Dbytes #477 (26 May 2021)

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

“From a policy point of view, there is a complete disconnect between the size of the problem (enormous) and the approach to the solution (narrow focus, tiny resources). Governments are not irrational; when they do something that seems irrational it’s usually because they are actually solving a different problem. In this case, I think the problem they are solving is the political problem of being seen to be doing something credible about a problem that they either don’t acknowledge or don’t want to engage with.”
Peter Burnett on the new Threatened Species Strategy [see items 1 & 2]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Threatened Species Strategy 2021-2031
2. Words are cheap, but conservation is expensive
3. The 50 beautiful Australian plants at greatest risk of extinction — and how to save them
4. Climate adaptation interventions for iconic fauna
5. Arctic assessment report shows faster rate of warming
6. Impact of feral deer, pigs and goats in Australia

7. Native forest logging makes bushfires worse – and to say otherwise ignores the facts

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1. Threatened Species Strategy 2021-2031

The Threatened Species Strategy is the Australian Government’s way forward for prioritising action and investment, setting the direction for efforts to recover our threatened plants, animals and ecological communities over the next ten years.

The Threatened Species Strategy 2021-2031 will be underpinned by consecutive 5‑year Action Plans. These Action Plans will identify priority species and places, concrete actions and practical, measurable targets to assess progress. A new Action Plan for 2021 to 2026 is now in preparation. Commencing from June 2021, the department will seek feedback from stakeholders on the new Action Plan.

http://environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/strategy-home

ACF commentary on the new strategy:
“Our governments have an appalling record on protecting Australia’s unique species. Even some animals that are officially honoured are actually neglected. Victoria’s faunal emblem, Leadbeater’s Possum, is critically endangered. In 2015 the federal government promised ‘a revised Recovery Plan will be completed by mid-2016, driving action to turn around the decline of the Leadbeater’s Possum.’ Six years later, we are still waiting. Under this new strategy, funding for threatened species falls well short of what’s required.”

and see item 2

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2. Words are cheap, but conservation is expensive

What is it the Government is trying to achieve with its new Threatened Species Strategy? It’s stated aim, as its title suggests, is saving threatened species. However, if you consider the evidence it’s hard not to conclude its real aim is something very different.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3. The 50 beautiful Australian plants at greatest risk of extinction — and how to save them

To help prevent the loss of any native plant species, we’ve assembled a massive evidence base for more than 750 plants listed as critically endangered or endangered. Of these, we’ve identified the 50 at greatest risk of extinction. The good news is for most of these imperilled plants, we already have the knowledge and techniques needed to conserve them. We’ve devised an action plan that’s relatively easy to implement, but requires long-term funding and commitment.

https://theconversation.com/the-50-beautiful-australian-plants-at-greatest-risk-of-extinction-and-how-to-save-them-160362

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4. Climate adaptation interventions for iconic fauna

Climate adaptation is an emerging practice in biodiversity conservation, but little is known about the scope, scale, and effectiveness of implemented actions. Here, we review and synthesize published reports of climate adaptation interventions for iconic fauna. We present a systematic map of peer-reviewed literature databases (Web of Science and Scopus); however, only nine climate adaptation actions targeting iconic fauna were returned. In the grey and informal literature, there were many instances of practical intervention within our scope, that were not uncovered during traditional systematic search methods. The richness of actions reported in commercial news, government and non-government organization media outlets and other online sources vastly outweighs the limited studies that have been robustly evaluated and reported in the scientific literature. From our investigation of this emerging field of conservation practice, we draw insights and pen a series of recommendations for the field moving forward. Key recommendations for future adaptation interventions include: the sharing and publishing of climate-related conservation interventions, the use of standardized metrics for reporting outcomes, the implementation of experimental controls for any actions undertaken, and reporting and evaluation of both failures and successes.

https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/csp2.434

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5. Arctic assessment report shows faster rate of warming

New observations show that the increase in Arctic average surface temperature between 1979 and 2019 was three times higher than the global average during this period – higher than previously reported – according to the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP).

Arctic assessment report shows faster rate of warming | World Meteorological Organization (wmo.int)

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6. Impact of feral deer, pigs and goats in Australia

Key findings:
-All jurisdictions to remove impediments to feral deer control on private and public lands.
-The elimination of feral deer from all World Heritage Areas and other areas of environmental significance.
-Implementation, supported by long-term funding, of a national pig and deer action plan.
-Feral deer and pig coordinators to report yearly to national, state and territory parliaments.
-Listing of feral deer as a key threatening process under federal environmental law.
-Provision of funding beyond 2022 for the research body Centre for Invasive Species Solutions.
-The Commonwealth to hold a Productivity Commission inquiry into invasive species management.

Impact of feral deer, pigs and goats in Australia – Parliament of Australia (aph.gov.au)

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7. Native forest logging makes bushfires worse – and to say otherwise ignores the facts

Taking timber from forests dramatically changes their structure, making them more vulnerable to bushfires. And, crucially for the Black Summer bushfires, logged forests are more likely to burn out of control. Naturally, the drivers of the fires were widely debated during and after the disaster. Research published earlier this month, for example, claimed native forest logging did not make the fires worse. We believe these findings are too narrowly focused and in fact, misleading. They overlook a vast body of evidence that crown fire – the most extreme type of bushfire behaviour, in which tree canopies burn – is more likely in logged native forests.

Native forest logging makes bushfires worse – and to say otherwise ignores the facts (theconversation.com)

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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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