Dbytes #499 (28 October 2021)

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

“The offsets scheme is looking more and more like a scheme for extinction than one meant to halt and reverse biodiversity decline,”
MLC Cate Faehrmann, Chair of the NSW Govt Inquiry into Environmental offset policies
see NSW environmental offsets failing to halt wildlife decline
[and see item 5]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Koalas, quokkas make 100 threatened species list but hundreds more miss out
2. Will Australia follow the UK’s lead on significant biodiversity policy reform?
3. ‘Overlooked’: 14,000 invertebrate species lost habitat in Black Summer bushfires
4. From counting birds to speaking out: how citizen science leads us to ask crucial questions
5. ‘Cynical and grotesque’: NSW coalmine allowed to use future pit rehabilitation as offset for habitat destruction
6. BCA criticisms: “any result you want”
7. Eight years, 20 policies: how Australia’s leaders have fumbled and dithered on climate
8. Notes on the history and future of Dbytes’


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1. Koalas, quokkas make 100 threatened species list but hundreds more miss out

A list of 100 threatened species of native wildlife, including koalas and quokkas, will be prioritised for protection under a 10-year federal government strategy that experts warn needs more funding and puts about 1700 plants and animals that didn’t make the cut at risk.

https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/koalas-quokkas-make-100-threatened-species-list-but-hundreds-more-miss-out-20211022-p592dl.html

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2. Will Australia follow the UK’s lead on significant biodiversity policy reform?

Australia has now moved to commit to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. But it has displayed no interest in the Dasgupta Review or in making serious biodiversity commitments more generally.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3. ‘Overlooked’: 14,000 invertebrate species lost habitat in Black Summer bushfires, study finds

Scientists say the animals are vital to ecosystem and true number affected is probably far higher

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/oct/20/overlooked-14000-invertebrate-species-lost-habitat-in-black-summer-bushfires-study-finds

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4. From counting birds to speaking out: how citizen science leads us to ask crucial questions

Every day, thousands of birdwatchers enter data about birds they’ve seen into apps. This collective undertaking can become almost addictive for the user. On a mass scale, it allows us to produce maps showing where species are present, where they are not, and in some cases their abundance. This citizen-collected data is exactly the kind we need for better spatial planning and environmental regulations. Collecting this data across large areas quickly would be almost impossible without the help of citizen scientists.

https://theconversation.com/from-counting-birds-to-speaking-out-how-citizen-science-leads-us-to-ask-crucial-questions-166673

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5. ‘Cynical and grotesque’: NSW coalmine allowed to use future pit rehabilitation as offset for habitat destruction

Environment groups decry plan to use site regeneration years after operations end at Glencore’s Mangoola mine as offsets

‘Cynical and grotesque’: NSW coalmine allowed to use future pit rehabilitation as offset for habitat destruction | Environment | The Guardian


And see
NSW environmental offsets to be reformed after ‘appalling practices’ revealed, minister says

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6. BCA criticisms: “any result you want”

By David Pannell

Over the years, I’ve had a number of conversations with people who made negative comments about Benefit: Cost Analysis (BCA) or certain aspects of it. In addition, there are various published critiques of BCA. In my view, some of the criticisms offered are not unreasonable, but some are off the beam. If one is doing BCAs, it is worth understanding the criticisms you are likely to encounter so that you are prepared for conversations about them and know what to do (if anything) to address them.

https://www.pannelldiscussions.net/2021/10/354-any-result-you-want/

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7. Eight years, 20 policies: how Australia’s leaders have fumbled and dithered on climate

How did we get here? And how much has actually changed? Before we look forward to 2050, let’s take a look back …

Eight years, 20 policies: how Australia’s leaders have fumbled and dithered on climate | Australian politics | The Guardian

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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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