Bolder science needed now for protected areas

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Bolder science needed now for protected areas

Recognising that protected areas are essential for effective biodiversity conservation action, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) established ambitious protected-area targets as part of the 2020 Strategic Plan for Biodiversity. Target 11 of the strategic plan aims to put 17% of terrestrial and 10% of marine regions under protected-area status by 2020. These protected areas […]

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Conservation and offshore hydrocarbon exploitation

All around the world there are marine areas important for biodiversity that are experiencing exploration and extraction of oil and natural gas resources. Such operations are expanding to previously inaccessible deep waters and other frontier regions. Conservation challenges arising from offshore hydrocarbon development are wide-ranging. These challenges include threats to ecosystems and marine species from […]

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Text analysis tools for conservation science

Keeping track of conceptual and methodological developments is a critical skill for research scientists, but this task is becoming increasingly difficult due to the high rate of academic publication. As a crisis discipline, conservation science is particularly in need of tools that facilitate rapid yet insightful synthesis. Martin Westgate and colleagues at the Australian National […]

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A peat swamp forest in Kalimantan.
(Photo by Ruanda Agung Sugardiman)

For peat’s sake

The peat swamp forest in the south of Kalimantan is an unusual ecosystem that is home to many unique or rare species such as orangutans. It consists of diverse range of tropical trees standing on a layer of peat up to10-12m deep. The peat is partly decayed and waterlogged plant material, and it in turn […]

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A giant cuttlefish on Australia’s Great Southern Reef.
(Photo by Catlin Seaview Survey).

More to marine biodiversity than GBR

Two CEED researchers have made a plea for a review of the Commonwealth marine protected areas around Australia to be more representative. Jennifer McGowan and Hugh Possingham have recently posted an editorial on the National Geographic blogsite pointing out Australia has a big opportunity to better conserve our marine natural heritage. The researchers bemoan the […]

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Our ever changing landscapes: pictured here is a mural in the town
of Sheffield in Tasmania showing a Tasmanian landscape with the
now extinct Tasmanian tiger and the threatened Tasmanian devil. The
Tasmanian tiger went extinct due to a number of stresses including
over hunting, habitat loss and disease. Dealing with any of these
threats individually probably wouldn’t have saved this species just as
dealing with climate change or land-cover change separately may not
save many of today’s threatened species into the future. The key lies in
understanding the interactions between the multiple stressors.
(Photo by Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle)

Risk = [Exposure x Vulnerability] x Hazard

Why interactions between climate and landscape change matter for conservation priorities It was becoming increasingly clear that an approach to conservation that deals with threats one by one without considering how those threats interact is inadequate when biodiversity is threatened by multiple, co-occurring stressors. For example, in Decision Point #57 I showed how species in […]

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2. DPoint #93 high res final (for stories)[1]_Page_11_Image_0002

Climate extremes impact nectar and fruit availability

And that has consequences for all birds and mammals that depend on them The impacts of climate change on species are well-recognised and, in many cases, already happening. These impacts include shifts in species’ distributions and changes in productivity. These changes in productivity can be driven by longer growing seasons in mid to high latitudes, […]

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Rocky intertidal reefs in Victoria, Australia, with a close up of the brown commonly known as Neptune’s necklace.)
alga, Hormosira banksii. (Photo by Museum Victoria)

When to act?

Setting conservation management thresholds Monitoring is routinely used by conservation managers to determine the state of the environmental values they are responsible for. That might be the numbers of a threatened species or the health of an ecosystem in a national park. When changes in condition are observed, decisions should be made about whether or […]

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Farmers at work in an Indonesian rice field. The Mega Rice Project
aimed to help grow the economy, create employment and alleviate
poverty for men and women. Unfortunately, the many other values of
the peat swamp it replaced were discounted. (Photo by Josh Estey.)

Balancing trade-offs between land-use policy objectives

Exploring options in an abandoned agricultural project in Kalimantan Conservation and economic paradigms are shifting. In decades past it seemed fine to dedicate land to either conservation or production. But more recently we realise that this is inadequate to save all biodiversity, particularly where we want and need it. We live in a world of […]

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Project planners are often excessively optimistic about the
performance of a project that they are developing. It’s important to
aim high but making judgments about a planned activity that are
systematically over-optimistic (including underestimating project
completion time, underestimating costs, or overestimating benefits)
can lead to some very poor decisions.

‘Bias’ and natural resource management

Acknowledging that environmental managers are only human People in all walks of life – from town planners to judges and financial regulators – are subject to bias in their perceptions and judgements. Of course, this applies to environmental managers and natural resource managers too. We recently explored the influence of bias in natural resource management […]

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A bias for action

In Search of Excellence was one of the biggest selling business books ever. Published in 1982, the book set out to explore the secrets of success of some of the world’s leading companies. Its authors found eight common themes which they argued were responsible for the success of the chosen corporations. Up front was ‘a […]

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