Www.environment.gov.au/soe SoE 2011 – Biodiversity Chapter Overview This presentation is one of a...

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www.environment.gov.au/ soe SoE 2011 – Biodiversity Chapter Overview This presentation is one of a series of Australia State of the Environment 2011 (SoE 2011) presentations given by SoE Committee members and departmental staff following the release of the SoE 2011. This material was developed to be delivered as part of an oral presentation. The full report should be referred to for understanding the context of this information. For more information please refer to: http://www.environment.gov.au/soe/ind ex.html Or contact the SoE team via email: [email protected]

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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe SoE 2011 Biodiversity Chapter Overview This presentation is one of a series of Australia State of the Environment 2011 (SoE 2011) presentations given by SoE Committee members and departmental staff following the release of the SoE 2011. This material was developed to be delivered as part of an oral presentation. The full report should be referred to for understanding the context of this information. For more information please refer to: http://www.environment.gov.au/soe/index.html Or contact the SoE team via email: [email protected]
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe New cover page Presentation SoE 2011 Biodiversity Chapter Overview Photo: Aerial view of the Pilbara, by Andrew Griffiths, Lensaloft
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe State of the Environment reporting A report on the Australian environment must be tabled in Parliament every five years No current regulations regarding scope, content or process All reports so far written by independent committees
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe Purpose of SoE 2011 Provide relevant and useful information on environmental issues to the public and decision- makers... to raise awareness and support more informed environmental management decisions leading to more sustainable use and effective conservation of environmental assets.
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe State of the Environment 2011 Committee Chair Tom Hatton (Director, CSIRO Water for a Healthy Country) Members Steven Cork (research ecologist and futurist) Peter Harper (Deputy Australian Statistician) Rob Joy (School of Global Studies, Social Science & Planning, RMIT) Peter Kanowski (Fenner School of Environment & Society, ANU) Richard Mackay (heritage specialist, Godden Mackay Logan) Neil McKenzie (Chief, CSIRO Land and Water) Trevor Ward (marine and fisheries ecologist) Barbara Wienecke ex officio (Australian Antarctic Division, DSEWPaC)
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe Whats new in 2011? Improved relevance to decision makers More detailed information Discussion of the major drivers of change Wide range of credible resources used in the analyses Report-card style assessments of condition, pressures and management effectiveness Discussions of current resilience and future risks Outlooks
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe Quality and credibility Independence written by an independent committee with relevant expertise, tasked with advocating for accurate, robust and meaningful environmental reporting and identification of policy issues, but not for any particular policy position Authors sought best available evidence from credible sources Extensive consultation Workshops to determine consensus in expert opinion where evidence low Transparency about quality of evidence and level of consensus Peer reviewed (47+ reviewers of chapters and supplementary materials)
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe SoE 2011 Products Full report hard copy and online Summary with 17 headlines Nine theme chapters each with key findings Report cards In-Brief hard copy and online 50 page summary of full report Additional online materials Commissioned reports Workshop reports Additional tables and figures Peer review information
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe
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  • Assessment summaries in the report
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe Drivers chapter context for rest of SoE How are a changing climate, population growth and economic growth creating pressures on our environment?
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe SoE 2011 Headlines 17 headlines in summary chapter give a high level overview of the big issues
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe Key Findings (in theme chapters) key findings give an overview of more specific conclusions for each theme
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe What is the general state of the environment? Much of Australia is in good condition shape or improving Wind erosion has decreased Some major threats to vegetation cover are lessening Water consumption has fallen considerably in recent years Many urban air pollutants are on the decline Use of public transport is on the rise Other parts are in poor condition or deteriorating The East Antarctic Ice Sheet is losing billions of tonnes of ice a year Soil acidification and pests and weeds are affecting large areas of the continent Our natural and cultural heritage continues to be threatened
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe Drivers of environmental change The principal drivers of pressures on Australias environmentand its future conditionare climate variability and change, population growth and economic growth It is likely that we are already seeing the effects of climate change in Australia The Australian economy is projected to grow by 2.7% per year until 2050 Under the base scenario, Australias population of 22.2 million people in 2010 is projected to grow to 35.9 million by 2050 We have opportunities to decouple population and economic growth from pressure on our environment
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe Persistent pressures on our environment Past decisions and practices have left ongoing impacts on our environment Introduction of feral animals and weeds Land clearing Pollution Unsustainable water resource management Intense harvest of fish stocks Lack of integrated and supported management Our changing climate, and growing population and economy, are now confronting us with new challenges
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe
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  • About biodiversity chapter in SoE 2011 What it is: a 122 page report on state and trends, pressures, risks and resilience, management effectiveness and outlooks for Australias biodiversity Includes 62 figures, tables and images, four summary assessment tables, and 219 references
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe Key findings Biodiversity has declined since European settlement Most pressures on biodiversity that arise directly or indirectly from human activities appear to still be strong Data on long-term trends in biodiversity are limited, making it difficult to interpret the state or trends of major animal and plant groups in most jurisdictions Despite promising investment by all jurisdictions in addressing the main pressures on biodiversity, pressures are not being substantially reduced, nor is the decline in biodiversity being arrested or reversed
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe Key findings The major future drivers of changeclimate change, population growth, economic development and associated consumption of natural resourcesmust be managed carefully if a sustainable relationship between biodiversity and human societies is to be achieved Australia can improve its biodiversity management significantly Many Indigenous people continue to have a close and multifaceted relationship with their land Australians cannot afford to see themselves as separate from biodiversity
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe State and trends of biodiversity Australia is one of just 17 megadiverse countries worldwide Many species are endemic to this country 7-10% of all species on Earth occur here Biodiversity in Australia has declined since European Settlement Decline in all components: genes, species, communities and ecosystems
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe State and trends of biodiversity (contd) Variable trend: some areas persisting well, but significant decline in others Historically the decline has been in southern Australia but birds and small mammals are now reported as declining in northern Australia Limited long term data on almost all groups mean poor ability to assess rates of decline Research suggests tipping points are being reached for a number of species, leading to irreversible loss
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe Our capacity to report on biodiversity states and trends is variable
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe Numbers of species listed as threatened under the EPBC Act
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe Threatened species by IBRA region
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe State and trends of biodiversity assessment summary
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe Pressures affecting biodiversity Fragmentation of habitat Climate change Land-use change Invasive species and pathogens Grazing pressure Altered fire regimes Changed hydrology Pollution
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe Pressures affecting listed threatened species
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe Assessment summary: pressures affecting biodiversity
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe Effectiveness of biodiversity management All jurisdictions report concerns about a lack of information on which to base biodiversity conservation objectives and targets Most past and current pressures are recognised even if their significance and the appropriate management responses are unclear Most jurisdictions have detailed plans and strategies BUT planning to address dependence and impacts of human population on biodiversity is poorly developed Efforts to address land clearing have improved but there are legacy effects
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe Biodiversity management: increasing representation of IBRA regions within the National Reserve System
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe Effectiveness of biodiversity management Management of climate change, pollution, and consumption and extraction of natural resources are all at least partially effective and trending towards improvement. Management of habitat clearing and fragmentation is also partially effective, with outputs and outcomes presently ineffective but trending towards improvement In terms of inputs, processes, outputs and outcomes, management of livestock production and invasive species and pathogens tends to be ineffective, though generally improving Inputs to manage invasive species and pathogens are ineffective and the trend is worsening
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe Resilience of biodiversity SoE reports from most jurisdictions consistently state that the same set of pressures persist, and that efforts to reduce some of the pressures seem to be having little effect This suggests that the resilience of at least some major parts of biodiversity to these pressures could be overcome, leading to irreversible change
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe Resilience of biodiversity Management processes have the potential to build and maintain resilience of social-ecological systems but Our understanding of interactions between social, ecological and economic processes is inadequate Incomplete knowledge means our approaches to addressing pressures are not yet achieving the desired objectives moreover We may not be engaging the best combination of partnerships, resources and strategies for biodiversity management
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe Risks to biodiversity Any failure to grasp current opportunities to improve management will increase future risks Failure to better understand the reliance of society and the economy on biodiversity risks failure of strategic planning for biodiversity management
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe Risks to biodiversity (contd) Risks that existing pressures, minor or already significant, may escalate. This includes new or more intense interactions among existing pressures leading to new challenges Risks that entirely new problems will emerge
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe Current and emerging risks to biodiversity
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe Current and emerging risks to biodiversity: possible risks with catastrophic consequences Crossing thresholds of irreversible change in soil fertility, connectedness and quality of vegetation as habitat, or ability of species to adapt to climate change Emergence of major pests or diseases that spread widely among native plants or animals Major interactions between altered ocean circulation and ocean acidification, drastically modifying marine ecosystems Climate change that is so fast and severe that mass extinctions occur
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe Current and emerging risks to biodiversity: likely risks with major consequences Slow progress on understanding the relationships between population, economy, technology and biodiversity, and communicating this to the public Failure to scale climate change models down to provide robust forecasts at local scales Shifts in the geography of agriculture e.g. in response to shifting rainfall patterns Emergence of unexpected effects of human activities in northern Australia Failure of technological advances to keep pace with pressures on biodiversity
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe Current and emerging risks to biodiversity: likely risks with moderate consequences Deoxygenation of oceans (major effect possible in long term) Increased pressure on Australia to produce wood as deforestation is reduced in other countries Increasing hard engineering solutions to cope with rising sea levels, such as groyne and sea walls, impacting on beach and intertidal biodiversity Increased water allocation for artificial snowmaking in alpine areas
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe Priorities and outlook for management of biodiversity We need better information to provide baseline knowledge, anticipate emerging challenges and opportunities, and prepare for change Emerging challenges and the legacies of ongoing pressures will take decades to address We need integrated planning and management across all levels of government to address national-scale issues New approaches to biodiversity management have the potential to make major advances in protecting and managing our biodiversity
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe Other SoE 2011 content related to biodiversity Land Inland waters Coasts Marine Antarctica Drivers (climate change)
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe Intentions and impacts of SoE 2011... Based on available information and expert opinion drawn from sources that are referenced in the report Was designed to raise awareness and assist decision-makers Highlights current issues that will require management responses to influence projected trends Provides critical information, but can support change only if decision-makers consider and use it
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  • www.environment.gov.au/soe Photo: Aerial view of the Pilbara, by Andrew Griffiths, Lensaloft For more information email: [email protected] To order copies email: [email protected] phone: 1800 803 772 or read it online: www.environment.gov.au/soe