Dbytes #425 (13 May 2020)

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


“Green turtle rookeries on the northern Great Barrier Reef are facing extinction due to anthropogenic heating. The complete feminization of this population is likely in the near future.”
Terry Hughes [see item 2]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. National parks are for native wildlife, not feral horses: federal court
2. Environmental Warming and Feminization of One of the Largest Sea Turtle Populations in the World
3. Estimating the spatial coverage of citizen science for monitoring threatened species
4. Australian government stops listing major threats to species under environment laws
5. IUCN Red List species have names that evoke human emotions
6. How many species live in your home?
7. Is a positive environmental narrative possible?


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1. National parks are for native wildlife, not feral horses: federal court

Today, the federal court ruled feral horses can be removed from the Victorian high country. The case was brought by the Australian Brumby Alliance against the Victorian Government in 2018. Since then, the strategic management plan for feral horses has been shelved, allowing feral horse numbers to increase without control. In the northern area of Kosciuszko National Park numbers jumped from an estimated 3,255 in 2014 to 15,687 in 2019, in the absence of any management.

Expanding numbers of feral horses roaming the Australian Alps – which are listed as a national heritage site – threaten the alp’s ecosystems, soils and unique species. More feral horses is also an animal welfare issue, as horses face starvation during droughts and have been hit by cars in Kosciuszko.

https://theconversation.com/national-parks-are-for-native-wildlife-not-feral-horses-federal-court-138204?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=bylinetwitterbutton

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2. Environmental Warming and Feminization of One of the Largest Sea Turtle Populations in the World

“We found extremely female-biased sex ratios in an important sea turtle population.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982217315397

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3. Estimating the spatial coverage of citizen science for monitoring threatened species

Monitoring threatened species is vital for effective conservation, and citizen science can fill information gaps where professionally derived monitoring data are unavailable or guide where further survey efforts may be warranted. Yet the geographic and taxonomic coverage of citizen science projects is poorly understood. Using a snapshot in time approach, we reviewed citizen science monitoring and survey projects in Australia in 2017 and identified 133 projects contributing to threatened species monitoring or conservation action in both terrestrial and marine environments. Most projects (61%) are relevant for 10 or fewer threatened species. Relevant citizen science projects tend to be concentrated along the more densely populated eastern and south-western coasts, while relatively few projects occur in northern regions of Australia. Our findings show a high convergence between citizen science project densities and threatened species richness in many terrestrial areas, although they also highlight areas with potential to expand citizen science, and indicate areas where professional monitoring is unlikely to be augmented by citizen science.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2351989419307218?via%3Dihub

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4. Australian government stops listing major threats to species under environment laws

The federal government has stopped listing major threats to species under national environment laws, and plans to address listed threats are often years out of date or have not been done at all.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/may/08/australian-government-stops-listing-major-threats-to-species-under-environment-laws?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

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5. IUCN Red List species have names that evoke human emotions

Many of the frequently used words in animal common names have high or low sentiment, and some are also associated with human emotions such as anger, fear, disgust and joy. These words may be good targets for strategic name changes to change perceptions and improve engagement with threatened species.

https://keeptothepath.com/2020/05/06/iucn-red-list-species-have-names-that-evoke-human-emotions/

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6. How many species live in your home?

I think we all guessed that there were likely at least 100 or so species in our house and yard, but we were shocked – as we surveyed each day, the tally kept rapidly increasing. We are now at 460 total species, with 409 animals and 51 plants. Of the 409 animals, 50 were vertebrates (mostly birds, but 6 mammals, 7 reptiles, and 2 frogs as well) and a whopping 359 invertebrates broken down below (316 of which were insects).

https://ecologyisnotadirtyword.com/2020/05/06/how-many-species-live-in-your-home/

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7. Is a positive environmental narrative possible?

If this is right, the obvious solution for those trying to build public support for stronger environment policy is to identify positive narratives that are based on hope rather than fear. I thought I’d look at some positive narratives to see whether they might provide support for better policy in Australia. I’m hoping this is more than just wishful thinking.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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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

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