Dbytes #548 (2 November 2022)

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


“In the market for biodiversity offset credits, the prices that buyers are willing to pay are not determined by how much the community cares about protecting or enhancing biodiversity. Instead, they are determined by how much money developers can make from their developments. There could be a big gap between the two.”
David Pannell [see item 1]


1. Biodiversity offset prices and biodiversity values
2. Drivers of global mangrove loss and gain in social-ecological systems
3. Simplicity, harmony and the third transformation of Australia’s environmental law
4. A War Over Feral Horses Has Descended Into Bomb Threats and Right-Wing Conspiracies
5. The government hopes private investors will help save nature. Here’s how its scheme could fail
6. Welcome to the world of the polycrisis
7. Fears of mass predator attacks for Mary River’s endangered ‘bum-breathing’ turtle

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1. Biodiversity offset prices and biodiversity values

Increasingly, governments require developers to buy credits to offset any losses of biodiversity caused by their developments. In some cases, biodiversity offset credits  can be traded in specially created markets. As a result of trade in these credits, we end up with a price being attached to biodiversity. Does that mean that, in some sense, the price of a credit represents the value of biodiversity?

384. Biodiversity offset prices and biodiversity values – Pannell Discussions

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2. Drivers of global mangrove loss and gain in social-ecological systems

Mangrove forests store high amounts of carbon, protect communities from storms, and support fisheries and biodiversity. Approximately a third of mangrove cover has been lost around the world, mainly from human land-use impacts. Identifying priorities for mangrove conservation and restoration in coupled social-ecological systems is necessary to reverse mangrove loss. We reveal that global mangrove losses and gains over the past 20 years can be attributed to socioeconomic and biophysical factors. Access to markets is a strong driver of loss, but economic growth is no longer associated with loss, and can be compatible with mangrove gains. However, there are still hotspots of loss caused by conversion to aquaculture ponds and agriculture, often occurring in protected areas. We also found that community forestry is promoting mangrove gains. Investment in community or collaborative management of mangrove forests are promising strategies for regaining mangrove cover and enforcing protected areas.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-33962-x

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3. Simplicity, harmony and the third transformation of Australia’s environmental law

Proposals for regulatory streamlining, and for the alignment of federal and state environmental assessment laws have been floated at various times over the last 30 years. Graeme Samuel’s review recommended a harmonising of both environmental processes and outcomes between federal and state jurisdictions. To do this we need to: Develop national standards; build a risk-based decision-making system; accredit states to take most of the decisions.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/11/01/simplicity-harmony-and-the-third-transformation/

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4. A War Over Feral Horses Has Descended Into Bomb Threats and Right-Wing Conspiracies

Photos of dead horses riddled with bullets, alongside the remains of an aborted foal, have pushed a rural community to the brink of violence.

https://www.vice.com/en/article/v7vxa3/australian-feral-horses-culture-war?fbclid=IwAR3Un9tMVCZxkYS-1SjpKAcSQrHTXtmgBwA2zaMbi4BTpTWVeQ6jrUgQK8U

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5. The government hopes private investors will help save nature. Here’s how its scheme could fail

This week’s federal budget reiterated the government’s plan to establish a new scheme for encouraging private investment in conservation, called a biodiversity market (now, rebranded to a “nature repair” market). A biodiversity market would see landholders granted certificates for restoring or managing local habitats. Landholders could then sell these certificates to, for instance, businesses. But the effectiveness of such schemes overseas and in Australia can at best be described as mixed.

https://theconversation.com/the-government-hopes-private-investors-will-help-save-nature-heres-how-its-scheme-could-fail-193010

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6. Welcome to the world of the polycrisis

A problem becomes a crisis when it challenges our ability to cope and thus threatens our identity. In the polycrisis the shocks are disparate, but they interact so that the whole is even more overwhelming than the sum of the parts. At times one feels as if one is losing one’s sense of reality. Is the mighty Mississippi really running dry and threatening to cut off the farms of the Midwest from the world economy? Did the January 6 riots really threaten the US Capitol? Are we really on the point of uncoupling the economies of the west from China? Things that would once have seemed fanciful are now facts. 

https://www.ft.com/content/498398e7-11b1-494b-9cd3-6d669dc3de33

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7. Fears of mass predator attacks for Mary River’s endangered ‘bum-breathing’ turtle

Mary River turtles are an endangered species. Thousands of hatchlings have been saved on land. It is now feared they have perished under water due to a predator, possibly the fork-tailed catfish.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-10-31/endangered-mary-river-turtle-fears-thousands-perished/101586082

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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
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