Dbytes #449 (28 October 2020)

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

“If you are not going to effectively control feral horses in national parks you are better off handing the land back to the graziers.”
Andrew Cox [see item 1]

In this issue of Dbytes

1. Guy Fawkes horse cull – two decades on and national parks in crisis
2. Disbanding of GBR Ministerial Council
Dissonance & disaster
4. Government wants military response to climate change breakdown
5. Questioning the extinction of experience hypothesis – urban residents do care about nature!
6. Debunking Handbook 2020
7. Australian threatened species at risk with no recovery plans finalised in past 18 months


1. Guy Fawkes horse cull – two decades on and national parks in crisis

An environmental crisis in NSW national parks is the fallout from two decades of failed horse control sparked by the controversial Guy Fawkes River National Park feral horse cull 20 years ago.

“The field evidence is in and the blanket ban on aerial culling in NSW has been a disaster for our national parks as horse populations in parks are without effective control,” Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox said today.
“Horse numbers have exploded and native wildlife are slowly being replaced by a single species – the common horse.
“On the 20th anniversary of the Guy Fawkes incident it is time we learnt from the past and came up with more effective ways of controlling feral horses in remote and inaccessible national parks.”



2. Disbanding of GBR Ministerial Council

Review of COAG Councils and Ministerial Forums (the Conran Report) recommends disbanding of GBR Ministerial Council and some other env councils



3. Dissonance & disaster
In the last two decades there have been 7,348 recorded disaster events worldwide. By comparison, the previous 20-year period saw 4,212 reported disasters from natural hazards. The rise in climate-related emergencies was the main reason for the spike. And poorer nations experience deaths rates more than four times higher than richer nations. It’s not fair or sustainable.



4. Government wants military response to climate change breakdown

The hypocrisy is extraordinary. On the one hand the Coalition Government reluctantly concedes that climate change exists at all and does little of substance to try to counteract it . Yet on the other hand it is dedicating substantial resources to establish a wide-ranging and powerful authority to tackle what it sees as the perceived threats of disaster from climate change. A bill being rushed through parliament – the Defence Legislation Amendment (Enhancement of Defence Force Response to Emergencies) Bill 2020 – is raising concerns that the Government is preparing for a militarised response to climate breakdown.



5. Questioning the extinction of experience hypothesis – urban residents do care about nature!

We found that urban residents today are more strongly connected to nature, and had similar daily experiences of nature, compared to those from 22 years ago.



6. Debunking Handbook 2020

The Debunking Handbook 2020 summarises the current state of the science of misinformation and its debunking. It was written by a team of 22 prominent scholars of misinformation and its debunking, and it represents the current consensus on the science of debunking for engaged citizens, policymakers, journalists, and other practitioners.



7. Australian threatened species at risk with no recovery plans finalised in past 18 months

The federal environment department has not finalised a single recovery plan for threatened species in nearly 18 months despite 172 remaining outstanding. A Senate committee has heard the department last completed a recovery plan for a threatened species in June 2019 and has no timeframe for addressing the backlog, which includes critically endangered animals such as the Leadbeater’s possum.

Greens senators said the revelation was “appalling” and accused the Morrison government of prioritising the fast-tracking of development over environmental protection. The Australian Conservation Foundation said the figures were “exceptionally troubling”, particularly when considered in light of the 2019-20 bushfire crisis.


From the Dbytes archive: Does recovery planning benefit threatened species?
And what should we do if it doesn’t?

Bottrill MC, JC Walsh, JEM Watson, LN Joseph, A Ortega-Argueta & HP Possingham (2011). Does recovery planning improve the status of threatened species?
Biological Conservation doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2011.02.008

see page 4-5


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.

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