Dbytes #434 (15 July 2020)

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


“Regulatory reform – particularly green tape – is top of the industry’s agenda as we work with the Australian Government to implement steps to help the oil and gas industry support the nation’s economic recovery,” said APPEA Chief Executive Andrew McConville.
[And see Framing environmental regulation as ‘green tape’]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Protecting 30% of planet could bolster economy
2. Our field cameras melted in the bushfires. When we opened them, the results were startling
3. Coral bleaching detected off Kimberley coast
4. Priorities and Motivations of Marine Coastal Restoration Research
5. Teaching resources: history and philosophy of ecology
6. Birdwatching increased tenfold last lockdown. Don’t stop, it’s a huge help for bushfire recovery
7. Health trumps economy; economy trumps environment

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1. Protecting 30% of planet could bolster economy

Scientists claim widespread conservation can bring rewards if right policies are followed. Nearly a third of the world’s oceans and land area could be placed under environmental protections without harming the global economy, and even produce bumper economic benefits if the right policies were followed, according to a global assessment.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jul/08/protecting-30-planet-could-bolster-economy-study-says?CMP=share_btn_tw

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2. Our field cameras melted in the bushfires. When we opened them, the results were startling

In late summer, male northern corroboree frogs call for a female mate. It’s a good time to survey their numbers: simply call out “Hey, frog!” in a low, deep voice and the males call back. This year, the survey was vital. Bushfires had torn through the habitat of the critically endangered species. We urgently needed to know how many survived.

In late February we trekked into Kosciuszko National Park, through a landscape left charred by the ferocious Dunns Road fire. We surveyed the scene, calling out: “Hey, frog!”. At ponds not severely burnt, reasonable numbers of northern corroboree frogs responded. At badly burnt sites where frogs had been found for 20 years, we were met with silence. The adults there had likely died.

https://theconversation.com/our-field-cameras-melted-in-the-bushfires-when-we-opened-them-the-results-were-startling-139922

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3. Coral bleaching detected off Kimberley coast

Scientists have discovered a significant coral bleaching event at one of Western Australia’s healthiest coral reefs. More than 250 kilometres west of Broome, the Rowley Shoals is one of only two reef systems in the State to have recorded high and stable coral cover throughout the past decade.

In April and May 2020, the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) conducted surveys of the reef system, supported by Parks Australia and Australian Border Force, to confirm reports of significant coral bleaching. Data obtained revealed that bleaching was variable across the Rowley Shoals, with estimates ranging between one and 30 percent of the corals bleached. One site on Clerke Reef experienced up to 60 percent of the corals bleached.

https://www.aims.gov.au/news-and-media/coral-bleaching-detected-kimberley-coast

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4. Priorities and Motivations of Marine Coastal Restoration Research

Active restoration is becoming an increasingly important conservation intervention to counteract the degradation of marine coastal ecosystems. Understanding what has motivated the scientific community to research the restoration of marine coastal ecosystems and how restoration research projects are funded is essential if we want to scale-up restoration interventions to meaningful extents. Here, we systematically review and synthesize data to understand the motivations for research on the restoration of coral reefs, seagrass, mangroves, saltmarsh, and oyster reefs.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00484/full?&utm_source=Email_to_authors_&utm_medium=Email&utm_content=T1_11.5e1_author&utm_campaign=Email_publication&field=&journalName=Frontiers_in_Marine_Science&id=544776

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5. Teaching resources: history and philosophy of ecology

Modern science is founded on western philosophy, so it’s understandable that European science gets most of the attention. But despite what most of us learned at school, scientists aren’t all male and there were many non-European scientists that contributed to the development of modern scientific knowledge. Most importantly, Indigenous people’s knowledge is tied to place, and we often ignore the wealth of knowledge about ecological interactions and processes that Indigenous cultures hold, as well as the respectful environmental interaction (management) that is embedded in country and culture.

This is a list of some good resources that I found useful to highlight an inclusive history of the development of ecological science, at an introductory level. There are more nuanced details, but these resources simply highlight the important fact that science has developed from diverse minds, not just a select few white guys. Some of those famous guys deserve the credit, others don’t so much.

https://ecologyisnotadirtyword.com/2020/07/09/teaching-resources-history-and-philosophy-of-ecology/

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6. Birdwatching increased tenfold last lockdown. Don’t stop, it’s a huge help for bushfire recovery

Many Victorians returning to stage three lockdown will be looking for ways to pass the hours at home. And some will be turning to birdwatching. When Australians first went into lockdown in March, the combination of border closures, lockdowns and the closure of burnt areas from last summer’s bushfires meant those who would have travelled far and wide to watch their favourite birds, instead stayed home. Yet, Australians are reporting bird sightings at record rates – they’ve just changed where and how they do it.

https://theconversation.com/birdwatching-increased-tenfold-last-lockdown-dont-stop-its-a-huge-help-for-bushfire-recovery-141970

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7. Health trumps economy; economy trumps environment

Traditional economic advice is taking a back seat to health advice, and expert advice on protecting the environment is usually given low priority. Until the environment is perceived as central to our sustainable health and wellbeing (and under immediate threat), it will always be trumped by other values.

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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