Dbytes #350 (4 October 2018)

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

“It’s frankly embarrassing that climate pollution continues to rise in a wealthy country like Australia. We have the community support, technology and knowledge to get on top of our pollution problem, but not the political will.”
Kelly o’Shanassy, CEO ACF on the latest report of Australia’s carbon emissions

General News

1. Submissions to the Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications On Australia’s faunal extinction crisis
2. Eulogy for a seastar, Australia’s first recorded marine extinction

3. Disproportionate magnitude of climate change in United States national parks
4. Five ways investors can address the climate challenge
5. Draft National Invasive Ant Biosecurity Plan 2018-2028 open for comment

EDG Node News

ANU Node News: David Lindenmayer and colleagues make a submission to the the Senate Inquiry on Australia’s Faunal Extinction Crisis
UWA Node: Maksym Polyakov at the SERA 2018 conference
UQ Node: Alexander Simmons and colleagues on frequent policy uncertainty can negate the benefits of forest conservation policy
RMIT Node:
The ICON lab reflects on the passing of the Derwent River Seastar

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General News

1. Submissions to the Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications On Australia’s faunal extinction crisis

While submissions have closed for this Senate Committee enquiry, anyone interested in biodiversity conservation in Australia is well advised to peruse the 173 submissions that have been lodged for a current and wide ranging discussion on the status and trends of Australia’s faunal extinction crisis. The submissions represent an incredible range of biodiversity interests (researchers, research programs, science reference groups, community groups, government departments and agencies, groups with a focus on regions up to national scales, and groups with a focus on single species up to all of biodiversity).

Of particular note (re the EDG) are submissions from the NESP TSR Hub (submission #159), the Green Fire Science lab at UQ (submission #88) and see ANU Node News (submission #28).

The Committee will report on its findings by 4 December 2018.

https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Environment_and_Communications/Faunalextinction/Submissions.

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2. Eulogy for a seastar, Australia’s first recorded marine extinction

“Today, I am writing a eulogy to the Derwent River Seastar (or starfish), that formerly inhabited the shores near the Tasman Bridge in Hobart, Tasmania. It is Australia’s first documented marine animal extinction and one of the few recorded anywhere in the world.”

https://theconversation.com/eulogy-for-a-seastar-australias-first-recorded-marine-extinction-103225

[and see RMIT News]
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3. Disproportionate magnitude of climate change in United States national parks
[Recommended by Ram Pandit]

Here, in the first spatial analysis of historical and projected temperature and precipitation across all 417 US national parks, we show that climate change exposes the national park area more than the US as a whole. This occurs because extensive parts of the national park area are in the Arctic, at high elevations, or in the arid southwestern US. Between 1895 and 2010, mean annual temperature of the national park area increased 1.0 °C ± 0.2 °C century−1 (mean ± standard error), double the US rate. Temperature has increased most in Alaska and its extensive national parks. Annual precipitation of the national park area declined significantly on 12% of national park area, compared to 3% of the US. Higher temperatures due to climate change have coincided with low precipitation in the southwestern US, intensifying droughts in the region. Physical and ecological changes have been detected and attributed mainly to anthropogenic climate change in areas of significant temperature increases in US national parks. From 2000 to 2100, under the highest emissions scenario (representative concentration pathway [RCP] 8.5), park temperatures would increase 3 °C–9 °C, with climate velocities outpacing dispersal capabilities of many plant and animal species. Even under the scenario of reduced emissions (RCP2.6), temperature increases could exceed 2 °C for 58% of national park area, compared to 22% of the US. Nevertheless, greenhouse gas emissions reductions could reduce projected temperature increases in national parks by one-half to two-thirds.
Ref: Gonzalez et al, 2018, Envir Res Lett
http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aade09/meta

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4. Five ways investors can address the climate challenge

This year’s Climate Week turns the spotlight on an important question in the fight against climate change: who will pay for it? Attempts to tackle climate change need funding – a lot of it. It will take an estimated $6-7 trillion per year over the next 15 years to solve climate change and to meet the other UN Sustainable Development Goals. That’s a big funding gap. Fortunately, one sector in particular is well placed to bridge that gap: the finance sector. Just a small fraction of the funds under management in private capital can help us make significant advances on the climate front. Here are five straightforward ways institutional investors can make a big push for climate…”

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/09/how-investors-can-address-the-climate-challenge

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5. Draft National Invasive Ant Biosecurity Plan 2018-2028 open for comment

Invasive ant species like Yellow Crazy Ants and the red imported fire ant threaten Australia’s biodiversity and our social and economic wellbeing. The draft National Invasive Ant Biosecurity Plan has been prepared by the Australian Government Departments of the Environment and Energy, and Agriculture and Water Resources, to provide a nationally agreed approach to enhance Australia’s capacity to manage the threat from invasive ants. Comments are invited on the draft National Invasive Ant Biosecurity Plan 2018-2028 until Friday 30 November 2018.

http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/threat-abatement-plans/draft-national-invasive-ant-biosecurity-plan-2018-2028

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EDG News

ANU Node News: David Lindenmayer and colleagues make a submission to the the Senate Inquiry on Australia’s Faunal Extinction Crisis

This submission relates to substantial inadequacies in Commonwealth environmental laws to conserve threatened forest fauna because Regional Forest Agreements preclude adequate

species protection.
https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Environment_and_Communications/Faunalextinction/Submissions and see submission #28.

UWA Node: Dr Maksym Polyakov at the SERA 2018 conference
Maksym Polyakov was a keynote speaker at the Society for Ecological Restoration Australasia conference in Brisbane, QLD, 25-28 September, 2018. The Conference brought together scientists, practitioners, managers, and policy makers who are actively involved in all aspects of ecosystem restoration. Maksym presented an overview of how economics can contribute to the research and practice of ecological restoration. He focused on approaches and methods of valuing non-marked benefits of restored ecosystems. He presented a number of examples where valuation of ecosystem services was used to improve decision making and improve success of ecological restoration. His talk was very well received by the audience and generated fruitful discussion among the conference participants. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328041555_Thinking_differently_about_restoration_economists’_perspective

UQ Node: Alexander Simmons and colleagues on frequent policy uncertainty can negate the benefits of forest conservation policy
We investigated how peak periods of uncertainty in forest conservation policy affected forest transition outcomes in Queensland, Australia, as well as a globally-relevant biodiversity hotspot in the state, the Brigalow Belt South (BBS) bioregion. Political factors are significant drivers of deforestation. Regulation reduced deforestation inconsistently across forests types and regions. Policy uncertainty increased deforestation, particularly in remnant forests. Perverse outcomes delayed forest transition and may reverse further transition. Focusing on forest gains will ignore biodiversity threats of remnant forest loss.
Ref: Alexander Simmons, Raymundo Marcos-Martinez, Elizabeth A. Law, Brett A.Bryan, Kerrie A.Wilson (2018). Frequent policy uncertainty can negate the benefits of forest conservation policy. Env Sci & Policy 89: 401-411.
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1462901118305112#!

RMIT Node: The ICON lab reflects on the passing of the Derwent River Seastar
“RIP little star
sorry your light
has gone out”

Yesterday at a team meeting, we (the Interdisciplinary Conservation Lab, ICON) took a moment to bid farewell to the Derwent River Seastar, which was found to be extinct after a fairly complex process of laboratory intrigue. This makes it the fourth species in Australia thusly departed this decade, and its timing is poignant – we just submitted our submission to the Senate Enquiry into Australia’s Faunal Extinction Crisis…”
https://iconscience.org/

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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 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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