The Thin Green Line

Vimeo Thin Green LineA vimeo producton by Mark Doyle interviewing Professor Hugh Possingham on maintaining Brisbane's biodiverstiy whilst considering a continual population growth.

New way to save fish ... and fishers!

P1060064An end to poaching will benefit ocean conservation and fishing communities worldwide, an Australian-led scientific study shows.
Researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) have found that well-enforced fishing areas can boost the incomes of fishers by up to 50 per cent through catching more fish, compared with those fishing in unregulated 'anything-goes' areas.
Protecting both the world's ocean life and the livelihoods of fishers creates a win-win situation for both fishing communities and conservation, says lead author Ms Katrina Davis of CEED and The University of Western Australia (UWA).

Read media release HERE based on this Conservation Biology JOURNAL ARTICLE

Chilean abalone fishers image by Katrina Davis

Celebrity species ‘can help save other wildlife’

Panda WallpapersCharismatic or 'celebrity' endangered wildlife can help save less well-known or 'forgotten' animals – if the conservation funds are used wisely, environmental scientists say.
Dr Joseph Bennett and Professor Hugh Possingham argue that the world has developed a very inefficient way of choosing which animals facing extinction to save, often favouring popular wildlife such as rhinos, koalas and bilbies over the less well-known species, including Australia's blobfish, giant Gippsland worm, or the Pacific lamprey.

Read media release HERE.  Scientific paper this is based on HERE

Leadbeater's possum declared critically endangered

leadbeaters possum 2Population drops by more than 80pc since mid 1980s

The Leadbeater's possum, Victoria's faunal emblem, has been declared critically endangered by Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt, with the population plunging by 80 per cent over the past 30 years.

Professor David Lindenmayer, who has been researching the animal for more than 30 years, said the main threat to the possum's habitat was logging and fire.

read the full article 

photo: Friends of the Leadbeater's Possum

How smart roads can help koalas beat traffic

Koala2 reducedAustralian cities can keep their precious koalas from ending up as road kill – if they plan their roads properly, environmental scientists say.

A new study at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) reveals that expanding existing highways, instead of building new roads, is the best way to minimise the impact of increasing traffic and growing cities on koalas. 

“The impact of roads on wildlife is growing rapidly as we continue to expand our cities,” says Dr Jonathan Rhodes from CEED and The University of Queensland (UQ). “Animals worldwide, including mammals, birds, reptiles and frogs, are increasingly threatened by high traffic volumes.”

Read Media Release HERE   PLoS ONE article this work is based on HERE and J. Applied Ecology paper HERE

Collaboration “can save forests and $billions”

Orangutan in Borneo. Photo: E MeijaardInternational scientists have urged the three nations who share the Asian island of Borneo to collaborate more closely to save their endangered wildlife and meet development goals.

By coordinating conservation and development efforts as well as reforming land-use, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei could retain up to half of the land of Borneo as forests, protect elephant and orangutan habitats, reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 50 per cent, and possibly significantly reduce the opportunity costs by billions of dollars.

The study, published in the scientific journal Nature Communications, is led by researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED).

“Borneo is the world’s third largest island – it harbours over 14,000 plant species and 1,600 land animals,” says lead author Ms Rebecca Runting of CEED and The University of Queensland (UQ). “These tropical forests regulate regional and global climate and provide food and income to millions of people.”

Ms Runting explains that the high rates of forest conversion and degradation over previous decades have prompted the three nations to pledge to protect their natural resources, including maintaining between 45 and 75 per cent of the land area of Borneo as forests. At the same time, Malaysia and Indonesia have planned to greatly expand the area of oil palm and timber plantations.

The study reveals that the governments’ current land-use plans are inadequate, and will fall significantly short of meeting their conservation goals. 


Photo: Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus), one of the species that would benefit from more coordinated planningPhoto by Dr Erik Meijaard, co-author.

Saving Australia’s biodiversity isn't as simple as culling cats and foxes

Bilby Wallpaper 437531Preventing Australia's biodiversity from collapsing needs long-term science-based programs which are more complex than just culling cats and foxes, says environmental scientist Professor David Lindenmayer, from the Australian National University (ANU).

Chris Pash from Business Insider Australia writes about Professor Lindenmayer' recent commentary in the latest PNAS journal where he states that short term programs could sometimes be ineffective or even detrimental to endangered species.

‘One tonne test’ can help restore the world’s failing coral reefs

Turtle MEvensA simple test of the amount of fish living on a coral reef can be used as a guide to restore degraded reefs and fishers' livelihoods, according to a paper published in the scientific journal Nature.

An international team of marine scientists, including CEED's Dr Joseph Maina, surveyed over 800 coral reefs worldwide, developing a mathematical model to test the health of a reef and the time it would take to recover.

They found that reefs being fished without any fishing restrictions are in deep trouble, with the vast majority of them missing more than half their total fish biomass.


What are the gains from sponsoring conservation programs for charismatic 'flagship species'

Kakapo jidanchaomian Flickr CCNew paper out by Joseph Bennett, Richard Maloney & Hugh Possingham

To address the global extinction crisis, both efficient use of existing conservation funding and new sources of funding are vital. Private sponsorship of charismatic ‘flagship’ species conservation represents an important source of new funding, but has been criticized as being biased and inefficient. In this study, we clearly show that private funding for flagships can often result in additional species saved from extinction, via conservation actions that are shared among species. By integrating sponsorship for flagships into more objective approaches that maximize shared benefits, and by using flagships to generate additional resources, more species can be saved from extinction.

See it HERE 

Photo: jidanchaomian via Flickr CC

Trophy hunting may be “a key to saving wildlife”

elephantThe world may need to allow controlled trophy hunting of elephants, lions and other animals if it wants to keep its endangered wildlife, an environmental scientist says.

Dr Duan Biggs of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) and The University of Queensland (UQ) argues that trophy hunting of elephants and lions – managed well – is critical for the well-being of local communities in low income countries, and the successful conservation of the animals and their habitats in turn.

Dr Biggs says managed hunting means that only carefully selected animals such as old or dying animals are hunted to ensure sustainability, and only allowing the export and import of trophies from operators that follow best practices.

Without this, he warns, poaching and illegal trade in wildlife products will thrive, as impoverished local communities have no incentive to protect the animals, and may even be driven to poach them or join the illicit trade.