Dbytes #409 (22 January 2020)

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


“As in 1939 and 1961, the submissions and media response to the Black Saturday commission reveal that prescribed burning functioned as a proxy for other issues. Climate change, a defence of public lands, cattle grazing on the Victorian High Country, the decline of the native timber industry — factors like these were hopelessly entangled with discussions ostensibly about fuel levels. Very few participants considered the complexities of catastrophic conditions, or whether a strategy developed in jarrah was applicable to mountain ash.”
Daniel May [see item 2]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Some say we’ve seen bushfires worse than this before. But they’re ignoring a few key facts
2. To burn or not to burn is not the question
3. Extension to submissions for EPBC Act review
4. Protected species in bushfire affected areas
5. Prevention vs cure for nature
6. A new Filipino law requires all students to plant 10 trees in order to graduate
7. Now is the summer of our discontent

-~<>~-

1. Some say we’ve seen bushfires worse than this before. But they’re ignoring a few key facts

Every time a weather extreme occurs, some people quickly jump in to say we’ve been through it all before: that worse events have happened in the past, or it’s just part of natural climate variability. The recent bushfire crisis is a case in point. Writing in The Australian recently, columnist Gerard Henderson said: In Victoria, there were further huge fires in 1983 and 2009. But until now, there was no suggestion that the state’s future would be one of continuing apocalypse.

Of course, Australia has a long history of bushfires. But several factors make eastern Australia’s recent crisis different to infamous bushfires in the past.
First is the enormous geographic spread of this season’s fires, and second, the absence of El Niño conditions typically associated with previous severe fires.
Thirdly and most important, these fires were preceded by the hottest and driest conditions in Australian history.

https://theconversation.com/some-say-weve-seen-bushfires-worse-than-this-before-but-theyre-ignoring-a-few-key-facts-129391

-~<>~-

2. To burn or not to burn is not the question

As successive royal commissions have found, prescribed burning is a tool, not a panacea.

https://insidestory.org.au/to-burn-or-not-to-burn-is-not-the-question/
-~<>~-

3. Extension to submissions for EPBC Act review

Submissions are now due by close of business Friday 17 April 2020.

https://epbcactreview.environment.gov.au/news/media-statement-extension-submissions-epbc-act-review

-~<>~-

4. Protected species in bushfire affected areas

On Monday 20 January 2020, the Department released an initial list of threatened and migratory species which have more than 10% of their known or predicted distribution in areas affected by bushfires in southern and eastern Australia from 1 August 2019 and 13 January 2020.
-49 listed threatened species have more than 80% of their modelled likely or known distribution within the fire extent
-65 listed threatened species have more than 50%, but less than 80%, of their modelled likely or known distribution within the fire extent
-77 listed threatened species have more than 30%, but less than 50%, of their modelled likely or known distribution within the fire extent
-136 listed threatened species and 4 listed migratory species have more than 10%, but less than 30%, of their modelled likely or known distribution within the fire extent.

The threatened species include 272 plant, 16 mammal, 14 frog, nine bird, seven reptile, four insect, four fish and one spider species. An additional four listed migratory bird species are not listed as threatened.

http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/bushfire-recovery/research-and-resources

-~<>~-

5. Prevention vs cure for nature

In our new article, we detail the model we constructed, which allows policymakers and others to simulate different mixtures of prevention and cure tactics for biodiversity losses associated with development. The model considers not only biodiversity trends, but also the behaviour of developers and the decisions taken by policymakers themselves. Using the model, we have generated some interesting results relating to the mitigation of wetland losses from development in the US; and the World Bank has already shown interest in using the model to evaluate its own Net Gain-type policies.

https://appliedecologistsblog.com/2019/12/16/prevention-vs-cure-for-nature/

-~<>~-

6. A new Filipino law requires all students to plant 10 trees in order to graduate

Students in the Philippines must plant at least 10 trees in order to graduate from elementary school, high school, and college, CNN reported.

https://www.insider.com/new-law-states-students-in-the-philippines-must-plant-trees-before-they-can-graduate-2019-5

-~<>~-

7. Now is the summer of our discontent
I want this summer to be over and I want our government to do something

The summer will be over in a few weeks but I suspect the discontent will continue to build. I certainly hope it does: something has to give, and I don’t want it to be us.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

-~<>~-

About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. From 2007-2018 Dbytes was 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 receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s