Dbytes #321 (1 March 2018)

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

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”
Douglas Adams

General News

1. The exceptional value of intact forest ecosystems
2. ‘Fantasy documents’: recovery plans failing Australia’s endangered species 3. 
Characterising the efforts to reduce consumer demand for wildlife products
4. Radical histories for uncanny times
5. Europe’s palm oil ban has no basis, says Sinar Mas boss Franky Widjaja

EDG News

UQ Node: Justine Shaw leads Homeward Bound
RMIT Node:
Sarah Bekessy on Impact of urban fringe expansion on wildlife
ANU Node: David Lindenmayer and colleagues on Earth Observation Networks: Finding the right balance
UWA Node: An ESA Hot Topic on full ecological impacts of resource development impacts by Keren Raiter
UMelb Node: Kylie Soanes writes on the threatened species in our urban jungle

-~<>~-

General News

1. The exceptional value of intact forest ecosystems
[Just out in Nature ecology and evolution with a stellar author’s list, including many past and present EDG/CEED members]

As the terrestrial human footprint continues to expand, the amount of native forest that is free from significant damaging human activities is in precipitous decline. There is emerging evidence that the remaining intact forest supports an exceptional confluence of globally significant environmental values relative to degraded forests, including imperilled biodiversity, carbon sequestration and storage, water provision, indigenous culture and the maintenance of human health. Here we argue that maintaining and, where possible, restoring the integrity of dwindling intact forests is an urgent priority for current global efforts to halt the ongoing biodiversity crisis, slow rapid climate change and achieve sustainability goals. Retaining the integrity of intact forest ecosystems should be a central component of proactive global and national environmental strategies, alongside current efforts aimed at halting deforestation and promoting reforestation.

Ref: James E. M. Watson, Tom Evans, Oscar Venter, Brooke Williams, Ayesha Tulloch, Claire Stewart, Ian Thompson, Justina C. Ray, Kris Murray, Alvaro Salazar, Clive McAlpine, Peter Potapov, Joe Walston, John G. Robinson, Michael Painter, David Wilkie, Christopher Filardi, William F. Laurance, Richard A. Houghton, Sean Maxwell, Hedley Grantham, Cristián Samper, Stephanie Wang, Lars Laestadius, Rebecca K. Runting, Gustavo A. Silva-Chávez, Jamison Ervin & David Lindenmayer (2018). The exceptional value of intact forest ecosystems. Nature Ecology & Evolution. http://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-018-0490-x

-~<>~-

2. ‘Fantasy documents’: recovery plans failing Australia’s endangered species

 

Expired, unfinished or undeveloped: conservationists call for more transparency and accountability in species management

“Nobody seems to have ultimate responsibility for protecting them,” said the Wilderness Society national director Lyndon Schneiders.
“We have this almost zombie-like system where the laws say you have to look after critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable species – and we know the community support protecting our threatened species – but when it comes to implementation, it’s like a giant machine that generates no action.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/20/fantasy-documents-recovery-plans-failing-australias-endangered-species?CMP=share_btn_tw

-~<>~-

3. Characterising the efforts to reduce consumer demand for wildlife products

The unsustainable trade in wildlife is a key threat to the Earth’s biodiversity. While efforts to mitigate this threat have traditionally focused on regulation and enforcement, there is a growing interest in campaigns aimed at reducing the demand for wildlife products. However, we have little understanding of the impacts of these efforts. In this article, we aim to describe the extent to which such campaigns to change consumer behavior have been evaluated, and the existing evidence around their impacts. We found a total of 236 campaigns, mainly in the grey literature, with effort growing in the last decades and focusing mostly in the Asian continent. While many campaigns focused on large bodied mammal species, with sharks also receiving a sizable amount of attention, most campaigns were focused either on wildlife trade in general or on specific regions or habitats. Regarding evaluation, we found that while 70% report on outputs, only 25% report outcomes and less than 9% impacts.

SocARXiv Papers
https://osf.io/preprints/socarxiv/642pb

-~<>~-

4. Radical histories for uncanny times

Our age is marked by mass extinctions, pollution and climate change. Yet we’re slow to comprehend the scale of the problem or to act to avert disaster. That’s why we need radical histories for these uncanny times.
Speaker: Professor Tom Griffiths AO Director of the Centre of Environmental History ANU.

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bigideas/radical-histories-for-uncanny-times/9478670

-~<>~-

5. Europe’s palm oil ban has no basis, says Sinar Mas boss Franky Widjaja
(EcoBusiness)

The European Union is planning to ban palm oil for biodiesel, citing environmental concerns. But the ban does not consider the impact it would have on the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers in Indonesia and Malaysia, the influential businessman has said.
Speaking to reporters at a media briefing on Tuesday, Franky Oesman Widjaja, head of agribusiness and consumer food for Jakarta-headquartered conglomerate Sinar Mas, suggested that Europe would be unwise to ban oil palm on environmental grounds, as it is the world’s highest-yielding vegetable oil and requires less land to cultivate than other oils such as soy bean and rapeseed.

-~<>~-

EDG News

UQ Node: Justine Shaw leads Homeward Bound
CEED researcher Justine Shaw is playing a leading role in the largest all-female expedition to Antarctica, the culmination of a year-long program to promote the influence and leadership of women in science. Justine, who is also a Research Fellow at UQ’s School of Biological Sciences, co-founded Homeward Bound, and is leading science programs for the 78 female researchers from 18 countries. Among those on board are UQ PhD students Paloma Corvalan, Samantha Reynolds (School of Biological Sciences), Samantha Nixon (Institute for Molecular Bioscience), and Cécile Godde (Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Science and CSIRO). Justine said thousands of scientists applied to be part of the program, which aims to equip women in science to lead, influence and contribute to policy and decision-making.
“I’ve been working with participants for a year on science research themes and preparing them for the Science Symposium at Sea,” Justine said…
http://ceed.edu.au/ceed-news/44-news-2018/490-uq-women-to-lead-and-learn-on-antarctica-voyage.html

RMIT Node: Sarah Bekessy on Impact of urban fringe expansion on wildlife
Sarah Bekessy was interviewed on Triple J’s Hack program about how we can design better cities to protect threatened species. Urban sprawl in Australia is impacting wildlife – so how can we design better cities to protect threatened species? And which animals should we prioritise saving first?
http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/hack/hack/9411792

ANU Node: David Lindenmayer and colleagues on Earth Observation Networks: Finding the right balance
Earth observation networks (EONs) are an emerging, surveillance-based approach to environmental monitoring and research that are fundamentally different than traditional question-driven, experimentally designed approaches. There is an urgent need to find an optimal balance between these approaches and to develop new integrated initiatives that take advantage of key features of them both.
Ref: Lindenmayer, D.B., Likens, G.E. and Franklin, J.F. (2018). Earth Observation Networks (EONS): Finding the right balance. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, doi:10.1016/j.tree.2017.10.008.
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169534717302707

UWA Node: An ESA Hot Topic on full ecological impacts of resource development impacts by Keren Raiter
Hot Topic: Full ecological impacts of resource development Impacts are missing from conventional impact assessments
* Resource development is expanding worldwide with far-reaching consequences for native ecosystems.
* Some ecological impacts tend to slip under the radar of conventional impact assessments.
* Identifying, measuring, and addressing the full range of ecological impacts is essential for mitigating ecosystem degradation and for conserving biodiversity.
https://www.ecolsoc.org.au/hot-topics/full-ecological-impacts-resource-development

UMelb Node: Kylie Soanes writes on the threatened species in our urban jungle
“If you’re like most Australians, chances are you’re an urban dweller, and your idea of “city wildlife” probably includes pigeons, seagulls and those big, hairy possums that wander along powerlines and eat your roses. But in fact, you probably share your neighbourhood with some of Australia’s unique and threatened plants and animals. Through the National Environmental Science Program, we have identified almost 380 nationally-listed threatened species that occur in urban areas across the country.”
https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/the-threatened-species-in-our-urban-jungle

-~<>~-

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/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s