Dbytes #491 (1 September 2021)

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

“Once a project is approved, it is not reassessed, even if a species becomes vulnerable and a wildfire burns much of its habitat.”
Watchorn and Ashman [see item 5]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Pacific Island bats are utterly fascinating, yet under threat and overlooked. Meet 4 species
2. Passing the buck – the rights and responsibilities of fossil fuel divestment
3. Climate risk governance guide
4. A brief history of the northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus): a systematic review
5. Australia has failed greater gliders: since they were listed as ‘vulnerable’ we’ve destroyed more of their habitat
6. Ten large-scale climate solutions
7. Using knowledge to care for country: Indigenous-led evaluations of research to adaptively co-manage Kakadu National Park, Australia
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1. Pacific Island bats are utterly fascinating, yet under threat and overlooked. Meet 4 species

A whopping 191 different bat species live in the Pacific Islands across Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia — but these are, collectively, the most imperilled in the world. In fact, five of the nine bat species that have gone extinct in the last 160 years have come from this region. For too long, the conservation of Pacific Island bats has been largely overlooked in science. Of the 191 existing species, 25% are threatened with extinction, and we lack information to assess the status of a further 15%.

Pacific Island bats are utterly fascinating, yet under threat and overlooked. Meet 4 species (theconversation.com)

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2. Passing the buck – the rights and responsibilities of fossil fuel divestment

It’s a win-win for the corporates (and their shareholders), and a lose-lose for the planet (and its inhabitants). Of course, one day the music will stop and the corporates betting their profits on stranded fossil fuel assets will find there’s no chair for them to sit on. The Bank for International Settlements has suggested that when this happens there could be a collapse in asset prices of fossil fuel industries that could lead to a wider economic collapse along the lines of the GFC.

What might a win-win look like? That’s a win for corporates and a win for society. Based on a realistic costing of the impacts of climate change in coming years* and being realistic about the tiny chance that the big corporates play fair (ie, be true to their social responsibility and not interfere with governmental policy), I think the best we could hope for might be governments stepping in and buying out the whole fossil fuel sector at some cut (heavily-discounted) rate based on their falling asset value.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3. Climate risk governance guide

An introductory resource for directors on climate risk governance. This guide is an introductory resource for directors on climate change risk governance. It provides a plain-language introduction to fundamental climate change concepts and considers this issue in the context of the non-executive directors’ role and duties.

Climate risk governance guide (apo.org.au)

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4. A brief history of the northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus): a systematic review

In response to Australia’s current extinction crisis, substantial research efforts have been targeted towards some of the most imperilled species. One such species is the northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus), a marsupial predator that has recently suffered substantial declines in range and is now listed as Endangered. We conducted a systematic review of all literature relevant to the conservation and ecology of northern quolls. We reviewed 143 studies, including research articles, government and industry reports, theses, and books, and quantified research effort in terms of topic, location, and publication period. We then summarised research relevant to northern quoll taxonomy, genetics, distribution, habitat associations, diet, reproduction, movement, threats, management, and Indigenous knowledge. Research effort was higher between 2011 and 2020 than the previous four decades combined. Northern quolls in the Northern Territory were the most studied, followed by the Pilbara, the Kimberley, and Queensland populations. Most studies focused on northern quoll distribution and habitat, management, and threats – primarily cane toads, predation, and fire. We conclude with a non-exhaustive list of ten future research directions. If pursued, these future research directions should provide information critical to managing and conserving northern quolls.

https://www.publish.csiro.au/AM/AM21002

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5. Australia has failed greater gliders: since they were listed as ‘vulnerable’ we’ve destroyed more of their habitat

In just five years, greater gliders — fluffy-eared, tree-dwelling marsupials — could go from vulnerable to endangered, because Australia’s environmental laws have failed to protect them and other threatened native species.

https://theconversation.com/australia-has-failed-greater-gliders-since-they-were-listed-as-vulnerable-weve-destroyed-more-of-their-habitat-164872

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6. Ten large-scale climate solutions

The latest IPCC report could not be clearer: we either dramatically reduce global greenhouse gas emissions this decade, or face catastrophic climate impacts. The strong message is that although time is running out, we still have control over what the future looks like. Co-ordinated ambitious action taken today can dramatically reduce future harm. At the Climate Council, we are often asked about the best solutions to climate change that are available today and can drive Australia’s emissions down quickly. So our research team has compiled this list of their top ten large-scale climate solutions – in no particular order – which would see our emissions plummet.
Top 10 Large-Scale Climate Solutions | Explainer | Climate Council

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7. Using knowledge to care for country: Indigenous-led evaluations of research to adaptively co-manage Kakadu National Park, Australia

Sustainability science research conducted with Indigenous collaborators must be Indigenous-led and achieve impacts that are grounded in local values and priorities, both for ethical reasons and to achieve more robust outcomes. However, there has been limited focus on determining how best to evaluate the way research is used, shared and created to adaptively solve complex sustainable issues facing Indigenous lands. In this paper, we outline a collaborative and adaptive approach for conducting Indigenous-led evaluations of sustainability research and show how this approach was applied to evaluate cross-cultural knowledge co-production practice and impact in Australia’s jointly managed and World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park. As part of an Indigenous-led research project, indicators were co-developed by Indigenous and non-Indigenous research team members to monitor the health of the knowledge-sharing and co-production practices that underpinned the design, management and success of the project’s research activities. The evaluations focused on determining whether research activities were providing negotiated benefits for local Indigenous people; helping to restore and protect agreed values in priority areas; and supporting Indigenous-led collaborative knowledge sharing and research practices. In Kakadu, we show how the Indigenous-led design of the research evaluation empowered the usability and benefits of knowledge which was negotiated, shared and co-created. The approach shows how sustainability science can be evaluated by Indigenous leaders to test if and how research practice and impact is responding to their priorities for their traditional estates.

Using knowledge to care for country: Indigenous-led evaluations of research to adaptively co-manage Kakadu National Park, Australia | SpringerLink

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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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