Thresholds calculator – Users can explore projected changes in annual-average number of days above or below selected thresholds for maximum and minimum temperatures. • Australian Climate Futures – A tool to support the selection of individual climate models for impact assessment, enabling users to select and use model output that is representative of the range of plausible climate futures. Users can select a ‘worst case’ scenario, a ‘best case’, or a ‘maximum consensus’ case that is relevant to their context. • Map explorer – As suggested by its name, this tool allows users to produce a map of climate projections for individual climate models across a range of variables, time periods and emissions scenarios. Users can zoom into regions of interest and download data in different formats. http://www.climatechangeinaustralia.gov.au/en/

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EDG News

General News: The CEED 2014 Annual Review Is now available for downloading from the CEED website. http://ceed.edu.au/ceed-pubs/ceed-reports.html

Perth: The value to homeowners of a nearby iconic freshwater ecosystem Maksym Polyakov is part of a team which used the hedonic pricing method to estimate the value to homeowners of in-stream flows and proximity to an iconic freshwater ecosystem, the Barmah–Millewa Forest in the Murray–Darling Basin. Their results in Ecological Economics suggest that homeowners value proximity to the Barmah–Millewa Forest and prefer the flow that is neither low (i.e. drought flows) nor high (i.e. flood flows). The estimates of the benefits of in stream flow could be used to inform freshwater ecosystem restoration policy in the basin and are suggestive of regional benefits that accrue to homeowners living near key freshwater-dependent ecosystems in the basin. Ref: Sorada Tapsuwan, Maksym Polyakov, Rosalind Bark, Martin Nolan, Valuing the Barmah–Millewa Forest and in stream river flows: A spatial heteroskedasticity and autocorrelation consistent (SHAC) approach, Ecological Economics, Volume 110, February 2015, Pages 98-105, ISSN 0921-8009, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2014.12.008

Brisbane: Hugh Possingham speaks on ‘Survival of the cheapest’

Hugh Possingham spoke at forum organised by the IUCN and the Department of Environment in New South Wales on what’s the best approach to conserve Australia’s wildlife. It was broadcast last week on ABC Radio National’s science show. http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/scienceshow/survival-of-the-cheapest/6365014#transcript

Melbourne: Lucie Bland on IUCN Red List of Ecosystems meeting Lucie Bland, Emily Nicholson and Tracey Regan attended the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems (RLE) Committee for Scientific Standards in Helsinki in March. Twenty-five experts discussed the challenges and solutions for developing a global ecosystem typology and applying the RLE criteria. Lucie Bland went on to deliver a series of talks on the RLE at University College London and UNEP-WCMC in England, and IUCN Headquarters in Switzerland. https://lucieblandresearch.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/european-travels/

Canberra: Karen Ikin writes on biodiversity-sensitive cities and towns for the Ecological Society of Australia “Although we are used to thinking of urban areas in terms of their negative effects on biodiversity, Australia’s cities and towns offer an exciting opportunity to achieve a “win-win” for socioeconomic and biodiversity conservation goals. This can be the case retrospectively in established urban areas, through strategic enhancement of urban greenspace, as well as prospectively in new urban areas, through sympathetic urban design that retains natural values. But, as they say, seeing is believing, and the ecological evidence has not always kept pace with these aspirations…” Ref: Karen Ikin. (2015) Biodiversity-sensitive cities and towns: ecological evidence to guide development and management. Ecological Society of Australia Bulletin, March edition, p22 (Invited report on the Fenner urban ecology hub)

http://www.ecolsoc.org.au/files/bulletins/esa_bulletin_march_2015_i1_final.pdf

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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.

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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