KOALA NEWS & SCIENCE
An informative monthly newsletter about successes & important announcements in koala conservation, and the latest scientific publications about koalas.
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Urgent injunction sought to stop logging in koala habitat in NE NSW 31 July
The EDO, on behalf of NEFA, have sought an urgent injunction to stop Forestry Corp NSW from logging koala habitat in Myrtle & Braemar Forests, northern NSW. The hearing goes ahead Wed 2 August.
New research shows inaction on Koala offsets QLD 12 July
The new research by UQ Prof Jonathan Rhodes shows that, of financial offsets since 2018, only 0.7 of 13.4ha of impacts on koala habitats has been actioned.
1150 attendees Griffith Family Koala Fair on 28 June
Griffith University welcomed over 450 families to the EcoCentre on Wednesday 28 June for a day of education about koalas.
How to collect koala sperm 15 July
A/Prof Steve Johnston talks with Robin Williams about koala sperm.
Elders stand firm against logging south of Coffs Harbour NSW 31 July
Gumbaynggirr Elders set up a protest camp at Newry SF, to halt imminent logging by Forestry NSW.
100,000 trees for koalas VIC 16 July
Koala Clancy Foundation have planted their 100,000th koala tree.
Parliamentary Friends of Koalas NSW 20 July
Independent MP for Wollondilly Judy Hannan launched the bipartisan group early in July.
$2million boost for koalas in Gympie QLD 8 July
Koala Action Gympie Region, Noosa Landcare, Gympie Landcare and Kabi Kabi Peoples Aboriginal Corporation will partner with Burnett Mary Regional Group to spend $2million on koala habitat revegetation and connectivity.
Koala citizen science day at Kurrajong NSW 12 August
Sydney Basin Koala Network will host a citizen science training day on 12 August to teach locals how to find and record data on koalas.
First Nations koala researcher heading to Oxford 15 July
Dunghutti Gumbaynggirr woman Teresa Cochrane talks koala conservation and taking her research to Oxford University, UK.
Latest Koala Science:
Rhodes, J.R., Liu, Y., Wahyudi, A., Maron, M., Iftekhar, M.S. and Brisbane, S., 2023. Performance of habitat offsets for species conservation in dynamic human‐modified landscapes. People and Nature.
Biodiversity offsets are a popular policy tool for mitigating the impact of development on biodiversity, but the ecological success of offsets arise from complex interactions among socio-economic, ecological and policy processes, making outcomes challenging to assess.
Many offset policies use habitat surrogates to determine offset requirements, rather than using direct measures of impacted biota, and this can lead to poor outcomes for species. One potential solution to this is for offsets to be delivered by a public agency (agency-led) rather than by developers (developer-led). This is because agencies may be able to strategically choose offset sites that maximise outcomes for species (e.g. abundance), while there may be little reason for developers to act strategically in this way when offset requirements are based purely on habitat surrogates. Yet, the success of a strategic agency-led approach is likely to depend on patterns of development and offset site availability.
To examine this, we developed a novel integrated spatially explicit model of land-use change, habitat, species abundance and offset regulation. We apply the model to the Queensland Government’s Environmental Offsets Policy for koalas Phascolarctos cinereus in South East Queensland, Australia, and test how patterns of development and offset site availability influence the performance of agency-led versus developer-led offsets.
When potential offset sites were plentiful, agency-led offsets tended to outperform developer-led offset delivery for maximising koala abundance while achieving similar or better outcomes for habitat area. Yet, when potential offset sites were rare, the relative performance of agency-led offset was often poor, and offset requirements for habitat area were less likely to be met. Different spatial patterns of development had little effect on the relative performance of agency-led versus developer-led offsets.
Our analysis shows that agency-led offsets with strategic choices of offset sites can improve species’ outcomes for habitat-based offsets but can also risk failing to meet habitat area requirements when the availability of offset sites is low. Importantly, our integrated spatial model provides a holistic approach to assessing policy options for biodiversity offsets in dynamic human-modified landscapes.
Read the free Plain Language Summary for this article on the Journal blog. https://relationalthinkingblog.com/2023/06/09/plain-language-summary-improving-offsets-to-conserve-species-in-human-modified-landscapes/
Yang, G. and Pavoine, S., 2023. Conservation priorities for Diprotodonts according to evolutionary distinctiveness and extinction risk. Biodiversity and Conservation, pp.1-18.
Diprotodontia is an order of mammals that has received comparatively less attention in conservation research than others. With more than 75% nationally endemic species, Diprotodontia is threatened to lose, in the near future, a high proportion of its species and more phylogenetic diversity than expected from random extinction. In this study, we prioritized Diprotodontia species with high conservation values by evolutionary distinctiveness and extinction probability, which are two important criteria in the prioritization system. We measured evolutionary distinctiveness first by a widely-used index (named ED) and its recently improved version (ED2) that both exhibited a biased view of evolutionary distinctiveness toward the terminal branch length in a phylogenetic tree. Then we measured it by recently developed parametric indices that offered gradual changes in views from terminal branch length to the global shape of the tree. We also used indices that combine a species’ evolutionary distinctiveness with its extinction probability (the evolutionarily distinct and globally endangered (EDGE) index, its developed form EDGE2, and parametric index We targeted 24 Diprotodontia species for conservation concern, with Mountain Pygmy Possum Burramys parvus and Koala Phascolarctos cinereus highlighted by all indices. We delimited eight key priority areas containing these target species, five of which were not covered by any protected areas. Further analyses of the potential impact of climate change-induced extreme events, together with stronger regulation of known local threats in light of local socioeconomic aspects seem to be urgent for the fate of evolutionarily distinctive Diprotodonts.
McLean, D., Goldingay, R. and Letnic, M., 2023. Diet of the Dingo in Subtropical Australian Forests: Are Small, Threatened Macropods at Risk?. Animals, 13(14), p.2257.
Carnivores fulfil important ecological roles in natural systems yet can also jeopardise the persistence of threatened species. Understanding their diet is, therefore, essential for managing populations of carnivores, as well as those of their prey. This study was designed to better understand the diet of an Australian apex predator, the dingo, and determine whether it poses a threat to at-risk small macropods in two floristically different yet geographically close reserves in subtropical Australia. Based on an analysis of 512 scats, dingo diets comprised 34 different prey taxa, of which 50% were common between reserves. Our findings add support to the paradigm that dingoes are opportunistic and generalist predators that prey primarily on abundant mammalian fauna. Their diets in the Border Ranges were dominated by possum species (frequency of occurrence (FOC) = 92.5%), while their diets in Richmond Range were characterised by a high prevalence of pademelon species (FOC = 46.9%). Medium-sized mammals were the most important dietary items in both reserves and across all seasons. The dietary frequency of medium-sized mammals was generally related to their availability (indexed by camera trapping); however, the avoidance of some species with high availability indicates that prey accessibility may also be important in dictating their dietary choices. Other prey categories were supplementary to diets and varied in importance according to seasonal changes in their availability. The diets included two threatened macropods, the red-legged pademelon and black-striped wallaby. Our availability estimates, together with earlier dietary studies spanning 30 years, suggest that the red-legged pademelon is resilient to the observed predation. The black-striped wallaby occurred in only two dingo scats collected from Richmond Range and was not detected by cameras so the threat to this species could not be determined. Two locally abundant but highly threatened species (the koala and long-nosed potoroo) were not detected in the dingoes’ diets, suggesting dingoes do not at present pose a threat to these populations. Our study highlights the importance of site-based assessments, population monitoring and including data on prey availability in dietary investigations.
Koala Science in Brief
Dudeja, S., The detection of polymorphism of RecKoRV Loci within the Victorian koala population (Doctoral dissertation, University of Nottingham).
Previous Koala News & Science here: http://www.wildkoaladay.com.au/koala-news-science/koala-news-science-june-2023/
Written by Janine Duffy President, Koala Clancy Foundation.
with support from Cheryl Egan, Organiser, Wild Koala Day.
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