Dbytes #497 (13 October 2021)

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

“Please be very careful about information spread on an emotional basis, or tied to money, or egos or power-seekers.”
Gina Rinehart in SMH story Gina Rinehart warns of ‘propaganda’ in climate denial video to students
[Editor’s note: This note, from Australia’s richest woman, should be referenced against item 4.]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Australia could ‘green’ its degraded landscapes for just 6% of what we spend on defence
2. Projecting biodiversity benefits of conservation behavior-change programs
nature-based solutions the silver bullet for social & environmental crises?
4. Born into the climate crisis
5. Leaders and laggards: The Dasgupta Review of Economics of Biodiversity
6. The English language dominates global conservation science – which leaves 1 in 3 research papers virtually ignored
7. Comparing projects of different lifespans in BCA
8. Notes on the history and future of Dbytes’


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1. Australia could ‘green’ its degraded landscapes for just 6% of what we spend on defence

The health of many Australian ecosystems is in steep decline. Replanting vast tracts of land with native vegetation will prevent species extinctions and help abate climate change – but which landscapes should be restored, and how much would it cost? Our latest research sought answers to these questions. We devised a feasible plan to restore 30% of native vegetation cover across almost all degraded ecosystems on Australia’s marginal farming land. By spending A$2 billion – about 0.1% of Australia’s gross domestic product – each year for about 30 years, we could restore 13 million hectares of degraded land without affecting food production or urban areas.

https://theconversation.com/australia-could-green-its-degraded-landscapes-for-just-6-of-what-we-spend-on-defence-168807 

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2. Projecting biodiversity benefits of conservation behavior-change programs

Biodiversity loss is driven by human behavior, but there is uncertainty about the effectiveness of behavior-change programs in delivering benefits to biodiversity. To demonstrate their value, the biodiversity benefits and cost-effectiveness of behavior changes that directly or indirectly affect biodiversity need to be quantified. We adapted a structured decision-making prioritization tool to determine the potential biodiversity benefits of behavior changes. As a case study, we examined 2 hypothetical behavior-change programs– wildlife gardening and cat containment– by asking experts to consider the behaviors associated with these programs that directly and indirectly affect biodiversity. We assessed benefits to southern brown bandicoot (Isoodon obesulus) and superb fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus) by eliciting from experts estimates of the probability of each species persisting in the landscape given a range of behavior-change scenarios in which uptake of the behaviors varied. We then compared these estimates to a business-as-usual scenario to determine the relative biodiversity benefit and cost-effectiveness of each scenario. Experts projected that the behavior-change programs would benefit biodiversity and that benefits would rise with increasing uptake of the target behaviors. Biodiversity benefits were also predicted to accrue through indirect behaviors, although experts disagreed about the magnitude of additional benefit provided. Scenarios that combined the 2 behavior-change programs were estimated to provide the greatest benefits to species and be most cost-effective. Our method could be used in other contexts and potentially at different scales and advances the use of prioritization tools to guide conservation behavior-change programs.

https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cobi.13845

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3. Are nature-based solutions the silver bullet for social & environmental crises?

In the months leading up to the global climate conference in Glasgow this November, the term “nature-based solutions” has gained global prominence in the climate change mitigation discourse. Praise for NBS has mainly come from the U.N., policymakers, international conservation organizations and corporations, while grassroots movements and civil society groups have voiced concerns over the concept. Critics warn that NBS can be used as a tool to finance destructive activities by corporations and greenwash ongoing carbon emissions and destruction of nature.

https://news.mongabay.com/2021/10/are-nature-based-solutions-the-silver-bullet-for-social-environmental-crises/ 

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4. Born into the climate crisis

New research into the frequency of climate-induced disasters reveals children worldwide will experience up to 24 times more extreme weather events in their lifetimes, compared to older generations, unless drastic action to curb emissions is taken. Launched ahead of global climate talks in Glasgow, this report reveals the devastating impact the climate crisis will have on children and their rights if nations do not work together to limit warming to 1.5C as a matter of the greatest urgency. In Australia, children born in 2020 can expect to experience four times as many heatwaves, three times as many droughts, as well as 1.5 times as many bushfires and river floods, under current trajectory of global emissions.

Born into the climate crisis (apo.org.au)

Plus see Intergenerational inequities in exposure to climate extremes
Intergenerational inequities in exposure to climate extremes (science.org)

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5. Leaders and laggards: The Dasgupta Review of Economics of Biodiversity

The Dasgupta Review on the Economics of Biodiversity is one of the most significant reports on global biodiversity and policy ever produced. Will it show us the way forward? Check out our guide.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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6. The English language dominates global conservation science – which leaves 1 in 3 research papers virtually ignored

English is considered the language of international science. But our new research reveals how important scientific knowledge in other languages is going untapped. This oversight squanders opportunities to help improve the plight of the one million species facing extinction.

The English language dominates global conservation science – which leaves 1 in 3 research papers virtually ignored (theconversation.com)

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7. Comparing projects of different lifespans in BCA

One of the uses of Benefit: Cost Analysis (BCA) is to compare different projects to see which should be given priority for funding. What if the projects to be compared have different lifespans – different time durations over which their benefits and costs are generated? How should we account for that when comparing them? I’ve recently looked at over 50 BCA textbooks and government guidelines, and it’s striking how inconsistent their advice is on this question.

352. Comparing projects of different lifespans in BCA – Pannell Discussions

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8. Notes on the history and future of Dbytes’
[This is a repeat note. I will repeat it up till #499]

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

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

Dbytes #495 (29 September 2021)

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

“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.”
The Editor, Dbytes [see item 8]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Changing how we engage social norms in behavior change interventions
2. Policy solutions to facilitate restoration in coastal marine environments
3. A tale of two Ramsar wetlands – what a difference a minister makes
4. Conservationists say rocket launch site could push endangered southern emu-wren to extinction
5. Models – what are they good for?
6. Serious Integrity Concerns Around Australia’s ‘Junk’ Carbon Credits
7. They Knew: How the U.S. Government Helped Cause the Climate Crisis
8. Notes on Dbytes’ history and future

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1. Changing how we engage social norms in behavior change interventions

While seeking to change individual conservation behaviors via social norm messaging can be effective, it is limited to those contexts where there is a favorable existing norm. Learning how to initiate social processes to shift unfavorable norms towards those which support key conservation behaviors would enhance the repertoire of conservationists seeking to harness the power of social influence.

Changing how we engage social norms in behavior change interventions – Please keep to the path

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2. Policy solutions to facilitate restoration in coastal marine environments

A range of barriers exist for successful marine restoration in Australia, including legislative complexity and a lack of enabling policy. For example, marine restoration in Australia is regulated through a framework designed to limit environmental harm, rather than through a process aimed at achieving net environmental benefit. For example, certain marine restoration projects may trigger the same permitting process as an infrastructure development project. We reviewed the regulatory frameworks for marine restoration projects in North America and Europe to uncover the regulatory and policy settings that support restoration of marine ecosystems. We identified a range of strategies that could better facilitate restoration in marine and coastal environments in Australia, including:
-Clearer guidance on the regulatory frameworks for restoration;
-A more structured approach to risk management in marine restoration;
-Including marine ecosystem restoration in regional and state coastal management planning;
-Better national coordination for restoration projects that can address large scale issues (e.g. climate mitigation).

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308597X21004000?dgcid=author

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3. A tale of two Ramsar wetlands – what a difference a minister makes

In both cases the federal environment department advised the minister that the projects should be rejected upfront as ‘clearly unacceptable’, without going through the full EIA process. One minister ignored the advice.

https://bit.ly/2MsmLyX

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4. Conservationists say rocket launch site could push endangered southern emu-wren to extinction

An Adelaide firm’s plans for permanent facilities at Whaler’s Bay on the Eyre Peninsula could wipe out prime habitat, environment group warns

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/28/conservationists-say-rocket-launch-site-could-push-endangered-southern-emu-wren-to-extinction?

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5. Models – what are they good for?

The key, to paraphrase Einstein, is to make the models as simple as possible, but no simpler. That is easy to say, but it is perhaps the most challenging thing to deliver.

Models are everywhere at the moment! Everyone in Australia will have heard of the Doherty model, which has helped set Australia’s path out of the pandemic. Modelling from the Burnett Institute is helping to steer both New South Wales and Victoria out of their lockdowns. But what are scientific models, and why are they useful? Answering these questions is not easy. Sure, there are various answers to the questions. But the answers are not always easy to communicate, and secondly, the answers depend on the purpose of the models. While models are used for a range of reasons including synthesis, explanation, estimation, experimental design, etc., I will focus here on models that are used for prediction…

https://mickresearch.wordpress.com/2021/09/24/models-what-are-they-good-for/

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6. Serious Integrity Concerns Around Australia’s ‘Junk’ Carbon Credits

One in five carbon credits issued by the Federal Government’s $4.5 billion Emission Reduction Fund (ERF) do not represent real abatement and are essentially ‘junk’ credits, according to new research by the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Australia Institute Climate & Energy Program.

Serious Integrity Concerns Around Australia’s ‘Junk’ Carbon Credits – The Australia Institute

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7. They Knew: How the U.S. Government Helped Cause the Climate Crisis

How seven successive U.S. administrations failed to take effective action on halting greenhouse gas emissions and encouraged the extraction and use of fossil fuels.

They Knew: How the U.S. Government Helped Cause the Climate Crisis – Yale E360

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8. Notes on Dbytes’ history and future

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. 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 (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, many of whom are 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.

Regards

David

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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.

David


Dbytes #494 (22 September 2021)

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

“We understand the proposed changes would see only 238 – just 12% – of Australia’s 1,900 threatened species and ecological communities continue to be supported by a recovery plan.”
Brendan Sydes, ACF (see item 2)


In this issue of Dbytes

1. The costs and benefits of restoring a continent’s terrestrial ecosystems
2. Proposed changes to conservation planning decisions (Minister decides that a recovery plan is not required)
3. Destroying vegetation along fences and roads could worsen our extinction crisis — yet the NSW government just allowed it
4. Measuring social preferences for conservation management in Australia
5. The new private space race is as unsustainable as it is unfair
6. ‘Like nothing in my lifetime’: researchers race to unravel the mystery of Australia’s dying frogs
7. What the Mauritius kestrel can teach us about wildlife reintroductions
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1. The costs and benefits of restoring a continent’s terrestrial ecosystems

We find that spending approximately AU$2 billion (0.1% of Australia’s 2019 Gross Domestic Product) annually for 30 years could restore 13 million ha of degraded land without affecting intensive agriculture and urban areas. This initiative would result in almost all (99.8%) of Australia’s degraded terrestrial ecosystems reaching 30% vegetation coverage, enabling a trajectory to recover critical ecological functions, abate almost one billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent and produce AU$12–46 billion net present value in carbon offset revenue. The carbon market revenue is estimated to cover up to 111% of the investment required for the restoration. Our research shows that the recovery of degraded ecosystems in Australia is both attainable and affordable.

Key points:
– Creates a nationwide plan to restore degraded ecosystems while sequestering carbon on marginal farming land
– Costs 0.1% of GDP each year for 30 years restoring every habitat type to 30%
– It would meet one-sixth of Australia’s Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Climate Agreement
– Cumulative carbon abatement of almost 1 billion tonnes of CO2e
– De-bugs myth we can’t have a healthy environment and strong economy

https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2664.14008

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2. Proposed changes to conservation planning decisions (Minister decides that a recovery plan is not required)

The public is invited to provide comment to the Minister on the Minister’s proposed subsequent decision (to not have a recovery plan) for 28 ecological communities and 157 species (comprising 104 plant, 14 mammal, 19 bird, 3 fish, 3 frog, 6 invertebrate, and 8 reptile species).
Comments to the Minister can be made electronically or in writing and must be received by Tuesday 2 November 2021.

Proposed changes to conservation planning decisions | Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment

And see the ACF’s commentary on this proposal: Hundreds of threatened species abandoned by government

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3. Destroying vegetation along fences and roads could worsen our extinction crisis — yet the NSW government just allowed it

The NSW government last week made it legal for rural landholders to clear vegetation within 25 metres of their property boundaries, without approval. This radical measure is proposed to protect people and properties from fires, despite the lack of such an explicit recommendation from federal and state-based inquiries into the devastating 2019-20 bushfires.
This is poor environmental policy that lacks apparent consideration or justification of its potentially substantial ecological costs. It also gravely undermines the NSW government’s recent announcement of a plan for “zero extinction” within the state’s national parks, as the success of protected reserves for conservation is greatly enhanced by connection with surrounding “off-reserve” habitat.

https://theconversation.com/destroying-vegetation-along-fences-and-roads-could-worsen-our-extinction-crisis-yet-the-nsw-government-just-allowed-it-167801

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4. Measuring social preferences for conservation management in Australia

Conservation management is a rapidly evolving field in which scientific innovation and management practice can run ahead of social acceptability, leading to dispute and policy constraints. Here we use best-worst scaling (BWS) to explore the social preferences for two broad areas of threatened species management in Australia as well as support for extinction prevention as a whole. Of the 2430 respondents to an online survey among the Australian general public, 70% stated that extinction should be prevented regardless of the cost, a sentiment not fully reflected in existing policy and legislation. There was strong support for existing measures being taken to protect threatened species from feral animals, including explicit support for the killing of feral animals, but the demographic correlations with the results suggest approval is lower among women and younger respondents. There was a particularly high level of support for moving species to new places, which does not match current capabilities of managers responsible for assisted migration, suggesting messaging about the current limitations needs to be improved, or for resources to overcome them greatly increased. There was less support for genetic interventions than the feral animal control and other land management measures. A small majority of respondents thought it would be better for a species to cope without assistance than invasively alter their genome. This suggests that greater community consultation is desirable before applying genetic management approaches more interventionist than interbreeding subspecies.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S000632072100375X?via%3Dihub

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5. The new private space race is as unsustainable as it is unfair

The private space rockets of the 21st Century are acts of blind faith in the face of environmental collapse: ‘My faith is strong, my God will protect me, and here is my technological monument to prove it.’ The billionaire’s space club is the latest manifestation of the disconnection between the wealthy elite and the planet that supports them.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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6. ‘Like nothing in my lifetime’: researchers race to unravel the mystery of Australia’s dying frogs

After asking for public help with their investigations, scientists have received thousands of reports and specimens of dead, shrivelled frogs

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/19/like-nothing-in-my-lifetime-researchers-race-to-unravel-the-mystery-of-australias-dying-frogs

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7. What the Mauritius kestrel can teach us about wildlife reintroductions

Using decades of data, a recent study analyzed long-term population trends for the Mauritius kestrel, a bird of prey endemic to the island of Mauritius, which was once considered the rarest bird in the world. While an intensive recovery program for the kestrel helped increase the population to an estimated 400 individuals by the 1990s, scientists now estimate there are fewer than 250 in the wild. They link this decline to a halt in monitoring efforts, which occurred, ironically, after the species’ conservation status had improved and prompted conservation donors to stop funding the recovery efforts. Scientists say the key to wildlife reintroduction success is maintaining post-release monitoring efforts after captive rearing, a conservation tool that can be used for species beyond birds of prey.

https://news.mongabay.com/2021/09/what-the-mauritius-kestrel-can-teach-us-about-wildlife-reintroductions

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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.

David


Dbytes #493 (15 September 2021)

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

“It appears that lobbying fossil fuel companies have hijacked climate policy from the Australian people.”
Angela Dewan, CNN, Australia is shaping up to be the villain of COP26 climate talks


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Unleash the environmental watchdogs
2. Predicted protected area downsizing impedes conservation progress across terrestrial ecoregions in the tropics and subtropics
3. Saving these family-focused lizards may mean moving them to new homes. But that’s not as simple as it sounds
4. It’s not sustainable’: overcrowding is changing the soul of US national parks
5. Amazon and The Nature Conservancy announce launch of Agroforestry and Restoration Accelerator
6. Nearly a third of the world’s tree species threatened with extinction, says report
7. Religious Australians Call on Scott Morrison to do more on climate


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1. Unleash the environmental watchdogs

Court tells NSW EPA to do its duty and make policies to protect the state environment from climate change

When governments establish independent watchdogs, often enshrining their independence in law, they do so in the knowledge that there are ‘back door’ ways to control them. And yet Matt Kean seems to want them to do their job.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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2. Predicted protected area downsizing impedes conservation progress across terrestrial ecoregions in the tropics and subtropics

Protected areas remain a key tool in the fight against biodiversity loss and have expanded rapidly in recent decades. However, protected areas are also increasingly experiencing downsizing events that reduce the total amount of area legally under protection. Here we explore how future predicted protected area expansion and downsizing (by 2045) will impact the ability for countries to meet representation and area-based protection targets, such as those set by the Convention on Biological Diversity. We found that predicted protected area downsizing will likely decrease habitat representation equality and mean area-based target (30% target) achievement by 50% and >80%, respectively, of the 36 countries analyzed across four scenarios (no protection, business as usual, random and optimal protection). Prioritizing protection of underrepresented ecoregions could offset these unfavorable outcomes, increasing representation equality, on average, by >60% and mean target achievement by >30%. We identify countries that are expected to decrease both representation equality and mean target achievement (~50% of countries across scenarios) with predicted downsizing. These countries need to pay particular attention to strategic protected area expansion and policies that prevent downsizing in parks with under-represented habitats. Finally, we identify cases where downsizing events improve protected area metrics, such as India and Nigeria, highlighting the complexities and potential trade-offs of protected area dynamics. A deeper understanding of the influence of protected area downsizing on conservation outcomes is urgently needed to ensure representative and adequate protected area networks.

The Society for Conservation Biology (wiley.com)

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3. Saving these family-focused lizards may mean moving them to new homes. But that’s not as simple as it sounds

Spiny-tailed skinks (Egernia stokesii badia), known as meelyu in the local Badimia language in Western Australia, are highly social lizards that live together in family groups — an uncommon trait among reptiles. They’re culturally significant to the Badimia people but habitat degradation and mining has put them under threat of extinction. These sturdy, mottled lizards — which live in colonies in the logs of fallen trees and branches — are a candidate for what researchers call “mitigation translocation”.

https://theconversation.com/saving-these-family-focused-lizards-may-mean-moving-them-to-new-homes-but-thats-not-as-simple-as-it-sounds-162998

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4. It’s not sustainable’: overcrowding is changing the soul of US national parks

Travelers, tour guides and service workers share how years of record-high tourism levels are reshaping popular destinations

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/10/overcrowding-changing-us-national-parks

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5. Amazon and The Nature Conservancy announce launch of Agroforestry and Restoration Accelerator

The initiative will focus on reforestation and regenerative agroforestry in the Amazon rainforest, removing up to 10 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions through 2050.

Amazon and The Nature Conservancy announce launch of Agroforestry and Restoration Accelerator – Climate Action

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6. Nearly a third of the world’s tree species threatened with extinction, says report

Almost 40 percent of trees in sub-Saharan African are threatened. At least 142 of the world’s tree species are already extinct in the wild. More than half of the world’s trees exist only within single countries.

Report: Nearly a third of the world’s tree species threatened with extinction (globallandscapesforum.org)

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7. Religious Australians Call on Scott Morrison to do more on climate

Over six hundred people of faith from around Australia have penned hand-written letters calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to do more to protect the climate.

One of the letter-writers and Pentecostal Pastor at the large and influential Bayside Church in Melbourne, Pastor Rob Buckingham, said ‘Our faith teaches us that we should care for God’s creation. I appeal to the Prime Minister as a man of faith and ask him to carefully consider his government’s responsibility to ensure the earth’s environment is protected for the generations to come.’

Religious Australians Call on Scott Morrison to do more on climate (medianet.com.au)

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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.

David


Dbytes #492 (8 September 2021)

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

“Making ecocide an international crime is an appropriate response to the gravity of this harm and could help prevent mass environmental destruction. But whether it does so will depend on how the crime is defined.”
Burke and Celermajer [see item 5]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. How you can help save nature
2. Street life ain’t easy for a stray cat, with most dying before they turn 1. So what’s the best way to deal with them?
3. Extinction is a process, not an event
4. Buried Queensland government report found Adani plan to protect black-throated finch was ‘superficial’
5. Human progress is no excuse to destroy nature. A push to make ‘ecocide’ a global crime must recognise this fundamental truth
6. Elon Musk’s SpaceX launch site threatens wildlife
7. Climate change means Australia may have to abandon much of its farming


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1. How you can help save nature

There are many behaviours and campaigns that promote things like energy saving, reduced water consumption, recycling, etc, but there are few that are specifically targeted at protecting biodiversity. To address this, Selinske et al. used a behavioural prioritization method to identify and rank individual ‘everyday’ behaviours that could help deliver benefits for biodiversity.

Blog: How you can help save nature – Please keep to the path
Paper: Identifying and prioritizing human behaviors that benefit biodiversity (wiley.com)

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2. Street life ain’t easy for a stray cat, with most dying before they turn 1. So what’s the best way to deal with them?

Odds are, if you’ve seen a cat prowling around your neighbourhood, it doesn’t have an owner. Australia is home to hordes of unowned cats, with an estimated 700,000 living without appropriate care in urban areas, around rubbish dumps or on farms.

Street life ain’t easy for a stray cat, with most dying before they turn 1. So what’s the best way to deal with them? (theconversation.com)

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3. Extinction is a process, not an event

Every year, the September 7 marks National Threatened Species Day. Why this day? September 7 is the day the last known Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger) died in the Hobart Zoo back in 1936. National Threatened Species Day is a time to reflect on all of the species currently facing extinction. It’s a day to raise awareness, and a call to action.

Setting aside a single day of the year for threatened species awareness posits extinction as an event. But extinction is a process. It’s a process that unfolds remarkably quickly in some cases, but usually one that plays out over many, many years. By seeing extinction as a process, it becomes a trajectory along which there are many opportunities for intervention.

https://www.rememberthewild.org.au/threatened-species-day-is-an-event-but-extinction-is-a-process/

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4. Buried Queensland government report found Adani plan to protect black-throated finch was ‘superficial’

Scientific panel finds Adani’s conservation aims for the endangered black-throated finch ‘do not meet the content requirements of an acceptable plan’

The Queensland government commissioned, mostly ignored, and then tried to keep secret the findings of an independent scientific panel that concluded Adani’s conservation plans for the endangered black-throated finch were “superficial” and not backed by evidence.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/sep/02/buried-queensland-government-report-found-adani-plan-to-protect-black-throated-finch-was-superficial

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5. Human progress is no excuse to destroy nature. A push to make ‘ecocide’ a global crime must recognise this fundamental truth

Scientists recently confirmed the Amazon rainforest is now emitting more carbon dioxide than it absorbs, due to uncontrolled burning and deforestation. It brings the crucial ecosystem closer to a tipping point that would see it replaced by savanna and trigger accelerated global heating. This is not an isolated example of nature being damaged at a mass scale. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change this month confirmed global heating is now affecting every continent, region and ocean on Earth. That includes Australia, which is a global deforestation hotspot and where the Great Barrier Reef is headed for virtual extinction.

In the face of such horrors, a new international campaign is calling for “ecocide” – the killing of ecology – to be deemed an international “super crime” in the order of genocide. The campaign has attracted high-profile supporters including French President Emmanuel Macron, Pope Francis and Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.

https://theconversation.com/human-progress-is-no-excuse-to-destroy-nature-a-push-to-make-ecocide-a-global-crime-must-recognise-this-fundamental-truth-164594

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6. Elon Musk’s SpaceX launch site threatens wildlife

The private space race is already causing concern about the potential climate impacts of the fuel needed to propel the rockets. But environmentalists on the ground in south Texas say SpaceX’s testing site is having more immediate impacts.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX launch site threatens wildlife, Texas environmental groups say | Texas | The Guardian

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7. Climate change means Australia may have to abandon much of its farming

The findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggest Australia may have to jettison tracts of the bush unless there is a massive investment in climate-change adaptation and planning. The potential impacts of climate change on employment and the livability of the regions have not been adequately considered. Even if emissions are curtailed, Australia likely faces billions of dollars of adaptation costs for rural communities.

Climate change means Australia may have to abandon much of its farming (theconversation.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.

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.

David

Dbytes #491 (1 September 2021)

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

“Once a project is approved, it is not reassessed, even if a species becomes vulnerable and a wildfire burns much of its habitat.”
Watchorn and Ashman [see item 5]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Pacific Island bats are utterly fascinating, yet under threat and overlooked. Meet 4 species
2. Passing the buck – the rights and responsibilities of fossil fuel divestment
3. Climate risk governance guide
4. A brief history of the northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus): a systematic review
5. Australia has failed greater gliders: since they were listed as ‘vulnerable’ we’ve destroyed more of their habitat
6. Ten large-scale climate solutions
7. Using knowledge to care for country: Indigenous-led evaluations of research to adaptively co-manage Kakadu National Park, Australia
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1. Pacific Island bats are utterly fascinating, yet under threat and overlooked. Meet 4 species

A whopping 191 different bat species live in the Pacific Islands across Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia — but these are, collectively, the most imperilled in the world. In fact, five of the nine bat species that have gone extinct in the last 160 years have come from this region. For too long, the conservation of Pacific Island bats has been largely overlooked in science. Of the 191 existing species, 25% are threatened with extinction, and we lack information to assess the status of a further 15%.

Pacific Island bats are utterly fascinating, yet under threat and overlooked. Meet 4 species (theconversation.com)

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2. Passing the buck – the rights and responsibilities of fossil fuel divestment

It’s a win-win for the corporates (and their shareholders), and a lose-lose for the planet (and its inhabitants). Of course, one day the music will stop and the corporates betting their profits on stranded fossil fuel assets will find there’s no chair for them to sit on. The Bank for International Settlements has suggested that when this happens there could be a collapse in asset prices of fossil fuel industries that could lead to a wider economic collapse along the lines of the GFC.

What might a win-win look like? That’s a win for corporates and a win for society. Based on a realistic costing of the impacts of climate change in coming years* and being realistic about the tiny chance that the big corporates play fair (ie, be true to their social responsibility and not interfere with governmental policy), I think the best we could hope for might be governments stepping in and buying out the whole fossil fuel sector at some cut (heavily-discounted) rate based on their falling asset value.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3. Climate risk governance guide

An introductory resource for directors on climate risk governance. This guide is an introductory resource for directors on climate change risk governance. It provides a plain-language introduction to fundamental climate change concepts and considers this issue in the context of the non-executive directors’ role and duties.

Climate risk governance guide (apo.org.au)

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4. A brief history of the northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus): a systematic review

In response to Australia’s current extinction crisis, substantial research efforts have been targeted towards some of the most imperilled species. One such species is the northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus), a marsupial predator that has recently suffered substantial declines in range and is now listed as Endangered. We conducted a systematic review of all literature relevant to the conservation and ecology of northern quolls. We reviewed 143 studies, including research articles, government and industry reports, theses, and books, and quantified research effort in terms of topic, location, and publication period. We then summarised research relevant to northern quoll taxonomy, genetics, distribution, habitat associations, diet, reproduction, movement, threats, management, and Indigenous knowledge. Research effort was higher between 2011 and 2020 than the previous four decades combined. Northern quolls in the Northern Territory were the most studied, followed by the Pilbara, the Kimberley, and Queensland populations. Most studies focused on northern quoll distribution and habitat, management, and threats – primarily cane toads, predation, and fire. We conclude with a non-exhaustive list of ten future research directions. If pursued, these future research directions should provide information critical to managing and conserving northern quolls.

https://www.publish.csiro.au/AM/AM21002

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5. Australia has failed greater gliders: since they were listed as ‘vulnerable’ we’ve destroyed more of their habitat

In just five years, greater gliders — fluffy-eared, tree-dwelling marsupials — could go from vulnerable to endangered, because Australia’s environmental laws have failed to protect them and other threatened native species.

https://theconversation.com/australia-has-failed-greater-gliders-since-they-were-listed-as-vulnerable-weve-destroyed-more-of-their-habitat-164872

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6. Ten large-scale climate solutions

The latest IPCC report could not be clearer: we either dramatically reduce global greenhouse gas emissions this decade, or face catastrophic climate impacts. The strong message is that although time is running out, we still have control over what the future looks like. Co-ordinated ambitious action taken today can dramatically reduce future harm. At the Climate Council, we are often asked about the best solutions to climate change that are available today and can drive Australia’s emissions down quickly. So our research team has compiled this list of their top ten large-scale climate solutions – in no particular order – which would see our emissions plummet.
Top 10 Large-Scale Climate Solutions | Explainer | Climate Council

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7. Using knowledge to care for country: Indigenous-led evaluations of research to adaptively co-manage Kakadu National Park, Australia

Sustainability science research conducted with Indigenous collaborators must be Indigenous-led and achieve impacts that are grounded in local values and priorities, both for ethical reasons and to achieve more robust outcomes. However, there has been limited focus on determining how best to evaluate the way research is used, shared and created to adaptively solve complex sustainable issues facing Indigenous lands. In this paper, we outline a collaborative and adaptive approach for conducting Indigenous-led evaluations of sustainability research and show how this approach was applied to evaluate cross-cultural knowledge co-production practice and impact in Australia’s jointly managed and World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park. As part of an Indigenous-led research project, indicators were co-developed by Indigenous and non-Indigenous research team members to monitor the health of the knowledge-sharing and co-production practices that underpinned the design, management and success of the project’s research activities. The evaluations focused on determining whether research activities were providing negotiated benefits for local Indigenous people; helping to restore and protect agreed values in priority areas; and supporting Indigenous-led collaborative knowledge sharing and research practices. In Kakadu, we show how the Indigenous-led design of the research evaluation empowered the usability and benefits of knowledge which was negotiated, shared and co-created. The approach shows how sustainability science can be evaluated by Indigenous leaders to test if and how research practice and impact is responding to their priorities for their traditional estates.

Using knowledge to care for country: Indigenous-led evaluations of research to adaptively co-manage Kakadu National Park, Australia | SpringerLink

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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).

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.

David


Dbytes #490 (25 August 2021)

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

“Tragically, we have identified an additional three frog species that are very likely to be extinct. Another four species on our list are still surviving, but not likely to make it to 2040 without help.”
Gillespie et al [see item 5]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Dead, shrivelled frogs are unexpectedly turning up across eastern Australia. We need your help to find out why
2. Navigating Trade-Offs Between Dams and River Conservation
3. Administrative law: like the Curate’s egg, boring in parts, but environmentally useful nonetheless
4. Conservation needs to break free from global priority mapping
5. We name the 26 Australian frogs at greatest risk of extinction by 2040 — and how to save them
6. Land of opportunity: more sustainable Australian farming would protect our lucrative exports (and the planet)
7. Putting the cat before the wildlife: Exploring cat owners’ beliefs about cat containment as predictors of owner behavior
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1. Dead, shrivelled frogs are unexpectedly turning up across eastern Australia. We need your help to find out why

Over the past few weeks, we’ve received a flurry of emails from concerned people who’ve seen sick and dead frogs across eastern Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

Dead, shrivelled frogs are unexpectedly turning up across eastern Australia. We need your help to find out why (theconversation.com)

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2. Navigating Trade-Offs Between Dams and River Conservation

Connected and healthy rivers deliver diverse benefits that are often overlooked: freshwater fish stocks that improve food security for hundreds of millions of people, nutrient-rich sediment that supports agriculture and keeps deltas above rising seas, floodplains that help mitigate the impact of floods, and a wealth of biodiversity. Navigating Trade-Offs Between Dams And River Conservation, a new report in the journal, Global Sustainability, reveals that if all proposed hydropower dams are built, over 260,000 km of rivers (160,000 miles), including the Amazon, Congo, Irrawaddy, and Salween mainstem rivers, will lose free-flowing status.

Navigating Trade-Offs Between Dams and River Conservation (newsecuritybeat.org)

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3. Administrative law: like the Curate’s egg, boring in parts, but environmentally useful nonetheless

Anyone who has followed environmental issues through the courts will know that many court cases concerning the environment turn not on environment-specific principles (such as precaution or intergenerational equity), but on general principles of administrative law.

https://bit.ly/2MsmLyX

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4. Conservation needs to break free from global priority mapping

Global priority maps have been transformative for conservation, but now have questionable utility and may crowd out other forms of research. Conservation must re-engage with contextually rich knowledge that builds global understanding from the ground up.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-021-01540-x

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5. We name the 26 Australian frogs at greatest risk of extinction by 2040 — and how to save them

Our new study published today, identified the 26 Australian frogs at greatest risk, the likelihood of their extinctions by 2040 and the steps needed to save them. Tragically, we have identified an additional three frog species that are very likely to be extinct. Another four species on our list are still surviving, but not likely to make it to 2040 without help.

We name the 26 Australian frogs at greatest risk of extinction by 2040 — and how to save them (theconversation.com)

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6. Land of opportunity: more sustainable Australian farming would protect our lucrative exports (and the planet)

In addition to a substantial greenhouse gas footprint from agriculture, Australia also has a truly terrible record on biodiversity loss. The argument for farmers to adopt more sustainable practices – and for governments to help the shift – is growing ever more compelling. Not only would it safeguard our exports, it would cut emissions and help protect nature.

https://theconversation.com/land-of-opportunity-more-sustainable-australian-farming-would-protect-our-lucrative-exports-and-the-planet-166177

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7. Putting the cat before the wildlife: Exploring cat owners’ beliefs about cat containment as predictors of owner behavior

Free-roaming domestic cats pose risks to wildlife, domestic animals, humans, and importantly, the cats themselves. Behavior change campaigns that seek to minimize these risks by increasing cat containment require an understanding of the factors that predict cat owners’ containment behaviors. We conducted an online survey in Victoria, Australia (N = 1,024) to identify cat owners’ (N = 220) behaviors in containing their cats, explore beliefs and attitudes that predict containment behavior, and compare attitudes about cat containment with respondents that do not own cats (N = 804). We found that 53% of cat owning respondents do not allow any roaming. These respondents were more likely to hold concerns about risks to cats’ safety while roaming and less likely to perceive that cats have a right to roam. Concern about impacts to wildlife was not a significant predictor of containment behavior. Expectations that cat owners should manage cats’ roaming behavior was a social norm among cat owners and other respondents, and cat containers were more likely to indicate that they would try to change behaviors of their peers that they perceived to be harmful to the environment. Cat containment campaigns could be improved by appealing to owners’ concerns about cat well-being, engaging respected messengers that align with these concerns, including owners who already contain their cats.

The Society for Conservation Biology (wiley.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).

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.

David


Dbytes #489 (18 August 2021)

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

“We found invasive species now cost Australia around A$24.5 billion a year, or an average 1.26% of the nation’s gross domestic product. The costs total at least A$390 billion in the past 60 years.”
Corey Bradshaw and Andrew Hoskins [see item 7]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Scientific foundations for an ecosystem goal, milestones and indicators for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework
2. Three experts and a politician in a sandpit – who has the real insight on climate policy in a connected society
3.What’s a national park and why does it matter?
4. Advancing Social Equity in and Through Marine Conservation
5. The political effects of emergency frames in sustainability
6. Fossil fuel misinformation may sideline one of the most important climate change reports ever released
7. Pest plants and animals cost Australia around $25 billion a year – and it will get worse

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1. Scientific foundations for an ecosystem goal, milestones and indicators for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework

Despite substantial conservation efforts, the loss of ecosystems continues globally, along with related declines in species and nature’s contributions to people. An effective ecosystem goal, supported by clear milestones, targets and indicators, is urgently needed for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and beyond to support biodiversity conservation, the UN Sustainable Development Goals and efforts to abate climate change. Here, we describe the scientific foundations for an ecosystem goal and milestones, founded on a theory of change, and review available indicators to measure progress. An ecosystem goal should include three core components: area, integrity and risk of collapse. Targets—the actions that are necessary for the goals to be met—should address the pathways to ecosystem loss and recovery, including safeguarding remnants of threatened ecosystems, restoring their area and integrity to reduce risk of collapse and retaining intact areas. Multiple indicators are needed to capture the different dimensions of ecosystem area, integrity and risk of collapse across all ecosystem types, and should be selected for their fitness for purpose and relevance to goal components. Science-based goals, supported by well-formulated action targets and fit-for-purpose indicators, will provide the best foundation for reversing biodiversity loss and sustaining human well-being.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-021-01538-5

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2. Three experts and a politician in a sandpit – who has the real insight on climate policy in a connected society

A scientist, an economist and a lawyer take on a politician about climate action (in a sandpit).

Who wins?

It’s depends on the criticality of the sandpile.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3.What’s a national park and why does it matter?

With over 9 percent of NSW protected in national parks it’s easy to see how ‘national park’ has become shorthand for any protected area, or even areas of bushland, in the state. As usual, the reality is much more complicated, and there are many types of reserves and protected areas in NSW.

https://blog.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/whats-a-national-park-and-why-does-it-matter/

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4. Advancing Social Equity in and Through Marine Conservation

Though it is mandated by international law and central to conservation policy, less attention has been given to how to operationalize social equity in and through the pursuit of marine conservation. In this article, we aim to bring greater attention to this topic through reviewing how social equity can be better integrated in marine conservation policy and practice. Advancing social equity in marine conservation requires directing attention to: recognition through acknowledgment and respect for diverse peoples and perspectives; fair distribution of impacts through maximizing benefits and minimizing burdens; procedures through fostering participation in decision-making and good governance; management through championing and supporting local involvement and leadership; the environment through ensuring the efficacy of conservation actions and adequacy of management to ensure benefits to nature and people; and the structural barriers to and institutional roots of inequity in conservation.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2021.711538/full

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5. The political effects of emergency frames in sustainability

Emergency frames are mobilized in contemporary sustainability debates, both in response to specific events and strategically. The strategic deployment of emergency frames by proponents of sustainability action aims to stimulate collective action on issues for which it is lacking. But this is contentious due to a range of possible effects. We critically review interdisciplinary social science literature to examine the political effects of emergency frames in sustainability and develop a typology of five key dimensions of variation. This pinpoints practical areas for evaluating the utility of emergency frames and builds a shared vocabulary for analysis and decision-making.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-021-00749-9

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6. Fossil fuel misinformation may sideline one of the most important climate change reports ever released

This week’s landmark report on the state of the climate paints a sobering picture. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that, without deep and immediate cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, the world is very likely headed for climate catastrophe. In November, world leaders will gather in Glasgow for the latest round of United Nations climate talks. It’s the most crucial round of climate negotiations since those which led to the Paris Agreement in 2015. The question is: will governments around the world now listen to the climate science? Or will misinformation campaigns backed by vested interests continue to delay action?

https://theconversation.com/fossil-fuel-misinformation-may-sideline-one-of-the-most-important-climate-change-reports-ever-released-165887

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7. Pest plants and animals cost Australia around $25 billion a year – and it will get worse

Shamefully, Australia has one of the highest extinction rates in the world. And the number one threat to our species is invasive or “alien” plants and animals. But invasive species don’t just cause extinctions and biodiversity loss – they also create a serious economic burden. Our research, published today, reveals invasive species have cost the Australian economy at least A$390 billion in the last 60 years alone. Our paper – the most detailed assessment of its type ever published in this country – also reveals feral cats are the worst invasive species in terms of total costs, followed by rabbits and fire ants.

Pest plants and animals cost Australia around $25 billion a year – and it will get worse (theconversation.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).

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.

David

Dbytes #488 (11 August 2021)

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

“This is a code red for humanity. The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable… This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet,” — UN Secretary General, António Guterres on the latest IPCC report.S


In this issue of Dbytes

1. A national-scale dataset for threats impacting Australia’s imperiled flora and fauna.
2. Six modes of co-production for sustainability
3. Feral honey bees and competition for natural cavities
4. The early Hawke Governments and the environment: 1983-1987
5. Do conservation covenants consider the delivery of ecosystem services?
6. US forest fires threaten carbon offsets as company-linked trees burn
7. Key factors for effective partner integration and governance for threatened species recovery

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1. A national-scale dataset for threats impacting Australia’s imperiled flora and fauna.

Using expert consultation, we compile the first complete, validated, and consistent taxon-specific threat and impact dataset for all nationally listed threatened taxa in Australia. We think this dataset will provide critical information to our work, including:
– help inform conservation and management strategies for Australia’s threatened species and threatening processes at local, regional, and national scales.
– help guide actions for abating existing threats to bushfire-impacted species to help aid recovery and avoid further declines.
– help infer the benefit of managing a particular threat and aid in recovery planning.
– used at the local scale, where decision-makers can use the severity score to decide which of the threats present in their jurisdiction are the most important and feasible to address.
– help to refine regulatory processes given the level of impact to particular taxa. For example, under the EPBC Act, actions associated with a particular development proposal or other activities that are likely to cause “significant impact” to a threatened taxon require special consideration. This dataset may aid decision-makers in determining “significant impact” of potential activities for each of Australia’s nationally listed threatened taxa.

http://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.7920

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2. Six modes of co-production for sustainability

The promise of co-production to address complex sustainability challenges is compelling. Yet, co-production, the collaborative weaving of research and practice, encompasses diverse aims, terminologies and practices, with poor clarity over their implications. To explore this diversity, we systematically mapped differences in how 32 initiatives from 6 continents co-produce diverse outcomes for the sustainable development of ecosystems at local to global scales. We found variation in their purpose for utilizing co-production, understanding of power, approach to politics and pathways to impact. A cluster analysis identified six modes of co-production: (1) researching solutions; (2) empowering voices; (3) brokering power; (4) reframing power; (5) navigating differences and (6) reframing agency. No mode is ideal; each holds unique potential to achieve particular outcomes, but also poses unique challenges and risks. Our analysis provides a heuristic tool for researchers and societal actors to critically explore this diversity and effectively navigate trade-offs when co-producing sustainability.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-021-00755-x

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3. feral honey bees and competition for natural cavities

Our new paper is out in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment (open access). We used a combined search of peer-reviewed literature and iNaturalist observations to determine what evidence is available on the use of natural cavities and hollows by feral (wild) western honey bees (Apis mellifera). Our paper addresses an important knowledge gap on how invasive honey bees compete with native species in their introduced range.

New paper: feral honey bees and competition for natural cavities – Ecology is not a dirty word

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4. The early Hawke Governments: 1983-1987

If the Hawke Government were an environmental policy student in 1985, its report card would start with an A+, followed by a string of D’s. The card would bear the teacher’s comment that ‘this talented student has lost interest and is skipping class’.

https://bit.ly/2MsmLyX
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5. Do conservation covenants consider the delivery of ecosystem services?

Conservation covenants promote the conservation of biodiversity and compatible ecosystem services. However, it is not clear whether ecosystem services co-benefits arise incidentally or through explicit policy design. We undertook a content analysis of conservation covenant documents and policy frameworks to examine this issue. We found that the requirements of conservation covenants did not widely consider the management ecosystem services. When covenant clauses did focus on ecosystem services, they primarily considered the ecosystem services flows. Conservation covenants can improve the delivery ecosystem services by considering ecosystem services supply and flows within the policy design process.

Do conservation covenants consider the delivery of ecosystem services? – ScienceDirect

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6. US forest fires threaten carbon offsets as company-linked trees burn

BP and Microsoft among groups that bought into projects designed to help achieve net-zero emissions targets.

https://www.ft.com/content/3f89c759-eb9a-4dfb-b768-d4af1ec5aa23

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7. Key factors for effective partner integration and governance for threatened species recovery

The common assumption that partnerships increase the effectiveness of threatened species conservation has never been tested. This question is complex, as there are many types of partnership, reasons to partner, and various costs incurred, and potential benefits received. Here we investigate the collaborative process of partnerships and how they can lead to better outcomes for threatened species conservation. We assess the conditions where partnerships have supported the solving of environmental problems, the activities carried out and the goals achieved, including whether ecological, economic and social objectives have been met. We did so by interviewing people from a cross-section of partnerships across Australia that have focused on threatened species or threatened ecological communities. We conducted 44 interviews with partners from 24 partnerships focused on 23 threatened species or threatened ecological communities. We attempted to interview two or more organisation types involved in each case study to capture differing sentiments. The semi-structured interviews were carried out over the phone, recorded and transcribed. A deductive coding method was used to identify common themes within the interview data and NVivo was used to code the data. The results of our thematic analysis of interviews provide an overview of the reasons why groups and individuals are embarking on partnerships for threatened species across Australia. We describe the aims and benefits of these partnerships, common challenges to be overcome and the key ingredients of partnerships if they are to achieve recovery objectives. We outline common pathways for partnership initiation, the roles and timeframes around which partnerships structure themselves and how these partnerships tend to be managed. Our study describes the circumstances where a partnership is likely to increase effectiveness, the roles partners play in threatened species recovery, and the costs associated with establishing and maintaining partnerships. The results of this study can help both practitioners developing programs for threatened species and ecological communities, and agencies, governments, conservation organisations, and land managers who make decisions on whether to invest in establishing and servicing partnerships to support threatened species conservation.

Skroblin, A., Currey, K., Grindrod, J., Nally, S., Morgain, R., Pandit, R., Garnett, S.T. (2020). Key factors for effective partner integration and governance for threatened species recovery. NESP Threatened Sprecies Recovery Hub Project 6.6 final report, Brisbane.

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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).

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.

David