Dbytes #427 (27 May 2020)

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


“The link between human rights and climate change is increasingly being seen in legal actions around the world,” says David Morris, Chief Executive of the Environmental Defenders Office. [and see item 7]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. After the bushfires, we helped choose the animals and plants in most need. Here’s how we did it
2. Rio Tinto blasts 46,000-year-old Aboriginal site to expand iron ore mine
3. Be still, my beating wings: hunters kill migrating birds on their 10,000km journey to Australia
4. What lies beneath must be resurfaced — or the media is not doing its job to expose power and corruption
5. What is a literature review?
6. Best-practice biodiversity safeguards for Belt and Road Initiative’s financiers
7. Saving the environment via human rights

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1. After the bushfires, we helped choose the animals and plants in most need. Here’s how we did it

No other event in our lifetimes has brought such sudden, drastic loss to Australia’s biodiversity as the last bushfire season. Governments, researchers and conservationists have committed to the long road to recovery. But in those vast burnt landscapes, where do we start? We are among the wildlife experts advising the federal government on bushfire recovery. Our role is to help determine the actions needed to stave off extinctions and help nature recover in the months and years ahead. Our first step was to systematically determine which plant and animal species and ecosystems needed help most urgently. So let’s take a closer look at how we went about it.

https://theconversation.com/after-the-bushfires-we-helped-choose-the-animals-and-plants-in-most-need-heres-how-we-did-it-138736

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2. Rio Tinto blasts 46,000-year-old Aboriginal site to expand iron ore mine

Mining company was given permission to blast Juukan Gorge cave, which provided a 4,000-year-old genetic link to present-day traditional owners.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/may/26/rio-tinto-blasts-46000-year-old-aboriginal-site-to-expand-iron-ore-mine

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3. Be still, my beating wings: hunters kill migrating birds on their 10,000km journey to Australia

Numbers of migratory shorebirds have been falling for many species in the flyway. The trends have been detected since the 1970s using citizen science data sets. Five of the 61 migratory shorebird species in this flyway are globally threatened. Two travel to Australia: the great knot and far eastern curlew. Threats to these birds are many. They include the loss of their critical habitats along their migration path, off-leash dogs disturbing them on Australian beaches, and climate change likely contracting their breeding grounds.

And what about hunting?

During their migration, shorebirds stop to rest and feed along a network of wetlands and mudflats. They appear predictably and in large numbers at certain sites, making them relatively easy targets for hunters. Estimating the extent to which birds are hunted over large areas was like completing a giant jigsaw puzzle. We spent many months scouring the literature, obtaining data and reports from colleagues then carefully assembling the pieces. We discovered that since the 1970s, three-quarters of all migratory shorebird species in the flyway have been hunted at some point. This includes almost all those visiting Australia and four of the five globally threatened species.

https://theconversation.com/be-still-my-beating-wings-hunters-kill-migrating-birds-on-their-10-000km-journey-to-australia-138382

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4. What lies beneath must be resurfaced — or the media is not doing its job to expose power and corruption

On Tuesday, the government — which has a number of former resources and energy sector executives and lobbyists working in its ranks — revealed it would, on the recommendation of a panel including a former executive of energy company Santos, seek to expand its failed emissions reduction fund to include carbon capture and storage projects, which Santos has heavily backed as a replacement for meaningful climate action.

https://www.crikey.com.au/2020/05/22/political-reporters-not-doing-their-job-power-corruption/

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5. What is a literature review?

Recently, I’m seeing a lot of papers submitted to or published in reputable journals that claim to be “comprehensive reviews” when they could not be further from the truth. Flawed review methods, no review methods, or a limited/localised observational study dressed up as a global review….

https://ecologyisnotadirtyword.com/2020/05/24/what-is-a-literature-review/

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6. Best-practice biodiversity safeguards for Belt and Road Initiative’s financiers

Best-practice biodiversity safeguards for Belt and Road Initiative’s financiers finds that very few financiers of China’s ambitious infrastructure development and investment programme have requirements on biodiversity impact mitigation even as it potentially impacts 150,000 sq. km. of critical habitat.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-020-0528-3

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7. Saving the environment via human rights
Is it possible? Is it likely? Appealing a coal mine using the HR Act

A group of young people in Queensland are challenging the approval of Clive Palmer’s giant Waratah coal mine. The challenge is based on human rights – a legal first in Australia – and it just might rewrite the law books.

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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