Dbytes #496 (6 October 2021)


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

“The wording of recovery plans is often vague and non-prescriptive, which gives the minister flexibility to approve projects that will harm a threatened species.”
Stephen Garnett [see item 1]

In this issue of Dbytes

1. Australia’s threatened species protections are being rewritten. But what’s really needed is money and legal teeth
2. Australia’s climate change policy is a marketing slogan!
3. Ivory-billed woodpecker officially declared extinct, along with 22 other species
4. Insights from the Australian Native Seed Report: low capacity for upscaled ecological restoration
5. Mangrove restoration done right has clear economic, ecological benefits
6. Adoption and Behaviour Change in Agricultural Policy
7. They’re territorial’: can birds and drones coexist?
8. Notes on the history and future of Dbytes’


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1. Australia’s threatened species protections are being rewritten. But what’s really needed is money and legal teeth

The federal government has proposed replacing almost 200 recovery plans to improve the plight of threatened species and habitat with “conservation advice”, which has less legal clout. While critics have lamented the move, in reality it’s no great loss. Recovery plans are the central tool available to the federal government to prevent extinctions. They outline a species population and distribution, threats such as habitat loss and climate change, and actions needed to recover population numbers.

https://theconversation.com/australias-threatened-species-protections-are-being-rewritten-but-whats-really-needed-is-money-and-legal-teeth-168262 

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2. Australia’s climate change policy is a marketing slogan!

It appears that lobbying fossil fuel companies have hijacked climate policy from the Australian people.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3. Ivory-billed woodpecker officially declared extinct, along with 22 other species

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s move underscores what scientists say is an accelerating rate of extinction worldwide, given climate change and habitat loss

https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/09/29/endangered-species-ivory-billed-woodpecker/

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4. Insights from the Australian Native Seed Report: low capacity for upscaled ecological restoration

The Australian native seed sector is underpinned by a small and under resourced workforce which presents a risk to all users of native seed. Various issues constrain the sector, including that future demand for seed will be difficult to meet from wild harvest, that the market is unwilling to pay for the true cost of seed collection/seed production, that there is a lack of seed available from a broad range of species. Central to sector improvement are actions that better incentivize the uptake of restoration (in its various forms) on lands where it is most required.

Australian native seed sector characteristics and perceptions indicate low capacity for upscaled ecological restoration: insights from the Australian Native Seed Report – Gibson‐Roy – 2021 – Restoration Ecology – Wiley Online Library
and
Australian native seed sector practice and behavior could limit ecological restoration success: further insights from the Australian Native Seed Report – Gibson‐Roy – 2021 – Restoration Ecology – Wiley Online Library

From a special issue of Restoration Ecology focussing on the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration
Restoration Ecology: Vol 29, No 7 (wiley.com)

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5. Mangrove restoration done right has clear economic, ecological benefits

Much research has been done on the impact of mangrove restoration projects, but because such studies typically have their own distinct contexts, their results are not easily generalized. To determine the ecological and economic benefits of mangrove restoration across studies, researchers analyzed 188 peer-reviewed articles from 22 regions, mostly in East and Southeast Asia. They found the ecosystem functions of restored mangroves to be higher than bare tidal flats, but lower than natural mangroves. They also concluded that the economic benefits of mangrove restoration projects largely outweighed their costs, even at high discount rates.

Mangrove restoration done right has clear economic, ecological benefits (mongabay.com)

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6. Adoption and Behaviour Change in Agricultural Policy

An ability to understand and predict adoption of new farming practices is useful for agricultural policy in several ways, including: assessing additionality, selecting policy mechanisms, targeting policy to practices, farmer types or regions, and assessing likely policy success.

351. Adoption and Behaviour Change in Agricultural Policy – Pannell Discussions

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7. They’re territorial’: can birds and drones coexist?

Drones can boost conservation efforts and reduce carbon emissions via low-energy deliveries. But that doesn’t mean birds welcome them

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/01/theyre-territorial-can-birds-and-drones-coexist

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8. Notes on the history and future of Dbytes’

As Dbytes approaches issue #500, I need to consider how it is produced and distributed.

Dbytes began around 10 years ago. I created it as an internal newsletter of the Environmental Decisions Group, a network of conservation scientists (led by Hugh Possingham at UQ). It became quite popular and subscriptions were opened to anyone with an interest in better environmental decision making. Dbytes’ network grew to around 800 subscribers; including academics, policy makers and conservation managers.

The Environmental Decisions Group formally concluded at the end of 2018 with the end of funding of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) which was the main sponsor of Dbytes over its life till then. However, I decided to continue on with Dbytes as my own project. I did this because I enjoy collating the information I include in each issue, I am still very interested in environmental decision science, and the feedback I get from many people who receive Dbytes suggests it does make a difference to conservation in Australia (and in other countries). As one example, several colleagues have told me they use Dbytes in their university teaching.

Dbytes is not a big thing. I don’t promote it much and it runs on the smell of an oily rag. In spite of this, it has retained much of its audience (currently over 600 subscribers) and I still get regular requests to add subscribers.

In recent months, however, I have had feedback that Dbytes is being increasingly blocked by uni spam filters as unis everywhere attempt to make their IT environments more secure. I have attempted to modify things on the Mailchimp platform that sends out Dbytes but my efforts so far have not been very effective (possibly a reflection of my age and lack of IT capacity).

I will continue to work on this but thought I should briefly describe the situation. I will run this note over several issues. Of course, people who like Dbytes but are having it blocked may never see this note but I’m hoping word will get around.

One alternative people might consider is subscribing to the WordPress version of Dbytes. I established the WordPress version of Dbytes several years ago as a backup web version. You can subscribe to this site by visiting https://ozdbytes.wordpress.com/about/ Go to the bottom of the page and become a follower (I have 70 followers at the moment, mainly people who have randomly stumbled over Dbytes). Followers are sent an email whenever I post a new issue. That email contains the whole contents of Dbytes, it just looks a little different to the Mailchimp version. So far, WordPress emails are not being blocked by uni filters (to the best of my knowledge).

Who knows, the age of electronic newsletters may be coming to a close, and Dbytes is possibly a dinosaur watching an asteroid streak overhead. But this dinosaur still has a few issues left in it. With luck, we might even reach that magical issue #500.

David
Sept/Oct 2021

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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. Or you could subscribe to the WordPress version by visiting https://ozdbytes.wordpress.com/about/ , scroll to the bottom of the page and ‘follow’ Dbytes.

David Salt
follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

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