Dbytes #510 (8 February 2022)

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

“Koalas are one of Australia’s most loved and best recognised icons, both here at home and across the world, and we are committed to protecting them for generations to come,”
PM Scott Morrison when announcing $50million for koala conservation.

“The amount of koala habitat approved for clearing has increased every year since 2012,”
Basha Stasak, Australian Conservation Foundation [see item 4]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. British Columbia doctors can now prescribe national park passes to patients
2. Future loss of local-scale thermal refugia in coral reef ecosystems
3. Australia puts forward case to UNESCO for protecting Great Barrier Reef
4. ‘A drop in the ocean’: government’s $50m koala pledge won’t tackle root cause of decline
5. Native birds have vanished across the continent since colonisation. Now we know just how much we’ve lost
6. The existential toll of climate change on wetlands – maybe we should go with the flow.
7. The benefits and risks of rewilding

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1. British Columbia doctors can now prescribe national park passes to patients

A new collaboration between a national nature prescription program called PaRx and Parks Canada has enabled B.C. doctors to prescribe national park passes to patients. Speaking with Global News, PaRx director and family physician Dr. Melissa Lem said the organization generally recommends patients spend at least two hours a week in nature. That can be broken up over several visits, so long as they are a minimum duration of 20 minutes.

https://www.theweathernetwork.com/ca/news/article/b-c-doctors-can-now-prescribe-national-park-passes-to-patients

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2. Future loss of local-scale thermal refugia in coral reef ecosystems

A new study finds that a global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees will leave only 0.2 per cent of coral reefs in areas with temperatures safe for these ecosystems, a figure that would drop to zero per cent with a warming of 2 degrees.

Future loss of local-scale thermal refugia in coral reef ecosystems (plos.org)

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3. Australia puts forward case to UNESCO for protecting Great Barrier Reef

The federal government has updated the United Nations on the health of the Great Barrier Reef as a draft recommendation to list it as “in danger” hangs over the World Heritage site.

https://www.themandarin.com.au/180476-australia-puts-forward-case-to-unesco-for-protecting-great-barrier-reef/

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4. ‘A drop in the ocean’: government’s $50m koala pledge won’t tackle root cause of decline

Campaigners say ‘money isn’t the issue’ when there’s no koala recovery plan, while other threatened species receive little funding

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/feb/06/a-drop-in-the-ocean-governments-50m-koala-pledge-wont-tackle-root-cause-of-decline?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

and see the ACF statement: Federal government has approved the clearing of 25,000 hectares of koala habitat in the last 10 years
Federal government has approved the clearing of 25,000 hectares of koala habitat in the last 10 years – Australian Conservation Foundation (acf.org.au)

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5. Native birds have vanished across the continent since colonisation. Now we know just how much we’ve lost

In the 250 years since Europeans colonised Australia, native birdlife has disappeared across the continent. Our new research has, for the first time, registered just how much Australia has actually lost – and our findings are astonishingly sad. We focused on 72 species of birds faced with extinction today, including the Kangaroo Island glossy black cockatoo, regent honeyeater, and night parrot. We found 530 million hectares, or 69%, of Australia, has lost at least one bird species. In some parts of the country, we’ve lost up to 17 birds.

Native birds have vanished across the continent since colonisation. Now we know just how much we’ve lost (theconversation.com)

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6. The existential toll of climate change on wetlands – maybe we should go with the flow.

In some cases, wetlands have the capacity to move (migrate) with the water level as it changes. Some research is suggesting that sea levels could rise faster than a wetland’s natural migration rate. Other studies have shown their capacity to move is limited by how land is being used around existing wetlands.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/


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7. The benefits and risks of rewilding
An IUCN Issues Brief

Rewilding aims to restore ecosystems and reverse biodiversity declines by allowing wildlife and natural processes to reclaim areas no longer under human management.
Misunderstanding of the rewilding concept has led to applications that harm communities and biodiversity, and threaten to undermine an approach with enormous conservation potential.
Well-applied rewilding can restore ecosystems at a landscape scale, help mitigate climate change, and provide socio-economic opportunities for communities.
Evidence-based rewilding principles will guide practitioners to rewild safely, help assess the effectiveness of projects, and incorporate rewilding into global conservation targets.

https://www.iucn.org/resources/issues-briefs/benefits-and-risks-rewilding

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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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David Salt
and you can follow me on twitter at
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