Dbytes #532 (13 July 2022)

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


“Choices based on a nonrelational ontology, where humans can be meaningfully separated from the ecosystems on which they depend (i.e., people and nature), have been indirectly attributed to biodiversity loss. Examples of these choices could include open-cut mining, large-scale deforestation and watershed pollution. In contrast, a relational ontology would not assume that humans could be separated from ecosystems, but that entities—plants, animals and parts of the landscape—have agency and are embedded within a universe of reciprocal interactions (i.e., people as nature). Here, choices account for the consequences of any action or intervention for an assemblage of relationships between entities, thereby reducing the risk of species loss.”
Katie Moon & Katharina-Victoria Pérez-Hämmerle
[see item 1]

In this issue of Dbytes

1. Inclusivity via ontological accountability
2. What can we expect in Australia’s new climate law?
3. Nation-building or nature-destroying? Why it’s time NZ faced up to the environmental damage of its colonial past
4. Decoloniality and anti-oppressive practices for a more ethical ecology
5. Citizen Science as an Ecosystem of Engagement: Implications for Learning and Broadening Participation
6. We’ve overexploited the planet, now we need to change if we’re to survive
7. Greater gliders are hurtling towards extinction, and the blame lies squarely with Australian governments

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1. Inclusivity via ontological accountability

Conservation and environmental policies are increasingly criticized for marginalizing peoples, entities and practices. Typically overlooked, yet critical in their potential for marginalization and exclusion, are the assumptions that underlie a policy’s classifications, categorizations and descriptions of reality. These ontological assumptions come to define which interventions are appropriate, or even possible, and for whom. We seek to illuminate the importance of ontology to policy-making and implementation processes. We do so via an ontological analysis of selected elements of an international policy, the Convention on Biological Diversity, to show how language, logic, rights and responsibilities expressed and inferred within the policy could marginalize different entities and practices. The analysis demonstrates how a policy represents reality and thereby intervenes in the world, with consequences for alternative ontologies, peoples, and knowledges. To support ontological accountability, we offer a three-stage conceptual framework to: deconstruct the language used in describing reality; make sense of how language and logic entangle rights and responsibilities; and enable transformation by becoming accountable to diverse practices of reality. Enabling the coexistence and practice of multiple ontologies is not easy or simple, but it is fundamental for transforming to inclusive policy-making, implementation, and self-determination.

The Society for Conservation Biology (wiley.com)

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2. What can we expect in Australia’s new climate law?

Australia’s newly elected government has promised to introduce a Climate Change Bill. It won’t be available till later this month but we have a fair idea of what it is likely to say. It will not seek to reimpose a carbon price but will use an existing law reduce allowable emissions for the largest polluters. It will enshrine both Australia’s ‘net zero by 2050’ goal and its new Paris ‘nationally determined contribution’ of a 43% reduction in emissions by 2030. It will also restore the CCA’s role of advising Government on future targets; require the climate minister to report annually to Parliament on progress in meeting targets; and paste the new climate targets across into the formal objectives and functions of several government agencies.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/07/13/what-can-we-expect-in-australias-new-climate-law/

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3. Nation-building or nature-destroying? Why it’s time NZ faced up to the environmental damage of its colonial past

The ways in which New Zealand remembers European colonisation have changed markedly in recent years. Critics have been chipping away at the public image of Captain James Cook, the New Zealand Wars have been included in the new compulsory history curriculum, and streets honouring colonial figures have been renamed. However, while New Zealand is slowly recognising the historical injustices suffered by Māori, the same reappraisal hasn’t extended to the natural environment. The dramatic transformation of “wild untamed nature” into “productive land” by European settlers in the 1800s continues to be widely celebrated as a testament to Kiwi ingenuity and hard work.

My soon-to-be published research, based on a survey of 1,100 people, suggests this narrative could be partly responsible for New Zealanders’ apparent complacency on climate change compared to other countries. Essentially, it appears those who refuse the “taming of nature” narrative – and instead recognise the 19th century as a period of environmental destruction – are more likely to have what psychologists call an “environmental self-identity”.

https://theconversation.com/nation-building-or-nature-destroying-why-its-time-nz-faced-up-to-the-environmental-damage-of-its-colonial-past-185693?

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4. Decoloniality and anti-oppressive practices for a more ethical ecology

Ecological research and practice are crucial to understanding and guiding more positive relationships between people and ecosystems. However, ecology as a discipline and the diversity of those who call themselves ecologists have also been shaped and held back by often exclusionary Western approaches to knowing and doing ecology. To overcome these historical constraints and to make ecology inclusive of the diverse peoples inhabiting Earth’s varied ecosystems, ecologists must expand their knowledge, both in theory and practice, to incorporate varied perspectives, approaches and interpretations from, with and within the natural environment and across global systems. We outline five shifts that could help to transform academic ecological practice: decolonize your mind; know your histories; decolonize access; decolonize expertise; and practise ethical ecology in inclusive teams. We challenge the discipline to become more inclusive, creative and ethical at a moment when the perils of entrenched thinking have never been clearer.

Decoloniality and anti-oppressive practices for a more ethical ecology | Nature Ecology & Evolution

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5. Citizen Science as an Ecosystem of Engagement: Implications for Learning and Broadening Participation

The bulk of research on citizen science participants is project centric, based on an assumption that volunteers experience a single project. Contrary to this assumption, survey responses (n = 3894) and digital trace data (n = 3649) from volunteers, who collectively engaged in 1126 unique projects, revealed that multiproject participation was the norm. Only 23% of volunteers were singletons (who participated in only one project). The remaining multiproject participants were split evenly between discipline specialists (39%) and discipline spanners (38% joined projects with different disciplinary topics) and unevenly between mode specialists (52%) and mode spanners (25% participated in online and offline projects). Public engagement was narrow: The multiproject participants were eight times more likely to be White and five times more likely to hold advanced degrees than the general population. We propose a volunteer-centric framework that explores how the dynamic accumulation of experiences in a project ecosystem can support broad learning objectives and inclusive citizen science.

Citizen Science as an Ecosystem of Engagement: Implications for Learning and Broadening Participation | BioScience | Oxford Academic (oup.com)

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6. We’ve overexploited the planet, now we need to change if we’re to survive

he relationship between humans and nature is under intense and increasing strain. The report released today by Ipbes, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (akin to the IPCC reports on climate change), provides compelling evidence that humans are overexploiting wild species and habitats. Harmful activities, including habitat destruction, poor farming practices and pollution, have altered ecosystems significantly, driving many species past the point of recovery. In Great Britain alone, of the 8,431 species assessed in the 2019 State of Nature report, 1,188 are threatened with extinction. Globally, there are an estimated one million at risk, with biodiversity declining at a faster rate than at any time in human history.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jul/08/climate-crisis-biodiversity-decline-overexploited-planet-change-to-survive-aoe

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7. Greater gliders are hurtling towards extinction, and the blame lies squarely with Australian governments

A key reason is that Australia’s environmental laws and practices are outdated and offer little meaningful protection to threatened plants and animals. To avoid a future in which greater gliders are nothing more than a memory, we must immediately stop destroying their habitat.

https://theconversation.com/greater-gliders-are-hurtling-towards-extinction-and-the-blame-lies-squarely-with-australian-governments-186469

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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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #531 (6 July 2022)

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


“We found nature restoration only marginally lowers global warming – and any climate benefits are dwarfed by the scale of ongoing fossil fuel emissions, which could be over 2,000 billion tonnes of CO₂ between now and 2100, under current policies.”
Kate Dooley & Zebedee Nicholls [see item 1]

In this issue of Dbytes

1. No more excuses: restoring nature is not a silver bullet for global warming, we must cut emissions outright
2. Scientists warn deal to save biodiversity is in jeopardy
3. Solving sustainability – It’s complicated AND complex. Do you know the difference?
4. A call on conferences for more equity and inclusion of diversity
5. We blew the whistle on Australia’s central climate policy. Here’s what a new federal government probe must fix
6. Conservation Science Publishing Has a Gender Problem
7. Enormous environmental consequences of the war in Ukraine


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1. No more excuses: restoring nature is not a silver bullet for global warming, we must cut emissions outright

Restoring degraded environments, such as by planting trees, is often touted as a solution to the climate crisis. But our new research shows this, while important, is no substitute for preventing fossil fuel emissions to limit global warming.

https://theconversation.com/no-more-excuses-restoring-nature-is-not-a-silver-bullet-for-global-warming-we-must-cut-emissions-outright-186048?

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2. Scientists warn deal to save biodiversity is in jeopardy

Negotiators from around 200 countries that have signed up to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) met in Nairobi from 21 to 26 June to thrash out key details of the deal, known as the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. But the talks made such little progress that many scientists are worried that nations will be unable to finalize the deal at the UN biodiversity summit in Montreal, Canada, in December. A key sticking point is how much funding rich nations will provide to low-income nations. Failure to agree on the framework at this summit — the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) — will be devastating for the natural world, they say.


Scientists warn deal to save biodiversity is in jeopardy (nature.com)

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3. Solving sustainability – It’s complicated AND complex. Do you know the difference?

Why is climate change so difficult to solve? Because it’s a complex problem and complexity is something humans don’t deal with well. Our political leaders will tell you they are in control, and that they have a plan, a simple solution that solves the problem of climate change without anyone having to change. Simple solutions never solve complex problems but they can make them worse.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/07/05/solving-sustainability-its-complicated-and-complex-do-you-know-the-difference/

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4. A call on conferences for more equity and inclusion of diversity

This blog post is dedicated to all the people who care about equity and inclusion of diversity, especially with regards to collaborations with researchers and practitioners from low, lower-middle, and upper-middle income economy countries. Here, I tell my personal backstory about how the largest, oldest, and most respected coral reef research society, the International Coral Reef Society (ICRS), changed their operational model for running their International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS22) to improve participation and access to delegates from developing countries by waiving the online registration fees. This change must have followed years of conversations and more recently, a public letter by a very unhappy symposium chair. Me.

A call on conferences for more equity and inclusion of diversity | Elisa’s fabulous blog (elisabayra.github.io)

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5. We blew the whistle on Australia’s central climate policy. Here’s what a new federal government probe must fix

Our analysis suggests up to 80% of credits issued under three of the Emissions Reduction Fund’s most popular emissions reduction methods do not represent genuine emissions cuts that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. Our decision to call the scheme a “fraud” was deliberate and considered. In our view, a process that systematically pays for a service that’s not actually provided is fraudulent. The Clean Energy Regulator (which administers the fund) and the current ERAC reviewed our claims and, earlier this month, dismissed them. We have expressed serious concerns with that review process, which we believe was not transparent and showed a fundamental lack of understanding of the issues.

https://theconversation.com/we-blew-the-whistle-on-australias-central-climate-policy-heres-what-a-new-federal-government-probe-must-fix-185894?

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6. Conservation Science Publishing Has a Gender Problem

The persistent gender gap in science publishing is harming conservation efforts. An analysis of papers published by Nature Conservancy scientists over 50 years finds that men continue to out-publish women. Only 36% of authors were women, and in any year women in the Global South have never comprised more than 3% of total authorships across the organization.

Conservation Science Publishing Has a Gender Problem (nature.org)

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7. Enormous environmental consequences of the war in Ukraine

The conflict in Ukraine is destroying environments and not only in the war zone.

Environment: Enormous environmental consequences of the war in Ukraine (johnmenadue.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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #530 (21 June 2022)

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

“The expansion of environmental markets, including greater use of biodiversity offsets, is increasingly cited as central to boosting conservation investment and mainstreaming biodiversity within economic decision-making. But such approaches are far from a silver bullet. Nearly 30 years since the first Payments for Ecosystem Services trade, liquid markets with strong flows of capital to biodiversity conservation remain perpetually in a state of emergence. Biodiversity offsets often fail to fully compensate for biodiversity losses, even against a counterfactual of ongoing biodiversity decline, and there is not enough land available for tree planting to achieve climate-mitigation goals.”
Divya Narain et al, 2022 [See item 1]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. A step change needed to secure a nature-positive future—Is it in reach?
2. Lies, damned lies and … Environmental Economics?
3. Kangaroo Island’s dunnarts were hit hard by bushfires. Now feral cats threaten them with extinction
4. Australia has a once in a lifetime opportunity to break the stranglehold fossil fuels have on our politics
5. Climate Change Killed Conservation: Can We Still Protect Ecosystems?
6. Dam Accounting: Taking Stock of Methane Emissions From Reservoirs
7. Putting Nature to Work: Integrating Green and Gray Infrastructure for Water Security and Climate Resilience

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1. A step change needed to secure a nature-positive future—Is it in reach?

The 1972 Stockholm Conference put environmental protection on the global agenda for the first time. But since then, biodiversity losses and increasing threats have outpaced the conservation response. A step change is needed to reverse this trend and will require scaled-up action across society, including from governments, businesses, and financial institutions.

A step change needed to secure a nature-positive future—Is it in reach? – ScienceDirect

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2. Lies, damned lies and … Environmental Economics?

A single fossil fuel development proposal in Australia is predicted to raise the global temperature by a tiny amount. With a world already overheating, should this new development be allowed? Government approval may well hinge on the idea of ‘economics of substitution.’

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/06/29/lies-damned-lies-and-environmental-economics/

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3. Kangaroo Island’s dunnarts were hit hard by bushfires. Now feral cats threaten them with extinction

Eight per cent of trapped cats had endangered dunnarts in their stomach contents. Almost all the dunnarts’ habitat was hit by bushfires. New technology makes wiping out Kangaroo Island’s feral cats a possibility.

Kangaroo Island’s dunnarts were hit hard by bushfires. Now feral cats threaten them with extinction – ABC News

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4. Australia has a once in a lifetime opportunity to break the stranglehold fossil fuels have on our politics

The history of Australian climate policy — under both Labor and Coalition governments — shows very clearly that our large and powerful fossil fuel industry and its political clients are adept at devising “innovative” ways to ensure targets are achieved without obstructing the Lemming-like march toward ever more coal and gas production.

https://theconversation.com/australia-has-a-once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity-to-break-the-stranglehold-fossil-fuels-have-on-our-politics-184748?

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5. Climate Change Killed Conservation: Can We Still Protect Ecosystems?

If conservation is about “preserving” biodiversity or “restoring” ecosystems to past states, how can conservation strategies continue to serve a useful function relative to this period of climate change? Indeed, conservation as an unreconstructed set of management responses may actually accelerate the loss of biodiversity, untangling communities and ecosystems even as conservationists try to hold water through open fingers. Conservation is becoming the opposite of climate adaptation. When does conservation itself become environmental damage? Is conservation a lazy, unimaginative response to environmental change?

https://medium.com/@johoma/climate-change-killed-conservation-can-we-still-protect-ecosystems-80144df200e4

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6. Dam Accounting: Taking Stock of Methane Emissions From Reservoirs

Despite the green reputation of hydropower among policymakers, some reservoirs emit significant amounts of methane, along with much smaller amounts of nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide. That’s bad news because we already have a methane problem. This short-lived but potent gas packs 85 times the global warming punch of carbon dioxide over 20 years. If we hope to stave off catastrophic warming, scientists say we need to quickly cut methane. But new data show that despite this warning it’s still increasing at record levels — even with a global pledge signed by 100 countries to slash methane emissions 30% by 2030.

Methane can rise from wetlands and other natural sources, but most emissions come from human-caused sources like oil and gas, landfills and livestock. We’ve known about the threat from those sources for years, but emissions from reservoirs have largely been either uncounted or undercounted.

Dam Accounting: Taking Stock of Methane Emissions From Reservoirs – Resilience

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7. Putting Nature to Work: Integrating Green and Gray Infrastructure for Water Security and Climate Resilience

“Integrating Green and Gray – Creating Next Generation Infrastructure” is a joint report from the World Bank and the World Resources Institute (WRI) that aims to advance the integration of green and gray infrastructure solutions on the ground. It places a spotlight on the world’s growing infrastructure crisis, driven by climate change and growing populations. It proposes insights, solutions and examples for putting nature to work. It examines the technical, environmental, social and economic dimensions of a typical project assessment but also outlines, with new clarity and detail, the enabling conditions required to facilitate successful implementation of green-gray projects. Harnessing the collective analytical and technical expertise of the World Bank and WRI, it aims to build momentum in both policy and practice.

Putting Nature to Work: Integrating Green and Gray Infrastructure for Water Security and Climate Resilience (worldbank.org)

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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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #529 (21 June 2022)

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


“These narratives show how the climate conversation has moved from outright climate denialism to delayism and distraction from acting. As these narratives infiltrate general discourse, stances on climate actions are entrenching into broader individual identity and grievance politics, emerging as a new front in the culture wars.”
Jennie King et al, 2022 [see item 7]

In this issue of Dbytes

1. No excuses’: limited conservation efforts could save at least 47 Australian animals from extinction
2. Why can’t we fix this? Because it’s complex
3. Flexible conservation decisions for climate adaptation
4. Australian frogs are dying en masse again, and we need your help to find out why
5. The Potential of Blue Carbon for Mitigating Climate Change
6. IIED: 50 years of communicating about environment and development
7. Deny, Deceive, Delay: Documenting and Responding to Climate Disinformation at COP26 & Beyond

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1. No excuses’: limited conservation efforts could save at least 47 Australian animals from extinction

Scientists hope Albanese government addresses extinction crisis as new research shows 63 vertebrates face annihilation by 2041.

‘No excuses’: limited conservation efforts could save at least 47 Australian animals from extinction | Endangered species | The Guardian

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2. Why can’t we fix this? Because it’s complex

Don’t treat climate change as a simple problem. It’s not. It’s complex, and it won’t be solved with simple solutions. If you’re in any doubt about this, have a look at what’s happened over the last two decades.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/06/21/why-cant-we-fix-this-because-its-complex/

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3. Flexible conservation decisions for climate adaptation

We need to think more strategically about building flexibility into conservation decision-making and planning for climate adaptation. We characterise flexible conservation strategies into three types of flexibility (procedural, action, and resource flexibility) and use structured decision-making to link flexible strategies to particular types of risks arising from climate uncertainty. We hope that this will provide a framework for organisations and governments to be able to think more strategically about how to build flexibility into conservation plans and identifying when flexibility is likely to be valuable.

https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1fG9j9C%7EItyLNS

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4. Australian frogs are dying en masse again, and we need your help to find out why

Last winter, thousands of dead and dying frogs were found across Australia. Instead of hunkering down and out of sight, frogs were spotted during the day in the open, on footpaths, highways and doorsteps – often in the blazing sun. These frogs were often thin, slow moving, and with dark patches on their back or red bellies. They were seeking water in pet bowls or pot plants. And they usually died in a matter of hours. A crash in frog populations could have very real consequences, particularly for already threatened frog species, and the importance of frogs in both freshwater and land systems means it can also impact entire ecosystems. Thankfully, reports of sick or dead frogs slowed as the weather got warmer, and by the end of last year they had all but ceased. We hoped the awful spate of frog deaths was a one-off. But now, we fear it is happening again.

Australian frogs are dying en masse again, and we need your help to find out why (theconversation.com)

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5. The Potential of Blue Carbon for Mitigating Climate Change

The latest McKinsey & Company report, “Blue Carbon: The potential of coastal and economic climate action,” accentuates the importance of blue carbon. It highlights how nature-based climate solutions in the world’s oceans can play an important role in conservation and carbon reduction efforts worldwide.

The Potential of Blue Carbon for Mitigating Climate Change – Impakter

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6. IIED: 50 years of communicating about environment and development

We have an operating budget of around 7% of IIED’s income for central comms. I believe this to be a good benchmark that provides value for money and a sensible approach to making sure you have enough resource, but not too much. It allows us to provide a robust ‘standing capacity’ for essential comms activities that keep the organisation competitive, visible in the right spaces, and able to produce high-impact material.

IIED: 50 years of communicating about environment and development – Research to Action

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7. Deny, Deceive, Delay: Documenting and Responding to Climate Disinformation at COP26 & Beyond

A new report by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue tracks the way calls for inaction on climate have evolved from the rhetoric of outright denial towards a focus on delaying action and under-stating risks. It finds that misinformation spread by a relatively small circle of actors is amplified rather than mitigated by both mainstream and social media. It brings forward seven policy recommendations to change this dynamic.

Deny, Deceive, Delay: Documenting and Responding to Climate Disinformation at COP26 & Beyond – Summary – ISD (isdglobal.org)

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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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #528 (9 June 2022)

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


“The ink was hardly dry on the Glasgow [climate] pact when the world began to change in ways potentially disastrous for hopes of tackling the climate crisis. Energy and food price rises mean that governments face a cost of living and energy security crisis, with some threatening to respond by returning to fossil fuels, including coal.”
Fiona Harvey [see item 1]

In this issue of Dbytes

1. Thirty years of climate summits: where have they got us?
2. Our new environment super-department sounds great in theory. But one department for two ministers is risky
3. One of Australia’s tiniest mammals is heading for extinction – but you can help
4. The aesthetic value of reef fishes is globally mismatched to their conservation priorities
5. Global protected areas seem insufficient to safeguard half of the world’s mammals from human-induced extinction
6. Assessing the extinction risk of all species of freshwater fishes globally
7. The Humanitarian Sector Needs Clear Job Profiles for Climate Science Translators Now More than Ever

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1. Thirty years of climate summits: where have they got us?

It has been 30 years since the Rio summit, when a global system was set up that would bring countries together on a regular basis to try to solve the climate crisis. Here are the highlights and lowlights since then.

Thirty years of climate summits: where have they got us? | Climate crisis | The Guardian

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2. Our new environment super-department sounds great in theory. But one department for two ministers is risky

Having one super-department supporting two ministers – Tanya Plibersek in environment and water, and Chris Bowen for climate change and energy – is likely to stretch the public service too far.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/06/14/our-new-environment-super-department-sounds-great-in-theory-but-one-department-for-two-ministers-is-risky/

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3. One of Australia’s tiniest mammals is heading for extinction – but you can help

They weigh around 15 grams, the same as a 50 cent coin. They devour vast quantities of insects. And they’re in real trouble. Our new research has found the critically endangered southern bent-wing bat is continuing to decline. Its populations are centred on just three “maternity” caves in southeast South Australia and southwest Victoria, where the bats give birth and raise their young.

https://theconversation.com/one-of-australias-tiniest-mammals-is-heading-for-extinction-but-you-can-help-183233

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4. The aesthetic value of reef fishes is globally mismatched to their conservation priorities

Reef fishes are closely connected to many human populations, yet their contributions to society are mostly considered through their economic and ecological values. Cultural and intrinsic values of reef fishes to the public can be critical drivers of conservation investment and success, but remain challenging to quantify. Aesthetic value represents one of the most immediate and direct means by which human societies engage with biodiversity, and can be evaluated from species to ecosystems. Here, we provide the aesthetic value of 2,417 ray-finned reef fish species by combining intensive evaluation of photographs of fishes by humans with predicted values from machine learning. We identified important biases in species’ aesthetic value relating to evolutionary history, ecological traits, and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) threat status. The most beautiful fishes are tightly packed into small parts of both the phylogenetic tree and the ecological trait space. In contrast, the less attractive fishes are the most ecologically and evolutionary distinct species and those recognized as threatened. Our study highlights likely important mismatches between potential public support for conservation and the species most in need of this support. It also provides a pathway for scaling-up our understanding of what are both an important nonmaterial facet of biodiversity and a key component of nature’s contribution to people, which could help better anticipate consequences of species loss and assist in developing appropriate communication strategies.

The aesthetic value of reef fishes is globally mismatched to their conservation priorities | PLOS Biology

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5. Global protected areas seem insufficient to safeguard half of the world’s mammals from human-induced extinction

Protected areas are vital for conserving global biodiversity, but we lack information on the extent to which the current global protected area network is able to prevent local extinctions. Here we investigate this by assessing the potential size of individual populations of nearly 4,000 terrestrial mammals within protected areas. We find that many existing protected areas are too small or too poorly connected to provide robust and resilient protection for almost all mammal species that are threatened with extinction and for over 1,000 species that are not currently threatened. These results highlight that global biodiversity targets must reflect ecological realities by incorporating spatial structure and estimates of population viability, rather than relying simply on the total area of land protected.

Global protected areas seem insufficient to safeguard half of the world’s mammals from human-induced extinction | PNAS

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6. Assessing the extinction risk of all species of freshwater fishes globally

Catherine Sayer is the Freshwater Programme Officer in the IUCN Biodiversity Assessment and Knowledge Team, based at The David Attenborough Building in Cambridge, UK. She is currently working to get the extinction risk of all species of freshwater fishes globally assessed for the IUCN Red List, which will fill in knowledge gaps on which regions have the highest numbers and proportions of threatened freshwater fishes, giving a greater understanding of where conservation programmes are likely to have most impact. SHOAL caught up with her to learn more about the IUCN Red List assessment process and get some advice on how researchers and taxonomists can conduct Red List assessments themselves.

https://shoalconservation.org/assessing-extinction-risk-of-freshwater-fishes-globally-interview-with-catherine-sayer/

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7. The Humanitarian Sector Needs Clear Job Profiles for Climate Science Translators Now More than Ever

A new generation of climate science translators (CSTs) is currently evolving, both as independent professionals and affiliated with humanitarian agencies. While people in this role represent an opportunity to foster communication and collaboration between climate science, humanitarian decision-support, policy, and decision-making, there are neither clear job profiles nor established criteria for success. Based on an analysis of job opportunities published on one of the largest humanitarian and development aid job portals, we show that the demand for CSTs has been increasing since 2011. Subsequently, we present a characterization of core skills for the next generation of CSTs aiming to establish a space for not only current CSTs to thrive, but also a path for future translators to follow, with milestones and opportunities for recognition.

https://journals.ametsoc.org/view/journals/bams/103/4/BAMS-D-20-0263.1.xml

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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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #527 (9 June 2022)

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


“We found Australia has already overshot three of these [planetary boundaries]: biodiversity, land-system change and nitrogen and phosphorus flows. We’re also approaching the boundaries for freshwater use and climate change.”
Romy Zyngier [see item 7]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. The minimum land area requiring conservation attention to safeguard biodiversity
2. Bringing ‘the environment’ in from the cold
3. Species recovery targets in England damaging and illogical, scientists warn
4. Plastic Recycling Doesn’t Work and Will Never Work
5. Valuing nature is key to unlocking real change for Australians
6. The ideology of wilderness ‘destroying this continent’
7. Australia has overshot three planetary boundaries based on how we use land

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1. The minimum land area requiring conservation attention to safeguard biodiversity

Ambitious conservation efforts are needed to stop the global biodiversity crisis. In this study, we estimate the minimum land area to secure important biodiversity areas, ecologically intact areas, and optimal locations for representation of species ranges and ecoregions. We discover that at least 64 million square kilometers (44% of terrestrial area) would require conservation attention (ranging from protected areas to land-use policies) to meet this goal. More than 1.8 billion people live on these lands, so responses that promote autonomy, self-determination, equity, and sustainable management for safeguarding biodiversity are essential. Spatially explicit land-use scenarios suggest that 1.3 million square kilometers of this land is at risk of being converted for intensive human land uses by 2030, which requires immediate attention. However, a sevenfold difference exists between the amount of habitat converted in optimistic and pessimistic land-use scenarios, highlighting an opportunity to avert this crisis. Appropriate targets in the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework to encourage conservation of the identified land would contribute substantially to safeguarding biodiversity.

https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abl9127

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2. Bringing ‘the environment’ in from the cold

2013: Conservatives trumpet they will put recovery plans into action for real conservation outcomes
2022: after gutting the environment dept, they scrap recovery plans altogether

Now we need to bring the environment in from the cold

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/06/07/bringing-the-environment-in-from-the-cold/

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3. Species recovery targets in England damaging and illogical, scientists warn

PM told there could be eight years’ decline before any gains despite already being at ‘rock bottom’

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/may/31/species-recovery-targets-england-damaging-illogical-scientists-warn?

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4. Plastic Recycling Doesn’t Work and Will Never Work

Americans support recycling. We do too. But although some materials can be effectively recycled and safely made from recycled content, plastics cannot. Plastic recycling does not work and will never work. The United States in 2021 had a dismal recycling rate of about 5 percent for post-consumer plastic waste, down from a high of 9.5 percent in 2014, when the U.S. exported millions of tons of plastic waste to China and counted it as recycled—even though much of it wasn’t.

Plastic Recycling Doesn’t Work and Will Never Work – The Atlantic

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5. Valuing nature is key to unlocking real change for Australians

Voters have given the new government a mandate to prioritise valuing nature. The make-up of the crossbench shows stronger and faster climate action was clearly a factor in the ballot booths.

Valuing nature is key to unlocking real change for Australians – The Fifth Estate

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6. The ideology of wilderness ‘destroying this continent’

What does a natural landscape look like to you? Maybe you think of a dense forest, or a sparkling body of water. Somewhere untouched by humans, right? Maybe the word “wilderness” comes to mind. Michael-Shawn Fletcher is a geographer and a descendant of the Wiradjuri – and he wants to challenge the idea that country that’s untouched by humans is a good thing.

The ideology of wilderness ‘destroying this continent’ – Ockham’s Razor – ABC Radio National

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7. Australia has overshot three planetary boundaries based on how we use land

We used to believe the world’s resources were almost limitless. But as we spread out across the planet, we consumed more and more of these resources. For decades, scientists have warned we are approaching the limits of what the environment can tolerate. In 2009, the influential Stockholm Resilience Centre first published its planetary boundaries framework. The idea is simple: outline the global environmental limits within which humanity could develop and thrive. This concept has become popular as a way to grasp our impact on nature. For the first time, we have taken these boundaries – which can be hard to visualise on a global scale – and applied them to Australia. We found Australia has already overshot three of these: biodiversity, land-system change and nitrogen and phosphorus flows. We’re also approaching the boundaries for freshwater use and climate change.

https://theconversation.com/australia-has-overshot-three-planetary-boundaries-based-on-how-we-use-land-183728

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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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #526 (1 June 2022)

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


“Amid all of the bluster of this election campaign, the Great Barrier Reef quietly bleached for the fourth time in the last seven years. As scientists we knew to expect this – at 1.5℃ of warming 90% of reefs will have been lost, and at 2℃ the wondrous Great Barrier Reef as we know it today will no longer exist.”
Nerilie Abram [see item 5]

In this issue of Dbytes

1. A new government and a new environment minister – what now for Australian environmental policy?
2. Climate change: the IPCC has served its purpose, so do we still need it?
3. An Indigenous perspective on ecosystem accounting: Challenges and opportunities revealed by an Australian case study
4. The Limits to Growth at 50: From Scenarios to Unfolding Reality
5. I am a climate scientist – and this is my plea to our newly elected politicians
6. Characteristics of immersive citizen science experiences that drive conservation engagement
7. Climate change is killing trees in Queensland’s tropical rainforests

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1. A new government and a new environment minister – what now for Australian environmental policy?

While Labor lifted its game at the last minute with its environmental law reform policy, they can hardly be said to be environmental-policy high performers. So, what’s ‘on the record’ and ‘off the record’ for our new government when it comes to the Environment? What should our new environment minister prioritise?

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/06/01/a-new-government-and-a-new-environment-minister-what-now-for-australian-environmental-policy/

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2. Climate change: the IPCC has served its purpose, so do we still need it?

In 1990, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its first assessment report on the state of climate change science. The synthesis of the sixth assessment report will be released later this year. But we can guess its messages: we are changing the climate with adverse consequences and we must urgently cut emissions. So after all this time, is the IPCC still useful?

https://theconversation.com/climate-change-the-ipcc-has-served-its-purpose-so-do-we-still-need-it-183550?

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3. An Indigenous perspective on ecosystem accounting: Challenges and opportunities revealed by an Australian case study

The System of Environmental-Economic Accounting Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA-EA) is widely promoted in environmental and economic policy and management. Unfortunately, the SEEA-EA has not substantively addressed the aspects of accounting that may be of interest to, or used by, Indigenous peoples. We investigate an Indigenous perspective on the potential of the SEEA-EA to support cultural and environmental management through collaborative workshops with managers of Nyamba Buru Yawuru, the Prescribed Body Corporate representing the Yawuru Traditional Owners in Western Australia. Our discussions highlight that while the SEEA-EA may be a valuable tool for empowering Indigenous people and supporting the management of their lands and seas, there are areas where the SEEA-EA needs to be broadened to better reflect cultural values, and the services to ecosystems provided by Indigenous peoples. Embedding Indigenous perspectives into the SEEA-EA would mean that it is of greater use to Indigenous peoples and their representative organisations and ensure that these values are better recognised in the policymaking of government.

An Indigenous perspective on ecosystem accounting: Challenges and opportunities revealed by an Australian case study (springer.com)

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4. The Limits to Growth at 50: From Scenarios to Unfolding Reality

Now we have the benefit of a half-century of hindsight. But we also have the great misfortune of living in a world that closely approximates the “standard run” scenario of the study. In this essay, I’ll compare the scenarios with reality in broad terms, discuss what factors the Limits to Growth study didn’t model, survey later re-assessments of the 1972 study, and explore what can still be done to minimize casualties as the expansive drive of humanity collides with planetary boundaries in real time.

The Limits to Growth at 50: From Scenarios to Unfolding Reality – Resilience

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5. I am a climate scientist – and this is my plea to our newly elected politicians

The 2022 federal election will go down in history as Australia’s climate change election. Australians resoundingly voted for ambition on climate action, something which has been missing for a decade under a Coalition government, along with integrity and gender equality.

https://theconversation.com/i-am-a-climate-scientist-and-this-is-my-plea-to-our-newly-elected-politicians-183540

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6. Characteristics of immersive citizen science experiences that drive conservation engagement

Promoting an engaged community is an important part of achieving conservation outcomes. Research shows that citizen science has the potential to elicit conservation engagement. However, research has not specifically explored how intensive citizen science expedition programs contribute to change. Here we use transformative learning theory as a tool to investigate how participation in citizen science programs influences conservation engagement. We analysed evaluation surveys of Earthwatch Institute citizen science participants (N = 608) and conducted in-depth interviews (N = 11), to examine the links between citizen science experiences and engagement outcomes. We discovered that while nature-based components of citizen science programs attract participants and create a salient environment for transformation, these are not objectively associated with engagement outcomes. Strengthened awareness was associated with learning, social interactions and cultural experiences, whereas intentions to engage in conservation action was only influenced by experiencing a sense of contribution. Rather than focusing only on learning and nature experiences, our results suggest that the elements of citizen science programs which support social change may require allowing participants to develop a sense of contribution amid an interactive social environment.

Characteristics of immersive citizen science experiences that drive conservation engagement – Day – – People and Nature – Wiley Online Library

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7. Climate change is killing trees in Queensland’s tropical rainforests

In recent years, the Great Barrier Reef off Australia’s northeast coast has seen multiple events of mass coral bleaching as human-caused global warming has driven sustained high temperatures in the ocean. Alongside the Coral Sea is another spectacular natural wonder: the rainforests of the World Heritage-listed wet tropics of Queensland. It turns out the same climate change forces contributing to coral bleaching have also taken a toll on the trees that inhabit these majestic tropical rainforests.

https://theconversation.com/climate-change-is-killing-trees-in-queenslands-tropical-rainforests-183215?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=bylinetwitterbutton

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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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #525 (25 May 2022)

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


“Gump succumbed in May 2014, just four months after Australian legislation finally listed the Christmas Island forest skink as endangered. The International Union for Conservation of Nature declared the species officially extinct in 2017.”
Hannah Seo [see item 4]

In this issue of Dbytes

1. We identified the 63 animals most likely to go extinct by 2041. We can’t give up on them yet
2. Investments that support biodiversity
3. In the war of the colour chart, where lies the colour of resilience?
4. Extinction obituary: the sudden, sad disappearance of the Christmas Island forest skink
5. The State of the Global Climate (WMO)
6. Wicked problems in public policy: understanding and responding to complex challenges
7. The hitchhiker’s guide to Australian conservation: A parasitological perspective on fauna translocations

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1. We identified the 63 animals most likely to go extinct by 2041. We can’t give up on them yet

It feels a bit strange to publish a paper that we want proved wrong – we have identified the 63 Australian birds, mammals, fish, frogs and reptiles most likely to go extinct in the next 20 years. Australia’s extinction record is abysmal, and we felt the best way to stop it was to identify the species at greatest risk, as they require the most urgent action. Leading up to this paper, we worked with conservation biologists and managers from around the country to publish research on the species closest to extinction within each broad group of animals. Birds and mammals came first, followed by fish, reptiles and frogs.

https://theconversation.com/we-identified-the-63-animals-most-likely-to-go-extinct-by-2041-we-cant-give-up-on-them-yet-182155?

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2. Investments that support biodiversity

Australia’s natural ecosystems and abundant marine areas provide an ideal environment in which to develop new financial products – such as mangrove bonds or blue carbon funds – that could be replicated globally to mitigate climate change and generate socio-economic gains for local communities, writes Alpa Bhattacharjee, Head of Corporate Sustainability at HSBC Australia.

CEDA – Investments that support biodiversity

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3. In the war of the colour chart, where lies the colour of resilience?

Latest news in Australian politics: The blues, being overly influenced by the browns, thought they could ignore the wishes of electorate. They thought they could trounce the reds while laughing at the greens because they believed a sufficiently frightened public would shy away from change, stick with a status quo no matter how inadequate. The teals appeared as if from nowhere and proved them dead wrong.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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4. Extinction obituary: the sudden, sad disappearance of the Christmas Island forest skink

Gump was the last lizard of her kind when she died in 2014, and her demise should be ‘a scar on our conscience’

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/may/18/christmas-island-forest-skinks-lizard-extinct-aoe?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

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5. The State of the Global Climate (WMO)

Four key climate change indicators break records in 2021
The publication provides a summary on the state of the climate indicators in 2021, including global temperatures trends and its distribution around the globe; most recent finding on Green House Gases concentration, Ocean indicators; Cryosphere with a particular emphasis on Arctic and Antarctic sea ice, greenland ice sheet and glaciers and snow cover; Stratospheric Ozone; analysis of major drivers of inter-annual climate variability during the year including the El Niño Souther Oscillation and other Ocean and Atmospheric indices; global precipitation distribution over land; extreme events including those related to tropical cyclones and wind storms; flooding, drought and extreme heat and cold events. The publication also provides most recent finding on climate-related risks and impacts including on food security, humanitarian and population displacement aspects and impact on ecosystems.

Four key climate change indicators break records in 2021 | World Meteorological Organization (wmo.int)

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6. Wicked problems in public policy: understanding and responding to complex challenges

This book offers the first overview of the ‘wicked problems’ literature, often seen as complex, open-ended and intractable, with both the nature of the ‘problem’ and the preferred ‘solution’ being strongly contested. It contextualises the debate using a wide range of relevant policy examples, explaining why these issues attract so much attention. There is an increasing interest in the conceptual and practical aspects of how ‘wicked problems’ are identified, understood and managed by policy practitioners. The standard public management responses to complexity and uncertainty (including traditional regulation and market-based solutions) are insufficient. Leaders often advocate and implement ideological ‘quick fixes’, but integrative and inclusive responses are increasingly being utilised to recognise the multiple interests and complex causes of these problems. This book uses examples from a wide range of social, economic and environmental fields in order to develop new insights about better solutions, and thus gain broad stakeholder acceptance for shared strategies for tackling ‘wicked problems’.

Wicked problems in public policy: understanding and responding to complex challenges (apo.org.au)

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7. The hitchhiker’s guide to Australian conservation: A parasitological perspective on fauna translocations

Translocation is a widely used conservation tool for reintroducing, introducing or restocking wildlife for conservation purposes. Disease and parasites are often unintended hitchhikers during translocations. Conservation managers have begun considering the health, disease risk and parasite loads of their species post-translocation, but not often during the translocation itself. When parasites and diseases are considered during the translocation, they are often dealt with via medical interventions resulting in the complete eradication of parasites leaving the host vulnerable to new or novel disease or parasite loads, or disrupting specialised host–parasite interactions or disease dynamics. To determine the extent of consideration and intervention of parasites and diseases in the Australian context, we conducted an aggregate scoping review of wildlife conservation translocations resulting in 98 identified translocations of 61 species with most (75%) being translocations of 40 species of mammals. Of the 98 translocations identified, only 40 (41%) described any management actions to monitor the health or disease of the translocation, such as health checks, post-mortems or sampling of disease or parasite fauna. Surprisingly, some literature mentioned specific diseases or parasites impacting a population (29% of 90 translocations), but only 16 (16%) undertook intervention to prevent these further spreading. When considering general trends over time, more translocations are considering parasites and disease in their planning, and some management action is usually taken; however, medical intervention remains low. In order to ensure that parasites and diseases are part of conservation thinking, we provide a flowchart for managers that can be implemented into future translocations that consider both the negative consequences of disease and parasites, and the ecological necessity and potential benefits of retaining co-evolved parasites and diseases.

The hitchhiker’s guide to Australian conservation: A parasitological perspective on fauna translocations – Dunlop – 2022 – Austral Ecology – Wiley Online Library

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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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #524 (18 May 2022)

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


“Vote responsibly.”
Editor, Dbytes (and if the environment is important to the way you vote, read items 1, 2, 3 & 4)

In this issue of Dbytes

1. I want my vote to count for nature: how do the major parties stack up?
2. It’s election time! For one party the environment is not a priority. For the other, it’s not something to talk about.
3. Native species are in crisis, but you wouldn’t know it from the election campaign
4. We must end our command-and-control relationship with the environment if we are to arrest its destruction
5. Prioritizing Indigenous Knowledge about Wild Pacific Salmon
6. Observing the microplastic cycle
7. Australia’s environment law doesn’t protect the environment – an alarming message from the recent duty-quashing climate case

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1. I want my vote to count for nature: how do the major parties stack up?

Protecting biodiversity isn’t just about the niceties of saving cute and cuddly animals. It’s about maintaining our health and prosperity, productive agriculture and liveable cities. So let’s take a closer look at political party promises, and whether they’re enough to turn things around for Australia’s threatened species.

https://theconversation.com/i-want-my-vote-to-count-for-nature-how-do-the-major-parties-stack-up-183023

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2. It’s election time! For one party the environment is not a priority. For the other, it’s not something to talk about.

What’s the overarching message on election policies on the environment from the two parties capable of forming government: a re-elected Coalition, or Labor? It boils down to ‘not a focus for us’ vs ‘not telling’.

Labor is ‘keeping mum’ on the environment. Pursuing a small-target strategy overall, but forced by circumstance to engage with the high political risks of climate policy, Labor have gambled that they can run dead on the rest of the environment.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/05/17/its-election-time-for-one-party-the-environment-is-not-a-priority-for-the-other-its-not-something-to-talk-about/

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3. Native species are in crisis, but you wouldn’t know it from the election campaign

There is no shortage of evidence that Australia’s unique environment and its biodiversity are in crisis, and the nation’s elected representatives are running out of time to protect what is left. Yet the environment has been almost entirely absent in this federal election campaign, with the cost of living and gotcha “gaffes” dominating the headlines.

https://www.theage.com.au/environment/conservation/native-species-are-in-crisis-but-you-wouldn-t-know-it-from-the-election-campaign-20220505-p5air2.html

4. We must end our command-and-control relationship with the environment if we are to arrest its destruction

Despite the magnitude of Australia’s environmental decline, we still have the opportunity and ability to turn things around.

We must end our command-and-control relationship with the environment if we are to arrest its destruction | Euan Ritchie | The Guardian

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5. Prioritizing Indigenous Knowledge about Wild Pacific Salmon

What would happen if western science considered fish relatives, rather than commodities?

Prioritizing Indigenous Knowledge about Wild Pacific Salmon | The Tyee

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6. Observing the microplastic cycle

A new international study has focussed the spotlight on the transport of micro- nano plastic particles between the atmosphere and the ocean – a growing challenge which poses risks to human, marine and ecosystem health. It calls for greater observations and data exchange in view of the many unknowns.

Observing the microplastic cycle | World Meteorological Organization (wmo.int)

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7. Australia’s environment law doesn’t protect the environment – an alarming message from the recent duty-quashing climate case

Much of the commentary around the judgment focused on lamenting the hands-off position the court took in its unwillingness to delve into so-called political territory. Less attention was paid to a key take-home message: the EPBC Act gives the minister power to approve coal projects, even if they’ll have adverse effects.

https://theconversation.com/australias-environment-law-doesnt-protect-the-environment-an-alarming-message-from-the-recent-duty-quashing-climate-case-179964

-~<>~-

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 press the follow button.

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

Dbytes #523 (12 May 2022)

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

“I have yet to meet a successful scientist who lacks the ability to exaggerate the importance of what he or she is doing, and I believe that someone who lacks a delusional sense of significance will wilt in the face of repeated experiences of multiple small failures and rare successes, the fate of most researchers.”
Daniel Kahneman [and see item 2]

In this issue of Dbytes

1. Forest Pulse: The Latest on the World’s Forests
2. Wanna save Planet Earth? Try ‘thinking slow’. In praise of Daniel Kahneman
3. Mapping ecological restoration knowledge: linking theory and practice in an interactive online platform
4. Australia’s next government must tackle our collapsing ecosystems and extinction crisis
5. Colonial Ecologies of the Half Earth
6. Wilderness forms and their implications for global environmental policy and
7. Disruption of cultural burning promotes shrub encroachment and unprecedented wildfires

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1. Forest Pulse: The Latest on the World’s Forests

The World Resources Institute (WRI) has released new analysis finding 11.1 million hectares of tree cover were lost in the tropics in 2021. This reduction includes nearly 4 million hectares of primary rainforest which are critical for carbon storage, resulting in 2.5 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. The analysis focuses on tropic forest losses because this is where most permanent forest removals occur.

At a country level, findings include:
-In 2021, almost 40 per cent of the world’s primary forest loss—over 1.5 million hectares—occurred in Brazil, which raises concerns due to recent findings about the Amazon rainforest’s loss of resilience and the likelihood of it approaching a tipping point sooner than has long been expected.
-Indonesia’s rate of primary forest loss declined for the 5th year in a row, due to successful policy measures.

The WRI’s list of top ten countries for tree cover loss from 2001 to 2021 also finds:
-74 per cent of the tree cover lost in Brazil is likely to be permanent.
-Indonesia lost over 28 million hectares of tree cover, with 94 per cent of that loss likely to be permanent.
-Australia ranks eighth among the top ten countries for global tree cover loss, losing over 8 million hectares with 3 per cent of that loss likely to be permanent. This finding contrasts with the trend evidenced in Australia’s official greenhouse gas inventory estimates, which show forest land area in 2019 higher than 20 years ago. The WRI acknowledges in its report that there are methodological differences between its approach and those used in official inventory estimates.

The Latest Analysis on Global Forests & Tree Cover Loss | Global Forest Review (wri.org)
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2. Wanna save Planet Earth? Try ‘thinking slow’. In praise of Daniel Kahneman

How do you communicate information to score a sale or bag a vote? You do it by building a simple coherent narrative that you can ‘sell’ with confidence. You scare people about their losses if the status quo is threatened (as will happen if you ‘vote for the opposition’), and you frame your arguments for maximum salience to your target group. These are some of the lessons available if you understand the cognitive biases in how we think. Nobel laureate Danial Kahneman has spent his life unravelling this puzzle.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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3. Mapping ecological restoration knowledge: linking theory and practice in an interactive online platform

Currently, information regarding restoration science and practices are dispersed across large numbers of scientific papers and other resources, without strong linkages between ecological theory and practice. Scientists are registering a need to improve the effectiveness of restoration ecology by organizing and improving the accessibility of existing knowledge. Heger et al. (2022) therefore aimed to fill this gap and provide an overview of restoration science and practices by linking empirical evidence with supporting theories. The authors recommend the development and implementation of an online portal that better connects and develops ecological restoration knowledge and research.

Mapping ecological restoration knowledge: linking theory and practice in an interactive online platform – SCIENCE FOR SUSTAINABILITY (wordpress.com)

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4. Australia’s next government must tackle our collapsing ecosystems and extinction crisis

Unfortunately, our famous ecosystems are not OK. Many are hurtling towards collapse, threatening even iconic species like the koala, platypus and the numbat. More and more species are going extinct, with over 100 since British colonisation. That means Australia has one of the worst conservation records in the world. This represents a monumental government failure. Our leaders are failing in their duty of care to the environment. Yet so far, the election campaign has been unsettlingly silent on threatened species. Here are five steps our next government should take.

Australia’s next government must tackle our collapsing ecosystems and extinction crisis (theconversation.com)

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5. Colonial Ecologies of the Half Earth

The movement to conserve half of the Earth’s land and waters is gaining momentum. What kind of world would result if it succeeds?

Colonial Ecologies of the Half Earth – Undisciplined Environments

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6. Wilderness forms and their implications for global environmental policy and conservation

With the intention of securing industry-free land and seascapes, protecting wilderness entered international policy as a formal target for the first time in the zero draft of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework under the Convention on Biological Diversity. Given this increased prominence in international policy, it is timely to consider the extent to which the construct of wilderness supports global conservation objectives. We evaluated the construct by overlaying recently updated cumulative human pressure maps that offer a global-scale delineation of industry-free land as wilderness with maps of carbon stock, species richness, and ground travel time from urban centers. Wilderness areas took variable forms in relation to carbon stock, species richness, and proximity to urban centers, where 10% of wilderness areas represented high carbon and species richness, 20% low carbon and species richness, and 3% high levels of remoteness (>48 h), carbon, and species richness. Approximately 35% of all remaining wilderness in 2013 was accessible in <24 h of travel time from urban centers. Although the construct of wilderness can be used to secure benefits in specific contexts, its application in conservation must account for contextual and social implications. The diverse characterization of wilderness under a global environmental conservation lens shows that a nuanced framing and application of the construct is needed to improve understanding, communication, and retention of its variable forms as industry-free places.

The Society for Conservation Biology (wiley.com)

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7. Disruption of cultural burning promotes shrub encroachment and unprecedented wildfires

Historically unprecedented fires in Australia have raised questions about fire management and changes in forest structure since British colonization. New modeling techniques were used to assess past vegetation change from fossil pollen sequences. Results show an increase in shrub cover in southeast Australian woodlands following colonial settlement, linked to the suppression of Indigenous burning practices. Increased shrubbiness, in conjunction with climate change, may have exacerbated wildfires in southeast Australian forests.

Disruption of cultural burning promotes shrub encroachment and unprecedented wildfires – Mariani – – Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment – Wiley Online Library

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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.

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