In this issue

Issue 157


Learning from the locals: marsupials and metagenomics
Australia's ‘model' marsupial, the Tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii), may provide clues as to why marsupials are thought to produce less greenhouse gas emissions, according to recent CSIRO research in the new field of ‘metagenomics'.
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Web-based microscopy brings finer focus to biosecurity
Remote microscopy is making life easier for quarantine officers and others in the frontline of biosecurity protection by allowing experts in other cities, states or countries to see what's under a remotely located microscope. At stake is the future of Australia's valuable plant assets – not only commercial crops, but iconic native plants such as bottlebrush and willow myrtle.
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Oceans – time to take out the garbage
People may be familiar with images of individual marine animals and birds killed by discarded plastic bags and fishing lines. But the debilitating effects of marine debris on entire species is an urgent environmental issue in the International Year of Biodiversity, as Christine Williams discovered.
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A minefield in the forests
Forest certification schemes promise to make forest management better for the environment, the communities that depend on the forests, and the forest managers themselves – but are they delivering?
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Powering up
Electric cars are gaining traction. In Germany, for example, the car industry is working with government to get a million electric cars onto the roads by 2020 – that's one in four new cars sold in 2020. But there are other opportunities – and challenges – emerging for Australia, reports Graeme O'Neill.
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Waterbirds waste no time exploiting wetland bonanza
Earlier this year, torrential rain fell in the Channel Country in far western Queensland – hard on the heels of heavy summer rains and the 2009 inundation of Lake Eyre. The unpredictable cycles of flooding in the Lake Eyre Basin have always attracted waterbirds from afar. Now, with the gradual deterioration of wetland habitat in the Murray–Darling Basin, the Channel Country may have become the ‘breeding powerhouse' for at least 25 waterbird species.
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Climate Change Bulletin: Improved insights into rising sea levels to aid adaptation
The authors of a new climate science book have called for the development of more robust international ocean and ice sheet monitoring and modelling programs designed to help community adaptation planning keep pace with the threat of rising sea levels.
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Atlas to put 'citizen apps' on the menu
How can we better integrate data from the many disparate citizen science
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After the fire: Leadbeater's long journey
Life is slowly returning to the wet mountain ash forests burned in Victoria's 2009 Black Saturday fires. Yet, the future of these forest communities – symbolised by the iconic Leadbeater's possum – is by no means guaranteed, warns a group of ecologists in their compelling new book, Forest Phoenix.
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Putting a value on wild harvest
The value of rivers and wild food resources to Aboriginal people is the focus of new research that will help transform water management on Cape York in northern Queensland.
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Engaging communities to make the 'big switch'
Stepping out on the streets of Townsville, where the sun shines for 300 days a year, you can feel a buzz in the air. But it's not just the sunshine, booming development or new esplanade that has this North Queensland city excited.
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Ambitious target does not quite measure up
Earlier this year, Beyond Zero Emissions published a report claiming that Australia could become reliant on clean energy by 2020. Is this really achievable?
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Connecting the dots
How do food retailers channel nutritious excess stock to the most vulnerable in our communities?
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In Brief - Round-up of sustainability news

This sludge is no slouch
Reforestation projects capture more carbon than industrial plantations
Solar-powered catamaran monitors water quality
Victoria gets gross feed-in tariff for large scale solar
Zero-waste powder coating process lands CSIRO scientist state honours
New field site for sustainable farming
National container deposit system edges closer
Climate change hits SE Australian fish species
Rising winter temperatures as important as summer's in coral disease


Plant biodiversity, ethnobotany and indigenous rights


Photographic passions
Beauty and ingenuity in the tropics

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