We really need to rethink our approach to logging in Victoria.
Can we continue to destroy these amazing forest giants? Are our logging practices outdated and environmentally unsound? Leaving a few large trees isolated within logging coupes and then burning the area around them can not be sustainable or good for the wildlife needing critical resources provided by old trees. Even more so if the trees left behind die or fall down due to increased wind.
This image was sourced from My Environment Inc on Twitter as @My_Environment and FB as MyEnvironment Inc
What does urbanization look like from space?
Urbanization is one of the most destructive modifications that humans make to the environment. Modifying landscapes for a limited set of human requirements has had dramatic impacts on biodiversity across the World. A significant amount of research both at Deakin University and around the World is now focusing on urbanization and the impact it has on biodiversity.
But how can we look at urbanization at a broad landscape scale? One way is to use satellite imagery of urban environments and classify the images against different land-uses or types. There are many different satellites that orbit the earth taking different spectral images at differing resolutions. The above image was developed from the SPOT (Satellite Pour l’Observation de la Terre) 5 satellite and a 10 meter resolution (the map above is at 20m resolution to limit the file size). Using the different band widths of information, the original imagery was converted to a NDVI layer (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) which represents the amount of green vegetation in an area. This layer was then classified using a vast series of known locations across urban Melbourne. Ultimately, the resultant image (above) has classified all this information down to five different land-use type.
The final satellite map provides a really good way of looking at urbanization on a broad landscape scale. It is also an incredibly useful map to use in modelling of how particular species respond to urbanization.
This layer was developed by Dr Bronwyn Issac as part of her PhD project investigating the response of powerful owls to urbanization.
The magical Tufted Coquette! This beautiful hummingbird can be found sipping nectar in South America.
Amazing images of a very cool animal!
Congratulations Kasun Ekanayake (Deakin PhD student studying ravens) who has just won a prestigious Bill Borthwick Student Scholarship.
Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC) has established the annual scholarships for tertiary students to assist in the costs of research relating to public land in Victoria, including terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments.
The scholarships were announced in March 2011 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first meeting of the Land Conservation Council (LCC). They honour the vision of the Hon. Bill Borthwick, Victoria’s first Minister for Conservation and Deputy Premier from 1981 to 1982, and a central figure in establishing the LCC to advise government on the use of Victoria’s public land.
Well done Kasun! The scholarship was highly competitive, and it is an honour to have obtained one. Another previous Deakin winner, Thomas Schneider, now works at Deakin’s Burwood campus as a Technical Officer.
Stink bugs are spreading across Ontario. The first official detection of brown marmorated stink bugs came in 2012 when a homeowner found one in Hamilton. Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture has now confirmed the invasive species has been spotted south of Chatham, about an hour east of Windsor. The bug has also been found in Toronto (2012), Vaughan (2013), Windsor (2013), Niagara-on-the Lake (2013), London (2013), Fort Erie (2014), and Ottawa (2014), to name just a few municipalities. A 2013 survey found breeding populations in localized areas in Hamilton While the bugs do not bite humans, they will release a foul smell when handled or otherwise disturbed. The bugs are a concern to the agriculture industry because they feed on fruit and vegetables. “This is a very serious agricultural pest,” said Hannah Fraser, an entomologist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture. “It can cause severe injury and crop losses.” Ontario’s climate doesn’t negatively affect the stink bug.
Great news, Macquarie island is now considered pest free! After seven years of intense management, and an investment of $25 Million, it appears rabbits, rats and mice have been eradicated from this amazing sub-antarctic island. This is an incredibly significant achievement given the large size of the island (Approximately 13,000ha) and the fact that not only have they been able to get rid of rabbits, but also the rats and mice! All this was achieved at a cost of approximately $1920/hectare which really is cheap.
Island ecosystems are incredibly important to global biodiversity. They often house unique species and sub-species, and they offer refuge from threats that occur in mainland systems. But islands are also at extreme risk from invasive species, with the eradication of pest species being increasingly seen as a conservation priority. It will be interesting to see what changes manifest on Macquarie island over the next decades. How will the vegetation respond? Will smaller species of birds start to develop more extensive breeding colonies on the island? How will the reproductive output of birds change in response to the removal of these invasive species? Oh so many questions, but that is the exciting bit about conservation biology.
Well done to the Tasmanian and Federal governments for funding the program, but most importantly a hats off to all the people and dogs involved in the actual planning and on-ground operations. Given the weather in this area, this is a mammoth achievement!
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Lesson one in field biology.
Always keep your eyes open!
I took this photo of an amazing butterfly on the Kinabatangan River in Borneo, when we were there on the Enviro study tour. Was not until I looked at the image I noticed something on the leaf in the background. Completely missed it at the time. I guess wildlife biologists are not always as observant as we like to think :-) The butterfly was really nice, but I would like to have had a better look at the frog.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt has excused himself from a decision on protection for an endangered bandicoot from new housing on Melbourne’s south-eastern fringe because he is the local member and has a history with the issue.