Dbytes #194 (5 May 2015)

 

Info & news for members and associates of the Environmental Decisions Group “We have a choice ahead of us: we can act on the evidence or we can ignore the facts and face massive costs from climate change down the track. To stabilise the climate, we need to transition toward a decarbonised economy by mid-century. It’s in our national interest to do this—even though we only contribute 1% of global emissions, we are vulnerable to 100% of the impacts of climate change.”
Professor Matthew England, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (Part of the AAS announcement on its submission to Australia’s post 2020 carbon target, see item 2).

General News

1. Living Forests Report Chapter 5: “Saving forests at risk”

2. AAS submission to Australia’s post-2020 carbon emissions target

3. Culling cats ‘may do more harm than good’

4. Citizen science and global change

5. An Experimental Ecosystem Account for the Great Barrier Reef Region

EDG News

Melbourne: Ascelin Gordon on the use of backcasting for conservation policy development
Canberra: Ayesha Tulloch coordinating the first Global ‘Big Day’ for birding: 9 May
Perth: Melinda Moir promotes the virtues of a multi-actor conservation group (for inverts)
Brisbane: Joe Bennett on efficient use of private sponsorship for flagship species conservation

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General News

1. Living Forests Report Chapter 5: “Saving forests at risk”

WWF’s Living Forests Report is part of an ongoing conversation with partners, policymakers, and business about how to protect, conserve, sustainably use, and govern the world’s forests in the 21st century. The latest chapter in the series, Saving Forests at Risk, identifies where most deforestation is likely between 2010 and 2030: these are the deforestation fronts where efforts to halt deforestation must be concentrated. The chapter also provides compelling examples of solutions for reversing the projected trends in these deforestation fronts Without action to change current trends, up to 170 million hectares of forest could be destroyed in these places by 2030 – more than 80 per cent of total projected forest losses globally. Imagine a forest stretching across Germany, France, Spain and Portugal – wiped out in just 20 years. The 11 deforestation fronts contain some of the richest biodiversity in the world, including large numbers of unique species. Urgent action is needed to save them.

http://www.wwf.org.au/news_resources/resource_library/?13360/Living-Forests-Report-Chapter-5-Saving-forests-at-risk

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2. AAS submission to Australia’s post-2020 carbon emissions target

The Australian Academy of Science has recommended that Australia aim to reduce its carbon emissions significantly over the next 15 years as part of a global effort to prevent the worst effects of global warming. In response to the Government’s consultation on Australia’s post-2020 carbon emissions target, the Academy has advised that based on the best available evidence, Australia should commit to a target of 30 to 40% below 2000 levels. This would be consistent with the longer term goal of approaching zero carbon emissions by 2050. https://www.science.org.au/node/466614#.VUbAoU101aQ

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3. Culling cats ‘may do more harm than good’

A new study published in Wildlife Research highlights some of the potential impacts of cat culling programs. Shooting or trapping feral cats may increase their numbers, a new study has found. The accidental finding, made during research into the ecological impact of feral cats, emphasises the need to monitor the effects of culling programs, say wildlife biologist Billie Lazenby of the Tasmanian department of primary industries. “You may be inadvertently doing more damage than good,” she says. Feral cats are often culled because they threaten biodiversity. But, says Lazenby, the effectiveness of culling has only really been studied on islands rather than in mainland areas, where new cats can come in and replace those that have been removed http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2015/04/07/4203004.htm

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4. Citizen science and global change

Citizen science holds the potential to address some of the biggest concerns facing biodiversity researchers, according to a new study. The study found that volunteers already save biodiversity research huge sums of money, but that their contributions are underused. Reference: Theobald, E. J., Ettinger, A. K., Burgess, H. K., DeBey, L. B., Schmidt, N.R., Froehlich, H.E., Wagner, C., HilleRisLambers, J., Tewksbury, J., Harsch, M.A. & Parrish, J.K. (2015). Global change and local solutions: Tapping the unrealized potential of citizen science for biodiversity research. Biological Conservation. 181: 236–244. DOI:10.1016/j.biocon.2014.10.021.

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5. An Experimental Ecosystem Account for the Great Barrier Reef Region

As part of a set of integrated environmental–economic accounts currently being produced by the ABS that uses the System of Environmental–Economic Accounting (SEEA), the Centre of Environmental Statistics has produced an information paper which presents an experimental ecosystem account for the Great Barrier Reef Region of Australia. Feedback on this information paper will be sought from internal and external stakeholders on how the proposed ecosystem accounts might be used by policy and research agencies, on any technical and conceptual issues where readers have expertise and for the identification and accessibility of appropriate information and data sources for further development of the accounts. http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/ProductsbyReleaseDate/FB46321B5BA1A8EACA257E2800174158?OpenDocument

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EDG News

 

Melbourne: Ascelin Gordon on the use of backcasting for conservation policy development This paper explores the use of “backcasting” for developing effective conservation policy, which involves selecting a desired future state as a target and then searching for multiple pathways to reach this state from the present. The approach is demonstrated with a case study examining a range of policy options for mitigating impacts from the growth of Sydney on a critically endangered woodland community. Reference: Gordon A. (2015) Implementing backcasting for conservation: determining multiple policy pathways for retaining future targets of endangered woodlands in Sydney, Australia. Biological Conservation. 181: 182–189. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2014.10.025

Canberra: Ayesha Tulloch coordinating the first Global ‘Big Day’ for birding: 9 May Ayesha is the the Eremaea eBird Website Editor and a keen birder. She wants everyone interested in birds to participate this Saturday, 9 May in the Global Big Day for Birding. A message from Ayesha Tulloch: “We (the eBird community) are interested in the number of endemic (found only in a particular country) bird species we can see around the world by working together – that is, after all, the idea behind eBird. Many people are getting sponsorship (sponsors pay $$$ per bird species found on the day) to help raise money to support conservation work. All the records will be entered by the citizen scientist birders into eBird either via smart phone apps as they bird, or via the online website portal.”

http://ebird.org/content/australia/news/be-part-of-the-first-global-big-day-may-9-2015/ and

http://ebird.org/content/australia/

Perth: Melinda Moir promotes the virtues of a multi-actor conservation group (for inverts) In the current issue of Decision Point, Melinda Moir and colleagues from the WA Department of Parks & Wildlife and the Western Australian Museum outline the successes achieved by a long-running multi-actor conservation group (for invertebrates in southern WA). The article can found at http://decision-point.com.au/?article=the-benefits-of-multi-actor-invertebrate-management They hope that similar groups can be instigated for managing hyperdiverse taxa around Australia.

Brisbane: Joe Bennett on efficient use of private sponsorship for flagship species conservation “To address the global extinction crisis, both efficient use of existing conservation funding and new sources of funding are vital. Private sponsorship of charismatic ‘flagship’ species conservation represents an important source of new funding, but has been criticized as being biased and inefficient. In this study, we clearly show that private funding for flagships can often result in additional species saved from extinction, via conservation actions that are shared among species. By integrating sponsorship for flagships into more objective approaches that maximize shared benefits, and by using flagships to generate additional resources, more species can be saved from extinction.”

Ref: Joseph R Bennett, Richard Maloney, Hugh P Possingham, 2015. Biodiversity gains from efficient use of private sponsorship for flagship species conservation. Proceedings of the Royal Society – B. http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/282/1805/20142693

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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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