Introducing a different voice in applied ecology
The Journal of Applied Ecology launched a major new initiative in 2011 to bridge the gap between applied ecological research and practical environmental management. The Practitioner’s Perspective series provides a platform for individuals involved in hands-on management of ecological resources, to explain what is needed to ensure effective take-up of the results of research. Read our Editorial on Practitioner's Perspectives, and these articles:
New Zealand Species Recovery Groups and their role in evidence-based conservation
by John G. Ewen, Lynn Adams & Rory Renwick
New Zealand (NZ) is recognized globally as an important biodiversity hotspot. The Government is committed to protecting the nation's unique flora and fauna via its Department of Conservation (DOC). An important component of threatened species management has been the creation of species recovery groups and associated recovery plans. Recovery plans aim to summarize the current state of knowledge for a given species and identify a range of short- and long-term management goals which the group works towards.
Practical advice for implementing long-term ecosystem monitoring
by Christopher J. Sergeant, Brendan J. Moynahan, William F. Johnson
Understanding the current status and long-term trends of natural resources is widely recognized as a cornerstone of ecological research and management. As society wrestles with complex environmental issues involving multiple species and dynamic habitat conditions, the call for ecosystem-based management becomes increasingly urgent. However, to effectively implement ecosystem-based management, managers need access to baseline environmental measurements from appropriate temporal and spatial scales that are directly related to programme objectives.
Developing collaborative research to improve effectiveness in biodiversity conservation practice
by Arnaud Caudron, Laure Vigier, Alexis Champigneulle
Conservation planning, which includes characterizing local biodiversity, identifying spatial priorities, as well as both designing and applying conservation measures, is a process that is difficult to achieve in practice. Over the last decade, a growing literature has highlighted that management guidelines and conservation assessments published by scientists are rarely translated into action by resource managers either because they do not address key needs or they fail to come to the attention of end-users.
‘Resilience’ has been a subject of ecological theory and investigation over many years. It has also become a common objective of climate change adaptation across the whole range of human activities. Climate change adaptation within a conservation framework draws on both of these histories, and it is not surprising that increasing resilience is frequently an overarching objective in adaptation strategies and principles; many of which have been published by conservationists and ecologists in recent years.
Many ecologists profess a negative opinion of biocontrol, whilst practitioners argue that it offers a cost-effective solution for many invasive weed problems. Practitioners are under pressure to implement effective weed biocontrol more quickly, cheaply and safely. In our practitioner’s perspective, we focus on two key areas, host range testing and indirect non-target effects, where advances in ecological research could progress these stakeholder-driven aims and minimize potential negative outcomes of biocontrol that concern ecologists and practitioners.
by David Hill, Richard Arnold
Read the evaluation of this paper on F1000.
The ecology consultancy market has been booming in recent years and is predicted to out perform other environmental consultancy sectors during the current economic situation. In the UK alone, there are now around 2250 ecologists employed in the sector (based on Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management membership and their membership survey), and it has an estimated value of £110m to £120m. Figures for the size of the market elsewhere are harder to come by, but we estimate that the global ecology consultancy market could be between £1bn and £3bn.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a UK charity taking action for the conservation of wild birds and the environment. It aims to reverse biodiversity loss and ensure sustainable management of the planet’s natural resources, whilst maintaining a focus on the conservation of biodiversity in general, and bird populations in particular. In pursuit of these aims, the RSPB engages in education and raising public awareness, develops and advocates policy, advises landowners and others on conservation management, and manages an estate of over 200 nature reserves in the United Kingdom, extending to over 140,000 ha. It devotes a gradually increasing proportion of its resources to global conservation, most often working through the BirdLife International Partnership. RSPB directs c. 8% of its conservation expenditure to the scientific underpinning of its work. It hopes that this ensures the effective, efficient, evidencebased use of its charitable resources for conservation.
Conservation and restoration practitioners often struggle to define appropriate targets for restoration. Frequently, "pre-settlement conditions" (the conditions that are believed to have existed prior to European settlement) are used. We have found that two problems – how to accurately describe the historic condition, and its relevance in the face of global change – are at the heart of many difficult decisions in both large-scale restoration of whole plant communities and fine-scale recovery activities for rare species. We work collaboratively with land managers to conduct research to inform these issues, such as incorporating experiments exploring new treatment alternatives and differentiation between populations of rare plants into restoration activities. We suggest that rather than focusing on historic benchmarks, restoration goals should be based on ecological principles that will lead to resilient, functioning ecosystems.
Bumblebees belong to the genus Bombus, which comprises about 250 species, largely confined to the temperate Northern Hemisphere. They are wholly dependent on flowers for their energetic and developmental requirements. Most are social species, with nest sizes varying from 50 to 400 workers. As such, they have attracted considerable attention regarding their role as pollinators. There is a growing body of evidence that bumblebees have declined in Europe, North America and Asia in recent decades because of multiple causes probably including habitat loss, impacts of pesticides, competition from non-native species and the introduction of non-native diseases (Goulson, Lye & Darvill 2008a; Williams & Osborne 2009). Recent health problems affecting honeybees and a perception that other pollinators may be declining has led to serious concern that we might be facing a global ‘pollination crisis’ affecting pollination of crops and wildflowers (e.g. Aizen & Harder 2009).
Information for authors
The aim of the Practitioner's Perspective series is to bridge the gap between applied ecological research and the actual practice of species conservation, ecosystem restoration, pest management and the mitigation of environmental threats to biodiversity. These short articles are designed to provide a platform for individuals involved in hands-on management of ecological resources - be they species, ecosystems or landscapes - to present their personal views on the direction of applied ecological research.
Articles can be submitted through our online submission system. Contributions will be subject to rapid peer review. A Practitioner's Perspective should occupy a maximum of four pages of the journal, with a maximum of 20 references.
There is no prescribed structure to Practitioner's Perspectives, but we hope they will be thought provoking and challenge the science community to consider the perspectives of those individuals addressing applied ecological issues. However, authors may wish to consider covering the responsibilities/activities of the individual/organisation with regard to ecological management; the key issues they are addressing (see Sutherland et al. 2006; 2009, for a range of key questions); the extent to which applied ecological research has supported their activities (if at all); how future research might assist them to address ecological problems more effectively; and how this might best be achieved (e.g. through greater dialogue, joint projects, new research techniques, etc.). The prose style should be light, and the article should be written with the minimum of technical language and jargon, so as to be understandable to a general audience.
The first line should state "Article type: Practitioner’s Perspective", followed on a new line by an article title of a maximum 10 words, author names and addresses, including an e-mail address for the corresponding author. The body of the text should follow; if headers are used within the text, please keep them to a minimum. The manuscript should finish with references, using the standard referencing system of the journal, and finally a short biosketch describing the research interests of the author(s) (30-100 words for one author/150 words for the first three authors, respectively).
The overall word count, inclusive of all of the above (i.e. body text, titles and headings, author details, references and biosketch), should not exceed 4000 words. Should you wish to include a small figure or other illustration, this can be accommodated by a reduction in the number of words on a pro rata basis.
Sutherland, W.J., Armstrong-Brown, S., Armsworth, P. R., Brereton, T., Brickland, J., Campbell, C. D., Chamberlain, D. E., Cooke, A. I., Dulvy, N. K., Dusic, N. R., Fitton, M., Freckleton, R. P., Godfray, H. C., Grout, N., Harvey, H. J., Hedley, C., Hopkins, J. J., Kift, N. B., Kirby, J., Kunin, W. E., MacDonald, D. W., Markee, B., Naura, M., Neale, A.R., Oliver, T., Osborn, D., Pullin, A. S., Shardlow, M. E. A., Showler, D. A., Smith, P. L., Smithers, R. J., Solandt, J.-L., Spencer, J., Spray, C. J., Thomas, C. D., Thompson, J., Webb, S. E., Yalden, D.W., Watkinson, A. R. (2006) The identification of one hundred ecological questions of high policy relevance in the UK. Journal of Applied Ecology 43, 617-627.
Sutherland, W.J., Adams, W.M., Aronson, R.B., Aveling, R., Blackburn, T.M., Broad, S., Ceballos, G., Côté, I.M., Cowling, R.M., da Fonseca, G.A.B., Dinerstein, E., Ferraro, P.J., Fleishman, E., Gascon, C., Hunter Jr, M., Hutton, J., Kareiva, P., Kuria, A., Macdonald, D.W., MacKinnon, K., Madgwick, F.J., Mascia, M.B., McNeely, J., Milner-Gulland, E.J., Moon, S., Morley, C.G., Nelson, S., Osborn, D., Pai, M., Parsons, E.C.M., Peck, L.S., Possingham, H., Prior, S.V., Pullin, A.S., Rands, M.R.W., Ranganathan, J., Redford, K.H., Rodriguez, J.P., Seymour, F., Sobel, F., Sodhi, N.S., Stott, A., Vance-Borland, K. & Watkinson, A.R. (2009). One hundred questions of importance to the conservation of global biological diversity. Conservation Biology 23, 557-567.
- Journal of Applied Ecology general author guidelines
- Hulme, P. E. (2011) Practitioner’s perspectives: introducing a different voice in applied ecology. Journal of Applied Ecology, 48, 1–2.
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