Dbytes #472 (21 April 2021)

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

“I think ecosystem accounts could have something in common with lasers: when first discovered, nobody knew quite what to do with them, but over time they have become indispensable.”
Peter Burnett [see item 4]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Species on the move around the Australian coastline: a continental scale review of climate‐driven species redistribution in marine systems
2. ‘Enormous sum of money’: $40m windfall from NSW environmental offsets sparks calls for inquiry
3. Victoria’s new feral horse plan could actually protect the high country. NSW’s method remains cruel and ineffective
4. At last, an international standard for ecosystem accounting! Now what?
5. New WWF analysis shows huge potential for river restoration through barrier removal in Europe
6. WMO: State of the Global Climate 2020
7. An informed thought experiment exploring the potential for a paradigm shift in aquatic food production

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1. Species on the move around the Australian coastline: a continental scale review of climate‐driven species redistribution in marine systems

Climate‐driven changes in the distribution of species are a pervasive and accelerating impact of climate change, and despite increasing research effort in this rapidly emerging field, much remains unknown or poorly understood. We lack a holistic understanding of patterns and processes at local, regional and global scales, with detailed explorations of range shifts in the southern hemisphere particularly under‐represented. Australian waters encompass the world’s third largest marine jurisdiction, extending from tropical to sub‐Antarctic climate zones, and have waters warming at rates twice the global average in the north and two‐four times in the south. Here, we report the results of a multi‐taxon continent‐wide review describing observed and predicted species redistribution around the Australian coastline, and highlight critical gaps in knowledge impeding our understanding of, and response to, these considerable changes. Since range shifts were first reported in the region in 2003, 198 species from nine Phyla have been documented shifting their distribution, 87.3% of which are shifting poleward. However, there is little standardisation of methods or metrics reported in observed or predicted shifts, and both are hindered by a lack of baseline data. Our results demonstrate the importance of historical datasets and underwater visual surveys, and also highlight that approximately one‐fifth of studies incorporated citizen science. These findings emphasise the important role the public has had, and can continue to play, in understanding the impact of climate change. Most documented shifts are of coastal fish species in sub‐tropical and temperate systems, while tropical systems in general were poorly explored. Moreover, most distributional changes are only described at the poleward boundary, with few studies considering changes at the warmer, equatorward range limit. Through identifying knowledge gaps and research limitations, this review highlights future opportunities for strategic research effort to improve the representation of Australian marine species and systems in climate‐impact research.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/gcb.15634?utm_sq=gphhy1yel4&campaign=wolacceptedarticle

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2. ‘Enormous sum of money’: $40m windfall from NSW environmental offsets sparks calls for inquiry

Consultants from a company that advised government on western Sydney development bought land in the area and profited from taxpayer-funded offsets

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/apr/16/enormous-sum-of-money-40m-windfall-from-nsw-environmental-offsets-sparks-calls-for-inquiry?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

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3. Victoria’s new feral horse plan could actually protect the high country. NSW’s method remains cruel and ineffective

Feral horses are a catastrophic problem for the environment, particularly in the high country that crosses the New South Wales and Victoria border. To deal with this growing issue, the Victorian government has released a draft feral horse action plan, which is open for comment until April 23. It comes after Victoria’s old action plan from 2018 proved ineffective, with feral horse numbers increasing in the most recent counts in 2019. This is similar to New South Wales’ current performance, where feral horses are legally protected and numbers are essentially unmanaged.

https://theconversation.com/victorias-new-feral-horse-plan-could-actually-protect-the-high-country-nsws-method-remains-cruel-and-ineffective-158317

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4. At last, an international standard for ecosystem accounting! Now what?

A backgrounder on the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting – Ecosystem Accounts.

The adoption of the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting – Ecosystem Accounts (SEEA EA) is a big deal. It should mean that national statisticians, treasury departments and other key government agencies will accept statistics derived from ecosystem accounts as being just as authoritative as mainstream economic statistics, which are derived from the National Accounts.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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5. New WWF analysis shows huge potential for river restoration through barrier removal in Europe

A new report published today by WWF demonstrates the massive potential of barrier removal to restore free-flowing rivers in Europe. The report analyses a sample of 30,000 barriers, such as dams and weirs, on large and medium-sized rivers in Europe and assesses their reconnection potential, providing a breakdown for Europe, the EU27, and by country.

https://www.wwf.eu/?2898441/New-WWF-analysis-shows-huge-potential-for-river-restoration-through-barrier-removal-in-Europe

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6. WMO: State of the Global Climate 2020

“It has been 28 years since the World Meteorological Organization issued the first state of the climate report in 1993, due to the concerns raised at that time about projected climate change. While understanding of the climate system and computing power have increased since then, the basic message remains the same and we now have 28 more years of data that show significant temperature increases over land and sea as well as other changes like sea level rise, melting of sea ice and glaciers and changes in precipitation patterns.  This underscores the robustness of climate science based on the physical laws governing the behaviour of the climate system,” said WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas.

Climate change indicators and impacts worsened in 2020 | World Meteorological Organization (wmo.int)

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7. An informed thought experiment exploring the potential for a paradigm shift in aquatic food production

Neolithic and Blue Revolutions comparison to explore two narratives: an aquaculture transition or coexistence with fisheries.
Environmental and cultural similarities provide support for a more ubiquitous transition from fishing to aquaculture.
Human advancements impact the trajectory, rate of change and/or potential replacement of fisheries by aquaculture in society.
Society can now choose the balance between fisheries and aquaculture through proactive governance mechanisms.

An informed thought experiment exploring the potential for a paradigm shift in aquatic food production – ScienceDirect

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

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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