In this issue

Issue 185


Drought, tree death and the carbon balance
Widespread tree deaths during recent unprecedented droughts and heat waves in Australia and overseas suggest that global warming is escalating the collapse of forest ecosystems. So what is happening to the trees? And what does this mean for the planet's future carbon balance?
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Jeff Baldock: digging into soil carbon
CSIRO's Dr Jeff Baldock talks to ECOS about his work on soils and soil carbon, and explains how CSIRO is supporting land managers to increase carbon in our agricultural soils and take advantage of the federal government's Carbon Farming Initiative.
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Generational change and the power of one
‘You see,' said California Institute of Technology Professor Nate Lewis in 2006, ‘the Earth has a 35-year thermal inertia and so what we're doing now is only the beginning because we're waiting 35 years even to see the effects of what we did 35 years ago. So it would be another 30 years until we started to really see, even at the only 380 parts per million level that we're doing now [ie 2006], what those effects are. And we'll be at 550 [ppm] by then...'
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How high-speed data will open up the future for farmers
While sensors, soil moisture probes and super smart sheep and cattle tags may seem whacky today, new research from CSIRO shows that the future of smart farming isn't all that far off.
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Adaptation and the race against climate change
Five years ago, the federal government took what many felt was the visionary step of investing $50 million dollars in the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF). Despite its considerable achievements – which have been hailed globally – NCCARF last month failed to secure continued funding. The initiative has come to a close.
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Making the landscape connection
Linking Australia's Landscapes: Lessons and Opportunities from Large-scale Conservation Networks is a new collection of essays on Australian connectivity conservation that provide valuable insights into translating the science of connectivity into action.
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Fire, carbon and Indigenous livelihoods in the Top End
For hundreds of thousands of years, dry-season burning has shaped the ecology of the Northern Territory's Top End. Now, through its role in carbon abatement, controlled burning is playing an important role in the region's economy, especially in remote Aboriginal communities.
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Journey through time to Martu country
Chris McKay reviews a film that tells the engaging story of the return of a CSIRO ethno-ecologist to Martu country in remote Western Australia in 2011, to repatriate old photographs and records she assembled decades ago.
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Dog-fence proposal reignites debate over role of dingoes
Queensland's Premier, Campbell Newman, recently announced funding for a feasibility study into resurrecting the wild dog fence in the state's central west. The move comes in the wake of local farmers reporting dramatic stock losses – totalling $3 million dollars in annual revenue – from wild dog attacks.
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Our fascination with northern Australia
On February 11, 1861, Robert O'Hara Burke reached the Gulf of Carpentaria. He described in his diary the environment as ‘a considerable portion is rangy but it is well watered and richly grassed'. More than 150 years after the ill-fated Burke and Wills expedition, many Australians still consider north Australia to be a place of limitless potential.
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In Brief - Round-up of sustainability news

Fast-growing alga brings bio-crude industry a step closer
Australia gets new platform for future Earth observation
Climate science and the tropics: recent findings
Nations and scientists unite to battle pandemics
Eighty per cent of Malaysian Borneo degraded by logging
Mildura solar power station finally complete
Firewood that's more possum- and bird-friendly
Powering down could boost the economy
Proper packaging can reduce food waste
Cities will simmer as urban heat island effect worsens
Feeding humanity: more to the challenge than increasing yields
Australia part of bid for Antarctic marine protected areas
Australian plants get leafier with rising CO2
More farmland being set aside for conservation
Brighter future for Australian solar thermal?
New leader for Australia's largest water research partnership
King Island's TasWind takes the next step
Australian to lead global Future Earth science initiative
Murray-Darling knowhow finds its way to Asian river basins
Digging deep to find more soil carbon storage potential
Corals share genes with human family tree

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