Dbytes #493 (15 September 2021)

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

“It appears that lobbying fossil fuel companies have hijacked climate policy from the Australian people.”
Angela Dewan, CNN, Australia is shaping up to be the villain of COP26 climate talks


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Unleash the environmental watchdogs
2. Predicted protected area downsizing impedes conservation progress across terrestrial ecoregions in the tropics and subtropics
3. Saving these family-focused lizards may mean moving them to new homes. But that’s not as simple as it sounds
4. It’s not sustainable’: overcrowding is changing the soul of US national parks
5. Amazon and The Nature Conservancy announce launch of Agroforestry and Restoration Accelerator
6. Nearly a third of the world’s tree species threatened with extinction, says report
7. Religious Australians Call on Scott Morrison to do more on climate


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1. Unleash the environmental watchdogs

Court tells NSW EPA to do its duty and make policies to protect the state environment from climate change

When governments establish independent watchdogs, often enshrining their independence in law, they do so in the knowledge that there are ‘back door’ ways to control them. And yet Matt Kean seems to want them to do their job.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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2. Predicted protected area downsizing impedes conservation progress across terrestrial ecoregions in the tropics and subtropics

Protected areas remain a key tool in the fight against biodiversity loss and have expanded rapidly in recent decades. However, protected areas are also increasingly experiencing downsizing events that reduce the total amount of area legally under protection. Here we explore how future predicted protected area expansion and downsizing (by 2045) will impact the ability for countries to meet representation and area-based protection targets, such as those set by the Convention on Biological Diversity. We found that predicted protected area downsizing will likely decrease habitat representation equality and mean area-based target (30% target) achievement by 50% and >80%, respectively, of the 36 countries analyzed across four scenarios (no protection, business as usual, random and optimal protection). Prioritizing protection of underrepresented ecoregions could offset these unfavorable outcomes, increasing representation equality, on average, by >60% and mean target achievement by >30%. We identify countries that are expected to decrease both representation equality and mean target achievement (~50% of countries across scenarios) with predicted downsizing. These countries need to pay particular attention to strategic protected area expansion and policies that prevent downsizing in parks with under-represented habitats. Finally, we identify cases where downsizing events improve protected area metrics, such as India and Nigeria, highlighting the complexities and potential trade-offs of protected area dynamics. A deeper understanding of the influence of protected area downsizing on conservation outcomes is urgently needed to ensure representative and adequate protected area networks.

The Society for Conservation Biology (wiley.com)

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3. Saving these family-focused lizards may mean moving them to new homes. But that’s not as simple as it sounds

Spiny-tailed skinks (Egernia stokesii badia), known as meelyu in the local Badimia language in Western Australia, are highly social lizards that live together in family groups — an uncommon trait among reptiles. They’re culturally significant to the Badimia people but habitat degradation and mining has put them under threat of extinction. These sturdy, mottled lizards — which live in colonies in the logs of fallen trees and branches — are a candidate for what researchers call “mitigation translocation”.

https://theconversation.com/saving-these-family-focused-lizards-may-mean-moving-them-to-new-homes-but-thats-not-as-simple-as-it-sounds-162998

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4. It’s not sustainable’: overcrowding is changing the soul of US national parks

Travelers, tour guides and service workers share how years of record-high tourism levels are reshaping popular destinations

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/10/overcrowding-changing-us-national-parks

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5. Amazon and The Nature Conservancy announce launch of Agroforestry and Restoration Accelerator

The initiative will focus on reforestation and regenerative agroforestry in the Amazon rainforest, removing up to 10 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions through 2050.

Amazon and The Nature Conservancy announce launch of Agroforestry and Restoration Accelerator – Climate Action

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6. Nearly a third of the world’s tree species threatened with extinction, says report

Almost 40 percent of trees in sub-Saharan African are threatened. At least 142 of the world’s tree species are already extinct in the wild. More than half of the world’s trees exist only within single countries.

Report: Nearly a third of the world’s tree species threatened with extinction (globallandscapesforum.org)

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7. Religious Australians Call on Scott Morrison to do more on climate

Over six hundred people of faith from around Australia have penned hand-written letters calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to do more to protect the climate.

One of the letter-writers and Pentecostal Pastor at the large and influential Bayside Church in Melbourne, Pastor Rob Buckingham, said ‘Our faith teaches us that we should care for God’s creation. I appeal to the Prime Minister as a man of faith and ask him to carefully consider his government’s responsibility to ensure the earth’s environment is protected for the generations to come.’

Religious Australians Call on Scott Morrison to do more on climate (medianet.com.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). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

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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