Dbytes #371 (28 March 2019)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“Farmers are already making money from carbon payments and in the future we could potentially see farmers receiving payment for both biodiversity and carbon benefits from the same project.”
David Littleproud, Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources [see item 2]

In this issue of Dbytes

1. Cane toads on the march: Inquiry into controlling the spread of cane toads
2. A pilot Agriculture Biodiversity Stewardship Program
3. What Australia can learn from Victoria’s shocking biodiversity record
4. Night parrot research labelled ‘fake news’ by experts after release of damning report
5. ‘No clue’: environment department doesn’t know if threatened species plans implemented
6. S20 urges measures to tackle marine plastic pollution and other major threats
7. If science is the answer, what was the question again?

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1. Cane toads on the march: Inquiry into controlling the spread of cane toads

Cane toads quickly became endemic in Australia following their introduction in 1935 to eradicate the cane beetle. Unfortunately the toads did not combat the beetle, and the hunter has become the hunted. Being both resilient to our conditions and prolific breeders, these toxic toads have caused havoc with native wildlife. This inquiry provided an opportunity to review and renew efforts to control the spread of cane toads. There is no easy solution. Cane toads are firmly established in Australia and we are unlikely to get rid of them. The best we can do is limit their numbers where they exist, and prevent their spread into places they have not yet invaded. The recommendations in this report envisage taking immediate practical steps, as well as continuing with research efforts toward larger-scale solutions.

https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House/Environment_and_Energy/Canetoads/Report

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2. A pilot Agriculture Biodiversity Stewardship Program

Minister Littleproud announced $30m for a pilot Agriculture Biodiversity Stewardship Program and $4m for a biodiversity certification scheme.

http://minister.agriculture.gov.au/littleproud/Pages/Media-Releases/rewarding-biodiversity-on-farm.aspx

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3. What Australia can learn from Victoria’s shocking biodiversity record

Victoria is struggling with biodiversity conservation, according to a State of the Environment report tabled in parliament this week. While the scorecard is bleak – not one of the state’s key biodiversity indicators ranks as “good” – the report itself gives some hope. For the first time the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability, who prepared the report, offers proactive recommendations to the Victorian government for improving its performance, and has linked these goals to international sustainability targets. It’s an comprehensive and ambitious effort, and offers some good lessons to the rest of Australia.

https://theconversation.com/what-australia-can-learn-from-victorias-shocking-biodiversity-record-113757

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4. Night parrot research labelled ‘fake news’ by experts after release of damning report

The Australian Wildlife Conservancy is retracting records of the night parrot it previously published. Feathers, eggs and recordings used as evidence of the parrot were considered faked. Scientists worry about the impact the controversy will have on the good work the organisation is doing.

ABC Background Briefing

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5. ‘No clue’: environment department doesn’t know if threatened species plans implemented

The federal environment department has admitted it does not know whether recovery plans meant to prevent extinctions of threatened species are actually being implemented. In responses to questions on notice from Labor during recent Senate estimates hearings, the department said it “does not have data on the total number of conservation plans – recovery plans and conservation advices – being implemented”.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/mar/20/no-clue-environment-department-doesnt-know-if-threatened-species-plans-implemented?CMP=share_btn_tw

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6. S20 urges measures to tackle marine plastic pollution and other major threats

The world’s leading science academies have sent a strong message to the world that science has a crucial role in protecting coastal and marine ecosystems from very serious current and future threats. The national academies of the world’s wealthiest countries, known as the S20, produced a statement at a gathering in Japan recently outlining the greatest dangers to marine environments: plastic debris and other pollution, damaging fishing practices, and global warming, ocean acidification and ocean deoxygenation.

https://www.science.org.au/news-and-events/news-and-media-releases/s20-urges-measures-tackle-marine-plastic-pollution-other-threats

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7. If science is the answer, what was the question again?

THE answer to the challenge of sustainability is NOT science and technology. When political parties tell us that science will be our salvation, there’s enormous potential for perverse outcomes.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2019/03/27/if-science-is-the-answer-what-was-the-question-again/

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. For the past decade Dbytes has been supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

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.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to received it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David Salt

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