Putting telemetry to work

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Building models for better decisions

Models are basic to good decision making. System models are representations of the dynamics of an ecological system, a conceptual map of how the system works. They enable us to specify our thinking on how the system responds to management. Without them in our decision frame it’s unlikely our choices will be well founded. What’s more, and just as important, without a system model the potential to learn is limited.

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Billions of dollars are being spent around the world on adapting our cities to climate change. Unfortunately, most of the planning to this point does not include the specific intention of making space for biodiversity. This is a lost opportunity for conservation and the resilience of our cities. There is now considerable evidence of the many values of bringing biodiversity into our urban spaces, as well as the creation of many strategies on how it might be achieved. Pictured above is one depiction of how biodiversity might be incorporated around the urban development at Fisherman’s Bend near Melbourne. It’s part of the work being done by researchers at RMIT under the theme of Biodiversity Sensitive Urban Design. See https://iconscience.org/biodiversity-sensitive-urban-design/ for details.

Injecting biodiversity into city spaces

Cities planning to adapt to climate change should take biodiversity along for the ride Key messages: Cities are investing billions of dollars in climate change adaptation We analysed 80 city climate-adaptation plans and found that urban greening plays a key role in most adaptation strategies. This represents an enormous opportunity for biodiversity conservation. Unfortunately, our […]

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Wildlife and the city

In April, I had the privilege of visiting a truly innovative nature sanctuary in Wellington called Zealandia. I was there to meet Dr Danielle Shanahan, a former CEED post doc who is now the sanctuary’s Manager of Conservation and Research. Visitors to Zealandia get the chance to wander its 225 hectares of native plantings and interact with a broad range of […]

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The ocean realm is fundamentally a three dimensional space.
Conservation planning in such conditions is more efficient when features
and threats can be stratified with depth. (Photo by Thomas Vignaud)

Taking spatial conservation to the next dimension

Adventures in 3D Key messages: Conservation features often vary with depth in the ocean realm 3D systematic spatial conservation planning has the potential to deal with this variation We demonstrated that a 3D approach to conservation planning in the Mediterranean Sea has the potential to generate more efficient outcomes than the traditional 2D approach Spatial […]

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One species that has bounced back relatively well after whaling stopped in the late 20th century is the humpback (pictured here). The same has not occurred for several other species.  (Photo by Diego Cotterle

Whale story

Modelling the future of Earth’s titans During the 1900s, many whales were commercially harvested almost to extinction. Amongst the most impacted were the larger baleen whales, those species with comb-like baleen plates used to strain the water for food (such as krill and small fish). In 1983 the International Whaling Commission decreed a moratorium on […]

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Participants in the ‘Conservation challenges and opportunities in areas of armed conflict’ workshop. (Photo by Felipe Suarez)

Networking for conservation in Colombia

ICCB 2017 through the eyes of newbies In July, we travelled to the colourful city of Cartagena in Colombia to attend the Society for Conservation Biology’s bi-annual International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB) conference. “Insights for sustaining life on Earth” was the theme for this year’s conference, with an emphasis on how to better manage […]

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Much private land holds considerable conservation value.
Purchasing land and locking it up in a reserve is an expensive option.
Encouraging owners to sign up to conservation contracts can be more
cost effective. Revolving funds provide a unique, self-replenishing
approach to make this happen. (Photo by Mat Hardy)

Swings & roundabouts, & private land conservation

What factors influence the selection of a property for a revolving fund? KEY MESSAGES: The effectiveness of a conservation revolving fund for land acquisition relies upon selecting the right properties Whilst conservation factors are important, financial and social factors are also highly influential, with a major determinant being whether the property can be on-sold within […]

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Orangutans (and science) in trouble

Will the orangutan be saved? KEY MESSAGES: For many threatened species the rate and drivers of population decline are difficult to assess accurately We applied novel methods for integrating field and interview survey data for the Critically Endangered Bornean orangutan Our analysis revealed that Bornean orangutan populations have declined at a rate of 25% over […]

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The mass migration of red crabs on Christmas Island is one of the natural wonders of the world. But the red crab and many other species on this isolated island are under threat. Given limited resources, how do Christmas Island National Park managers choose between multiple actions to protect multiple species?  (Photo by Max Orchard, Parks Australia)

Choosing between options with limited resources

A simple Cost-Effective Resource Allocator Key messages: Decision scientists working with national park managers have developed a user-friendly Cost-Effective Resource Allocator The allocator prioritises the set of management strategies that maximise the total number of years that a suite of species is expected to persist given a constrained budget The allocator uses a series of […]

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