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Eco Logic

Eco Logic column

Reviewing Our National Environmental Law As If It Mattered

By Peter Burnett

Australia’s overarching national environmental law is due for review. To make the most of this opportunity, the reviewers need to address five critical questions.

Australia’s national environmental law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), is 20 years old. Later this year it gets its second 10-year review. In a time of climate change and mass extinction, is the EPBC Act still fit for purpose? Does it need a little tinkering or a major overhaul?

I was responsible for the administration of the EPBC Act during the first review in 2009. To my mind, this second review is a valuable opportunity for reform.

Saving Nature with Revolving Real Estate

By Mat Hardy, Sarah Bekessy, Ascelin Gordon & James Fitzsimons

Revolving funds buy land with high nature value, protect these values through conservation agreements and then resell them. The funds from sales then purchase more land.

Internationally, there is a growing focus on protecting important biodiversity found on privately owned land. In some countries, privately protected areas (PPAs) are included in a nation’s effort to meet international conservation targets.

Planning for Sea-Level Rise Using Portfolio Theory

By Rebecca Runting

Economics has many ways of dealing with uncertainty. Conservation scientists are incorporating one such approach to designing networks of marine reserves that will perform better as sea level rises.

When we think about climate change we often think about how hot or dry it is going to get, but don’t always make the connection to how this will affect all the benefits we get from the natural world, such as food, clothes and opportunities for recreation. Making this connection is crucial if we want to develop effective strategies for climate adaptation. How do we do this given we are often really uncertain about how climate change will affect the benefits we get from nature?

Crowdfunding Biodiversity Conservation

By Eduardo Gallo-Cajiao and Carla Archibald

Crowdfunding is a new addition to the portfolio of conservation finance mechanisms with real potential to create valuable additional resources.

In a world experiencing massive declines in biodiversity coupled with inadequate government expenditure, raising funds from the public is becoming increasingly important for saving species. One new mechanism of funding to emerge in recent years is

Injecting Biodiversity into City Spaces

By Nathalie Butt

Cities planning to adapt to climate change should take biodiversity along for the ride.

More than half of the world’s people live in cities, and this will reach two-thirds by 2050. Most cities are situated on coasts or rivers, and currently more than 400 cities across the world are directly threatened by sea level rise, putting more than 400 million people at risk.

The Third Dimension of Conservation

Credit: Thomas Vignaud

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. Credit: Thomas Vignaud

By Ruben Venegas-Li

Oceans are inherently three-dimensional spaces, so effective and efficient conservation planning in oceans should take this third dimension – depth – into account.

Spatial conservation prioritisation is a method used to identify areas where conservation goals can be achieved efficiently. Traditionally this has meant the region being considered is subdivided into two-dimensional planning units. These planning units are then allocated to a given management regime based on what biodiversity it holds, what threats are affecting it, and on how much it would cost to manage these conservation features.

Human Burials Can Save Threatened Species

By Matthew Holden

As declines in biodiversity accelerate we need to examine innovative ways to save threatened species. Conservation burials may be one solution, and the potential is enormous.

Revolving Private Land to Conserve Nature

By Mat Hardy, Sarah Bekessy, James Fitzsimons & Ascelin Gordon

Buying, protecting and reselling private land can be an effective way to conserve nature, but relies upon selecting the right properties.

The acquisition of private land with significant conservation value can be a powerful way to protect important species and ecosystems. But acquisition can be expensive, particularly in areas where land values are high. An alternative to buying land and creating a conservation reserve is to enter into permanent agreements with private landholders (e.g. conservation covenants) that restrict both current and future landowners from conducting activities that would harm their land’s ecological value.

South Australia Doubles Down on Solar Energy

By Ian Lowe

A South Australian election promise to install solar panels and batteries in 50,000 homes has placed the Prime Minister in an awkward position.

The calling of a state election in South Australia put electricity prices in the spotlight. The 100 MW Tesla battery has proved a great success, not just evening out power supply for South Australia but helping out Victoria when a Latrobe Valley brown-coal generator shut down on a hot afternoon.

Planning for an Expanding Ice-Free Antarctica

By Jasmine Lee

Climate change will increase the amount of ice-free land in Antarctica by 25% this century.

Mention Antarctica and nature, and most people think killer whales, seals and penguins. But there is so much more when it comes to biodiversity on this frozen continent. Often overlooked is a large suite of native species only found on the land. This terrestrial biodiversity consists of microbes, moss, lichen, two native plants and a large array of invertebrates including tardigrades, springtails, nematodes and mites. Some of these species occur nowhere else in the world and have developed a range of amazing adaptations to survive.