Dbytes #405 (5 December 2019)

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


“Since the Coalition has taken office in 2013 it has taken an average of seven years to complete a national recovery plan, which is in breach of the statutory deadlines under national environmental law and partly explains the perilous state of Australia’s biodiversity. The Morrison government should probably focus on the fact that it has gutted the environment department to the point where the most recent recovery plan to be released took 10 years to complete.”
James Trezise, ACF, on threatened species recovery planning [see item 2]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Australia’s threatened birds declined by 59% over the past 30 years
2. Fact check: how credible is the war on Australia’s environmental ‘green tape’?
3. The new Australian Strategy for Nature
4. What is the evidence behind hazard-reduction burning?
5. Scientists re-counted Australia’s extinct species, and the result is devastating
6. Post-Anthropocene Conservation
7. Victoria’s Climate Science Report 2019

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1. Australia’s threatened birds declined by 59% over the past 30 years

Australia’s threatened birds declined by nearly 60% on average over 30 years, according to new research that reveals the true impact on native wildlife of habitat loss, introduced pests, and other human-caused pressures. Alarmingly, migratory shorebirds have declined by 72%. Many of these species inhabit our mudflats and coasts on their migration from Siberia, Alaska or China each year.

https://theconversation.com/australias-threatened-birds-declined-by-59-over-the-past-30-years-128114

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2. Fact check: how credible is the war on Australia’s environmental ‘green tape’?

Coalition says approvals take three and a half years, the reality can be longer, putting threatened species at risk

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/dec/01/fact-check-how-credible-is-the-war-on-australias-environmental-green-tape?CMP=share_btn_tw

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3. The new Australian Strategy for Nature

In November 2019 Australia’s federal and state environment ministers signed off on a new national biodiversity strategy. But the new strategy doesn’t actually contain any strategies (ie means to achieving ends). And there’s no new money or programs to support it, although the new website does serve as an aggregator for existing strategies and programs from various governments. The implication seems to be that if you think we need to do more to halt biodiversity decline, do it yourself!

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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4. What is the evidence behind hazard-reduction burning?

After the Black Saturday fires, and in reference to the lack of hazard-reduction burning, Miranda Devine wrote “it is not arsonists who should be hanging from lamp-posts but greenies.” The same debate erupts after large fires in the United States. As a scientist who has dedicated considerable time – often at taxpayers expense – assembling evidence on house losses during bushfires, it is frustrating that more hazard-reduction burning is touted as the simple solution to our bushfire crises.

https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6514176/what-is-the-evidence-behind-hazard-reduction-burning/

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5. Scientists re-counted Australia’s extinct species, and the result is devastating

It’s important that the loss of Australian nature be quantified accurately. To date, putting an exact figure on the number of extinct species has been challenging. But in the most comprehensive assessment of its kind, our research has confirmed that 100 endemic Australian species living in 1788 are now validly listed as extinct. Alarmingly, this tally confirms that the number of extinct Australian species is much higher than previously thought.

https://theconversation.com/scientists-re-counted-australias-extinct-species-and-the-result-is-devastating-127611

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6. Post-Anthropocene Conservation

Conditions capable of supporting multicellular life are predicted to continue for another billion years, but humans will inevitably become extinct within several million years. We explore the paradox of a habitable planet devoid of people, and consider how to prioritise our actions to maximise life after we are gone.

https://www.cell.com/trends/ecology-evolution/fulltext/S0169-5347(19)30295-2

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7. Victoria’s Climate Science Report 2019

“Evidence is the strongest base for decisions about the future”

https://www.climatechange.vic.gov.au/climate-science-report-2019

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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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