Dbytes #289 (25 May 2017)

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

“one reason for the failure of external interventions for climate-change adaptation in Pacific Island communities is the wholly secular nature of their messages. Among spiritually engaged communities, these secular messages can be met with indifference or even hostility if they clash with the community’s spiritual agenda.”
Patrick Nunn on Sidelining God: why secular climate projects in the Pacific Islands are failing (The Conversation)


General News

1. New South Wales sprouts a new environmental data portal
2. Final release of CoastAdapt
3. Forest and Wood Products Australia to apply Natural Capital Accounting
4. Why do some graziers want to retain, not kill, dingoes?
5. Teaching Children the Importance of Fish and Wildlife Conservation

EDG News

UMelb Node: Jane Elith inducted into the Australian Academy of Science as a Fellow
UQ Node: Gwen Iacona and Iadine Chades on deciding whether to bring back extinct species
ANU node:
David Blair and colleagues on non-linear growth in tree ferns
RMIT Node:
Sarah Bekessy and Luis Mata on successful bid for a Horizon 2020 grant
UWA node: Dawn Dickinson and Richard Hobbs on Cultural Ecosystem Services in the context of urban green space

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General News

1. New South Wales sprouts a new environmental data portal

“The community can now access a wealth of New South Wales environmental data using the recently launched SEED Portal (Sharing and Enabling Environmental Data). The portal offers a single access point for users to explore publicly available information about land, air and water resources through a range of datasets of known quality, and to visualise the data on the user-friendly map interface.”

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2. Final release of CoastAdapt

The final release of CoastAdapt, a popular online tool developed by the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) to help local governments and other organisations understand and manage coastal risks, is now available at https://coastadapt.com.au/. Following the success of CoastAdapt, the Government last week committed $550,000 to support the new Adaptation Partnership between the Department of the Environment and Energy, NCCARF, and the CSIRO to bring together expertise on climate resilience and adaptation. The Partnership will build on existing investment in tools and guidance that support improved climate risk management, including CoastAdapt. The Partnership will make data and information on climate and adaptation accessible and useable.
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3. Forest and Wood Products Australia to apply Natural Capital Accounting

Forest and Wood Products Australia receives $900,000 to apply Natural Capital Accounting to forestry, cotton and fisheries enterprises. Natural Capital Accounting is an internationally recognised way of calculating the value of natural assets like soil, air, water and biodiversity, information which can then be incorporated into economic models and accounting systems.

“This project will not only help producers, like forestry businesses here in Wauchope, manage their natural resources well to increase productivity, it could also help them access cheaper finance, by giving them the tools they need to demonstrate best practice management of their natural assets,” says Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce.

http://minister.agriculture.gov.au/joyce/Pages/Media-Releases/putting-a-value-on-our-tree-mendous-natural-resources.aspx
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4. Why do some graziers want to retain, not kill, dingoes?
[Conversation editorial recommended by Ben Scheele]

Vast, ancient, nutrient-poor, with wild swings between droughts, floods and fires: this describes much of the Australian continent. Livestock grazing and farming in such a land is certainly not without its challenges. Where we’ve failed to work with the local conditions, we see barren plains, dust storms, the extinction of native species, and the repossession of properties by banks, among many ills. But such a dire picture is far from universal, and belies the fact that many who live on the land are also among our most innovative land managers. Many projects offer potential benefits for livestock production and the environment alike, but without support progress may be hindered.
https://theconversation.com/why-do-some-graziers-want-to-retain-not-kill-dingoes-77457

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5. Teaching Children the Importance of Fish and Wildlife Conservation
[Recommended by Jackie Edwards]

Although they develop their own attitudes, perceptions and philosophies over time, most children reflect the views and priorities of their parents. For modern hunters and anglers, few things are as satisfying to see from their sons and daughters, as a blossoming love of wildlife and desire to protect it. But although your children will likely follow in your footsteps to some degree without extraordinary efforts on your part, you can help nurture your child’s conservation-oriented instincts by embracing a number of techniques, strategies and practices.

https://outdoorempire.com/teaching-children-fish-wildlife-conservation/

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EDG News

UMelb Node: Jane Elith inducted into the Australian Academy of Science as a Fellow
Jane Elith was formally inducted into the Australian Academy of Science on Monday evening 22 May at the Shine Dome in Canberra. On Tuesday 23 May she gave a brief presentation on her life’s work to Academy Fellows.
https://www.science.org.au/news-and-events/news-and-media-releases/how-science-nature-and-teachers-inspired-australias-best

UQ Node: Gwen Iacona and Iadine Chades on deciding whether to bring back extinct species
The Conversation: “De-extinction – the science of reviving species that have been lost – has moved from the realm of science-fiction to something that is now nearly feasible. Some types of lost mammals, birds or frogs may soon be able to be revived through de-extinction technologies. But just because we can, does it mean we should? And what might the environmental and conservation impacts be if we did?…”
“Our new paper shows that an approach known as “decision science” can help examine the feasibility of de-extinction and its likely impact on existing environmental and species management programs. Applied to the question of possible de-extinction programs in New Zealand, this approach showed that it would take money away from managing extant (still alive) species, and may lead to other species going extinct.”
https://theconversation.com/maybe-we-can-but-should-we-deciding-whether-to-bring-back-extinct-species-77469?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=twitterbutton

ANU node: David Blair and colleagues on non-linear growth in tree ferns
Tree ferns are an important structural component of forests in many countries. However, because their regeneration is often unrelated to major disturbances, their age is often difficult to determine. In addition, rates of growth may not be uniform, which further complicates attempts to determine their age. In this study, we measured 5 years of growth of Cyathea australis and Dicksonia antarctica after a large wildfire in 2009 in south-eastern Australia. We found growth rates of these two species were unaffected by aspect and elevation but slope had a minor effect with D. antarctica growing 0.3mm faster for each additional degree of slope. Geographic location influenced growth in both species by up to 12 ± 14mm/yr. The most consistent factor influencing growth rate, however, was initial height at the time of the 2009 fire; a finding consistent in both species and all geographic locations. For both tree fern species, individuals that were taller at the commencement of the study had greater overall growth for the duration of the study. This effect did not decrease even among the tallest tree ferns in our study (up to 6 metres tall). Overall, Cyathea australis averaged 73 (± 22)mm/year of growth (± 1SD), with the rate increasing 5mm/yr per metre of additional height. Dicksonia antarctica averaged 33 (± 13)mm/year, increasing by 6mm/yr/m. Growth rates dependent on initial height were unexpected and we discuss possible reasons for this finding. Variable growth rates also suggest that common age estimation methods of dividing height by average growth rate are likely to underestimate the age of short tree ferns, while overestimating the age of tall tree ferns, particularly if they have been subject to a fire.
Ref: Blair DP, Blanchard W, Banks SC, Lindenmayer DB (2017) Non-linear growth in tree ferns, Dicksonia antarctica and Cyathea australis. PLoS ONE 12(5): e0176908. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0176908

RMIT Node: Sarah Bekessy and Luis Mata on successful bid for a Horizon 2020 grant
Sarah Bekessy and Luis Mata are CIs on a successful bid for a Horizon 2020 grant titled: “Urban GreenUP: New strategies for re-naturing cities through nature-based solutions”. URBAN GreenUP aims to create a renaturing methodology as a specific part of the Sustainable Urban Plan focused on CCM and water resilience based on Nature Based Solutions. In parallel, there will be a large scale demonstration in three front-runner European cities (Valladolid (Spain), Liverpool (UK) and Izmir (Turkey)) and a diverse range of follower cities around the world.
http://www.lcrbrussels.eu/uploadedfiles/documents/Item_3_presentation_Mar_2017.pdf

UWA node: Dawn Dickinson and Richard Hobbs on Cultural Ecosystem Services in the context of urban green space
CAUL researchers, Dawn Dickinson and Richard Hobbs (both from UWA) have a new paper in Ecosystem Services that looks at Cultural Ecosystem Services (CES) in the context of urban green space research. Urban green spaces offer important opportunities for city dwellers to connect with nature, and nonmaterial benefits (commonly referred to as CES) are integral to this experience. The paper looks at what defines CES, how urban researchers have tackled some of the problems around measuring CES, and some future directions for urban green space research. More at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212041616305319

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About Dbytes
Dbytes is the eNewsletter of the Environmental Decisions Group. It is edited and distributed by David Salt. 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@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 receives support from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). You can find out about the wonderful work of CEED by reading its magazine, Decision Point (which, as it happens, is also produced by David Salt).

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

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