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Eco Logic

Eco Logic column

To Monitor or Not to Monitor

By Eve-McDonald-Madden

At its heart, good environmental monitoring needs a clear justification for acquiring information in the first place. What we strive to know should be driven by what we need to know.

Dr Eve Macdonald-Madden is a Key Researcher with the National Environmental Research Program Environmental Decisions Hub (NERP ED). NERP is funded by the Australian Government. NERP ED forms part of the Environmental Decisions Group.

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Efficiency vs Sufficiency in Conservation

By Hugh Possingham

Comparing how much money is needed to ensure a conservation outcome with how to deliver the biggest outcome for a fixed investment are two sides of the same coin.

Professor Hugh Possingham is Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, which forms part of the Environmental Decisions Group.

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Killing Koalas with Cars, Dogs and Disease

By David Salt

Managing threatened species requires management of multiple threats. Conservation of koalas is a point in case.

David Salt is Knowledge Broker for the Applied Environmental Decision Analysis centre at the Australian National University.

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A World of Difference?

By Hugh Possingham

Conservation science, management and policy confront the same problems around the world. Claiming that Australia is different is not a valid excuse for not getting on with the job.

Having recently returned from a whirlwind trip through Asia, I am prompted to ask: just how much difference is there in conservation issues around the world? Before I left I would have predicted that Asia, given cultural and language differences, would be far more different than North America or Europe. I was wrong.

The first obvious difference travelling from Australia to Asia is crossing Wallace’s Line. Suddenly the species change a lot: honeyeaters become sunbirds, marsupials become placentals, and eucalypts essentially disappear (except for the ones that have been planted).

Evidence-based Conservation Could Be NICE

By Hugh Possingham

Conservationists need to take some cues from evidence-based medicine to determine the most appropriate strategies.

Evidence-based conservation, like evidence-based medicine, sounds like a no-brainer – of course our conservation actions should be based on evidence of what actually works. But just because an action is demonstrated to work it doesn’t mean it is the most appropriate management option for a particular species or place. For evidence-based conservation to better inform management it needs to factor in cost.

Species vs Landscape: A False Dichotomy

By Hugh Possingham

It’s not a question of focusing on landscape or species, because they’re inseparable. You can’t conserve the landscape without accounting for what’s happening at the species level.

Recent events might lead us to believe that single species conservation is dead, and that landscapes rule. A move to landscape-scale conservation is driven by the supposed failure of single-species conservation.

Does Recovery Planning Benefit Threatened Species?

By Madeleine Bottrill

A new analysis suggests that recovery plans for threatened species need to be significantly improved if they are to make a difference.

Recovery planning is a key component of government-funded initiatives to address declining populations of threatened species. In the past decade over $17 million has been invested by the Australian government in developing more than 600 recovery plans for more than 850 species. The purpose of these plans is to collate quantitative data on threatened species with expert opinion to specify threats, management priorities and recovery criteria.

What We Can Do for Long-Term Biodiversity Monitoring

By Hugh Possingham

The vexed issue of long-term biodiversity monitoring in Australia has had a long history of discussion but few outcomes. Here are a few obvious things we could do now.

Every 5 years there is a State of Environment Report that laments the lack of consistent nationwide biodiversity data. The Commonwealth Auditor General has similarly called for the country to get its environmental accounts in order.

A “Colombo Plan” for Biodiversity Conservation

By Hugh Possingham

Building an effective and self-supporting network of conservation research professionals across the region could prove to be Australia’s greatest biodiversity legacy.

The vast majority of the research on biodiversity conservation in Australia is funded by Australian taxpayers through Australia’s governments or Australian universities, with some scattered industry and international funds. Much of our research is used by agencies in other countries.

Don’t we have enough problems of our own? Why would we spend time writing papers about prioritising threatened species in New Zealand, optimal methods for surveying tigers in Sumatra and conservation investment in the coral triangle? There are at least four answers.

Do Our Reserves Protect Endangered Species?

By David Salt

A new analysis has found that our National Reserve System is not much better than a completely random placement of reserves when it comes to protecting our endangered species.

Australia’s National Reserve System (NRS) is up there among the world’s best in terms of size, but a new study out of the University of Queensland has revealed it’s not doing much in achieving one of its primary goals – the protection of our threatened species.