Dbytes #376 (8 May 2019)

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

“It’s fantastic to see that science is actually being adhered to and clearly the Adani proposal for the finches was not adequate and seriously flawed.”
Sean Dooley, Birdlife Australia, ABC News, [See item 3]

In this issue of Dbytes

1. The IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
2. Guide to reviewing Water Resource Plans
3. Adani’s Carmichael mine and the small endangered bird that is proving a big problem
4. More than 90% of threatened species habitat destruction has happened in just 12 electorates
5. EPBC is up for review – five basic questions that need asking
6. ‘Not adequate’: experts rate Australian political response to extinction crisis
7. Research plots a collaborative future for river Nile biodiversity

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1. The IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
The most comprehensive assessment of its kind; 1,000,000 species threatened with extinction

Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history — and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely, warns a landmark new report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the summary of which was approved at the 7th session of the IPBES Plenary, meeting last week (29 April – 4 May) in Paris.

https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/press-release/natures-dangerous-decline-unprecedented-species-extinction-rates

https://www.ipbes.net/news/Media-Release-Global-Assessment

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2. Guide to reviewing Water Resource Plans

The Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists have developed this guide to reviewing Water Resource Plans (WRPs) to assist communities to understand WRP legal inclusions, the WRP accreditation process and the key scientific issues which should be included in robust WRPs. We intend this guide to be used to aid independent groups in submitting public reviews to WRP documents as they become available for public consultation.

https://wentworthgroup.org/2019/04/wrp-review-guide/2019/

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3. Adani’s Carmichael mine and the small endangered bird that is proving a big problem

What exactly is the big deal about this tiny seed-eating bird that is stalling the Adani Carmichael coal in central Queensland? Last night, the proposed coal mine was dealt a massive blow when the Queensland Department of Environment and Science (DES) rejected Adani’s current management plan for the southern black-throated finch.

Key points:
-The range of the black-throated finch has contracted by 80 per cent
-Birdlife Australia says it is already extinct in NSW
-The Carmichael mine proposal would consume one of the finch’s key habitats

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-03/how-is-a-tiny-bird-such-a-big-problem-for-adani/11076386

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4. More than 90% of threatened species habitat destruction has happened in just 12 electorates

If the next Australian government is serious about reversing the decline in Australia’s wildlife, it must invest in their recovery, enact strong new environment laws and establish an independent national regulator to oversee them.

While Prime Minister Scott Morrison attacks environmental protection as ‘green tape’, new analysis shows the vast majority (93 per cent) of threatened species habitat destruction in Australia over the last two decades has been concentrated in just 12 federal electorates, nine of which are held by Liberal and National MPs.

The research by the University of Queensland’s Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science and the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), found the worst performing electorate was Maranoa, held by Agriculture Minister David Littleproud, where two million hectares of threatened species habitat has been destroyed since 2000.

https://www.acf.org.au/90_per_cent_of_threatened_species_habitat_destruction_has_happened_in_just_12_electorates

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5. EPBC is up for review – five basic questions that need asking

It’s hard to believe but Australia’s national environmental law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), is twenty years old. Given that it lies at the centre of so many important and controversial debates, how is this 20-year old piece of legislation tracking? In a time of climate change, extinction and growing uncertainty, is the EPBC Act still fit for purpose?

Five basic questions that need to be answered in its up and coming review (plus a short history on what happened after the 10 year review).

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2019/05/08/twenty-years-of-the-epbc-act-looking-back-looking-forward/

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6. ‘Not adequate’: experts rate Australian political response to extinction crisis

The United Nations’ global assessment of environmental health is grim: biodiversity declining at an unprecedented rate, one million species at risk of extinction, human populations in jeopardy if the trajectory is not reversed. With the election less than two weeks away, Guardian Australia asked the Coalition, Labor and the Greens to explain how they planned to respond to the crisis. Three of the country’s leading scientists assessed what the parties had to say.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/may/08/un-environment-report-how-australias-political-parties-plan-to-respond-to-the-crisis?CMP=share_btn_tw

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7. Research plots a collaborative future for river Nile biodiversity

The first plan for conserving the river Nile’s highly threatened biodiversity has been developed by a University of Queensland-led team. The Nile is the world’s longest river, flowing 6700 kilometres across Africa, supporting the livelihoods of more than 300 million people in 11 countries. UQ School of Biological Sciences researchers James Allan and Salit Kark led a team that created a ‘hotspot’ map identifying priority conservation areas for the Nile’s more-than-300 freshwater fish species.

“Beyond this, we also explored the outcomes of scenarios where Nile Basin countries work together to achieve conservation objectives rather than the current norm of acting independently,” Mr Allan said. “Nile countries could reduce the cost of conservation by 34 per cent through collaboration, potentially saving $US80 million. By coordinating conservation action, countries can also disadvantage fewer people by avoiding high-population areas with many compounding threats to biodiversity. This is important because both people and threats increase the cost and difficulty of a successful conservation intervention.”

https://www.uq.edu.au/news/article/2019/04/research-plots-collaborative-future-river-nile-biodiversity

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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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