Dbytes #480 (16 June 2021)

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

“Human brains hate probability, they hate ambiguity, they hate the uncertainty. We’re just not wired to deal with this sort of thing very well.”
Regina Nuzzo [see items 5 and 3]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Becoming #GenerationRestoration: Ecosystem Restoration for People, Nature and Climate
2. Valuing multiple threatened species and ecological communities in Australia
3. Risky business: When dealing with complexity, it all comes down to trust?
4. A healthy environment as a human right
5. Fat Chance: Writing about Probability
6. Factors affecting success of conservation translocations of terrestrial vertebrates: A global systematic review

7. The teaching-research ‘balance’ as an ECR

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1. Becoming #GenerationRestoration: Ecosystem Restoration for People, Nature and Climate
This report presents the case for why we all must throw our weight behind a global restoration effort. Drawing on the latest scientific evidence, it explains the crucial role played by ecosystems from forests and farmland to rivers and oceans, and charts the losses that result from our poor stewardship of the planet.

ERPNC.pdf (unep.org)

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2. Valuing multiple threatened species and ecological communities in Australia
Australia has more than 1,700 species and ecological communities that are known to be threatened and at risk of extinction. Given the large number of species to protect and limited funding, there needs to be an understanding of the values that Australians place on threatened species to assist decision makers in how to appropriately invest in conservation actions.  Apart from threat status, the costs and benefits of an investment play an important part in assessing proposed investments to ensure our decisions are good value for money. Up to now, there was only a few estimates available for the species listed in the Australian Government’s Threatened Species Strategy (TSS). This major gap was contributing to poor investment choice in conservation. Using accepted economic theories, this research has determined a set of benefit estimates for 14 species including: birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, plants, and two ecological communities. The team has developed and populated a database of market and non-market values of threatened species and developed guidelines for use.  The estimates can be used in setting management priorities, assessing proposed investments on species conservation projects, informing environmental accounting, and conducting benefit-cost-analysis and benefit transfer for conservation projects.

The new estimates for the 14 species are listed in the report.  The results of two case studies showed an aggregate value of benefits for conserving Superb parrot (i.e. moving from the current risk level to lowest risk level) is AU$ 8.8 million per year for 20 years, and for the Painted Honeyeater the aggregate value of benefitsis AU$ 5.8 million per year for 20 years.

Ref: Gunawardena, A., Burton, M., Pandit, R., Garnett, S.T., Zander, K.K., and Pannell, D. (2020).Valuing multiple threatened species and ecological communities in Australia. Final report to the National Environment Science Program, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, Brisbane. 15 December 2020.

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3. Risky business: When dealing with complexity, it all comes down to trust?

At the very time we should be placing a premium on trust and cooperation to help us navigate the choppy waters ahead, our political leaders seem instead hell bent on ramping up prejudice and tribal fear. Populism and nationalism seem to be winning formula, trust seems to be the victim.

If we believed in the integrity our elected leaders then we would all be in a much better position when it came to making our own decisions in the face of enormous (and often growing) uncertainty and risk.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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4. A healthy environment as a human right

UN recognition would strengthen legal arguments for preserving nature

A healthy environment as a human right (knowablemagazine.org)

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5. Fat Chance: Writing about Probability

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, almost every choice we have made in our day-to-day lives has required careful consideration of the odds. How dangerous is going to the supermarket at peak time? Is it safe to see friends after getting one vaccine shot? Will children get sick, or spread the virus to others, if they go back to school?

https://www.theopennotebook.com/2021/05/11/fat-chance-writing-about-probability/

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6. Factors affecting success of conservation translocations of terrestrial vertebrates: A global systematic review

Translocation—moving individuals for release in different locations—is among the most important conservation interventions for increasing or re-establishing populations of threatened species. However, translocations often fail. To improve their effectiveness, we need to understand the features that distinguish successful from failed translocations. We assembled and analysed a global database of translocations of terrestrial vertebrates (n = 514) to assess the effects of various design features and extrinsic factors on success. We analysed outcomes using standardised metrics: a categorical success/failure classification; and population growth rate. Probability of categorical success and population growth rate increased with the total number of individuals released but with diminishing returns above about 20–50 individuals. Positive outcomes—categorical success and high population growth—were less likely for translocations in Oceania, possibly because invasive species are a major threat in this region and are difficult to control at translocation sites. Rates of categorical success and population growth were higher in Europe and North America than elsewhere, suggesting the key role of context in positive translocation outcomes. Categorical success has increased throughout the 20th century, but that increase may have plateaued at about 75% since about 1990. Our results suggest there is potential for further increase in the success of conservation translocations. This could be best achieved by greater investment in individual projects, as indicated by total number of animals released, which has not increased over time.

Factors affecting success of conservation translocations of terrestrial vertebrates: A global systematic review – ScienceDirect

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7. The teaching-research ‘balance’ as an ECR

This blog is not to whinge. I love my job, I love teaching and I really love the units I teach. I am not the only academic to experience teaching fatigue. But it is unsustainable and new staff members, particularly early career researchers, seem to suffer this most. Yet it’s a ‘too hard basket’ problem that most academics don’t know what to do about.

The teaching-research ‘balance’ as an ECR – Ecology is not a dirty word

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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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