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Eco Logic

Eco Logic column

A Clear Case for Regrowth

By Melissa Bruton and Clive McAlpine

Despite evidence that regrowth vegetation has equivalent habitat value to intact vegetation, Queensland has amended legislation protecting high-value bioregions from clearing.

Last year the Queensland Government introduced legislation that removed protection for several categories of regrowth vegetation. Previously, regrowth that had not been cleared since 1989, and occurred in ecosystems with less than 30% of their original extent remaining, was protected from most clearing activities.

Conservation in a Wicked World

By Eve McDonald-Madden and Eddie Game

Conventional approaches to conservation can learn from complex military decisions in Afghanistan.

Conservation is not rocket science. It’s far more complex. Rocket flight obeys well-understood laws, is predictable and varies in only four dimensions. Most rockets reach their targets but, when they don’t, the reasons why they didn’t are likely to be obvious.

Being SMART with NRM Performance Goals

By Caroline Mitchell

Natural resource management targets in Victoria and NSW are not specific, measurable or time-bound – and that’s not very smart.

It seems obvious that any organisation’s performance goals should be based on achievable outcomes, but planning experts go further and suggest that, to be meaningful, an organisation’s goals should be tangible and doable. To this end they need to be SMART, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.

Fossil Fuel Footprint Stepping on Biodiversity

By Nathalie Butt, Hawthorne Beyer and Leonie Seabrook

The footprint of fossil fuels is encroaching on biodiversity hotspots that are currently undeveloped.

There’s a global biodiversity crisis unravelling before our eyes, and most of the major threats to biodiversity (such as habitat loss and invasive species) are being exacerbated by the growing impact of climate change. Science has convincingly demonstrated the connection between the burning of fossil fuels and climate change. Less well-understood is the impact on our natural world of the actual extraction of these fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas.

History of an “Outcome”

By Hugh Possingham

Assigning an outcome to any single grant, paper or person makes a mockery of the scientific process.

Late last year our research network scored another “outcome”. What’s more, it came “gift-wrapped” in a front page story in the Sydney Morning Herald, making it easy for everyone to see.

The Gap Between Conservation Scientists and Managers

By Carly Cook

Collaboration is the key to getting managers and decision-makers to better engage with conservation science. What are the problems and some possible solutions to make it happen?

There is a growing body of evidence to show that scientists often don’t answer the questions that are most important to managers. It is also increasingly clear that while decision-makers value scientific information, they do not routinely use science even when it’s available.

Five Objections to Decision Science in Conservation

By Hugh Possingham

What are the main objections to decision science, and why they are wrong?

Since 1994 I have given more than 300 seminars to every manner of audience on how decision science can inform environmental management. In that time I’ve received a wide range of arguments about why decision theory tools should not be applied to conservation problems. Here I review the most common objections and suggest that they are wrong, but I’m going to go further and say that natural resource management in Australia must embrace the tools of decision science.

Where’s the Evidence for Adaptive Management?

By Martin Westgate

Everyone talks about how important adaptive management is but few are actually doing it.

Adaptive management is everywhere. Google it and you’ll get more than five million hits, while academic search engines can return more than 20,000 articles. These articles discuss a huge range of topics – from ecology and conservation biology through to epidemiology, medicine and even construction. And more are being written all the time.

All for One and One for All

By Shaun Coutts

Human behaviour plays an enormous role in the spread or control of invasive weeds.

Weeds can cross property boundaries but weed management often cannot. Controlling invasive species across the landscape is therefore not only about the effectiveness of control strategies; it’s also how, when and where those strategies are employed. And these factors are all the result of human behaviour.

A New List to Frame Biodiversity Conservation

By David Salt

A new IUCN Red List promises to enlarge the debate on declining biodiversity to include ecosystems.

Declines in biodiversity have largely been debated through a species prism. Species are declining and disappearing. Unfortunately, no government on the planet is prepared to invest anywhere near the amount needed to save all the species in trouble because while people don’t like threatened species going extinct, they also expect our governments to provide hospitals, schools and police forces. At the end of day, conservation is but one of a range of activities supported by the government.