Friday 24th of May 2024

turnbull vandals


Last week, in collaboration with 68 scientists, I was co-author on a letter in Science titled “Save Australia’s Ecological Research

The letter calls on the Federal Government to reverse its decision to cease funding Australia’s Long Term Ecological Research Network (LTERN). The network comprises more than 1100 long-term field plots across Australia, including those in the Simpson Desert where I have conducted research in collaboration with the Desert Ecology Research Group at The University of Sydney.

The letter has been featured in a news piece by John Pickrell in Science titled “Australia to ax support for long-term ecology sites“, as well as in a news piece by Nicky Phillips in Nature titled “Ecologists protest Australia’s plans to cut funding for environment-monitoring network

The existing program receives $900,000 of support from the Federal Government’s Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN). This support is being slashed at a time when even the USA is increasing funding for its own network by US$5.6M annually.

Hopefully a last ditch bid to the Federal Government by those who administer and lead LTERN will result in a reversal of this decision, and even better, an expansion of the program.

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a storm is brewing...

a storm is brewing...

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Picture at top and above by Gus Leonisky.

foolish decision by the turnbullshitters...



As Australia plans to cut its ecosystem-surveillance network, other countries are expanding theirs. The US National Science Foundation, for example, announced in March that it would expand its own network of 25 long-term ecological research (LTER) sites by adding 3 new ones. “Terminating Australia’s LTER network is totally out of step with international trends and national imperatives,” wrote Lindenmayer and 68 authors in a letter published in Science1 on 11 August. They say urgent and direct investment by the Australian government is crucial.

Budget cuts

The cuts in Australia follow years of piecemeal support for ecological research infrastructure. Only five years ago, the government tasked a consortium known as the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) with bringing together the country’s existing LTER sites. The dozen sites in the resulting Long Term Ecological Research Network (LTERN) cover deserts, rainforest, savannahs and alpine regions and collect data to answer questions specific to each ecosystem. The oldest field locations have been running continuously for 73 years.

In June, TERN director Beryl Morris and chair of the advisory board Lyn Beazley sent a letter to LTERN’s executive director, Emma Burns, stating that the network would not be funded beyond 2017. “I was completely blindsided,” says Burns, an ecologist at the Australian National University.

Burns says the reason given for cutting LTERN's funding, along with support for a complementary ecosystem-modelling facility known as eMAST, was so that TERN could meet the needs of the government’s planned environmental prediction system while staying within its budget, which is Aus$6 million (US$4.7 million) for 2016–17, a decrease of more than 50% since 2010–11. The government did not respond to questions from Nature about the future of LTERN.

Morris, who is based at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, where TERN is administered, says that TERN is funded as research infrastructure and must now develop an environmental prediction system open to all researchers. To do that, she says, it must collect data on a “continental scale that is generalized, not bespoke, so you can predict from it”.

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Unfortunately, it appears that this budget cut news did not make the front pages of the MMMM (mediocre mass media de mierda), especially not the MMMMS (Murdoch's mediocre mass media de Scheiße) news unless it was buried between the legs of a mediocre super starlet and the snorty nose of a shitty footballer doing cocaine on page 44...



a myopic turbullshit government and his stupid helpers...


Australia to ax support for long-term ecology sites

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA—The Simpson Desert of central Australia is as starkly beautiful as it is ecologically entrancing. Ranks of rusty red sand dunes run unbroken for hundreds of kilometers. During rare years with sustained downpours, moist swales are carpeted with spiky spinifex grasses that take on the appearance of fields of golden wheat. Desert ecosystems dominated by spinifex or Triodia grasses cover about 70% of Australia, but the only long-term experiment for studying them is set in a section of the desert in western Queensland—and that research site is now in jeopardy.

Launched in 1990, the study has shown that heavy rains cause flushes of vegetation and seeds that lead to booms of insects, small marsupials, and rodents. Outback pools draw immense swarms of parakeets called budgerigars. That explosion of life attracts feral foxes and cats, which have had a role in the extinction of 27 species and subspecies of mammals in Australia since European colonization in 1788. The invasive species ravage the native ones, which may spend many years hunkered down in scrubby woodland refugia until fresh downpours start the cycle again.

If you monitored the desert’s fauna for just a few years at a time you’d miss that dynamic, says Glenda Wardle, an ecologist at the University of Sydney here. “Long-term research in the Simpson Desert has provided fundamental insights into the ecology of outback Australia” and crucial information for protecting endangered species and other natural resources, says Wardle, co-leader of the Simpson Desert Mammal Monitoring project


But such studies are now slated for the chopping block. A body funded by Australia’s federal government plans to stop funding all 12 sites in Australia’s Long Term Ecological Research Network (LTERN), including the 8000-square-kilometer Simpson Desert site, at the end of this year. In a letter in today’s issue ofScience, Wardle and 68 co-authors decry the decision as “totally out of step with international trends and national imperatives.” She and leaders of the other projects are now scrambling to find other sources of funding before their coffers run dry.

LTERN’s demise could have major consequences, supporters say. “In a country like Australia, which is facing huge challenges with climate change, with expanding populations, with major pressures on its water supplies and land area—we’re not going to be able to predict anything about the status of our environmental assets,” says David Lindenmayer, LTERN’s science director, lead signatory of the letter, and an ecologist at the Australian National University in Canberra. Barring an 11th hour reprieve, some sites will surely have to shut down, he predicts. “That’s a catastrophic loss because it means we have no real ability to take a health reading on the country.”

LTERN covers more than 1100 long-term field plots in ecosystems including alpine grasslands, tall wet forests, temperate woodlands, heathlands, tropical savannas, rainforests, and deserts. Some sites are globally unique, including Victoria state’s forests of mountain ash trees (Eucalyptus regnans), the world’s tallest flowering plants. Each of the 12 networks of plots started as discrete university-run projects that in 2012 were gathered under the government’s Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) in Brisbane. But budget cuts and new government guidelines on funding priorities have forced TERN to terminate the AUS$900,000 program, says TERN Director Beryl Morris. TERN will continue to fund a handful of long-term sites that are not part of LTERN, including the Warra tall gum forests of Tasmania.

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more myopic turding from turnbullshit...

Conservationists are outraged over the Federal Government's draft plans for 44 Australian marine parks, saying it almost halves the protections set five years ago.

Under the new proposal, mid-water trawling will be allowed and more areas will be opened to commercial and recreational fishing.

Green zones, which offer the highest protection, will be reduced but yellow zones, which allow for sustainable use but protect the seafloor, will be increased.

The plans cover Commonwealth waters off the coast of New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territorystarting about five kilometres offshore.

In 2012, the then-Gillard government expanded the network of marine reserves but they were suspended from operation under then-prime minister Tony Abbott, who ordered an independent review.

The new draft plan, aimed at striking a balance between commercial fishing operations and protecting the environment, was released in July.

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What can you expect from a government filled by ignorant twerps...???