Dbytes #508 (27 January 2022)

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

“as species disappear, ancient knowledge built up over thousands of years also fades away – and fragments of our culture are lost forever.”
Goolmeer et al [see item 1]



In this issue of Dbytes

1. Ancient knowledge is lost when a species disappears. It’s time to let Indigenous people care for their country, their way
2. Measuring comprehensive carbon prices of national climate policies
3. 50 shades of green – what shade of sustainability do you practice?
4. Beyond Forests: Reducing the EU’s footprint on all natural ecosystems
5. Mitigating social-ecological risks from the surge in China’s overseas investment: an Indonesian profile
6. Use of citizen science datasets to test effects of grazing exclusion and replanting on Australian woodland birds
7. Conservation frontiers: understanding the geographic expansion of conservation

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1. Ancient knowledge is lost when a species disappears. It’s time to let Indigenous people care for their country, their way

Indigenous people across Australia place tremendous cultural and customary value on many species and ecological communities. The very presence of a plant or animal species can trigger an Indigenous person to recall and share knowledge. This is crucial to maintaining culture and managing Country.

https://theconversation.com/ancient-knowledge-is-lost-when-a-species-disappears-its-time-to-let-indigenous-people-care-for-their-country-their-way-172760

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2. Measuring comprehensive carbon prices of national climate policies

We measure the comprehensive carbon price from 2008 to 2019 resulting from climate policies imposed by 25 high-polluting countries that represent 82 percent of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2019. Comprehensive carbon prices build upon previous notions—including explicit, effective, and implicit carbon prices—by incorporating a broad range of policies that reduce carbon emissions.

Full article: Measuring comprehensive carbon prices of national climate policies (tandfonline.com)

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3. 50 shades of green – what shade of sustainability do you practice?

I believe ‘sustainability’ is important. But I think what I practice is a form of broad and weak sustainability. And for that to work, I need to be an extremely optimistic techno-idealogue (who doesn’t read the news). But enough about me; what type of sustainability are you into?

50 shades of green – what shade of sustainability do you practice?

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4. Beyond Forests: Reducing the EU’s footprint on all natural ecosystems

The EU could jeopardise its chances to effectively tackle biodiversity loss and global climate change if non-forest ecosystems aren’t included in new deforestation legislation from the start, a new WWF report underscores.

Beyond Forests: Reducing the EU’s footprint on all natural ecosystems | WWF

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5. Mitigating social-ecological risks from the surge in China’s overseas investment: an Indonesian profile

Our paper highlights how social-ecological risks of Belt and Road Initiatives investments can be mitigated or amplified by host country standards and practices. We use Indonesia as an exemplar case study, where poor and convoluted governance of BRI projects reduces accountability, weakens controls, and increases the risk of fraudulent misconduct, which can ultimately lead to adverse impacts on biodiversity and Indigenous livelihoods surrounding BRI projects. Furthermore, national policies aimed at streamlining business and environmental management permitting pose an additional threat to the due diligence necessary for reducing the impacts of development activities on people and nature. Indonesia’s new Omnibus Law is a prime example, as it eliminates several environmental regulations, increases the ease of development approval, and reduces the role of local government and civil society in the planning process. We focus on Indonesia, but these issues are relevant to many other BRI countries.

Mitigating social-ecological risks from the surge in China’s overseas investment: an Indonesian profile | SpringerLink

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6. Use of citizen science datasets to test effects of grazing exclusion and replanting on Australian woodland birds

Around the world, woodlands have been cleared for agricultural production and their bird communities are in decline. To reverse these declines and foster bird community resilience, government agencies, non-government organizations, and private landholders have implemented restoration actions, commonly including grazing exclusion and replanting. These actions are rarely implemented in an experimental framework, making it difficult to measure their effectiveness. However, ecological monitoring datasets, and citizen science datasets in particular, can provide useful opportunities for measuring effects of restoration actions and act as a baseline upon which adaptive management can be built. We examined the effect of revegetation actions on the terrestrial bird community in Australia’s south-eastern temperate woodlands using long-term, community-collected monitoring datasets. We explored the response of bird abundance, species richness, and a newly developed index of ecological community condition, to grazing exclusion and replanting over a 20-year period using an uneven control-impact study design. Grazing exclusion plus replanting had strong positive effects on all three bird community metrics, which increased with time, compared to control sites where neither action occurred. Bird abundance, but not species richness or community condition, increased over time with grazing exclusion alone, while control sites with continued grazing and no replanting showed no change in all three measures. We demonstrate that citizen science datasets with imperfect study designs can be used to gain insights on conservation action effectiveness and highlight the value of metrics that capture information about community condition more precisely than just abundance or species richness.

Use of citizen science datasets to test effects of grazing exclusion and replanting on Australian woodland birds – Gibson – – Restoration Ecology – Wiley Online Library

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7. Conservation frontiers: understanding the geographic expansion of conservation

To better understand the geographies of conservation, connecting conservation with tools used widely in Land System Science – particularly the frontier concept – allows assessing the patterns, actors, and drivers of conservation. We propose that land conservation can be analysed through three different perspectives. First, conservation can be framed as efforts to slow or stop other frontiers. Second, the expansion of conservation could itself be described as a frontier process, similarly leading to institutional and cultural reorganization, and sometimes conflicts (e.g. green grabbing). Third, frontiers can be seen as spaces where multiple land uses, including conservation, interact. Analysing conservation through these perspectives could be particularly powerful to thoroughly consider the social-ecological contexts in which conservation happens, and thus to bridge the disciplines of Land System Science and Conservation Science.

Full article: Conservation frontiers: understanding the geographic expansion of conservation (tandfonline.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). 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.

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