Global Biodiversity Targets Requires Both Sufficiency and Efficiency

DiMarco, M., Watson, J.E.M. and O. Venter (2016). Global Biodiversity Targets Requires Both Sufficiency and Efficiency. Conservation Letters. With the adoption of the 2011–2020 Strategic Plan of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), 196 nations agreed to achieve ambitious biodiversity related targets. These targets encompass conservation inputs, for example increasing the amount of financial resources invested in biodiversity conservation (Target 20), conservation outputs, for example protecting areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services (Target 11), and conservation outcomes, for example preventing the extinction of threatened species (Target 12). The evi

Persistent Disparities between Recent Rates of Habitat Conversion and Protection and Implications fo

Watson, J.E.M., Jones, K.R., Fuller, R.A., DiMarco, M., Segan, D.B., Butchart, S.H.M., Allan, J.R., McDonald-Madden, E. and O. Venter (2016). Persistent Disparities between Recent Rates of Habitat Conversion and Protection and Implications for Future Global Conservation Targets. Conservation Letters. DOI: 10.1111/conl.12295 Anthropogenic conversion of natural habitats is the greatest threat to biodiversity and one of the primary reasons for establishing protected areas (PAs). Here, we show that PA establishment outpaced habitat conversion between 1993 and 2009 across all biomes and the majority (n = 567, 71.4%) of ecoregions globally. However, high historic rates of conversion meant that 447

Limitations and trade-offs in the use of species distribution maps for protected area planning

DiMarco, M., Watson, J.E.M., Possingham, H.P. and O. Venter (2016). Limitations and trade-offs in the use of species distribution maps for protected area planning. Journal of Applied Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12771 Range maps represent the geographic distribution of species, and they are commonly used to determine species coverage within protected areas and to find additional places needing protection. However, range maps are characterized by commission errors, where species are thought to be present in locations where they are not. When available, habitat suitability models can reduce commission errors in range maps, but these models are not always available. Adopting a coarse spatial

Powerful Owls at Mt Coot-tha

The Green Fire Science lab spends a lot of its time tied to the desk trying to save the world, so it’s good to take some time every now and then to get out and enjoy the biodiversity we strive so hard to protect. Lately, only a few minutes’ drive from the Brisbane CBD, there has been an opportunity towatch the life cycle of Australia’s largest owl, the Powerful Owl. GFS have taken full advantage of this with a couple of trips to see these wonderful birds which have been breeding on the slopes of Mt Coot-tha, west of the city. Found along the coast and ranges from central Queensland to western Victoria, the Powerful Owl is a large bird, up to 65cm in length and with a wingspan of nearly a met

Kendall Jones interviewed for local ABC news about global wilderness loss

Kendall Jones, a GFS PhD student was interviewed last week for ABC news about a recent publication on global wilderness loss. The paper was written by James Watson and colleagues and shows that only 23% of Earth's land surface now contains intact wilderness areas. These areas are globally important for biodiversity and are disappearing rapidly. Read the publication now!! Watson et al., Catastrophic Declines in Wilderness Areas Undermine GlobalEnvironment Targets, Current Biology (2016),

What a session on SDGs at the IUCN World Conservation Congress!

We had a great session on Sustainable Development Goals at the IUCN World Conservation Congress on the 3rd September. IUCN's DG Inger Andersen opened the session, followed by two keynote speakers: Prof Jeffrey Sachs and the GFS lab leader Prof James Watson. "We cannot achieve global sustainable development and biodiversity conservation if we don't communicate with each other". Having Jeff, one of the world's lead economists, presenting the SDG Agenda and James, a lead conservation scientist, presenting what we need to do to make the SDG agenda work for biodiversity is an example of how this communication can and should happen! James argued that even if the Sustainable Development Goals focu

Catastrophic Wilderness Loss since the 1990's

Globally important wilderness areas are strongholds for biodiversity, for regulating local climates, and for supporting the world’s most politically and economically marginalized communities. They are disappearing rapidly, with an area twice the size of Alaska lost in two decades. Only 23% of the Earth’s land surface contains now contains wilderness and some biomes have almost none left. Watson et al., Catastrophic Declines in Wilderness Areas Undermine Global Environment Targets, Current Biology (2016),

Confronting Threats to Marine Biodiversity at the Society for Conservation Biology Oceania (SCBO)

July brought a number of conservation scientist and researchers together for the Society for Conservation Biology Oceania section meeting in Brisbane. As part of the conference, I organised a symposium on marine biodiversity offsets. The meeting brought together researchers working in academia, NGO and private industry to discuss the current state of marine biodiversity offset policy and practice. Biodiversity offsets are increasingly being used to mitigate impacts from economic expansion and development on vulnerable species and ecosystems, with the goal of achieving ‘no net loss’ (NNL). However, current offset research and policy are mostly focused on terrestrial systems while marine offse

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