Resilience – what’s all the buzz?

Are buzzwords valuable devices that serve to inject emerging ideas into the national debate? Or are they shameful deceits used by political leaders to avoid being held to account? And is ‘resilience’ the new buzzword of our times?

In recent years I’ve been amused and somewhat cynical about the use and abuse of buzzwords such as ‘sustainability’ and ‘ecosystem health’. It seemed that while valuable thought had gone into promoting these terms as goals of policy and management, less consideration had gone into how you actually account for them.

For some, however, maybe that’s not a problem. These words represent noble aspirations. Maybe it doesn’t matter if what they mean is a bit blurry. Read more of this post

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The stock route problem: disposing of our heritage in the “too hard” basket

We know that the stock route network is a huge asset for conservation, recreation, heritage, and agriculture, so why are we facing the possibility of parts of it being sold off AGAIN? 
  

A stock route in Eualdrie, NSW, forms refuge for a woodland community. Image: Pia Lentini

Eastern Australia stands to possibly lose one of its greatest environmental and heritage assets, and many of us are not even aware of it. To those not familiar with what “stock routes” or “stock reserves” (SRs) are, they are basically linear strips of vegetation, or small reserves, set aside in the early days of pastoralism to allow drovers to transport livestock from ‘a’ to ’b’ before trains or trucks came along. Read more of this post

Facts for a burning issue

coarse woody debris in nature reserve

Woody debris on public land provides precious habitat. Collecting it as firewood is a threatening process to biodiversity and should not be encouraged.

The Victorian Government has abolished fees for collecting firewood on public land despite expert advice that removing dead trees from forests threatens native bird species. This strikes me as outrageous but when I attempted to find a bit of information to support my stand I found myself struggling. Can you help me?

The facts of this story were presented in a short article in The Age newspaper titled Firewood fee given the chop. The story says the Victorian Government was making firewood collection easier in state parks by scrapping a $28 a cubic metre charge and permit application process. Critics accused the government of being environmentally irresponsible and putting at risk a growing farm forestry industry.

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Coleoptera – corpses, crap, and celestial sh!te pushing


Human Skull being cleaned by Dermestid Beetles (Photo: Sklmsta)

It turns out that our irrelevant inordinate friends, the beetles, turn out to be pretty relevant. Here’s why:

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To be or not to bee? Valuing the unknown.

Why do some groups get overlooked in favour of the more familiar? Why you should care about native bees.

Native Megachile bee. Image: Alvesgaspar

I am now going to ashamedly confess that when I started my PhD, I didn’t even know that Australia had any species of native bee. This may be due to the fact that, growing up in inner Melbourne, deprived of contact with indigenous wildlife much of the time, I am a terrible naturalist. Alternatively, it perhaps stems from the phenomenon whereby many zoology undergrad and honours students are preoccupied by the cute and furry, instead of the small and functional, so I hadn’t really thought to think about them before. In any case, the fact of the matter is we do – about 1,500 species in fact. Now, at the risk of enraging my entomologically-minded colleagues who claim that bees are the ‘birds of the insect world’ (i.e. pretty and charismatic, and get more attention than other groups), I’m just going to put it out there and say YES, they are incredibly colourful and charming. Read more of this post