Dbytes #320 (22 February 2018)

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

“Mining companies will receive more than twice as much in fuel tax credits as the Turnbull government will spend on environment and biodiversity programs this financial year”
The Guardian

General News

1. Ecological Surprises and Rapid Collapse of Ecosystems in a Changing World
2. Dramatic decline in Borneo’s orangutan population as 150,000 lost in 16 years
3. Save together or crash together: Why conserving every animal species counts
4. Water Quality Portal
5. Biodiversity Offsets As Corporate Responsibility: Opportunity Or Paradox?

EDG News

UMelb Node: Pia Lentini on Getting spatial data into shape for Species Distribution Modelling (SDMs)
UQ Node: Caitlin Kuempel and colleagues on Bigger or better: The relative benefits of protected area network expansion and enforcement for the conservation of an exploited species
RMIT Node: Luis Mata presents on: Pollinator observatories – citizen science to reconnect people with nature in cities
ANU Node: Ben Scheele in Canberra Times on the latest effort to save the northern corroboree frog
UWA Node: Environmental Economists win awards at the AARES Conference
UWA Node postscript from Dbytes #319: link to Subroy et al 2018
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General News

1. Ecological Surprises and Rapid Collapse of Ecosystems in a Changing World
Boden Research Conference 2018 (May 8-9, Canberra)

Conference organisers Dana Bergstrom (AAD) and Justine Shaw (ARC CEED & TSR Hub, NESP) have put out a call for abstracts and registration for Ecological Surprises and Rapid Collapse of Ecosystems in a Changing World to be held on the 8th & 9th May at the Shine Dome in Canberra.

This conference is an Australian Academy of Science’s Boden Research Conference, awarded to researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, Australian Antarctic Division, and the NESP Threatened Species Recovery Hub.

A great line-up of speakers are presenting including Prof Michael Depledge CBE, DSc, FRCP (past Chief Scientist for the UK Environment Agency & founder of the European Centre of Environmental and Human Health), Prof Lesley Hughes (Councillor – Climate Council and Pro Vice Chancellor, Macquarie University, Prof Steven Chown (President of SCAR), Prof Marilyn Ball FAA, Prof Melodie McGeoch, Prof David Bowman, Prof Craig Johnson, Prof Gretta Pecl and others.

More info: www.boden2018.com

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2. Dramatic decline in Borneo’s orangutan population as 150,000 lost in 16 years
[The Guardian]

Fresh efforts needed to protect critically endangered animals from hunters and habitat loss as population more than halves

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/15/dramatic-decline-in-borneos-orangutan-population-as-150000-lost-in-16-years?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Tweet
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3. Save together or crash together: Why conserving every animal species counts

How do you get a generation to care about animal conservation when Facebook and Kim Kardashian are diverting people’s attention from the issues of the day?

That was a question award-winning National Geographic Photographer Joel Sartore asked himself when he embarked on a 25-year journey to photograph and document the 12,000 animal species in zoos and aquariums on the planet.

Eco-business

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4. Water Quality Portal
[Recommended by Melissa Lyne]

EOMAP and UNESCO have teamed up to produce a new water quality portal that can access, and be accessed, anywhere on the globe: http://worldwaterquality.org/ The World Water Quality Portal is the first tool to combine high-resolution global coverage with a range of satellite measurements for monitoring streams, lakes, rivers and coastal waters.

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5. Biodiversity Offsets As Corporate Responsibility: Opportunity Or Paradox?
By Carlos Ferreira

A visit to the SpeciesBanking website confirms what specialists have known for some time: that the practice of offsetting impacts to biodiversity is widespread. And while national, regional and local practices vary widely, one point is clear: offsetting is an increasingly important mechanism for conservation as more and more companies use them to mitigate their biodiversity impacts. However, few firms are choosing to offset as a way to manage their image and show consumers that they are environmentally-responsible companies. The reasons for this may lie with the fact that very little is known about what consumers think of biodiversity offsets. And this unawareness at the consumer level could be impacting the sector’s ability to expand.

https://constructecon.wordpress.com/2018/01/22/biodiversity-offsets-as-corporate-responsibility-opportunity-or-paradox/

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EDG News

UMelb Node: Pia Lentini on Getting spatial data into shape for Species Distribution Modelling (SDMs)
“If your research project is going to involve building an SDM, then one of your first tasks will be to collate a range of different data sets so you’re all ready to do some modelling when you sit down with your supervisor (or an online tutorial, or a text book.)
That can be daunting if you haven’t had to deal spatial data before, so this is intended to be a light introduction to get you familiar with some of the more common spatial processes you might use to get everything into shape, using the two bits of software I most commonly use: ArcGIS and R. This tute was also written from the perspective of a PC user, so if you’re a Mac person that may cause some hiccups…”
https://pelentiniresearch.wordpress.com/2018/01/25/getting-spatial-data-into-shape-for-species-distribution-modelling-sdms/

UQ Node:
Caitlin Kuempel and colleagues on Bigger or better: The relative benefits of protected area network expansion and enforcement for the conservation of an exploited species
The global portfolio of protected areas is growing rapidly, despite widely recognized shortfalls in management effectiveness. Pressure to meet area-coverage and management effectiveness objectives makes it essential to determine how limited conservation funds should be allocated between expanding protected area networks and better enforcing existing reserves. We formally explore this question for the particular case of an exploited species in a partially protected system, using a general model linking protection, enforcement and legal/illegal resource extraction. We show that, on average, funds should be disproportionately invested in enforcement rather than expansion. Further, expansion alone, without additional enforcement, can actually reduce conservation outcomes. To help guide future decisions, we calculate the optimal allocation of resources between these two actions given any current level of enforcement and protected area coverage. In most cases, simultaneously investing in expansion and enforcement is the optimal decision. However, in places with low enforcement and high protection, protected area contraction, or strategically concentrating enforcement effort, produces the greatest benefits.
Ref: Kuempel CD, Adams VM, Possingham HP, Bode M. Bigger or better: The relative benefits of protected area network expansion and enforcement for the conservation of an exploited species. (2018) Conserv Lett. https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12433

RMIT Node: Luis Mata presents on: Pollinator observatories – citizen science to reconnect people with nature in cities
Luis Mata presented at the Australian Citizen Science Conference in Adelaide last week: Untapping the benefits of insect biodiversity in cities is contingent on making insects, and the ecosystem services they deliver, tangible to people. Yet most insect species are small and fast, and therefore remain elusive to the majority of onlookers. In this case, plants can serve as an anchor to draw attention to plant-insect interactions. Pollinator observatories – a network of flowering plant species monitored for pollinator interactions by academic and citizen scientists – are a novel approach to reconnect people with nature and demonstrate ecosystem service delivery in cities. We introduce two citizen science programs, led by a Landcare group and a non-profit organisation respectively, that have incorporated pollinator observatories as part of their community engagement activities.

Full abstract: https://az659834.vo.msecnd.net/eventsairaueprod/production-pecbookings-public/60a6342f9a1441e29617fe7c0bae8dce

ANU Node: Ben Scheele in Canberra Times on the latest effort to save the northern corroboree frog
Lead researcher Dr Ben Scheele, from the Australian National University, is working to identify potential new release sites that will give the frogs an advantage in the wild.
“We are moving beyond focusing just on habitat and environmental conditions that suit northern corroboree frogs including finding areas that are most unfavourable to chytrid fungus, and that have few other frog species to act as carriers of the disease,” he said. “We are also investigating other aspects that can give the corroboree frogs an advantage and allow wild populations to better tolerate the impacts of chytrid fungus; one of these factors is better understanding how long frogs take to reach sexual maturity…”
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/breeding-technique-give-northern-corroboree-frogs-a-taste-of-the-wild-at-tidbinbilla-nature-reserve-20180219-h0wciu.html

UWA Node: Environmental Economists win awards at the AARES Conference

A delegation of UWA Agriculture and Resource Economics staff and students attended the Australasian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society conference in Adelaide on February 6-8. They organised two mini-symposia: “Designing conservation auctions for low participation rates and landholder uncertainty” and “Application of benefit transfer tools in policy decisions in Australia” which had great success among conference participants. Staff and PhD students presented 18 papers and 5 posters. We won a number of prizes and awards at the conference: best PhD thesis (Tas Thamo), best 3 minute thesis presentation (Vandana Subroy), best first time presenter (Matthew Navarro), and best poster (Maksym Polyakov, Fiona Gibson, David Pannell and Geoff Park).

UWA Node postscript from Dbytes #319
UWA Node: To Bait or Not to Bait: A Discrete Choice Experiment on Public Preferences for Native Wildlife and Conservation Management in Western Australia

This article can be freely accessed using the following link till 25th March 2018
https://authors.elsevier.com/c/1WVSx3Hb~0Ek5H

Ref: SUBROY, V., ROGERS, A. A. & KRAGT, M. E. 2018. To Bait or Not to Bait: A Discrete Choice Experiment on Public Preferences for Native Wildlife and Conservation Management in Western Australia. Ecological Economics, 147, 114-122.

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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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