Dbytes #439 (20 August 2020)

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


“As a patchwork of farms overlaid on traditional Wathaurong land, the Western Grassland Reserve [west of Melbourne] could be shaped into one of the greatest large parks of the world – a cultural landscape capturing a quintessential Australian experience, speaking of Indigenous culture, our colonial past, and who we are today.”
Adrian Marshall [see item 1]

In this issue of Dbytes

1. These historic grasslands are becoming a weed-choked waste. It could be one of the world’s great parks
2. Science Must Embrace Traditional and Indigenous Knowledge to Solve Our Biodiversity Crisis
3. State of the Environment Report co-chiefs appointed
4. Bureau of Meteorology: under pressure to toe the Coalition line on climate change?
5. Insect declines: Apocalypse Now to Great Expectations
6. Happy Earth-Overshoot Day!
7. Orange-bellied parrots, all but extinct, survive Tasmanian summer only to die migrating

-~<>~-

1. These historic grasslands are becoming a weed-choked waste. It could be one of the world’s great parks

Volcanic plains stretching from Melbourne’s west to the South Australian border were once home to native grasslands strewn with wildflowers and a vast diversity of animals. Today, this grassland ecosystem is critically endangered. To protect the last remaining large-scale patch, the Victorian government proposed the “Western Grassland Reserve”. But in June, a damning Auditor General’s report revealed this plan has fallen flat.

https://theconversation.com/these-historic-grasslands-are-becoming-a-weed-choked-waste-it-could-be-one-of-the-worlds-great-parks-144208?utm_medium=amptwitter&utm_source=twitter

-~<>~-

2. Science Must Embrace Traditional and Indigenous Knowledge to Solve Our Biodiversity Crisis

Traditional and Indigenous knowledge has successfully preserved and restored biodiversity across the globe. However, its recognition as being as equally valid as Western science as a way of knowing remains lacking. If we are to preserve global biodiversity and rewild key habitats, science and Indigenous knowledge must work in partnership while also being restitutive and rights based.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.oneear.2020.07.006

-~<>~-

3. State of the Environment Report co-chiefs appointed

An international authority on Indigenous cultural and intellectual property and two of Australia’s most distinguished environmental scientists have been appointed as co chief authors of the 2021 National State of the Environment Report (SoE). Professor Emma Johnston, Dr Ian Cresswell and Dr Terri Janke will lead an expert team conducting a five yearly independent review on the state of the Australian environment. This is the first time the report will have co-chief authors and in what is another first for the reporting process, an Indigenous co-chief author has been appointed to strengthen the link between traditional and western science.

https://minister.awe.gov.au/ley/media-releases/state-environment-report-co-chiefs-appointed

4. Bureau of Meteorology: under pressure to toe the Coalition line on climate change?

While the UK’s Met Office is out there educating the public, BoM is remarkably coy about any public discussion of climate change. Its failure to attribute individual events to climate change is a form of censorship and no longer practiced by climate scientists and meteorologists. Questions have also been asked whether its senior leadership is too close to the gas industry.

https://www.michaelwest.com.au/bureau-of-meteorology-under-pressure-to-toe-the-coalition-line-on-climate-change/?mc_cid=138ae50482&mc_eid=bdd43ba6c5

-~<>~-

5. Insect declines: Apocalypse Now to Great Expectations

Some interesting syntheses of long-term insect data have been published in the last few months. These synthesis studies attempt to provide an answer to the big question mark raised by the recent insect apocalypse narrative.

This is how much of an impact a single study that gets lots of attention can have on the direction of science. The insectageddon opinion piece that started this ball rolling had fundamental flaws that are now well-documented (unfortunately it is still being widely cited in scientific literature and popular media as supposed evidence of decline). Sure, one could argue it got people talking about an important issue that we already had decades of evidence for.

But at what cost? Its long-term effects on science communication and scientific efforts are most concerning

https://ecologyisnotadirtyword.com/2020/08/13/insect-declines-apocalypse-now-to-great-expectations/

-~<>~-

6. Happy Earth-Overshoot Day!

Saturday is Earth Overshoot Day, the date when humanity will have used “all the biological resources that Earth can renew during the entire year,” as calculated by Global Footprint Network, an environmental research organization.

The group has been doing this annual assessment since 2006. That year, Earth Overshoot Day fell in October. The date then crept earlier every year until this one, when the coronavirus pandemic put a dent in the global economy.

https://www.footprintnetwork.org/2020/06/05/press-release-june-2020-earth-overshoot-day/
&
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/19/climate/earth-overshoot-day.html

-~<>~-

7. Orange-bellied parrots, all but extinct, survive Tasmanian summer only to die migrating

Study finds efforts to bolster breeding ground population were successful but the good work is undone when migratory species flies north

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/aug/17/orange-bellied-parrots-all-but-extinct-survive-tasmanian-summer-only-to-die-migrating?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

-~<>~-

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