A total of 6718 electric vehicles were sold in Australia in 2019. That’s three times as many as in 2018, but it’s still small beer. More than a million fossil-fueled light vehicles (including SUVs and utes) were sold in the same period.
The sales figures were published in the wake of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that sales of petrol or diesel cars will be banned in the UK by 2035. The UK’s isn’t the only right-of-centre government to see the benefits of going electric — in 2016, New Zealand’s Conservative party introduced a wide-ranging program to encourage drivers to get off fossil fuels.
If Australia wants to head in the same direction, we can learn from what others have done.
Why should we go electric? And why don’t we?
The main argument for electric vehicles is often about cutting greenhouse gas emissions. But even leaving those aside, there are plenty of reasons to move away from oil as an energy source for transport, among them energy security, better health outcomes, and spending less money on petrol imports.
Australians have been slow to adopt electric cars, however. Our previous research indicates the top two reasons are the fear of not being able to find a fast recharger on long trips (“range anxiety”), and the higher purchase price of electric cars.
Obstacles are clearing
Range anxiety should be on the decline. Fast rechargers are beginning to be installed on major routes and higher capacity batteries are increasing vehicle range. In any case, the average distance travelled by Australians is just 34.5km per day.
Prices for electric vehicles are also on the way down. Bloomberg has predicted that larger electric and fossil-fueled cars will cost about the same in Europe as soon as 2022.
Even when upfront costs for electric vehicles are higher, ongoing costs are generally much lower. An average Australian car travels 12,600 kilometres in a year, consuming 1360.8 litres of fuel at a cost of about A$2,000 (assuming fuel costs $1.50 per litre). For a typical electric car, the same amount of travel would cost $250 if recharging using off-peak electricity (assuming it costs 11 cents per kilowatt hour), or $567 if recharging with more expensive electricity (at 25 cents per kilowatt hour).
Lessons from New Zealand
In 2016, New Zealand’s Conservative transport minister Simon Bridges introduced a suite of policies to encourage electric, especially for passenger vehicles. Since then, electric vehicle sales have been doubling every 12 months.
In 2019, 6545 light electric vehicles were brought into New Zealand and registered for the first time. That’s not far off Australia’s tally, but in a population of 5 million compared to Australia’s 25 million.
So what did the Conservatives do to encourage motorists to go electric? They took advice from the experts and introduced a multi-faceted group of measures.
These included: exemption from the Road User Charge, worth about $600 per year; government procurement programs; installing a public recharging network; investment in a five-year promotional campaign including TV ads, online information and “ride and drive” events. They also established a leadership group across business and government and a funding scheme to encourage organisations to go electric.
In NZ they have just about thought of everything, even ensuring there is a facility to recycle old batteries.
But possibly the most important factor has been that the government has enabled imports of high-quality secondhand electric cars from Japan. In 2019 they accounted for more than half of electric vehicle sales (4155 used compared to 2390 new).
This measure enables motorists with lower budgets to buy electric vehicles. Our unpublished research shows electric vehicles have been especially popular with multicar families who use their EVs as much as possible as it’s so much cheaper than using petrol or diesel. When those happy customers tell their friends and family about how much better it is to drive electric, it’s an important feedback loop that helps people overcome their fear of change.
Maybe it’s time Australia took a “Leaf” out of the Kiwi book and got on board with some sensible policies and legislation to speed up the transition to electric cars.
We are entering a new era in the security of Australia, not because of terrorism, the rise of China, or even the cybersecurity threat, but because of climate change. If the world warms beyond 2℃, as seems increasingly likely, an era of disasters will be upon us, with profound implications for how we organise ourselves to protect Australian lives, property and economic interests, and our way of life.
The early warning of this era is arriving almost daily, in news reports from across the globe of record-breaking heatwaves, prolonged droughts, massive bushfires, torrential flooding, and record-setting storms.
In a new special report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, I argue that Australia is not facing up to the pace of these worsening threats. We need a national strategy to deal specifically with climate disaster preparedness.
Even without climate change, the impact of these natural hazards is enormous. More than 500 Australians – roughly the same number who died in the Vietnam War – die each year from heat stress alone. The annual economic costs of natural disasters are projected to increase to A$39 billion by 2050. This is roughly equivalent to what the federal government spends each year on the Australian Defence Force.
Climate change will dramatically increase the frequency and severity of many of these hazards. The number of record hot days in Australia has doubled in the past 50 years, and heatwaves have become longer and hotter. Extreme fire weather days have increased in recent decades in many regions of Australia. Shorter and more intense rainstorms that trigger flash floods and urban flooding are also becoming more frequent, and sea level has been rising at an accelerated rate since 1993.
Australians are already exposed to a wide range of the hazards that climate change is amplifying. Almost 4 million of our people, and about 20% of our national economic output, are in areas with high or extreme risk of tropical cyclones. Meanwhile, 2.2 million people and 11% of economic activity are in places with high or extreme risk of bushfire.
As the frequency of extreme events increases, we are likely to see an increase in events happening at the same time in different parts of the country, or events following hard on the heels of previous ones. Communities may weather the first few setbacks but, in their weakened state, be ultimately overwhelmed.
Large parts of the country that are currently marginally viable for agriculture are increasingly likely to be in chronic crisis, from the compounding impacts of the steady rise of temperature, drought and bushfires.
The scale of those impacts will be unprecedented, and the patterns that the hazards take will change in ways that are difficult to predict. Australia’s fire season, for example, is already getting longer. Other research suggests that tropical cyclones are forming further from the Equator as the planet warms, putting new areas of eastern Australia in harm’s way.
This emerging era of disasters will increasingly stretch emergency services, undermine community resilience, and escalate economic costs and losses of life. Federal, state and local governments all need to start preparing now for the unprecedented scale of these emerging challenges.
Queensland as a case study
Queensland’s recent experience illustrates what could lie ahead for all of Australia. Late last year, a major drought severely affected the state. At that time, a senior manager involved in coordinating the state’s rebuilding efforts following Cyclone Debbie commented that his team was in the ironic situation of rebuilding from floods during a drought. The drought was making it difficult to find water to mix with gravel and to suppress the dust associated with rebuilding roads.
The drought intensified, contributing to an outbreak of more than 140 bushfires. This was followed and exacerbated by an extreme heatwave, with temperatures in the 40s that smashed records for the month of November. Bushfire conditions in parts of Queensland were classified as “catastrophic” for the first time since the rating scale was developed in 2009. More than a million hectares of bush and farmland were destroyed – the largest expanse of Queensland affected by fire since records began.
Just days later, Tropical Cyclone Owen approached the Queensland coast, threatening significant flooding and raising the risk of severe mudslides from the charred hillsides. Owen set an Australian record in dumping 681 millimetres of rain in just 24 hours – more than Melbourne usually receives in a year. It did not, however, diminish the drought gripping much of the state.
A few weeks later, record rains flooded more than 13.25 million hectares of Northern Queensland, killing hundreds of thousands of drought-stressed cattle. As two Queensland graziers wrote at the time: “Almost overnight we have transitioned from relative drought years to a flood disaster zone.”
Time to prepare
We need to begin preparing now for this changing climate, by developing a national strategy that outlines exactly how we move on from business as usual and adopt a more responsible approach to climate disaster preparedness.
One of the prime objectives of the new strategy should be to scale up Australia’s efforts to prevent hazards from turning into disasters. Currently, the federal government spends 30 times more on rebuilding after disasters than it does on reducing the risks in the first place.
Australia should be leading global calls for urgent climate action, not just because we’re so vulnerable to climate hazards, but also for traditional national security reasons. We are the wealthiest nation in a region full of less-developed countries that are hugely vulnerable to climate change. Shocks to their food security, economic interests and political stability will undermine our own national security.
No military alliance, deployment of troops or new weapon system will adequately protect Australia from this rapidly escalating threat. The only effective “forward defence” is to reduce greenhouse gases globally, including in Australia, as quickly as possible. Without far greater ambition on this front, the scale of the disasters that lie ahead will overwhelm even the most concerted efforts to strengthen the resilience of Australian communities.
This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared on The Strategist.
If we’re serious about feeding the world’s growing population healthy food, and not ruining the planet, we need to get used to a new style of eating. This includes cutting our Western meat and sugar intakes by around 50%, and doubling the amount of nuts, fruits, vegetables and legumes we consume.
These are the findings our the EAT-Lancet Commission, released today. The Commission brought together 37 leading experts in nutrition, agriculture, ecology, political sciences and environmental sustainability, from 16 countries.
Over two years, we mapped the links between food, health and the environment and formulated global targets for healthy diets and sustainable food production. This includes five specific strategies to achieve them through global cooperation.
Right now, we produce, ship, eat and waste food in a way that is a lose-lose for both people and planet – but we can flip this trend.
What’s going wrong with our food supply?
Almost one billion people lack sufficient food, yet more than two billion suffer from obesity and food-related diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
The foods causing these health epidemics – combined with the way we produce our food – are pushing our planet to the brink.
One-third of the greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change come from food production. Our global food system leads to extensive deforestation and species extinction, while depleting our oceans, and fresh water resources.
To make matters worse, we lose or throw away around one-third of all food produced. That’s enough to feed the world’s hungry four times over, every year.
At the same time, our food systems are at risk due to environmental degradation and climate change. These food systems are essential to providing the diverse, high-quality foods we all consume every day.
A radical new approach
To improve the health of people and the planet, we’ve developed a “planetary health diet” which is globally applicable – irrespective of your geographic, economic or cultural background – and locally adaptable.
The diet is a “flexitarian” approach to eating. It’s largely composed of vegetables and fruits, wholegrains, legumes, nuts and unsaturated oils. It includes high-quality meat, dairy and sugar, but in quantities far lower than are consumed in many wealthier societies.
The planetary health diet consists of:
vegetables and fruit (550g per day per day)
wholegrains (230 grams per day)
dairy products such as milk and cheese (250g per day)
protein sourced from plants, such as lentils, peas, nuts and soy foods (100 grams per day)
small quantities of fish (28 grams per day), chicken (25 grams per day) and red meat (14 grams per day)
eggs (1.5 per week)
small quantities of fats (50g per day) and sugar (30g per day).
Of course, some populations don’t get nearly enough animal-source foods necessary for growth, cognitive development and optimal nutrition. Food systems in these regions need to improve access to healthy, high-quality diets for all.
The shift is radical but achievable – and is possible without any expansion in land use for agriculture. Such a shift will also see us reduce the amount of water used during production, while reducing nitrogen and phosphorous usage and runoff. This is critical to safeguarding land and ocean resources.
By 2040, our food systems should begin soaking up greenhouse emissions – rather than being a net emitter. Carbon dioxide emissions must be down to zero, while methane and nitrous oxide emissions be kept in close check.
How to get there
The commission outlines five implementable strategies for a food transformation:
1. Make healthy diets the new normal – leaving no-one behind
Shift the world to healthy, tasty and sustainable diets by investing in better public health information and implementing supportive policies. Start with kids – much can happen by changing school meals to form healthy and sustainable habits, early on.
Unhealthy food outlets and their marketing must be restricted. Informal markets and street vendors should also be encouraged to sell healthier and more sustainable food.
Realign food system priorities for people and planet so agriculture becomes a leading contributor to sustainable development rather than the largest driver of environmental change. Examples include:
incorporating organic farm waste into soils
drastically reducing tillage where soil is turned and churned to prepare for growing crops
investing more in agroforestry, where trees or shrubs are grown around or among crops or pastureland to increase biodiversity and reduce erosion
producing a more diverse range of foods in circular farming systems that protect and enhance biodiversity, rather than farming single crops or livestock.
The measure of success in this area is that agriculture one day becomes a carbon sink, absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
3. Produce more of the right food, from less
Move away from producing “more” food towards producing “better food”.
This means using sustainable “agroecological” practices and emerging technologies, such as applying micro doses of fertiliser via GPS-guided tractors, or improving drip irrigation and using drought-resistant food sources to get more “crop per drop” of water.
In animal production, reformulating feed to make it more nutritious would allow us to reduce the amount of grain and therefore land needed for food. Feed additives such as algae are also being developed. Tests show these can reduce methane emissions by up to 30%.
We also need to redirect subsidies and other incentives to currently under-produced crops that underpin healthy diets – notably, fruits, vegetables and nuts – rather than crops whose overconsumption drives poor health.
4. Safeguard our land and oceans
There is essentially no additional land to spare for further agricultural expansion. Degraded land must be restored or reforested. Specific strategies for curbing biodiversity loss include keeping half of the current global land area for nature, while sharing space on cultivated lands.
The same applies for our oceans. We need to protect the marine ecosystems fisheries depend on. Fish stocks must be kept at sustainable levels, while aquaculture – which currently provides more than 40% of all fish consumed – must incorporate “circular production”. This includes strategies such as sourcing protein-rich feeds from insects grown on food waste.
5. Radically reduce food losses and waste
We need to more than halve our food losses and waste.
Poor harvest scheduling, careless handling of produce and inadequate cooling and storage are some of the reasons why food is lost. Similarly, consumers must start throwing less food away. This means being more conscious about portions, better consumer understanding of “best before” and “use by” labels, and embracing the opportunities that lie in leftovers.
Circular food systems that innovate new ways to reduce or eliminate waste through reuse will also play a significant role and will additionally open new business opportunities.
For significant transformation to happen, all levels of society must be engaged, from individual consumers to policymakers and everybody along the food supply chain. These changes will not happen overnight, and they are not the responsibility of a handful of stakeholders. When it comes to food and sustainability, we are all at the decision dining table.
This article is the first in a series The Conversation Africa is running on invasive species.
Let’s say you’re travelling from Uganda to South Africa for business. You finally arrive at your hotel after a long day and decide to change before dinner. You unlock and unzip your luggage, but there’s something in your bag that you didn’t pack. As you reach for a clean shirt, a moth flies out. Did that come with you all the way from Uganda? It’ll be fine, right? Surely, something so small won’t cause any harm.
Species are intentionally or accidentally transported by humans between continents to regions where they are not native. With the help of humans or by natural means like flight, these alien species can also spread within continents.
Their spread within continents can be rapid, affecting both the ecology as well as societies and the economy. Unfortunately, it’s really challenging to prevent species from spreading. Given the vast amount of people and goods that are transported between and around continents they can easily be moved across oceans as well as between countries.
Many alien plants and animals have been introduced to Africa from other regions and then have spread from country to country, often having devastating effects.
Take the larger grain borer beetle, (Prostephanus truncatus) which is thought to have arrived on the continent in imported grain from Mexico and central America. The beetle was introduced to Tanzania before 1984, Togo before 1981 and Guinea before 1987. It then spread across the continent and within 20 years could be found further south in South Africa.
The beetle attacks crops such as maize and cassava, threatening food security and the livelihoods of the poor. Infestations often destroy maize that’s been stored by farmers, forcing them to buy maize as well as lose income they could have earned from selling any excess.
But alien species don’t just arrive from abroad. Many that are native to parts of Africa have also spread to countries on the continent where they are not native.
An example is the fish commonly known as the Mozambique tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus) which is native to rivers on the east coast of southern Africa. Fishermen have transported the Mozambique tilapia to other areas and it is now found in river systems in southern and western South Africa and Namibia.
The Mozambique tilapia is a popular species for fishing but it can pose a threat to native fish and has been responsible for the disappearance of native species in some regions.
The spread of alien species within Africa is by no means a new thing. For instance, the bur clover (Medicago polymorpha), a plant from northern Africa, might have been accidentally transported by humans to South Africa as early as 760 AD.
A high and increasing threat
Recently a number of alien species have spread extremely rapidly across the continent, posing a particularly high threat to food security and livelihoods.
One is a caterpillar known as the fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda). The species, native to the Americas, was first recorded in west and central Africa in early 2016 and then in South Africa in January 2017.
The moths of the armyworm are strong fliers and the species may have spread through flight to South Africa from other African countries. Although the species attacks a wide range of crops, it poses a particularly serious threat to grain farmers. It is extremely difficult to manage.
Another example is a wasp known as the bluegum chalcid (Leptocybe invasa), which is native to Australia. In 2000 it was detected in Israel and shortly afterwards it was reported in Uganda and Kenya. From there it spread rapidly to many African countries including Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Tanzania and was finally detected in South Africa in 2007. The insect probably reached Israel on live plant material and spread into Africa the same way, or was carried by people travelling between countries.
The wasp causes swelling or growths on eucalyptus trees, which can lead to decreased growth and tree death. As eucalyptus trees are an important source of income and fuel, this species could have an impact on the livelihoods of locals in these countries.
Preventing the introduction and spread
Once a species is introduced to one African country it’s highly likely it will spread to others on the continent because borders checks are weak.
The introduction and spread of species could be reduced if countries introduced biosecurity systems. These are used extensively in countries like Australia and New Zealand and involve using technology to check for alien species when people and goods enter a country. In Australia this involves inspecting goods, vehicles and luggage before they enter the country.
But even these systems aren’t a guarantee that species won’t spread. African countries would need to work together and share information and skills. This would also allow countries to prepare for the arrival of species, and to draw up plans to reduce their impact.
This is a tall order. But as a country’s defence against alien species introductions is only as strong as that of its neighbours, such action would benefit all of the countries involved.
Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are on the rise. Electricity emissions, which make up about a third of the total, rose 2.7% in the year to March 2016.
Australia’s emissions reached their peak in 2008-2009. Since then total emissions have barely changed, but the proportion of emissions from electricity fell, largely due to falling demand and less electricity produced by coal. But over the last year demand grew by 2.5%, nearly all of this supplied by coal.
To understand this trend we need to look at data from Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM), which accounts for just under 90% of total Australian electricity generation. While the NEM doesn’t include Western Australia or the Northern Territory, it has much better publicly available data.
The chart below shows electricity generation from June 2009 to March 2016.
The most important things to note are that, until February 2015, overall generation fell and the amount of electricity supplied by coal also fell. These two trends are closely related.
In June 2009, coal was supplying 84% of electricity, while 7% came from renewables (mainly hydro and wind) and 9% from gas.
Because renewables have near-zero short-run marginal costs (because they don’t have to pay for fuel) they will nearly always be able to outcompete coal and gas. This will be particularly so when demand for electricity falls.
Since June 2009 coal has been squeezed out by falling demand and a growing supply of renewables and gas. Until February 2015, total demand fell 8%, gas supply rose 43%, renewable supply grew 55% and coal supply fell 18%.
A dangerous trend
Since February 2015, however, these trends have reversed, which is very bad news for Australia’s emissions. Demand grew 2.5% and, combined with falling electricity supply from gas and renewables, coal picked up the slack, driving emissions 2.7% higher.
To understand why demand is increasing we can look at the three major consumer groups – industry, business and households – as you can see in the figure below.
After growing until 2012, industry demand fell sharply because of closures of several major establishments, most notably aluminium smelters in New South Wales and Victoria.
Since 2015 very rapid growth has occurred in Queensland, driven by the coal seam gas industry. Extraction of coal seam gas requires the use of enormous numbers of pumps, compressors and related equipment, to first extract the gas from underground and then to compress it for pipeline transport to the LNG plants at Gladstone.
Initially, the industry used gas engines to power this equipment, but then realised that electric motor drive would cost less. The government-owned Queensland electricity transmission business, Powerlink Queensland, is making major investments (paid for by the gas producers) in new transmission lines and substations to meet this new demand.
As a side note, the LNG plants in Queensland will not themselves use electricity from the grid, but will use about 120 petajoules of gas each by 2017-18, adding another 6 million tonnes to national greenhouse gas emissions.
Now electricity prices have stabilised or are falling and attract much less attention. Moreover, fewer appliance energy standards are being introduced, slowing the decrease in demand.
The result is that average electricity consumption per household, which fell by 17% between 2010 and 2014, has stabilised. In the absence of stronger energy efficiency policies and programs, residential electricity consumption can be expected to grow in line with population.
Business is the largest of the three consumer groups. Electricity demand fell slightly between 2010 and 2014. This is because electricity intensity, the amount of electricity needed to produce economic value, fell 3% each year; that is, slightly faster than the economy grew.
It now appears, however, that in the past year the fall in electricity intensity has almost ceased, so that total consumption has increased in line with economic growth.
Energy productivity is the economic value produced per unit of energy. The 40% goal is equivalent to a reduction of just under 30% in the energy intensity of the economy.
In the case of electricity, had the trend of the period 2010 to 2014 continued, this would have been achieved quite easily. It now appears to be a much more challenging goal, requiring the urgent introduction of a range of new energy efficiency policies and programs.
CORRECTION: The lead image has been corrected. It previously incorrectly showed aluminium works at Gladstone, Queensland.
We explored this apparent paradox with the help of a simple model that simulates the current relative proportions globally of the area of remaining tropical forest, and the area that has been cleared for agricultural development. We used the model to look at what happens to these proportions when networks of conservation reserves expand.
Our research led to two insights: both the area of forest protection and the area of clearing for development can expand at the same time; and the governance regimes responsible for protected areas can actually be weakened by protected area expansion. This is because pressure for the creation of new protected areas comes largely from public discourse.
Forests and forces
In our model we depicted tropical forestlands as consisting of protected forests; traditionally managed or “unallocated” forests; and cleared agricultural land – plausible categories that broadly reflect the current status and areas.
We then modelled the different governance regimes (and feedbacks such as public discourse) responsible for this current status, regimes that:
a) protect unallocated forest;
b) develop (and clear) unallocated forest for agriculture;
c) maintain current habitat and restore agricultural land to forest, thereby opposing clearing for development.
We use the model to present three plausible scenarios of governance regime and land-use change trajectories.
Our dynamic hypothesis depicted in the figure shows how the driving forces of development and protection, while competing for the remaining stock of forest habitat, do not necessarily oppose each other. Consequently the total stock of forest habitat can decrease while the area of protected forest increases.
The force that directly opposes clearance of forests for development is the one that maintains existing unprotected forest use regimes or that seeks to restore cleared forest.
The relative power of the governance regimes that “develop”, “protect”, or “maintain/restore” will determine what ultimately happens to the area of remaining forest habitat. Biodiversity loss will only stop when the net loss of forest habitat each year is zero – which means halting the clearing of tropical forest for agricultural development, as well as increasing protected areas.
But in the real world we are doing the opposite – investing heavily in the force that drives tropical forest clearing. The leaders of the G20 nations recently gave a huge boost to the power of development regimes, by pledging to invest up to US$70 trillion on new infrastructure projects by the year 2030. This is precisely the kind of driving force that will harm wildlife conservation, and which the growth of protected areas will fail to counter.
It seems counter-intuitive, but our research suggests that increasing the area of the world’s conservation reserves can also reduce the perception of the risk of ongoing biodiversity loss, primarily because the focus on the 17% protection targets takes our eye off the critical issue of halting habitat loss. As a result, the global distribution of protected areas is currently “high and far”, skewed toward mountainous areas and places far from development frontiers. If achieving 17% leads the public to conclude that biodiversity is now safe, it can lower the main feedback currently giving power to the protect force – public pressure for political action.
This is compounded by the phenomenon of extinction debt – the time delay between habitat loss and the resulting extinction of species that live here – which hides the impact of development on wildlife in both protected and unprotected areas.
What do we do about it?
Conservation has traditionally sought to identify and protect “representative samples” of different types of ecosystems. Recently, however, there has been an increased interest in identifying and protecting areas based on cost-effectiveness criteria.
We suggest instead that one useful leverage point for slowing tropical biodiversity decline would be to concentrate on placing protected areas near active agricultural frontiers, which could help to constrain the march of agriculture through tropical forests.
This approach has already been shown to work in urban planning, including in Australia, where it has been used to fight urban sprawl. A second useful leverage point is to set global targets that include both a percentage for protection and an overall percentage for remaining forest habitat. Globally, forest cover now is at 62% of its original extent, while 75% has recently been identified as the extent necessary to stay within planetary boundaries.
Sharing is caring
There is currently much debate in the conservation literature about “land sparing or land sharing”. Our scenarios suggests that while land sparing through rapid protected area expansion has immediate conservation benefits, these benefits are lost over time as species populations eventually crash. The land-sharing scenario, through strengthening the power to maintain current forest habitats, suggests better biodiversity outcomes in the long term.
Our analysis suggests that human activity will continue to damage wildlife diversity, in spite of successful efforts to meet the target of protecting 17% of Earth’s land surface. The reason is that a large percentage of natural habitats are disappearing in the face of development, particularly through the clearing of tropical forests for agriculture.
This destruction will continue because the overall balance of land management is still geared towards ongoing clearing for development rather than sustainable re-development of our current human footprint. Getting out of this trap will require an understanding of the processes that reinforce this perverse situation, and the realisation that this system needs to be redesigned.
This is a new frontier in conservation science, and our new analysis is hopefully a first step towards unravelling this complex social-ecological problem.
What we need to do next is to identify the critical feedback relationships that can empower natural resource management, and to put reasonable limits on the power of development regimes. Otherwise, the world’s biodiversity will continue to dwindle even if conservation reserves expand rapidly.
This article was coauthored by Craig Miller, a former researcher with CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems.