Dbytes #508 (27 January 2022)

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

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



In this issue of Dbytes

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

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

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

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

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2. Measuring comprehensive carbon prices of national climate policies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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7. Conservation frontiers: understanding the geographic expansion of conservation

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

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

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

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/

and click the ‘follow’ button.

David Salt
and you can follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt or @GWFWater

Dbytes #507 (20 January 2022)

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

“The governments and corporations enabling these projects urge us not to be concerned, as each project is subjected to a rigorous environmental impact assessment (EIA) to ensure there is no lasting harm to nature. Yet the alarming fact is, many EIAs are of limited value and some are virtually useless.”
William Laurance [see item 4]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Understanding the Rights of Nature
2. BCA criticisms: “discounting is bad”
3. Does a ‘duty of care’ to future children make any difference to environmental approvals?
4. Why environmental impact assessments often fail
5. Assessing the status of existing and tentative marine World Heritage areas reveals opportunities to better achieve World Heritage Convention goals
6. Pushing the frontiers of social-ecological resilience
7. Rolling covenants to protect coastal ecosystems in the face of sea-level rise

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1. Understanding the Rights of Nature

Rivers, landscapes, whole territories: these are the latest entities environmental activists have fought hard to include in the relentless expansion of rights in our world. But what does it mean for a landscape to have rights? Why would anyone want to create such rights, and to what end? Is it a good idea, and does it come with risks? This book presents the logic behind giving nature rights and discusses the most important cases in which this has happened, ranging from constitutional rights of nature in Ecuador to rights for rivers in New Zealand, Colombia, and India. Mihnea Tanasescu offers clear answers to the thorny questions that the intrusion of nature into law is sure to raise.

https://www.transcript-publishing.com/978-3-8376-5431-8/understanding-the-rights-of-nature/?number=978-3-8394-5431-2&c=411000239

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2. BCA criticisms: “discounting is bad”

Number 3 in David Pannell’s series on criticisms of Benefit: Cost Analysis (BCA) addresses discounting, the procedure used to compare benefits and costs that occur at different points in time. Sometimes people are critical of discounting because they feel it leads to objectionable BCA results.

362. BCA criticisms 3: “discounting is bad” – Pannell Discussions

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3. Does a ‘duty of care’ to future children make any difference to environmental approvals?

In practice it seems that the duty of care to children is just one more box to tick and doesn’t change anything. But the implications extend beyond a mere box-ticking exercise.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/  

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4. Why environmental impact assessments often fail

The environmental impact assessment (EIA) is a nearly universal instrument intended to limit or to offset the environmental tolls of development projects.  Here, I describe some of the key shortcomings of EIAs in terms of their real-world application, especially in developing nations that harbor much of the world’s imperiled biodiversity.  A surprisingly large number of EIAs suffer from major inaccuracies and some are green-lighting projects that will have serious environmental and societal costs.  I summarize by proposing eight strategies to help improve the conservation capacities of EIAs.

Why environmental impact assessments often fail | Laurance | THERYA (unam.mx)

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5. Assessing the status of existing and tentative marine World Heritage areas reveals opportunities to better achieve World Heritage Convention goals

Threats and geographic biases are prevalent in marine World Heritage areas (mnWHA).
Most marine ecoregions and at-risk species are not represented in existing mnWHAs.
Cumulative human impacts are increasing in 73% of existing mnWHAs.
In most tentative mnWHAs, impacts remain high but are increasing at a lower rate.
Strategic listing of tentative sites could close representation and conservation gaps.

Assessing the status of existing and tentative marine World Heritage areas reveals opportunities to better achieve World Heritage Convention goals – ScienceDirect

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6. Pushing the frontiers of social-ecological resilience

-Researchers recognize the importance of transformational resilience for sustainable futures
-Social and ecological systems are truly intertwined and evolve together and, their co-evolutionary governance can help build resilient communities
-A tipping point in one social-ecological system can trigger a tipping point in another

https://www.stockholmresilience.org/research/research-news/2021-12-02-pushing-the-frontiers-of-social-ecological-resilience.html

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7. Rolling covenants to protect coastal ecosystems in the face of sea-level rise

‘In the paper, we explore how rolling covenants can be used to permit the productive use of land in the short term, while ensuring land use can shift over time to allow for coastal ecosystem migration and in the long term. Rolling covenants can provide opportunities for coastal wetlands to be maintained and even enhanced, thereby delivering important ecosystem services (e.g., blue carbon) into the future.’

https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/csp2.593

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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
and you can follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

Dbytes #506 (15 December 2021)

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

“This tragic. Back in 1990s, western fuels association— a coal industry trade group— targeted Bowling Green to test climate denial marketing.”
Naomi Oreskes on the recent tornado disaster in the US (in which the town of Bowling Green was completely destroyed).

“Without facts, you can’t have truth. Without truth, you can’t have trust. Without trust, we have no shared reality, no democracy, and it becomes impossible to deal with our world’s existential problems: climate, COVID, the battle for truth.”
Maria Ressa, in her Nobel Lecture on winning this year’s Nobel Peach Prize


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Death of the Bogong – another icon of nature bites the dust
2. Principles of Effective Policy Reform: Lessons for Australia’s Climate Change Policy Impasse
3. Nature is hiding in every nook of Australia’s cities – just look a little closer and you’ll find it
4. Benefit Cost Analysis criticism 2: “too much uncertainty”
5. Widespread homogenization of plant communities in the Anthropocene
6. Ecological knowledge of local populations more accurate than 10 years of conventional scientific monitoring
7. An introduction to decision science for conservation

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1. Death of the Bogong – another icon of nature bites the dust

The collapse of biodiversity never seems to be a high priority with any government. But the demise of the Bogong moth is especially poignant. The idea that we will see Bogongs no more is an assault to our very identity.

“Since the 1980s, scientists have detected steady declines in numbers of Bogong moths. Then, in 2017 and 2018, their numbers crashed. Ecologists visiting caves at Mount Gingera in 2018 near Canberra reported that this site that had been known to house millions of the moths (17,000 moths per square metre), now only contained three moths! Not three thousand or three million, just three moths. Searches of another 50 known sites have turned up similar catastrophic absences.”

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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2. Principles of Effective Policy Reform: Lessons for Australia’s Climate Change Policy Impasse
Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia

It has been often observed that climate change has proven to be one of the most politically difficult and fraught policy issues to have faced Australia in recent decades. Proposals for policy reform, or even for arguing climate change as a serious issue, have been vigorously contested and politically dangerous—Australia is caught in a climate change policy impasse. This discussion paper seeks to improve our understanding of that impasse, not through a focus on climate change directly, but through lessons and insights gathered from other experiences of policy reform that might inform how this impasse might be addressed.

This edited volume presents ten policy reform case studies – from regional forestry agreements to activity-based funding in Victorian hospitals – to identify critical factors that may be relevant to Australia’s current climate policy impasse.

Principles of Effective Policy Reform: Lessons for Australia’s Climate Change Policy Impasse | Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia

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3. Nature is hiding in every nook of Australia’s cities – just look a little closer and you’ll find it

just because you live in a city, it doesn’t mean you can’t observe, learn about and contribute to scientific understanding of the natural world. Sometimes, it just means looking a little closer. However, our recent study revealed in Australia, the number and diversity of urban ecology citizen science projects is relatively low. This is despite cities being important places of conservation and discovery. There’s enormous value in citizen science projects that encourage urbanites to learn about what is often, quite literally, on their doorsteps.

Nature is hiding in every nook of Australia’s cities – just look a little closer and you’ll find it (theconversation.com)

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4. Benefit Cost Analysis criticism 2: “too much uncertainty”
A Pannell Discussion

David Pannell: “I argue that high uncertainty about a project is an additional reason in favour of doing a BCA, not an argument against it.”

357. BCA criticisms 2: “too much uncertainty” – Pannell Discussions

Plus, also see from David Pannell:
358. High-quality Benefit: Cost Analysis template, for free – Pannell Discussions

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5. Widespread homogenization of plant communities in the Anthropocene

Native biodiversity decline and non-native species spread are major features of the Anthropocene. Both processes can drive biotic homogenization by reducing trait and phylogenetic differences in species assemblages between regions, thus diminishing the regional distinctiveness of biotas and likely have negative impacts on key ecosystem functions. However, a global assessment of this phenomenon is lacking. Here, using a dataset of >200,000 plant species, we demonstrate widespread and temporal decreases in species and phylogenetic turnover across grain sizes and spatial extents. The extent of homogenization within major biomes is pronounced and is overwhelmingly explained by non-native species naturalizations. Asia and North America are major sources of non-native species; however, the species they export tend to be phylogenetically close to recipient floras. Australia, the Pacific and Europe, in contrast, contribute fewer species to the global pool of non-natives, but represent a disproportionate amount of phylogenetic diversity. The timeline of most naturalisations coincides with widespread human migration within the last ~500 years, and demonstrates the profound influence humans exert on regional biotas beyond changes in species richness.

Widespread homogenization of plant communities in the Anthropocene | Nature Communications

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6. Ecological knowledge of local populations more accurate than 10 years of conventional scientific monitoring

A new study published in Methods in Ecology and Evolution has found that the ecological knowledge of local populations in the Amazon is more accurate than 10 years of conventional scientific monitoring for animal abundance.

Ecological knowledge of local populations more accurate than 10 years of conventional scientific monitoring – British Ecological Society

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7. An introduction to decision science for conservation

Biodiversity conservation decisions are difficult, especially when they involve differing values, complex multidimensional objectives, scarce resources, urgency, and considerable uncertainty. Decision science embodies a theory about how to make difficult decisions and an extensive array of frameworks and tools that make that theory practical. We sought to improve conceptual clarity and practical application of decision science to help decision makers apply decision science to conservation problems. We addressed barriers to the uptake of decision science, including a lack of training and awareness of decision science; confusion over common terminology and which tools and frameworks to apply; and the mistaken impression that applying decision science must be time consuming, expensive, and complex. To aid in navigating the extensive and disparate decision science literature, we clarify meaning of common terms: decision science, decision theory, decision analysis, structured decision-making, and decision-support tools. Applying decision science does not have to be complex or time consuming; rather, it begins with knowing how to think through the components of a decision utilizing decision analysis (i.e., define the problem, elicit objectives, develop alternatives, estimate consequences, and perform trade offs). This is best achieved by applying a rapid-prototyping approach. At each step, decision-support tools can provide additional insight and clarity, while decision-support frameworks (e.g., priority threat management and systematic conservation planning) can aid navigation of multiple steps of a decision analysis for particular contexts. We summarize key decision-support frameworks and tools and describe to which step of a decision analysis, and to which contexts, each is most useful to apply. Our introduction to decision science will aid in contextualizing current approaches and new developments and help decision makers begin to apply decision science to conservation problems.

https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13868

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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 #505 (8 December 2021)

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

“The scale of burning we’re now seeing astounds us – almost as much as the lack of interest they generate.”
Fisher and Burrows [see item 1.2]


In this issue of Dbytes

1.1. Australia’s Black Summer of fire was not normal – and we can prove it
1.2. We are professional fire watchers, and we’re astounded by the scale of fires in remote Australia right now
2. Could anything be ‘New’ About Capitalism and the Environment?
3. Upping the ante? The effects of “emergency” and “crisis” framing in climate change news
4. One in six Australian birds are now threatened, landmark action plan finds
5. Designing and managing biodiverse streetscapes: key lessons from the City of Melbourne
6. Sensing, feeling, thinking: Relating to nature with the body, heart and mind
7. Conflict and climate change are big barriers for Africa’s Great Green Wall

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1.1. Australia’s Black Summer of fire was not normal – and we can prove it

Were these fires unprecedented? You might remember sceptics questioning the idea that the Black Summer fires really were worse than conflagrations like the 1939 Black Friday fires in Victoria. We can now confidently say that these fires were far from normal. Our new analysis of Australian forest fire trends just published in Nature Communications confirms for the first time the Black Summer fires are part of a clear trend of worsening fire weather and ever-larger forest areas burned by fires.

Australia’s Black Summer of fire was not normal – and we can prove it (theconversation.com)

And also see
1.2. We are professional fire watchers, and we’re astounded by the scale of fires in remote Australia right now
We are professional fire watchers, and we’re astounded by the scale of fires in remote Australia right now (theconversation.com)

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2. Could anything be ‘New’ About Capitalism and the Environment?

‘Environmental debt’ is a useful concept, conveying clearly that we have borrowed someone else’s share of nature (the ‘someone else’ being future generations) and must pay it back. But the term hasn’t been used much in our political discourse, perhaps because it is potentially so powerful and, to my mind, policy-specific.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3. Upping the ante? The effects of “emergency” and “crisis” framing in climate change news

News organizations increasingly use the terms “climate emergency” and “climate crisis” to convey the urgency of climate change; yet, little is known about how this terminology affects news audiences. This study experimentally examined how using “climate emergency,” “climate crisis,” or “climate change” in Twitter-based news stories influences public engagement with climate change and news perceptions, as well as whether the effects depend on the focus of the news (i.e., on climate impacts, actions, or both impacts and actions) and on participants’ political ideology. Results showed no effect of terminology on climate change engagement; however, “climate emergency” reduced perceived news credibility and newsworthiness compared to “climate change.” Both climate engagement and news perceptions were more consistently affected by the focus of the stories: news about climate impacts increased fear, decreased efficacy beliefs and hope, and reduced news credibility compared to news about climate actions. No interactions with political ideology were found.

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10584-021-03219-5

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4. One in six Australian birds are now threatened, landmark action plan finds

Once-in-a-decade study finds 216 out of 1,299 species are in danger – up from 195 in 2011

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/dec/01/one-in-six-australian-birds-are-now-threatened-landmark-action-plan-finds

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5. Designing and managing biodiverse streetscapes: key lessons from the City of Melbourne

This paper describes how the City of Melbourne collaborated with researchers from the University of Melbourne to develop and test a suite of understorey plant species to increase streetscape biodiversity. To do so, we selected species using criteria from a horticultural planting guide which guided the design and creation of four streetscape plantings within the municipality. Here, we document the process and discuss lessons learnt from this project to assist other cities to design, construct and maintain streetscapes with successful, cost-effective plantings that improve urban biodiversity and aesthetic value. Key to the long-term success of these biodiverse plantings was thorough soil preparation and weed management before planting, and the implementation of a clear, ecologically sensitive management plan. To support this plan, suitably qualified and experienced landscape maintenance staff were essential, particularly those with horticultural knowledge and experience with indigenous and native plant species. Our project highlights the often conflicting needs of local authorities and ecological researchers and the necessary trade-offs needed to meet realistic goals and achieve successful project outcomes for creating more biodiverse urban landscapes.

Designing and managing biodiverse streetscapes: key lessons from the City of Melbourne (springer.com)

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6. Sensing, feeling, thinking: Relating to nature with the body, heart and mind

The cultural ecosystem services (CES) construct has evolved to accommodate multiple worldviews, knowledge systems and conceptualizations of nature and values, including relational and mental health values. Cultural ecosystem services research and practice has mostly focused on cognitive ways of constructing and expressing intangible values of, and relationships with, nature. But our non-material relationships with nature are not exclusively cognitive: sensory and affective processes are fundamental to how we build, enact and experience these relationships. Building on the core ideas of relational values, embodied experiences and connectedness with nature, we present a simple framework to explore the sensory, affective and cognitive dimensions of human–nature interactions, as well as the settings and activities that frame them.

We demonstrate its use in a case study in the Peruvian Andes, where we applied an inductive, exploratory approach to elicit personal imageries and imaginings related to nature, place and recreation. The narratives shared were rich with symbolism and personal sensory experiences, emotions and memories, which the interviewees linked with general assertions about people, place and nature. We discuss the usefulness of such a perspective for CES research, and for human well-being, environmental justice and landscape management.

https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/pan3.10286

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7. Conflict and climate change are big barriers for Africa’s Great Green Wall

Fourteen years since the launch of Africa’s Great Green Wall project, only 4% of the 100 million hectares (247 million acres) of land targeted for restoration in the Sahel region has actually been restored. Billions of dollars in new funding announced this year have raised hopes that the initiative to combat desertification will gain momentum, but experts and the reality on the ground point to money being far from the only hurdle. Funding restoration activities will cost $44 billion, with every dollar invested generating $1.20 in returns, a recent study in Nature Sustainability calculates.

But experts have echoed concerns captured in the research that conflict and climate change are complicating efforts on the ground, with nearly half of the area identified as viable for restoration falling within the orbit of conflict zones.

https://news.mongabay.com/2021/11/conflict-and-climate-change-are-big-barriers-for-africas-great-green-wall/

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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 #504 (1 December 2021)

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

“a common thread that emerges across the reviewed literature [on why climate mitigation is proving ineffective] is the central role of power, manifest in many forms, from a dogmatic political-economic hegemony and influential vested interests to narrow techno-economic mindsets and ideologies of control.”
Stoddard et al, see item 3


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Urban resilience for local government: concepts, definitions and qualities
2. Leaving habitats unburnt for longer could help save little mammals in northern Australia
3. Three Decades of Climate Mitigation: Why Haven’t We Bent the Global Emissions Curve?
4. Five big ideas: how Australia can tackle climate change while restoring nature, culture and communities
5. The slippery slopes of failed environmental governance: Who accounts for the regulators?
6. ‘Lawless’ loggers
7. Revealed: the places humanity must not destroy to avoid climate chaos

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1. Urban resilience for local government: concepts, definitions and qualities

Resilience-building focuses on processes and approaches to designing, delivering and evaluating urban systems and programs, to ensure sustainable cities can persist, adapt and transform in the face of growing ecological, economic and social uncertainty. A framework for urban resilience consisting of the definition, characteristics and qualities provides the basis for implementing resilience across local government policy, projects and operations, and in partnership with communities and stakeholders.

apo-nid315253.pdf

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2. Leaving habitats unburnt for longer could help save little mammals in northern Australia

Native small mammals such as bandicoots, tree-rats and possums have been in dire decline across Northern Australia’s vast savannas for the last 30 years – and we’ve only just begun to understand why. Feral cats, livestock, wildfires, and the complex ways these threats interact, have all played a crucial role. But, until now, scientists have struggled to pinpoint which factor was the biggest threat. Our new research points to fire.

https://theconversation.com/photos-from-the-field-leaving-habitats-unburnt-for-longer-could-help-save-little-mammals-in-northern-australia-171500

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3. Three Decades of Climate Mitigation: Why Haven’t We Bent the Global Emissions Curve?

Despite three decades of political efforts and a wealth of research on the causes and catastrophic impacts of climate change, global carbon dioxide emissions have continued to rise and are 60% higher today than they were in 1990. Exploring this rise through nine thematic lenses—covering issues of climate governance, the fossil fuel industry, geopolitics, economics, mitigation modeling, energy systems, inequity, lifestyles, and social imaginaries—draws out multifaceted reasons for our collective failure to bend the global emissions curve. However, a common thread that emerges across the reviewed literature is the central role of power, manifest in many forms, from a dog[1]matic political-economic hegemony and influential vested interests to narrow techno-economic mindsets and ideologies of control. Synthesizing the various impediments to mitigation reveals how delivering on the commitments enshrined in the Paris Agreement now requires an urgent and unprecedented transformation away from today’s carbon- and energy-intensive development paradigm.

Three Decades of Climate Mitigation: Why Haven’t We Bent the Global Emissions Curve? (annualreviews.org)

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4. Five big ideas: how Australia can tackle climate change while restoring nature, culture and communities

Australia’s plan to reach net zero emissions by 2050 relies heavily on unproven technologies to sequester carbon from the atmosphere, among other things. But we already have solutions based in restoring nature and Country. In fact, nature-based solutions can deliver one third of promised global cuts in emissions. Our new report, which brings together expertise from across Australia, reveals how we can make this happen using proven approaches.

https://theconversation.com/5-big-ideas-how-australia-can-tackle-climate-change-while-restoring-nature-culture-and-communities-172156

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5. The slippery slopes of failed environmental governance: Who accounts for the regulators?

With the best will in the world, it’s not enough to believe our environmental regulators can be left alone, out of sight, to get on with the job. Their accountability, transparency and capacity to operate at arm’s length from companies they regulate all need to be constantly reviewed and tested.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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6. ‘Lawless’ loggers

Water from the Thomson catchment doesn’t require intensive, man-made filtering. And it’s one reason why laws exist to regulate logging on these steep mountain-sides, so that the water remains clean and uncontaminated. However, high-resolution spatial data and information obtained as part of an ABC investigation have sparked allegations that the timber corporation, VicForests, is putting this vital process at risk through widespread and systemic illegal logging of the region’s steepest slopes.

ABC News

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7. Revealed: the places humanity must not destroy to avoid climate chaos

Tiny proportion of world’s land surface hosts carbon-rich forests and peatlands that would not recover before 2050 if lost

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/nov/18/revealed-the-places-humanity-must-not-destroy-to-avoid-climate-chaos

-~<>~-

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 #503 (24 November 2021)

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

“Biodiversity risk should be tackled with the same level of urgency, ambition and momentum as climate change. Biodiversity loss is accelerating, and this creates material risks and opportunities for investors based on companies’ dependencies and impacts on biodiversity.”
Louise Davidson, CEO, Australian Council of Superannuation Investors [see item6]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Australia’s native wildlife in grip of unprecedented attack
2. The Global Fishing Index 2021
3. The COVID-19 pandemic is intricately linked to biodiversity loss and ecosystem health
4. Deforestation can raise local temperatures by up to 4.5
– and heat untouched areas 6km away
5. ‘Fire regimes that cause biodiversity decline’ as a key threatening process – Comment on listing assessment
6. Climate lessons help investors tackle biodiversity loss
7. And for my next environmental trick …

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1. Australia’s native wildlife in grip of unprecedented attack

Australia is in the grip of an unprecedented alien attack on its native wildlife and environment, with experts warning more of our unique flora and fauna is in danger of disappearing by 2050 unless urgent action is taken.

A new report, ‘Fighting plagues and predators Australia’s path to a pest and weed-free future’, released today, reveals the environment is facing a “sliding doors” moment, with two possible futures for Australia, depending on the decisions made today.

Australia’s native wildlife in grip of unprecedented attack – CSIRO

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2. The Global Fishing Index 2021

-49% of assessed stocks are overfished, with nearly 1 in 10 stocks on the brink of collapse
-over half of the global fisheries catch lacks sufficient data to determine their status

20211120-global-fishing-index-2021-report.pdf (minderoo.org)

-~<>~-

3. The COVID-19 pandemic is intricately linked to biodiversity loss and ecosystem health

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, caused by zoonotic SARS-CoV-2, has important links to biodiversity loss and ecosystem health. These links range from anthropogenic activities driving zoonotic disease emergence and extend to the pandemic affecting biodiversity conservation, environmental policy, ecosystem services, and multiple conservation facets. Crucially, such effects can exacerbate the initial drivers, resulting in feedback loops that are likely to promote future zoonotic disease outbreaks. We explore these feedback loops and relationships, highlighting known and potential zoonotic disease emergence drivers (eg, land-use change, intensive livestock production, wildlife trade, and climate change), and discuss direct and indirect effects of the ongoing pandemic on biodiversity loss and ecosystem health. We stress that responses to COVID-19 must include actions aimed at safeguarding biodiversity and ecosystems, in order to avoid future emergence of zoonoses and prevent their wide-ranging effects on human health, economies, and society. Such responses would benefit from adopting a One Health approach, enhancing cross-sector, transboundary communication, as well as from collaboration among multiple actors, promoting planetary and human health.

The COVID-19 pandemic is intricately linked to biodiversity loss and ecosystem health – ScienceDirect

-~<>~-

4. Deforestation can raise local temperatures by up to 4.5– and heat untouched areas 6km away

Forests directly cool the planet, like natural evaporative air conditioners. So what happens when you cut them down? In tropical countries such as Indonesia, Brazil and the Congo, rapid deforestation may have accounted for up to 75% of the observed surface warming between 1950 and 2010. Our new research took a closer look at this phenomenon.

Deforestation can raise local temperatures by up to 4.5℃ – and heat untouched areas 6km away (theconversation.com)

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5. ‘Fire regimes that cause biodiversity decline’ as a key threatening process – Comment on listing assessment

You are invited to provide your views and supporting reasons on the eligibility of ‘Fire regimes that cause biodiversity decline’ for inclusion on the list of key threatening processes under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and whether if listed, a threat abatement plan is a feasible, effective and efficient way of abating the process. Responses are required to be submitted by 10 January 2022

‘Fire regimes that cause biodiversity decline’ as a key threatening process – DAWE

-~<>~-

6. Climate lessons help investors tackle biodiversity loss

Biodiversity loss will wipe up to A$27 billioni from the Australian economy annually by 2050 based on current estimates. It presents a material financial risk to investors and companies unless they seize opportunities to protect Australia’s natural systems. A new report commissioned by the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI), Biodiversity: unlocking natural capital value for Australian Investors, sets out how biodiversity loss presents physical, transition and systemic risks to businesses.

The report, authored by EY Australia, summarises critical biodiversity related financial risks for investors, emerging tools and frameworks for investment analysis, current industry and company disclosures and sets out a five-point investor action plan for tackling biodiversity.

Climate lessons help investors tackle biodiversity loss | ACSI

-~<>~-

7. And for my next environmental trick …

Will the federal government engage in real environmental reform with the EPBC Act before the election?

While, on paper, there’s a timeline for substantive environmental reforms to come later, in reality, nothing happens until Parliament passes the necessary legislation.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

-~<>~-

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 #502 (17 November 2021)

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

“Truly, though, there is no country in the world that does climate delay quite like Australia. The hammy nationalism, the role of fantasy and trickery in its climate and energy rhetoric, and the total absence of shame in defending its role as a key cause of significant physical damage to Earth. It’s only going to escalate as the next federal election inches closer.”
Ketan Joshi [See item 1]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Scott Morrison’s net zero modelling reveals a slow, lazy and shockingly irresponsible approach to ‘climate action’
2. I’m an expert in what makes good policy, and the Morrison government’s net-zero plan fails on 6 crucial counts
3. From natural capital accounting to natural capital banking
4. Rabbits threaten more native wildlife than cats or foxes
5. The lies of the land – Who suffers when truth lies bleeding?
6. The ‘Ringo Starr’ of birds is now endangered – here’s how we can still save our drum-playing palm cockatoos
7. Wall Street’s Latest Scheme Is Monetizing Nature Itself

-~<>~-

1. Scott Morrison’s net zero modelling reveals a slow, lazy and shockingly irresponsible approach to ‘climate action’

Fundamentally, what McKinsey has laid out for us is that if you take the laziest, slowest and most bad-faith approach to climate action, it’s very cheap and not immediately disruptive. Take credit for technological advancements that occur in other countries, continue extracting and emitting in the interim, and slap it all with a counterfeit climate action label to avoid scrutiny. Being a tech free rider while worsening the problem you claim to be solving is a wonderfully tempting climate philosophy.

Of course, McKinsey’s modelling buries an important caveat in the guts of the PDF: the physical consequences of climate change are not included in their modelling. That means they count the benefits of falling back to slower action and worse emissions, and ignore the consequences.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/nov/13/scott-morrisons-net-zero-modelling-reveals-a-slow-lazy-and-shockingly-irresponsible-approach-to-climate-action?

-~<>~-

2. I’m an expert in what makes good policy, and the Morrison government’s net-zero plan fails on 6 crucial counts

A rudimentary evaluation of the plan shows the governments intentions are spin. The plan assumes emissions reduction will occur while we continue with business as usual. The many critiques of the plan are well justified, and the absence of good policy processes substantiate these. After years of dismissing climate science and global warming, it would be quite a rapid awakening for the Coalition government to be truly responsive to its citizens’ concerns on climate change. Adopting good practice policy-making processes would show it’s now taking the matter seriously.

https://theconversation.com/im-an-expert-in-what-makes-good-policy-and-the-morrison-governments-net-zero-plan-fails-on-6-crucial-counts-171595?

-~<>~-

3. From natural capital accounting to natural capital banking

Natural capital accounting will confirm what we know — without change, we are headed for environmental disaster resulting from economic growth. We propose a natural capital bank, a new institution to help maintain natural capital adequacy and chart a course to a sustainable future via accounting.

Nature Sustainability

-~<>~-

4. Rabbits threaten more native wildlife than cats or foxes

Rabbits are a key threat to 322 species of Australia’s at-risk plants and animals — more than twice the number of species threatened by cats or foxes. They efficiently strip vegetation and prevent regeneration. Being prey to the feral predators they allow them to greatly increase in number.

https://www.bushheritage.org.au/blog/rabbits-threaten-more-natives-than-cats-or-foxes

-~<>~-

5. The lies of the land – Who suffers when truth lies bleeding?

What is the cost if governments win the elections based on lies? What is the cost of political leaders pulling down the blinds on transparency, junking accountability and dismissing integrity because it’s simply easier to get by with a lie? They might grease the way to an election win but they don’t deliver a sustainable future.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

-~<>~-

6. The ‘Ringo Starr’ of birds is now endangered – here’s how we can still save our drum-playing palm cockatoos

Australia’s largest parrot, the palm cockatoo, is justifiably famous as the only non-human animal to craft tools for sound. They create drumsticks to make a rhythmic beat. Sadly, the “Ringo Starr” of the bird world is now threatened with extinction – just as many other parrots are around the world.

The ‘Ringo Starr’ of birds is now endangered – here’s how we can still save our drum-playing palm cockatoos (theconversation.com)

-~<>~-

7. Wall Street’s Latest Scheme Is Monetizing Nature Itself

A month before the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (known as COP26) kicked off in Scotland, a new asset class was launched by the New York Stock Exchange that will “open up a new feeding ground for predatory Wall Street banks and financial institutions that will allow them to dominate not just the human economy, but the entire natural world.”

Called a natural asset company, or NAC, the vehicle will allow for the formation of specialized corporations “that hold the rights to the ecosystem services produced on a given chunk of land, services like carbon sequestration or clean water.” These NACs will then maintain, manage and grow the natural assets they commodify, with the end goal of maximizing the aspects of that natural asset that are deemed by the company to be profitable.

Ellen Brown: Wall Street’s Latest Scheme Is Monetizing Nature Itself – scheerpost.com

-~<>~-


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 #501 (10 November 2021)

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

“New fossil fuel projects under development in Australia would result in 1.7 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year – equivalent annual emissions of over 200 coal-fired power stations, twice as much as global aviation.”
Ogge et al, see item 2

In this issue of Dbytes

1. Management of threatened species and ecological communities
2. Undermining climate action: the Australian way
3. Social tipping processes towards climate action: A conceptual framework
4. Emergent properties in the responses of tropical corals to recurrent climate extremes
5. Countries’ climate pledges built on flawed data, Post investigation finds
6. Looking for little gems: Senate Environmental Estimates, October 2021
7. Academic stereotypes: where are the positive stories?

-~<>~-

1. Management of threatened species and ecological communities

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) is currently assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of the management of threatened species and ecological communities under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. If you would like to make a submission, please visit the website.

The ANAO proposes to examine:
-Is the administration of the listing process effective and efficient?
-Have effective and efficient arrangements been established to develop and implement plans and advice?
-Does measurement, monitoring and reporting support the achievement of desired outcomes?
Contributions should be in by Sunday 14 November 2021

https://www.anao.gov.au/work/performance-audit/management-threatened-species-and-ecological-communities-under-the-epbc-act

-~<>~-

2. Undermining climate action: the Australian way

Despite the urgent need to reduce emissions to fight climate change, the Australian government is aggressively pursuing the expansion of fossil fuel production rather than a planned transition away from them.

Undermining climate action: the Australian way (apo.org.au)

-~<>~-

3. Social tipping processes towards climate action: A conceptual framework

Societal transformations are necessary to address critical global challenges, such as mitigation of anthropogenic climate change and reaching UN sustainable development goals. Recently, social tipping processes have received increased attention, as they present a form of social change whereby a small change can shift a sensitive social system into a qualitatively different state due to strongly self-amplifying (mathematically positive) feedback mechanisms. Social tipping processes with respect to technological and energy systems, political mobilization, financial markets and sociocultural norms and behaviors have been suggested as potential key drivers towards climate action. Drawing from expert insights and comprehensive literature review, we develop a framework to identify and characterize social tipping processes critical to facilitating rapid social transformations. We find that social tipping processes are distinguishable from those of already more widely studied climate and ecological tipping dynamics. In particular, we identify human agency, social-institutional network structures, different spatial and temporal scales and increased complexity as key distinctive features underlying social tipping processes. Building on these characteristics, we propose a formal definition for social tipping processes and filtering criteria for those processes that could be decisive for future trajectories towards climate action. We illustrate this definition with the European political system as an example of potential social tipping processes, highlighting the prospective role of the FridaysForFuture movement.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0921800921003013?dgcid=author

-~<>~-

4. Emergent properties in the responses of tropical corals to recurrent climate extremes

Sequences of climate-driven disturbances have unexpected emergent properties. Thermal thresholds for coral bleaching vary depending on interactions among events. Repeat episodes of extreme temperatures create and later reduce spatial refuges. Shrinking return times between disturbances are eroding ecological resilience.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0960982221014901

-~<>~-

5. Countries’ climate pledges built on flawed data, Post investigation finds

Across the world, many countries underreport their greenhouse gas emissions in their reports to the United Nations, a Washington Post investigation has found. An examination of 196 country reports reveals a giant gap between what nations declare their emissions to be versus the greenhouse gases they are sending into the atmosphere. The gap ranges from at least 8.5 billion to as high as 13.3 billion tons a year of underreported emissions — big enough to move the needle on how much the Earth will warm. The plan to save the world from the worst of climate change is built on data. But the data the world is relying on is inaccurate.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/interactive/2021/greenhouse-gas-emissions-pledges-data/

-~<>~-

6. Looking for little gems: Senate Environmental Estimates, October 2021

Government priorities revealed in the detail of evidence from officials.
Whether it’s climate, environment protection or Indigenous heritage, with this Government it’s politics all the way down with little priority on good policy reform.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

-~<>~-

7. Academic stereotypes: where are the positive stories?

Watching The Chair just compounded my frustration at the persistently negative narratives about universities and academic life that dominate popular culture and social media. I’m not talking about genuine grievances. I’m talking about the stereotypes, memes, jokes, comics, opinions and anecdotes that get passed around as accurate representations of all academia.

Academic stereotypes: where are the positive stories? – Ecology is not a dirty word

-~<>~-

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 #500 (3 November 2021)

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

“Agriculture and mining have an enormous impact on Australia’s unique environment. Yet it is mining who has the biggest interaction with the EPBC Act. A review by the former head of National Farmers Federation Wendy Craik found that farmers currently have little interaction with the EPBC Act. Of the 6,000 referrals made between 2000 and 2018 only 165 related to agriculture and only 2 of these were rejected.”
Amelia Young, TWS, in
Barnaby Joyce’s net-zero EPBC bid a sovereign risk to Australia’s biodiversity and a poison chalice for agriculture sector


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Themes from the Australian National Audit Office’s recent environmental audit coverage
2. Entering the Absurdicene as the Anthropocene loses its relevance
3. Building Australia’s natural capital
4. Draft NSW Government park management plan ‘flawed’ and ignores damage caused by feral horses
5. Bushfires and fuel reduction burning
6. Governments need to address inevitable risks of losses and damages from climate change, says OECD
7. Measuring wellbeing

-~<>~-

1. Themes from the Australian National Audit Office’s recent environmental audit coverage

The ANAO’s recent coverage of environmental matters as part of its performance audit program has highlighted several themes across the Australian Government’s delivery of programs and regulatory functions. The ANAO’s performance audits have identified:
– weaknesses in management of probity and conflicts of interest;
– variability in the maturity of risk-based frameworks for the delivery of regulatory functions; and
– scope to improve performance measurement frameworks to determine the impact and effectiveness of the Australian Government’s environmental programs and regulatory functions.

Themes from the Australian National Audit Office’s recent environmental audit coverage | Australian National Audit Office (anao.gov.au)

-~<>~-

2. Entering the Absurdicene as the Anthropocene loses its relevance

Forget the Anthropocene – Australia’s ‘bold plan’ for net zero by 2050 marks the beginning of an amazing new geological epoch: The Absurdicene, the age where the ridiculous and the self-serving trumps evidence and science. As our children are discovering, it’s not a great time for hope.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

-~<>~-

3. Building Australia’s natural capital

Nature can be protected and restored through improved measurement and investment.

Building Australia’s natural capital – ClimateWorks (climateworksaustralia.org)

-~<>~-

4. Draft NSW Government park management plan ‘flawed’ and ignores damage caused by feral horses

An open letter to the NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean published today calls on the NSW Government to work towards removing all feral horses from every NSW protected area. The letter from the Australian Academy of Science has 69 signatories including Fellows of the Academy, other researchers and seven science organisations. It says all feral horses must be removed to protect the native Australian plants, animals and ecosystems of Kosciuszko National Park and other national parks affected by feral horses in NSW, such as Barrington Tops, Guy Fawkes, Oxley Wild Rivers and the Blue Mountains.

https://www.science.org.au/news-and-events/news-and-media-releases/draft-nsw-government-park-management-plan-flawed-ignores-damage-caused-by-feral-horses

-~<>~-

5. Bushfires and fuel reduction burning

Following major bushfires in the past twenty years, public and political attention has been drawn to the potential for fuel reduction burning to reduce bushfire risk and damage. This paper provides a major update to a 2002 Parliamentary Library publication examining the issue. It incorporates the findings of recent research and the numerous inquiries published since then.

Bushfires and fuel reduction burning – Parliament of Australia (aph.gov.au)

-~<>~-

6. Governments need to address inevitable risks of losses and damages from climate change, says OECD

The Managing Climate Risks, Facing up to Losses and Damages report says the risks of further impacts on economies, ecosystems, businesses and people are unavoidable and will increase with the extent of warming. These risks are unevenly distributed across countries and people, disproportionately affecting the poorest and most vulnerable, which is a compelling reason to act now. These risks flow from three types of climate hazards, each subject to uncertainties: increasingly frequent and intense extreme weather events, more gradual changes, such as sea level rises, and from the potentially dramatic global effects of crossing critical thresholds in the climate system. The risk of losses and damages depends not only on the hazards but also on the exposure and vulnerability of people, assets and ecosystems to those hazards.

https://www.oecd.org/environment/governments-need-to-address-inevitable-risks-of-losses-and-damages-from-climate-change.htm

-~<>~-

7. Measuring wellbeing

When economists evaluate a project or a policy, the way we measure benefits is essentially aimed at measuring the effect on human wellbeing. However, the way we do it treats wellbeing as a black box.

355. Wellbeing – Pannell Discussions

-~<>~-

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 #499 (28 October 2021)

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

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


In this issue of Dbytes

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


-~<>~-

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

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

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

-~<>~-

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

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

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

-~<>~-

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

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

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

-~<>~-

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

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

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

-~<>~-

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

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

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


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

-~<>~-

6. BCA criticisms: “any result you want”

By David Pannell

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

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

-~<>~-

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

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

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

-~<>~-

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