Dbytes #456 (15 December 2020)

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


“The European bison and twenty-five other species recoveries documented in today’s IUCN Red List update demonstrate the power of conservation Yet the growing list of Extinct species is a stark reminder that conservation efforts must urgently expand. To tackle global threats such as unsustainable fisheries, land clearing for agriculture, and invasive species, conservation needs to happen around the world and be incorporated into all sectors of the economy.”
Bruno Oberle, IUCN Director General [see item 2]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Understanding Australia’s Kyoto Carryover Credits
2. European bison recovering, 31 species declared Extinct – IUCN Red List
3. 2040 foresight – humanity’s shifting niche in the Anthropocene
4. Indigenous and Local Knowledge in Environmental Management for Human-Nature Connectedness
5. A robust goal is needed for species in the Post‐2020 Global Biodiversity Framework
6. Tasmanian devils look set to conquer their own pandemic
7. A famous failure: Why were cane toads an ineffective biocontrol in Australia?

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1. Understanding Australia’s Kyoto Carryover Credits

The Australien Government was not allowed to speak at the latest Climate Summit, so it made an ad about its climate policy instead – and it’s surprisingly honest and informative.

[This very funny parody comes with a language warning. I highly recommend it as an excellent guide to our country’s duplicity over climate change. Think of it as my Christmas Card to you, which is why I rank it as item 1. The Editor]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92t8np88fEI

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2. European bison recovering, 31 species declared Extinct – IUCN Red List

The European bison (Bison bonasus), Europe’s largest land mammal, has moved from Vulnerable to Near Threatened thanks to continued conservation efforts, according to today’s update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. With this update, 31 species also move into the Extinct category, and all of the world’s freshwater dolphin species are now threatened with extinction.

European bison recovering, 31 species declared Extinct – IUCN Red List | IUCN

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3. 2040 foresight – humanity’s shifting niche in the Anthropocene
Banking on yesterday’s ‘normal’ is the worst form of denial

In Australia we are led by a Conservative government that is in profound denial of what the ‘new normal’ means. They place their faith in technology to deliver an endlessly growing economy in which no-one needs to sacrifice a scintilla of their way of life – it’s win win all the way. They believe the certainty of yesteryear will return with a few percentage points of extra productivity and maybe a slightly better resourced emergency services sector.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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4. Indigenous and Local Knowledge in Environmental Management for Human-Nature Connectedness

Indigenous peoples represent 5% of the world population. Although they play a key role in environmental management as they influence more than one quarter of the earth’s surface and hold unique indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) valuable for sustainable stewardship of nature, the consideration of ILK in environmental management is still limited. In their recent study, Burgos-Ayala et al. (2020) explore how environmental government institutions in Colombia have involved indigenous communities and their ILK in environmental management projects between 2004 and 2015. In order to identify where and how these projects fostered transformative change within indigenous territories, the authors applied a leverage points (LP) perspective.

Indigenous and Local Knowledge in Environmental Management for Human-Nature Connectedness: A Leverage Points Perspective – SCIENCE FOR SUSTAINABILITY (wordpress.com)

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5. A robust goal is needed for species in the Post‐2020 Global Biodiversity Framework

In 2010, Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 to address the loss and degradation of nature. Subsequently, most biodiversity indicators continued to decline. Nevertheless, conservation actions can make a positive difference for biodiversity. The emerging Post‐2020 Global Biodiversity Framework has potential to catalyze efforts to “bend the curve” of biodiversity loss. Thus, the inclusion of a goal on species, articulated as Goal B in the Zero Draft of the Post‐2020 Framework, is essential. However, as currently formulated, this goal is inadequate for preventing extinctions, and reversing population declines; both of which are required to achieve the CBD’s 2030 Mission. We contend it is unacceptable that Goal B could be met while most threatened species deteriorated in status and many avoidable species extinctions occurred. We examine the limitations of the current wording and propose an articulation with robust scientific basis. A goal for species that strives to end extinctions and recover populations of all species that have experienced population declines, and especially those at risk of extinction, would help to align actors toward the transformative actions and interventions needed for humans to live in harmony with nature.

The Society for Conservation Biology (wiley.com)

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6. Tasmanian devils look set to conquer their own pandemic

In the midst of a human pandemic, we have some good news about a wildlife one: our new research, published today in Science, shows Tasmanian devils are likely to survive despite the infectious cancer that has ravaged their populations.

Tasmanian devils look set to conquer their own pandemic (theconversation.com)

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7. A famous failure: Why were cane toads an ineffective biocontrol in Australia?

In 1935, cane toads (Rhinella marina) were brought to Australia to control insect pests. The devastating ecological impacts of that introduction have attracted extensive research, but the toads’ impact on their original targets has never been evaluated. Our analyses confirm that sugar production did not increase significantly after the anurans were released, possibly because toads reduced rates of predation on beetle pests by consuming some of the native predators of those beetles (ants), fatally poisoning others (varanid lizards), and increasing abundances of crop‐eating rodents (that can consume toads without ill‐effect). In short, any direct benefit of toads on agricultural production (via consumption of insect pests) likely was outweighed by negative effects that were mediated via the toads’ impacts on other taxa. Like the toad’s impacts on native wildlife, indirect ecological effects of the invader may have outweighed direct effects of toads on crop production.

The Society for Conservation Biology (wiley.com)

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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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