Dbytes #482 (1 July 2021)

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

“The fact we can’t even meet a target of making sure there’s up-to-date recovery plans and conservation advice for species, let alone implement it, that’s concerning.”
Ayesha Tulloch [see item 2.]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. The government’s idea of ‘national environment standards’ would entrench Australia’s global pariah status
2. Coalition fails to meet endangered species targets to stem decline of birds, mammals and plants
3. The wicked problem of complexity on the Great Barrier Reef
4. A Cold War deal on ice: The Antarctic Treaty at 60
5. ‘Historic moment’: Legal experts unveil new definition of ecocide
6. A lone tree makes it easier for birds and bees to navigate farmland, like a stepping stone between habitats
7. How best to serve young people with evidence?

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1. The government’s idea of ‘national environment standards’ would entrench Australia’s global pariah status

A growing global push to halt biodiversity decline, most recently agreed at the G7 on Sunday, leaves Australia out in the cold as the federal government walks away from critical reforms needed to protect threatened species. The centrepiece recommendation in a landmark independent review of Australia’s national environment law was to establish effective National Environment Standards. These standards would have drawn clear lines beyond which no further environmental damage is acceptable, and established an independent Environment Assurance Commissioner to ensure compliance. But the federal government has instead pushed ahead to propose its own, far weaker set of standards and establish a commissioner with very limited powers. The bill that paves the way for these standards is currently before parliament.

https://theconversation.com/the-governments-idea-of-national-environment-standards-would-entrench-australias-global-pariah-status-163082

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2. Coalition fails to meet endangered species targets to stem decline of birds, mammals and plants

Ecology experts say failure to hit five-year goals concerning although feral cat progress promising

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jun/26/coalition-fails-to-meet-endangered-species-targets-to-stem-decline-of-birds-mammals-and-plants

And see
Australia’s threatened species plan has failed on several counts. Without change, more extinctions are assured

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3. The wicked problem of complexity on the Great Barrier Reef

Rather than focus at the minutiae of this ‘in danger’ listing, let’s reflect on the bigger lessons provided by how we’re dealing with the decline of the Great Barrier Reef. Our systems of governance simply don’t handle complexity very well.https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

and see
Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 2019

The 2019 report [only released this year] is the third comprehensive report in the series, and identifies the Great Barrier Reef Region still faces significant pressures ranging in scale from local to global. The report finds the greatest threat to the Reef is still climate change. The other main threats are associated with coastal development, land-based run-off, and direct human use (such as illegal fishing).

GBRMPA – Outlook Report 2019

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4. A Cold War deal on ice: The Antarctic Treaty at 60

The remarkable resilience of what evolved into the Antarctic Treaty System cannot be an excuse for complacency. The treaty has evolved over the years into what is commonly referred to as the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS), which encompasses additional instruments such as the 1972 Seals Convention, 1980 Marine Living Resources Convention, and 1991 Madrid Protocol. Each has in their own way been a success, though debate over adoption of the Madrid Protocol came at the end of a tumultuous period when core treaty parties lead by Australia and France abandoned a negotiated minerals treaty.

A Cold War deal on ice: The Antarctic Treaty at 60 (lowyinstitute.org)

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5. ‘Historic moment’: Legal experts unveil new definition of ecocide

Authors of draft law want ICC members to adopt it in order to hold big polluters, including world leaders and corporate bosses, to account.

‘Historic moment’: Legal experts unveil new definition of ecocide | Climate News | Al Jazeera

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6. A lone tree makes it easier for birds and bees to navigate farmland, like a stepping stone between habitats

Vast, treeless paddocks and fields can be dangerous for wildlife, who encounter them as “roadblocks” between natural areas nearby. But our new research found even one lone tree in an otherwise empty paddock can make a huge difference to an animal’s movement. We focused on the Atlantic Forest in Brazil, a biodiversity hotspot with 1,361 different known species of wildlife, such as jaguars, sloths, tamarins and toucans. Habitat loss from expanding and intensifying farmland, however, increasingly threatens the forest’s rich diversity of species and ecosystems. We researched the value of paddock trees and hedges for birds and bees, and found small habitat features like these can double how easily they find their way through farmland.

https://theconversation.com/a-lone-tree-makes-it-easier-for-birds-and-bees-to-navigate-farmland-like-a-stepping-stone-between-habitats-162083

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7. How best to serve young people with evidence?

This paper makes the case for evidence-based policy, before recapping the history of the What Works movement and its particular structure in the United Kingdom. The remainder of the paper considers the advantages and disadvantages of greater integration and collaboration between centres, and concludes with some recommendations for how this might be achieved.
How best to serve young people with evidence? (apo.org.au)

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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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