Dbytes #490 (25 August 2021)

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

“Tragically, we have identified an additional three frog species that are very likely to be extinct. Another four species on our list are still surviving, but not likely to make it to 2040 without help.”
Gillespie et al [see item 5]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Dead, shrivelled frogs are unexpectedly turning up across eastern Australia. We need your help to find out why
2. Navigating Trade-Offs Between Dams and River Conservation
3. Administrative law: like the Curate’s egg, boring in parts, but environmentally useful nonetheless
4. Conservation needs to break free from global priority mapping
5. We name the 26 Australian frogs at greatest risk of extinction by 2040 — and how to save them
6. Land of opportunity: more sustainable Australian farming would protect our lucrative exports (and the planet)
7. Putting the cat before the wildlife: Exploring cat owners’ beliefs about cat containment as predictors of owner behavior
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1. Dead, shrivelled frogs are unexpectedly turning up across eastern Australia. We need your help to find out why

Over the past few weeks, we’ve received a flurry of emails from concerned people who’ve seen sick and dead frogs across eastern Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

Dead, shrivelled frogs are unexpectedly turning up across eastern Australia. We need your help to find out why (theconversation.com)

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2. Navigating Trade-Offs Between Dams and River Conservation

Connected and healthy rivers deliver diverse benefits that are often overlooked: freshwater fish stocks that improve food security for hundreds of millions of people, nutrient-rich sediment that supports agriculture and keeps deltas above rising seas, floodplains that help mitigate the impact of floods, and a wealth of biodiversity. Navigating Trade-Offs Between Dams And River Conservation, a new report in the journal, Global Sustainability, reveals that if all proposed hydropower dams are built, over 260,000 km of rivers (160,000 miles), including the Amazon, Congo, Irrawaddy, and Salween mainstem rivers, will lose free-flowing status.

Navigating Trade-Offs Between Dams and River Conservation (newsecuritybeat.org)

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3. Administrative law: like the Curate’s egg, boring in parts, but environmentally useful nonetheless

Anyone who has followed environmental issues through the courts will know that many court cases concerning the environment turn not on environment-specific principles (such as precaution or intergenerational equity), but on general principles of administrative law.

https://bit.ly/2MsmLyX

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4. Conservation needs to break free from global priority mapping

Global priority maps have been transformative for conservation, but now have questionable utility and may crowd out other forms of research. Conservation must re-engage with contextually rich knowledge that builds global understanding from the ground up.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-021-01540-x

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5. We name the 26 Australian frogs at greatest risk of extinction by 2040 — and how to save them

Our new study published today, identified the 26 Australian frogs at greatest risk, the likelihood of their extinctions by 2040 and the steps needed to save them. Tragically, we have identified an additional three frog species that are very likely to be extinct. Another four species on our list are still surviving, but not likely to make it to 2040 without help.

We name the 26 Australian frogs at greatest risk of extinction by 2040 — and how to save them (theconversation.com)

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6. Land of opportunity: more sustainable Australian farming would protect our lucrative exports (and the planet)

In addition to a substantial greenhouse gas footprint from agriculture, Australia also has a truly terrible record on biodiversity loss. The argument for farmers to adopt more sustainable practices – and for governments to help the shift – is growing ever more compelling. Not only would it safeguard our exports, it would cut emissions and help protect nature.

https://theconversation.com/land-of-opportunity-more-sustainable-australian-farming-would-protect-our-lucrative-exports-and-the-planet-166177

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7. Putting the cat before the wildlife: Exploring cat owners’ beliefs about cat containment as predictors of owner behavior

Free-roaming domestic cats pose risks to wildlife, domestic animals, humans, and importantly, the cats themselves. Behavior change campaigns that seek to minimize these risks by increasing cat containment require an understanding of the factors that predict cat owners’ containment behaviors. We conducted an online survey in Victoria, Australia (N = 1,024) to identify cat owners’ (N = 220) behaviors in containing their cats, explore beliefs and attitudes that predict containment behavior, and compare attitudes about cat containment with respondents that do not own cats (N = 804). We found that 53% of cat owning respondents do not allow any roaming. These respondents were more likely to hold concerns about risks to cats’ safety while roaming and less likely to perceive that cats have a right to roam. Concern about impacts to wildlife was not a significant predictor of containment behavior. Expectations that cat owners should manage cats’ roaming behavior was a social norm among cat owners and other respondents, and cat containers were more likely to indicate that they would try to change behaviors of their peers that they perceived to be harmful to the environment. Cat containment campaigns could be improved by appealing to owners’ concerns about cat well-being, engaging respected messengers that align with these concerns, including owners who already contain their cats.

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. ‘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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