Dbytes #451 (11 November 2020)

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


“The biggest threat to the species [orange bellied parrot] is its small population, so I will celebrate every time there’s more birds that survive migration and winter,” Dejan Stojanovic in Orange bellied parrot: best year in a decade for critically endangered bird


In this issue of Dbytes

1. The politics of biodiversity offsetting across time and institutional scales
2. The frog in the equation – in this story, the sting is in the tale.
3. Great Barrier Reef credit scheme sees global bank paying farmers to improve practices
4. Navigating spaces between conservation research and practice: Are we making progress?
5. COVID-19 Response and Recovery – Nature-Based Solutions for People, Planet and Prosperity
6. National Priority List of Exotic Environmental Pests, Weeds and Diseases released
7. Importance of species translocations under rapid climate change


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1. The politics of biodiversity offsetting across time and institutional scales

Biodiversity offsetting—actions aimed to produce biodiversity gains to compensate for development impacts—has become an important but controversial instrument of sustainability governance. To understand how this occurred, we conducted a discourse analysis, iteratively applying a qualitative coding system to 197 policy documents produced between 1958 and 2019 across four institutional scales. We show that offsetting has historically been promoted by reformist approaches, which encourage economic growth without consideration of biocultural limits. More recently, those promoting more transformative approaches have reinterpreted offsetting as an instrument to transition towards sustainable economies respectful of planetary boundaries. However, we show that enacting this approach requires major structural governance changes that challenge the dominance of reformist coalitions across scales. Such changes would need to include a commitment by institutions to renounce non-essential projects and avoid damage and for offset stakeholders to become aware of how their contributions become enrolled in the service of specific discourses. Without such changes, offsetting risks structurally encouraging conservationists to produce natures compatible with a status quo development, rather than to advance transformative practices for biocultural diversity.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-020-00636-9

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2. The frog in the equation – in this story, the sting is in the tale.

What do boiling frogs, drowning frogs and disappearing frogs have to tell us about sustainability? (And why has that canary just fallen of its perch? And who let in that elephant?!)

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3. Great Barrier Reef credit scheme sees global bank paying farmers to improve practices

HSBC has become the first corporate investor in reef credits, paying a farmer to improve practices to protect the Great Barrier Reef. Australian company GreenCollar launches a market mechanism in response to calls for an incentivised water-quality program. The farmer was paid an undisclosed sum to prevent 3,000kg of nitrogen from entering the reef.

ABC Rural

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4. Navigating spaces between conservation research and practice: Are we making progress?

Despite aspirations for conservation impact, mismatches between research and implementation have limited progress towards this goal. There is, therefore, an urgent need to identify how we can more effectively navigate the spaces between research and practice.

In 2014, we ran a workshop with conservation researchers and practitioners to identify mismatches between research and implementation that needed to be overcome to deliver evidence‐informed conservation action. Five mismatches were highlighted: spatial, temporal, priority, communication, and institutional.

Here, we report on the outcomes of a follow up workshop in 2019, reflect on what has changed over the past 5 years, and offer 10 recommendations for strengthening the alignment of conservation research and practice.

https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2688-8319.12028

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5. COVID-19 Response and Recovery – Nature-Based Solutions for People, Planet and Prosperity

WASHINGTON (October 28, 2020)—Today CEOs from 22 leading conservation and sustainable development organizations, including the World Resources Institute, have come together in unparalleled consensus to urge policymakers to integrate nature into COVID-19 response and recovery efforts. The group released a set of recommendations for policymakers, COVID-19 Response and Recovery: Nature-Based Solutions for People, Planet and Prosperity.

https://www.wri.org/news/2020/10/statement-covid-19-response-and-recovery-nature-based-solutions-people-planet-prosperity?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=worldresources&utm_campaign=socialmedia&utm_term=75bbca2e-cb1c-49c1-b2d8-7933e2c75c92

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6. National Priority List of Exotic Environmental Pests, Weeds and Diseases released

The National Priority List of Exotic Environmental Pests, Weeds and Diseases was released today which delivers on a recommendation of the 2017 review of Australia’s biosecurity system.

https://minister.awe.gov.au/littleproud/media-releases/national-priority-list-exotic-environmental-pests-weeds-and-diseases-released

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7. Importance of species translocations under rapid climate change

Species that cannot adapt or keep pace with a changing climate are likely to need human intervention to shift to more suitable climates. While hundreds of articles mention using translocation as a climate‐change adaptation tool, in practice, assisted migration as a conservation action remains rare, especially for animals. This is likely due to concern over introducing species to places where they may become invasive. However, there are other barriers to consider, such as time‐frame mismatch, sociopolitical, knowledge and uncertainty barriers to conservationists adopting assisted migration as a go‐to strategy. We recommend the following to advance assisted migration as a conservation tool: attempt assisted migrations at small scales, translocate species with little invasion risk, adopt robust monitoring protocols that trigger an active response, and promote political and public support.

https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cobi.13643#.X4ZBwDcEiI4.twitter

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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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