Dbytes #351 (11 October 2018)

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

“In decades to come, historians wondering how Australians found themselves with dangerous climate change may well be puzzled. How was it that inhabitants of a continent prone to wild swings in annual rainfall, severe heatwaves and bushfires weren’t more wary of greater climate chaos?”
Peter Hannan, SMH
[And see items 1, 2 and 3]

General News

1. Summary for Policymakers of IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C
2. What to do about a warming planet
3. Bushfire mythbusting guide
4. Minister, why is the dingo no longer ‘fauna’?
5. Integrating spatial ecology and drone surveys

EDG Node News

UMelb & RMIT Nodes: The Victorian Biodiversity Conference is back for 2019
RMIT Node: Sarah Bekessy and colleagues on a critique of ecosystem services as a communication strategy
UQ Node:
Magdelena Lenda and colleagues on how roads impact local butterfly communities?
ANU Node news: Nicole Hansen and colleagues on the habitat value of crop areas, linear plantings and remnant woodland patches

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General News

1. Summary for Policymakers of IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C approved by governments

“Limiting global warming to 1.5°C, compared with 2°C, could reduce the number of people both exposed to climate-related risks and susceptible to poverty by up to several hundred million by 2050.”

http://www.ipcc.ch/news_and_events/pr_181008_P48_spm.shtml
“The Morrison Government is committed to the Paris Agreement and takes its international obligations seriously.”
Melissa Price, Minister for the Environment in a statement about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change releases report

“If other countries followed Australia’s approach to dealing with climate change, we would be heading to global warming well above 2°C and up to 3°C. This degree of climate change would be unmanageable for most communities.”
Dr Martin Rice, acting CEO of the Climate Council in in a statement about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change releases report

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2. What to do about a warming planet
The Lowy Institute

https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/what-do-about-warming-planet

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3. Bushfire mythbusting guide
The Climate Councile

https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/resources/bushfire-mythbusting-guide/

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4. Minister, why is the dingo no longer ‘fauna’?

From ConservationBytes

“So, a few of us have just submitted a letter contesting the Western Australia Government’s recent decision to delist dingoes as ‘fauna’ (I know — what the hell else could they be?). The letter was organised brilliantly by Dr Kylie Cairns (University of New South Wales), and she and the rest of the signatories have agreed to reproduce the letter in full here on ConservationBytes.com. If you feel so compelled, please voice your distaste of this decision officially by contacting the Minister (details below).

https://conservationbytes.com/2018/09/07/minister-why-is-the-dingo-no-longer-fauna/

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5. Integrating spatial ecology and drone surveys

Using drones to gather data in ecology and agriculture has caused a lot of excitement over the past few years, with potential benefits across a range of applications from conservation to crop protection.  Up until now, however, there has been very little advice on how to use them effectively to get maximum benefit for particular objectives, such as accurate population estimation. This paper discusses recent work which provides this advice for the first time, accounting both for detection errors and the spatial dispersion of target species.

Ref: Baxter PWJ & G Hamilton (2018) Learning to fly: integrating spatial ecology with unmanned aerial vehicle surveys.  Ecosphere 9(4):e02194 ( https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ecs2.2194

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EDG News

UMelb & RMIT Nodes: The Victorian Biodiversity Conference is back for 2019
The Victorian Biodiversity Conference is an annual event run voluntarily by- and for- grad students, and early-career researchers and professionals. The VBC aims to be a low-cost, friendly, and accessible conference that showcases Victorian research, strengthens networks between academia, industry, and government, and allows ECRs to access advice from people more established in their careers. The 2019 conference will be hosted by The University of Melbourne at its Parkville campus, on the 7th and 8th of February. The call for abstracts will open 14th October and we invite submissions from all Victorian graduate and early career researchers working in a field relevant to biodiversity. For more information visit: https://www.vicbiocon.com/

RMIT Node: Sarah Bekessy and colleagues on a critique of ecosystem services as a communication strategy
Ecosystem services were devised in the 1970s to generate interest in biodiversity conservation. Framing nature as a “service” might be decreasing public engagement in conservation. Positive messages of nature’s aesthetic, cultural and spiritual aspects may be more beneficial. Communicators should think carefully about their audience when framing messages about nature.
Ref: S.A. Bekessy, M.C. Runge, A.M. Kusmanoff, D.A. Keith, B.A. Wintle (2018). Ask not what nature can do for you: A critique of ecosystem services as a communication strategy. Biological Conservation,Volume 224, Pages 71-74.
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S000632071731755X#!

UQ Node: Magdelena Lenda and colleagues on how roads impact local butterfly communities?
Roads have severe impacts on local animal populations, from cars colliding with animals, through to habitat fragmentation caused by roads. To date, most studies have focused on road mortality, but what about the effects on nearby plant communities, and the flow on effect to plant-dependant species like butterflies? CEED researcher Magdelena Lenda investigated this with colleagues on a recent trip to her home country of Poland.
https://spark.adobe.com/page/P3yuC6RHmBpsQ/

ANU Node news: Nicole Hansen and colleagues on the habitat value of crop areas, linear plantings and remnant woodland patches
Mitigating the negative impacts of agriculture on amphibians requires knowledge of how different land uses affect species distribution and community composition. In the case of frogs, there is currently insufficient information on their use of terrestrial habitats in cropping landscapes to inform conservation planning. We examined how four different farmland types (linear plantings, cereal crops, grazing paddocks and woody mulch) and crop harvesting influenced amphibian abundance, richness, body condition and movement. We found the abundance of frogs was significantly higher in linear plantings compared to grazing paddocks and adjacent patches of remnant woodland vegetation. However, species richness and abundance of three individual species did not vary significantly between farmland types. For the most common frog Uperoleia laevigata, body condition was higher at the edges of the woody debris treatment (coupled with higher abundance) and lower in farmland with debris and linear plantings. The body condition of Limnodynastes tasmaniensis and L. interioris was not influenced by farmland type. Frog abundance and condition was largely unaffected by crop harvesting. However, frogs were less common after harvesting at the edges of farmland and within remnant patches. Movement patterns did not suggest mass movement out of crops after harvest, where almost half of all individuals recaptured remained within the farmland. These results suggest that some generalist frog species may have an affinity for habitats within agricultural paddocks, particularly when key habitat features like plantings are present. However, we found overall frog richness was low and did not differ between remnant patches, edges and farmland which may be an indication of habitat degradation within terrestrial habitats across the landscape. Although protection of remnant native vegetation is important, conservation strategies for the protection of amphibians will be ineffective if they do not consider the variety of land uses and the relationships of different species and their microhabitats within and outside of patches.
Ref: Hansen, N.A., Scheele, B.C., Driscoll, D.A., and Lindenmayer, D.B. (2018). Amphibians in agricultural landscapes: the habitat value of crop areas, linear plantings and remnant woodland patches. Animal Conservation, https://doi.org/10.1111/acv.12437.



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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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