Tag Archives: biodiversity

On the Forest Industry and why we might worry about our forests

This blog differs from my usual in being a plea to read one book on the forest industry in Australia and why we might worry in every country about our forestry practices. The book is by David Lindenmayer and in it is a capsular summary of the evidence presented about the state of the forest industry in Australia and the myths that are continually presented about sustainability of forests wherever they are. If you teach students or adults about environmental problems, you could discuss whether these myths apply to your part of the world. For more details on the evidence behind these statements read the book. Much action is needed to eliminate these myths.

Lindenmayer, David. (2024) “The Forest Wars” Allen and Unwin, Sydney, Australia. ISBN: 978 76147 075 2.  Available as a paperback or a kindle book from Allen and Unwin.
Allen and Unwin: The Forest Wars

I copy here the opening 2 pages of this book:

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The Myths

  1. The forest will grow back.
  2. Animals just move on.
  3. Only a small proportion of the forestry estate is logged.
  4. Only small patches of the forest are logged each year, so the forest remains intact.
  5. Forestry departments do proper pre-logging surveys for animals.
  6. Detecting more animals means a species is OK.
  7. Retaining a few big trees on logged sites will save the animals.
  8. We can solve the animal housing crisis with nest boxes.
  9. Selective logging is better than clearfelling.
  10. It is good to ‘clean up’ storm and fire-damaged forest.
  11. Forest gardening heals country.
  12. We need to log forests to keep them safe.
  13. Forests will be less flammable if we thin them.
  14. Logging has the same effects as wildfires.
  15. We can burn our way out of the wildfire problem.
  16. Tall, wet forests [in Australia] were open and park-like at the time of the British invasion.
  17. Cultural burning was practiced all over Australia.
  18. Most wood cut in a logging coupe gets milled for sawn lumber.
  19. We need native forest logging to build and furnish our houses.
  20. Without native forest logging we will bring in imports that kill Orangutans.
  21. Native forest logging is value added.
  22. Logging is good business.
  23. Logging is more lucrative than other forest uses.
  24. Native forest logging employs tens of thousands of people.
  25. Australia has the best regulated native forest logging industry in the world.
  26. Government regulators will keep the bastards honest.
  27. Regulations protect old-growth forest.
  28. Regional forest agreements solved the forest wars.
  29. Melbourne is not Moscow – the spy who came in from the forest.
  30. Native forest logging is sustainable.
  31. Forest industries are enduring industries.
  32. There is nothing to worry about – carbon dioxide is natural.
  33. The best way to tackle climate change is to cut down forests and regrow them.
  34. Burning biomass from forests is better than burning fossil fuels.
  35. We already have enough reserves.
  36. Intact forests are selected for reserves.
  37. Politicians keep their promises about preserving forests.

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With thanks to David Lindemayer and his research group in Canberra.

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Whither Demography in an Era of Biodiversity Science?

Biodiversity science has overtaken traditional ecological science in an important way that bears some discussion. Biodiversity science seeks as its main goal to protect species from declining to extinction. It overlaps traditional population and community ecology partly by concentrating on iconic species that are declining in abundance and thus trying to prevent species loss, but the major focus of biodiversity science is on the species composition of communities and ecosystems and trying to understand what factors are driving deleterious changes. This task is difficult to complete currently because of a shortage of research time, person-power and money, so we are driven to select relatively few ecosystems to concentrate our conservation efforts upon. If we cannot do everything for all species, we must choose what to do at the present time, and this releases a cascade of discussions and arguments about what species are ‘flagship’, “umbrella”, or “keystone” in any particular community or ecosystem (Barua 2011).

Now we can go in two directions. We can take the simplest route and say that all species are of equal importance, so the objective of biodiversity science becomes ‘occupancy” – is species X still existing in ecosystem Y? Occupancy can be established in a variety of ways from simple visual sightings, traps, cameras, e-DNA, to electronic sound recording devices. Occupancy for species in a particular ecosystem is a useful parameter for biodiversity studies but it is alpha-level ecology for understanding community or ecosystem dynamics. Determining occupancy every month, year, or decade will provide a start in community and ecosystem understanding but in order to achieve its goal as a science it needs population and community ecology to measure and understand the dynamics underlying occupancy, and this is the more complicated route that we can take. The defining science for this second level of understanding comes from dynamics, both population and community dynamics.

Population dynamics is necessary for determining if a particular species is declining in numbers or biomass, and what the causes are of the observed trends. We are led into demography, the measurement of births, deaths, and movements in animals and the equivalent parameters in plants. But now we run into the most serious problem of determining what parameters are the causal agents of declines in abundance and what procedures will alleviate species declines. If we have many species in our community or ecosystem, the requirements for research are extravagant, given the current workers and dollars currently available for environmental science. All ecologists want to protect biodiversity but how might we best achieve that goal?

We fall back at this point into simple general procedures for biodiversity conservation like designation of national parks or protected areas with the hope that the biodiversity of the designated area will not decline. We do not have the person-power to have frequent occupancy surveys for any national park, much less to have the investigations of why an iconic species is declining in an area. At present we must fall back on ‘umbrella species’ or ‘flagship species’ (Simberloff 1998). There is an extensive literature on this approach to biodiversity conservation and recent reviews, some critical (Tälle et al. 2023), others somewhat more positive (Sumbh and Hof 2022, Clark-Wolf et al. 2024), combining this approach with food web structure (Wang and Zhou 2023).   

Complicating the whole issue of protecting biodiversity is the issue of cryptic species, undescribed species, and rare species that are capable of taxonomic and ecological resolution but only at a large cost and a long timeframe to achieve results (Cheng et al. 2024). Once we are successful in protecting our communities and ecosystems, we immediately face the demographic issue of what affects the abundance of all the species of interest, and then the social and political issue of the funds available for conservation of these species. We need to bring the approaches of biodiversity science and classical demographic ecology together to achieve conservation goals. We can do this only by recognizing that knowing occupancy is not enough to achieve conservation success, and we need to follow up with population and community ecology within the context of food webs so that we can understand trends in abundance and finally propose possible actions for conservation management. We have much to do.

Barua, M. (2011) Mobilizing metaphors: the popular use of keystone, flagship and umbrella species concepts. Biodiversity and Conservation, 20, 1427-1440.doi:10.1007/s10531-011-0035-y.

Cheng, R., Luo, A., Orr, M., Ge, D., Houu, Z.e., Qu, Y., Guo, B., Zhang, F., Sha, Z., Zhao, Z., Wang, M., Shi, X., Han, H., Zhou, Q., Li, Y., Liu, X., Shao, C., Zhang, A., Zhou, X. & Zhu, C. (2024) Cryptic diversity begets challenges and opportunities in biodiversity research. Integrative Zoology, (in press). doi: 10.1111/1749-4877.12809.

Clark-Wolf, T.J., Holt, K.A., Johansson, E., Nisi, A.C., Rafiq, K., West, L., Boersma, P.D., Hazen, E.L., Moore, S.E. & Abrahms, B. (2024) The capacity of sentinel species to detect changes in environmental conditions and ecosystem structure. Journal of Applied Ecology, (in press). doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.14669.

Simberloff, D. (1998) Flagships, umbrellas, and keystones: is single-species management passe in the landscape era? Biological Conservation, 83, 247-257.doi: 10.1016/S0006-3207(97)00081-5.

Sumbh, O. & Hof, A.R. (2022) Can pikas hold the umbrella? Understanding the current and future umbrella potential of keystone species Pika (Ochotona spp.). Global Ecology and Conservation, 38, e02247.doi: 10.1016/j.gecco.2022.e02247.

Tälle, M., Ranius, T. & Öckinger, E. (2023) The usefulness of surrogates in biodiversity conservation: A synthesis. Biological Conservation, 288; e110384. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2023.110384.

Wang, Q., Li, X.C. & Zhou, X.H. (2023) New shortcut for conservation: The combination management strategy of “keystone species” plus “umbrella species” based on food web structure. Biological Conservation, 286, 110265.doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2023.110265.

How Much Can Ecologists Lie?

An ethical dilemma arises in ecology for scientists who have strong beliefs about climate change and the protection of biodiversity. Should you tell lies in your scientific papers or to the media regarding ecological issues? In essence the simple answer is never. Science is the search for the truth and the truth should be obtained from empirical evidence. This does not mean that a scientist cannot have any opinions about which you can shout very loudly, if for example you think that poached eggs are better than scrambled eggs. But there should be a general taboo about lying and we should keep a sharp distinction that opinions ≠ evidence.

But in the real world these distinctions are not always clear. How much should you as a scientist bend or gloss over the evidence? If you find that a particular pollutant will have a 75% chance of killing fish in a river system, should you stand aside as an industry argues that there is a 25% chance that nothing will happen, and profits must come before caution. In these kinds of discussions environmentalists always lose because of the precautionary principle and information is never 100% precise. The temptation is to avoid losing by lying, stretching the evidence, or shouting.

In this era of the climate disaster, it is difficult to restrain from talking about what will happen in the future. While opinions fly back and forth on what is happening, whether it will all reverse, and how soon changes will occur, ecologists must remain trustworthy by countering misinterpretations of ecological trends without rancour. When our research is incomplete, we should say so and indicate what needs to be done next to fill in the gaps in knowledge. If we are wrong in our predictions, we should admit it and discuss why. We need to point out the problems and the potential consequences from what we know today. This is not as difficult as it sounds, and it requires only to draw a line between the existing evidence and likely extrapolations from current knowledge.

A major part of current misinformation on social media about scientific issues is that existing evidence is blown out of proportion in an attempt to get some kind of specific action by governments or corporations. Lies or disinformation are more interesting to the media than the details of what is actually reliable knowledge. Uncertain predictions about future changes by scientists are often translated in social media as certain predictions. Perhaps the most important but most difficult aspect of predictions is the need to go back one or more years and list the predictions that were made and evaluate how accurate they were. Model systems for the sciences are perhaps earthquake predictions and weather predictions. While we know a great deal about the geological causes of earthquakes and have mapped major faults along which they occur, so all would agree that we “understand earthquakes scientifically”, we are not able to predict exactly where and when the next major quake will occur. Similarly we are all familiar with weather predictions which are limited to short time intervals even though we have detailed knowledge of the physical laws that govern air mass movements.

Some samples of the very large literature on forecasting earthquakes (Fallou et al. 2022, Wikelski et al. 2020), and on biotic extinctions (Cowie et al. 2022, Kehoe et al. 2021, Lambdon and Cronk 2020, Nikolaou and Katsanevakis 2023, Williams et al. 2021) provide an introduction to finding out how scientists deal with the uncertainties of prediction in these two example areas of science. Knowledge is power but it is not infinite power, and all scientists should qualify their predictions or projections as possibly in error. Lying about complex questions is not part of science.  

Cowie, R.H., Bouchet, P. & Fontaine, B. (2022) The Sixth Mass Extinction: fact, fiction or speculation? Biological Reviews, 97, 640-663.doi: 10.1111/brv.128161.

Fallou, L., Corradini, M. & Cheny, J.M. (2022) Preventing and debunking earthquake misinformation: Insights into EMSC’s practices. Frontiers in Communication, 7, 993510.doi. 10.3389/fcomm.2022.993510

Kehoe, R., Frago, E. & Sanders, D. (2021) Cascading extinctions as a hidden driver of insect decline. Ecological Entomology, 46, 743-756.doi: 10.1111/een.129851.

Lambdon, P. & Cronk, Q. (2020) Extinction dynamics under extreme conservation threat: The Flora of St Helena. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 8, 41.doi: 10.3389/fevo.2020.00041.

Nikolaou, A. & Katsanevakis, S. (2023) Marine extinctions and their drivers. Regional Environmental Change, 23, 88.doi: 10.1007/s10113-023-02081-8.

Wikelski, M., Mueller, U., Scocco, P., Catorci, A., Desinov, L.V., Belyaev, M.Y., Keim, D., Pohlmeier, W., Fechteler, G. & Martin Mai, P. (2020) Potential short-term earthquake forecasting by farm animal monitoring. Ethology, 126, 931-941.doi: 10.1111/eth.13078.

Williams, N.F., McRae, L. & Clements, C.F. (2021) Scaling the extinction vortex: Body size as a predictor of population dynamics close to extinction events. Ecology and Evolution, 11, 7069-7079.doi: 10.1002/ece3.7555.

Should Ecology Abandon Popper?

The first question I must ask is whether you the reader have ever heard of Karl Popper. If the answer is no, then you could profit from reading Popper (1963) before you read this. An abbreviated version of the Popperian approach to science is presented in a short paper by Platt (1963) The simplest version of Popper and Platt is that we should have a hypothesis with specific predictions and one or more alternative hypotheses with other predictions, and science advances by finding out which hypotheses could be rejected with empirical evidence. The focus of this blog is on a recent paper by Raerinne (2024) claiming that Popperian ecology is a delusion. This is a claim well worth discussing particularly since most of the sciences progress using a Popperian approach to testing hypotheses.

To begin perhaps we should recognize two kinds of papers that appear in ecological journals. A very large set of ecological papers appear to be largely or entirely descriptive natural history typically of past or present events with no hypotheses in mind. Many of these papers end with a conclusion that could be designated as a hypothesis but with little discussion of alternatives. These papers can be very valuable in giving us the state of populations, communities, or ecosystems with recommendations for changes that should be made to alleviate developing problems. A good example are papers describing forest and grassland fires of recent years which can end with some management recommendations, and perhaps with alternative recommendations. These recommendations usually arise from experience and judgements, and they may or not be valid. The Popperian approach would be to set up hypotheses and test them empirically, but if we are people of action, we press onward with a preferred management action. The non-Popperian approach would be very efficient if we were correct in our diagnosis, and in many cases this approach works well. The basis of the issue here is what is evidence in ecology and how should it be sharpened into recommendations for conservation and management.  

The Popperian approach to ecological science is to recognize problems that require a solution to increase our knowledge base, and to suggest a series of alternative set of mechanisms that could solve or alleviate the problem. Ecological papers supporting this approach can often be recognized by searching for the word “hypothesis” in the text. A simple example of this Popperian approach could be finding the causes of the continuing decline of a commercial fishery. The decline might be due to predation on the target fish or invertebrate, a disease, added pollution to the water body, climate change increasing the water temperature and thus metabolic functions, introduced species of competitors for food or space. One or more of these causal factors could be involved and the job of the ecologist is to find out which one or several are diagnostic. Given the complexity of ecological problems, it is typically not possible to test these alternative hypotheses in one grand experiment, and the typical approach will involve adaptive management or evidence-based conservation (Gillson et al. 2019, Serrouya et al., Westgate et al. 2013). Complexity however should not be used as an excuse to do poor science.

What is the alternative if we abandon Popper? We could adopt the inductive approach and gather data that we put together with our judgement to declare that we have a correct answer to our questions, “seat of the pants” ecology. But this approach is heavily dependent on the idea that “the future will be like the past”. This approach to ecological problems will be most useful for the very short term. The simplest example comes from weather forecasting in which the prognosis for today’s weather is what it was like yesterday with minor adjustments. We could observe trends with this approach but then we must have a statistical model that predicts, for example, that the trend is linear or exponential. But the history of science is that we can do much better by understanding the mechanisms underlying the changes we see. A good overview of the dilemmas of this inductive approach for conservation biology is provided by Caughley (1994). The operative question here is whether the inductive approach achieves problem resolutions more efficiently than the Popperian approach through conjecture and refutation.

Raerinne (2023, 2024) does biology in general and ecology in particular a disservice in criticizing Popper’s approach to ecology by arguing that ecology should not be criticized nor evaluated from the Popperian perspective. I think this judgement is wrong, and Raerinne’s conclusion arises from a philosophical viewpoint which could well have little applicability to how ecologists solve empirical problems in the real world. But you can judge.  

Carducci, A., Federigi, I. & Verani, M. (2020) Airborne transmission and its prevention: Waiting for evidence or applying the Precautionary Principle? Atmosphere, 11 (7), 710.doi: 10.3390/atmos11070710.

Caughley, G. (1994) Directions in conservation biology. Journal of Animal Ecology, 63, 215-244. doi: 10.2307/5542.

Gillson, L., Biggs, H. & Rogers, K. (2019) Finding common ground between adaptive management and evidence-based approaches to biodiversity conservation. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 34, 31-44.doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2018.10.003.

Platt, J.R. (1964) Strong inference. Science, 146, 347-353.doi: 10.1126/science.146.3642.347.

Popper, K.R. (1963) Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge. Routledge and Kegan Paul, London.

Raerinne, J. (2023) Myths of past biases and progress in biology. Theory in Biosciences, 142, 383-399.doi: 10.1007/s12064-023-00403-2.

Raerinne, J. (2024) Popperian ecology is a delusion. Ecology and Evolution, 14, e11106.doi: 10.1002/ece3.11106.

Serrouya, R., Seip, D.R., Hervieux, D., McLellan, B.N., McNay, R.S., Steenweg, R., Heard, D.C., Hebblewhite, M., Gillingham, M. & Boutin, S. (2019) Saving endangered species using adaptive management. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116, 6181-6186.doi: 10.1073/pnas.1816923116 .

Westgate, M.J., Likens, G.E. & Lindenmayer, D.B. (2013) Adaptive management of biological systems: A review. Biological Conservation, 158, 128-139.doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2012.08.016 .

Biodiversity Science

Protecting biodiversity is a goal of most people who value the environment. My question is what are the goals of biodiversity science and how do we achieve them? Some history is in order here. The term ‘biodiversity’ was coined in the 1980s as the complete biosphere including all species and ecosystems on Earth. The idea of cataloguing all the species on Earth was present many decades before this time, since the origin of the biological sciences. By the 1990s ‘biodiversity conservation’ became a popular subject and has grown greatly since then as a companion to CO2 emissions and the climate change problem. The twin broad goals of biodiversity science and biodiversity conservation are (1) to name and describe all the species on Earth, and (2), to protect all species from extinction, preventing a loss of biodiversity. How can we achieve these two goals?

The first goal of describing species faces challenges from disagreements over what a species is or is not. The old description of a species was to describe what group it was part of, and then how different this particular species was from other members of the group. In the good old days this was primarily based on reproductive incompatibility between species, if no successful reproduction, must be a new species. This simple common-sense view was subject to many attacks since some organisms that we see as different can in fact interbreed. Lions and tigers breed together and are an example, but if their interbred offspring are sterile, clearly, they are two different species. But many arguments arose because there was no data available for 99% of species to know if they could interbreed or not. The fallback position has been to describe the anatomy of a potential species and its relatives and judge from anatomy how different they were. Endless arguments followed, egged on by naturalists who pointed out that if the elephants in India were separated by a continent from elephants in Africa, clearly, they must be different species defined by geography. Many academic wars were fought over these issues.

Then in 1953 the structure of DNA was unravelled, and a new era dawned because with advances in technology of decoding genes we could describe species in a completely new way by determining how much DNA they had in common. But what is the magic percentage of common DNA? Humans and chimpanzees have 98.6% of their DNA in common, but despite this high similarity no one argues that they are the same species.

Despite this uncertainty the answer now seems much simpler: sequence the DNA of everything and you will have the true tree of life for defining separate species. While this was a dream 20 years ago, it is now a technical reality with rapid sequencing methods to help us get criminals and define species. Problem (1) solved?

Enter the lonely ecologist into this fray. Ecologists do not just want names, they wish to understand the function of each of the ‘species’ within communities and ecosystems, how does all this biodiversity interact to produce what we see in the landscape? For the moment we have approximately 10 million species on Earth, but somewhere around 80% of these ‘species’ are still undescribed. So now we have a clash of biodiversity visions, we cannot describe all the species on Earth even on the time scale of centuries, so we cannot achieve goal (1) of biodiversity science in any reasonable time. We have measured the DNA sequence of thousands of organisms that we can capture but we cannot describe them formally as species in the older sense. Perhaps it is akin to having all the phone numbers in the New York City phone book but not knowing to whom the numbers belong.

But the more immediate problem comes with objective (2) to prevent extinctions. Enter the conservation ecologist. The first problem is discussed above, we ecologists have no way of knowing how many species are in danger of extinction. We must look for rare or declining species, but we have complete inventory for few places on Earth. We must concentrate on large mammals and birds, and hope that they act as umbrella species and represent all of biodiversity. When we do have information on threatened species, for the most part there is no money to do the ecological studies needed to reverse declines in abundance. If there is money to list species and give a recovery plan on paper, then we find there is no money to implement the recovery plan. The Species-At-Risk act in Canada was passed in 2002 and has generated many recovery plans mostly for vertebrate species that have come to their attention. Almost none of these recovery plans have been completed, so in general we are all in favour of preventing extinctions but only it if costs us nothing. By and large the politics of preventing extinctions is very strongly supported, but the economic value of extinctions is nearly zero.

None of this is very cheery to conservation biologists. Two approaches have been suggested. The first is Big Science, use satellites and drones to scan the Earth every year to describe changes in landscapes and from these images infer biodiversity ‘health’. Simple and very expensive with AI to the rescue. But while we can see largescale landscape changes, the crux is to do something about them, and it is here that we fail because of the wall of climate change that we have no control over at present. Big Science may well assist us in seeing patterns of change, but it produces no path to understanding food webs or mediating changes in threatened populations. The second is small-scale biodiversity studies that focus on what species are present, how their numbers are changing, and what are the causes of change. Difficult, possible, but very expensive because you must put biologists in the field, on the ground to do the relevant measurements over a long-time frame. The techniques are there to use, thanks to much work on ecological methods in the past. What is missing again is the money. There are a few good examples of this small-scale approach but without good organization and good funding many of these attempts stop after too few years of data.

We are left with a dilemma of a particular science, Biodiversity Science, that has no way of achieving either of its two main objectives to name and to protect species on a global level. On a local level we can adopt partial methods of success by designating and protecting national parks and marine protected areas, and by studying only a few important species, the keystone species of food webs. But then we need extensive research to determine how to protect these areas and species from the inexorable march of climate change, which has singlehandedly complicated achieving biodiversity science’s two goals. Alas at the present time we may have another science to join the description of economics as a “dismal science” And we have not even started to discuss bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

Coffey, B. & Wescott, G. (2010) New directions in biodiversity policy and governance? A critique of Victoria’s Land and Biodiversity White Paper. Australasian Journal of Environmental Management 17: 204-214. doi: 10.1080/14486563.2010.9725268.

Donfrancesco, V., Allen, B.L., Appleby, R., et al. (2023) Understanding conflict among experts working on controversial species: A case study on the Australian dingo. Conservation Science and Practice 5: e12900. doi: 10.1111/csp2.12900.

Ritchie, J., Skerrett, M. & Glasgow, A. (2023) Young people’s climate leadership in Aotearoa. Journal of Peace Education, 12-2023: 1-23. doi: 10.1080/17400201.2023.2289649.

Sengupta, A., Bhan, M., Bhatia, S., Joshi, A., Kuriakose, S. & Seshadri, K.S. (2024) Realizing “30 × 30” in India: The potential, the challenges, and the way forward. Conservation Letters 2024, e13004. doi: 10.1111/conl.13004.

Wang, Q., Li, X.C. & Zhou, X.H. (2023) New shortcut for conservation: The combination management strategy of “keystone species” plus “umbrella species” based on food web structure. Biological Conservation 286: 110265.doi. 10.1016/j.biocon.2023.110265.

The Ecological Outlook

There is an extensive literature on ecological traps going back two decades (e.g. Schlaepfer et al. 2002, Kristan 2003, Battin 2004) discussing the consequences of particular species selecting a habitat for breeding that is now unsuitable. A good example is discussed in Lamb et al. (2017) for grizzly bears in southeastern British Columbia in areas of high human contact. The ecological trap hypothesis has for the most part been discussed in relation to species threatened by human developments with some examples of whole ecosystems and human disturbances (e.g. Lindenmayer and Taylor 2020). The concept of an ecological trap can be applied to the Whole Earth Ecosystem, as has been detailed in the IPCC 2022 reports and it is this global ecological trap that I wish to discuss.

The key question for ecologists concerned about global biodiversity is how much biodiversity will be left after the next century of human disturbances. The ecological outlook is grim as you can hear every day on the media. The global community of ecologists can ameliorate biodiversity loss but cannot stop it except on a very local scale. The ecological problem operates on a century time scale, just the same as the political and social change required to escape the global ecological trap. E.O. Wilson (2016) wrote passionately about our need to set aside half of the Earth for biodiversity. Alas, this was not to be. Dinerstein et al. (2019) reduced the target to 30% in the “30 by 30” initiative, subsequently endorsed by 100 countries by 2022. Although a noble political target, there is no scientific evidence that 30 by 30 will protect the world’s biodiversity. Saunders et al. (2023) determined that for North America only a small percentage of refugia (5– 14% in Mexico, 4–10% in Canada, and 2–6% in the USA) are currently protected under four possible warming scenarios ranging from +1.5⁰C to +4⁰C. And beyond +2⁰C refugia will be valuable only if they are at high latitudes and high elevations.

The problem as many people have stated is that we are marching into an ecological trap of the greatest dimension. A combination of global climate change and continually increasing human populations and impacts are the main driving factors, neither of which are under the control of the ecological community. What ecologists and conservationists can do is work on the social-political front to protect more areas and keep analysing the dynamics of declining species in local areas. We confront major political and social obstacles in conservation ecology, but we can increase our efforts to describe how organisms interact in natural ecosystems and how we can reduce undesirable declines in populations. All this requires much more monitoring of how ecosystems are changing on a local level and depends on how successful we can be as scientists to diagnose and solve the ecological components of ecosystem collapse.

As with all serious problems we advance by looking clearly into what we can do in the future based on what we have learned in the past. And we must recognize that these problems are multi-generational and will not be solved in any one person’s lifetime. So, as we continue to march into the ultimate ecological trap, we must rally to recognize the trap and use strong policies to reverse its adverse effects on biodiversity and ultimately to humans themselves. None of us can opt out of this challenge.

There is much need in this dilemma for good science, for good ecology, and for good education on what will reverse the continuing degradation of our planet Earth. Every bit counts. Every Greta Thunberg counts.

Battin, J. (2004) When good animals love bad habitats: ecological traps and the conservation of animal populations. Conservation Biology, 18, 1482-1491.

Dinerstein, E., Vynne, C., Sala, E., et al. (2019) A Global Deal For Nature: Guiding principles, milestones, and targets. Science Advances, 5, eaaw2869.doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aaw2869..

IPCC, 2022b. In: Skea, J., Shukla, P.R., et al. (Eds.), Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Sixth Assessment Report of theIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press. doi: www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg3/.

Kristan III, W.B. (2003) The role of habitat selection behavior in population dynamics: source–sink systems and ecological traps. Oikos, 103, 457-468.

Lamb, C.T., Mowat, G., McLellan, B.N., Nielsen, S.E. & Boutin, S. (2017) Forbidden fruit: human settlement and abundant fruit create an ecological trap for an apex omnivore. Journal of Animal Ecology, 86, 55-65. doi. 10.1111/1365-2656.12589.

Lindenmayer, D.B. and Taylor, C. (2020) New spatial analyses of Australian wildfires highlight the need for new fire, resource, and conservation policies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117, 12481-124485. doi. 10.1073/pnas.2002269117.

Saunders, S.P., Grand, J., Bateman, B.L., Meek, M., Wilsey, C.B., Forstenhaeusler, N., Graham, E., Warren, R. & Price, J. (2023) Integrating climate-change refugia into 30 by 30 conservation planning in North America. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 21, 77-84. doi. 10.1002/fee.2592.

Schlaepfer, M.A., Runge, M.C. & Sherman, P.W. (2002) Ecological and evolutionary traps. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 17, 474-480.

Wilson, E.O. (2016) Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life. Liveright, New York. ISBN: 978-1-63149-252-5.

On Conservation Complexities

It is too often the case that biodiversity problems are managed by single species solutions. If you have too many deer in your parks or conservation areas, start a culling program. If your salmon fishing stocks are declining, cull seals and sea lions. The overall issue confounding these kinds of ‘solutions’ are now being recognized as a failure to appreciate the food web of the community and ecosystem in which the problem is embedded. Much of conservation action is directed at heading back to the “good old days” without very much data about what the ecosystem was like in the “good old days”.

Problems with introduced species top the list of conservation dilemmas, and nowhere are these problems more clearly illustrated than by the conservation dilemmas of New Zealand and Australia. If we concentrate our management efforts on introduced predators or herbivores, we face a large set of conservation issues, well-illustrated by the current New Zealand situation (Leathwick and Byrom 2023, Parkes and Murphy 2003).

New Zealand is a particularly strong case history because we have a good knowledge of its indigenous biodiversity from the time that people colonized these islands, as well as reasonable information about how things have changed since Europeans colonized the country (Thomson 1922). It is in some respects the classic case of biodiversity impacts from introduced species. The introduced species list is large and I can talk only about part of these species introduced mostly in the late 1800s. Seven species of deer were released in New Zealand, along with chamois, hares, rabbits, cats, hedgehogs, three mustelid species, brushtail possums, rats, house mice, along with all the usual farm animals like cattle, horses, and dogs (King & Forsyth 2021). The first concerns began about 100 years ago over ungulate browsing in forests and grasslands. Deer control began about 1930, and over 3 million deer were shot between 1932 and 1954. Caughley (1983) showed that this amount of control did not reduce the impact of browsing and grazing by ungulates in native ecosystems. Control and harvesting efforts decreased in recent years partly from a lack of government funding with the result that deer numbers have rebounded. The recognition of the impact of other pests like rabbits, weasels, and rats led to a focus on poison campaigns. Brushtail possum control with poisons was started to reduce tree browsing damage by the 1970s and gradually increased to reduce TB transmission to domestic livestock by the 1990s. Large scale predator control began in the late 1990s with a focus on rats, stoats (weasels, Mustela erminea), and possums with good success in preventing declines in threatened bird species. All this history is covered in detail in Leathwick and Byrom (2023).

These efforts led to a declaration in 2016 of “Predator Free New Zealand 2050” (PF2050) a compelling promise that would alleviate biodiversity problems by making New Zealand free of possums, mustelids, and rats by 2050, and predator control has thus became the focus of recent conservation action. The 2050 part of the promise was always a worry, since governments in general promise much in advances by that year, but the optimistic view is that predator control will achieve this objective if careful planning is made, adequate funding is available (c.f. Department of Conservation 2021), and well-articulated guidelines for eradication of invasive species are followed (Bomford & O’Brien 1995). The message is that biodiversity goals can be achieved if we move from single species management to a stable system of ecosystem management in the broad sense, including strong research, good public participation and support toward these goals, and that biodiversity conservation will be greatly boosted by thorough consultation with (if not leadership by) the indigenous groups involved.

The New Zealand specific situation cannot be applied directly to all biodiversity concerns, but the New Zealand conservation story and the 12 recommendations given in Leathwick and Byrom (2023) show the necessity of goal definition and coordination between the public, government, and private foundations if we are to maximize the effectiveness of our approach to the biodiversity crisis. Not every conservation issue involves introduced species, but the principle must be: What do we want to achieve, and how are we going to get there?

Bomford, M, & O’Brien, P 1995. Eradication or control for vertebrate pests? Wildlife Society Bulletin 23, 249–255.

Caughley, G. (1983) The Deer Wars: The Story of Deer in New Zealand. Heinemann, Auckland. ISBN: 0868633895.

Department of Conservation (2020). Annual Report. Available at: https://www.doc.govt. nz/nature/pests-and-threats/predator-free-2050/goal-tactics-and-new-technology/tools-to-market/.    See also: PF2050-Limited-Annual-Report-2022.pdf

King, C.M. & Forsyth, D.M. (2021). eds. The Handbook of New Zealand Mammals. 3rd edition. CSIRO Publishing, Canberra. ISBN 978-1988592589.

Leathwick, J.R. & Byrom, A.E. (2023) The rise and rise of predator control: a panacea, or a distraction from conservation goals? New Zealand Journal of Ecology, 47, 3515. doi: 10.20417/nzjecol.47.3515.

Parkes, J. & Murphy, E. (2003) Management of introduced mammals in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Zoology, 30, 335-359. doi:10.1080/03014223.2003.9518346.

Thomson, G.M. (1922) The Naturalisation of Animals and Plants in New Zealand. The University Press, Cambridge, England. doi: 10.5962/bhl.title.28093.

On Ecological Imperialism

It is well known among ecologists that there are more species of almost everything in the tropical regions, and it is also well known that there is rather much more research in the ecosystems of the temperate zone. A recent note in Science 379 (6632) – 8 Feb. 2023 highlights the problems faced by ornithologists in Latin America and the Caribbean trying to carry out research on their local birds. The details are in two papers now published (Soares et al. 2023, Ruelas Inzunza et al. 2023). Both of these papers are a response to a review paper published in 2020 (Lees et al. 2020) which discussed how much was not known about birds in Latin America, but which ignored most of the contributions of Latin American scientists. The red flag arose in part because all the authors of the 2020 paper were based at universities either in the United States or in the United Kingdom. The central criticisms were that the 2020 paper perpetuated an elitist, exclusionary, “northern” approach that has overlooked the knowledge produced by Latin American experts and Indigenous people, partly because these papers were not in English.

    Their case is certainly important and should be a call-to-arms but it should be read with a few minor qualifications. It is certainly not valid to ignore local knowledge both of scientists and indigenous peoples. But this has been going on now for more than 200 years in all areas of biological science, not that history justifies these barriers. Alas Charles Darwin would fall under the knife of this criticism. The funding for ecological research is higher in most European countries as well as North America compared with tropical countries. So we are dealing with economic issues that underlie the scientific funding that is less in Latin America in addition to the global problem that too many governments prefer guns to butter. We recognize these problems, but we can do nothing immediately about them.

    The language issue is much more difficult because it is so clear. There is a long history of this conflict in scientific papers as well as in literature in general. French scientists years ago refused to publish in English, that has changed. Chinese scientists were all educated in Russian but when the tide turned they learned English and started to write scientific papers in English. The problem revolves back to the education system of North American schools that seem to operate on the assumption that to learn a foreign language is very close to being a traitor. Alas students hardly learn to speak and write English but that is another social issue. I think many northern scientists have helped Latin America scientists to assist them in English usage, so it is to me quite obscene to think that someone has a business charging people $600 for a translation. So much of the complaint in the predominance of English scientific papers arises from social issues that are difficult to overcome.

    In the end I am very sympathetic with the inequities raised in these papers and the desire to move forward on all these issues. Ironically the skeleton of the Lees et al. (2020) paper is an excellent roadmap for the analysis of any taxonomic group anywhere is the world, and these papers should be a reminder that similar reviews should be more inclusive of all published literature. Remember always that European or American knowledge is not the only or the best knowledge.

Lees, A.C., Rosenberg, K.V., Ruiz-Gutierrez, V., Marsden, S., Schulenberg, T.S. & Rodewald, A.D. (2020) A roadmap to identifying and filling shortfalls in Neotropical ornithology. Auk, 137, 1-17. doi: 10.1093/auk/ukaa048.

Ruelas Inzunza, E., Cockle, K.L., Núñez Montellano, M.G., Fontana, C.S., Cuatianquiz Lima, C., Echeverry-Galvis, M.A., Fernández-Gómez, R.A., Montaño-Centellas, F.A., Bonaccorso, E., Lambertucci, S.A., Cornelius, C., Bosque, C., Bugoni, L., Salinas-Melgoza, A., Renton, K., Freile, J.F., Angulo, F., Mugica Valdés, L., Velarde, E., Cuadros, S. & Miño, C.I. (2023) How to include and recognize the work of ornithologists based in the Neotropics: Fourteen actions for Ornithological Applications, Ornithology, and other global-scope journals. Ornithological Applications, 125, duac047. doi: 10.1093/ornithapp/duac047.

Soares, L., Cockle, K.L., Ruelas Inzunza, E., Ibarra, J.T., Miño, C.I., Zuluaga, S., Bonaccorso, E., Ríos-Orjuela, J.C., Montaño-Centellas, F.A., Freile, J.F., Echeverry-Galvis, M.A., Bonaparte, E.B., Diele-Viegas, L.M., Speziale, K., Cabrera-Cruz, S.A., Acevedo-Charry, O., Velarde, E., Cuatianquiz Lima, C., Ojeda, V.S., Fontana, C.S., Echeverri, A., Lambertucci, S.A., Macedo, R.H., Esquivel, A., Latta, S.C., Ruvalcaba-Ortega, I., Alves, M.A.S., Santiago-Alarcon, D., Bodrati, A., González-García, F., Fariña, N., Martínez-Gómez, J.E., Ortega-Álvarez, R., Núñez Montellano, M.G., Ribas, C.C., Bosque, C., Di Giacomo, A.S., Areta, J.I., Emer, C., Mugica Valdés, L., González, C., Rebollo, M.E., Mangini, G., Lara, C., Pizarro, J.C., Cueto, V.R., Bolaños-Sittler, P.R., Ornelas, J.F., Acosta, M., Cenizo, M., Marini, M.Â., Vázquez-Reyes, L.D., González-Oreja, J.A., Bugoni, L., Quiroga, M., Ferretti, V., Manica, L.T., Grande, J.M., Rodríguez-Gómez, F., Diaz, S., Büttner, N., Mentesana, L., Campos-Cerqueira, M., López, F.G., Guaraldo, A.C., MacGregor-Fors, I., Aguiar-Silva, F.H., Miyaki, C.Y., Ippi, S., Mérida, E., Kopuchian, C., Cornelius, C., Enríquez, P.L., Ocampo-Peñuela, N., Renton, K., Salazar, J.C., Sandoval, L., Correa Sandoval, J., Astudillo, P.X., Davis, A.O., Cantero, N., Ocampo, D., Marin Gomez, O.H., Borges, S.H., Cordoba-Cordoba, S., Pietrek, A.G., de Araújo, C.B., Fernández, G., de la Cueva, H., Guimarães Capurucho, J.M., Gutiérrez-Ramos, N.A., Ferreira, A., Costa, L.M., Soldatini, C., Madden, H.M., Santillán, M.A., Jiménez-Uzcátegui, G., Jordan, E.A., Freitas, G.H.S., Pulgarin-R, P.C., Almazán-Núñez, R.C., Altamirano, T., Gomez, M.R., Velazquez, M.C., Irala, R., Gandoy, F.A., Trigueros, A.C., Ferreyra, C.A., Albores-Barajas, Y.V., Tellkamp, M., Oliveira, C.D., Weiler, A., Arizmendi, M.d.C., Tossas, A.G., Zarza, R., Serra, G., Villegas-Patraca, R., Di Sallo, F.G., Valentim, C., Noriega, J.I., Alayon García, G., de la Peña, M.R., Fraga, R.M. & Martins, P.V.R. (2023) Neotropical ornithology: Reckoning with historical assumptions, removing systemic barriers, and reimagining the future. Ornithological Applications, 125, duac046. doi: 10.1093/ornithapp/duac046.

Should Empirical Ecology be all Long-term?

The majority of empirical ecology research published in our journals is short-term with the time span dictated by the need for 1–2-year Master’s degree studies and 3-4-year PhD research. This has been an excellent model when there was little of a framework for researching the critical questions ecologists ought to answer. Much of ecology in the good old days was based on equilibrium models of populations, communities, and ecosystems, an assumption we know to be irrelevant to a world with a changing climate. Perhaps we should have listened to the paleoecologists who kept reminding us that there was monumental change going on in the eras of glaciation and much earlier in the time of continental drift (Birks 2019). All of this argues that we need to change direction from short-term studies to long-term studies and long-term thinking.

There are many short-term ecological studies that are useful and should be done. It is necessary for management agencies to know if the spraying of forest insect pests this year reduces damage next year, and many similar problems exist that can be used for student projects. But the big issues of our day are long term problems, defined in the first place by longer than the research lifespan of the average ecologist, about 40 years. These big issues are insufficiently studied for two reasons. First, there is little funding for long term research. We can find a few exemptions to this statement, but they are few and many of them are flawed. Second, we as research scientists want to do something new that no one has done before. This approach leads to individual fame and sometimes fortune and is the social model behind many of the research prizes that we hear about in the media, the Nobel Prize, the MacArthur Awards, the National Medal of Science, the Kyoto Prize and many more. The point here is not that we should stop giving these awards (because they are socially useful), but that we should take a broader perspective on how research really works. Many have recognized that scientific advances are made by groups of scientists standing on the shoulders of an earlier generation. Perhaps some of the awards in medicine recognize this more frequently than other areas of science. My point is that large problems in ecology require a group effort by scientists that is too often unrecognized in favour of the individual fame model of science prizes.

A few examples may exemplify the need in ecology to support group studies of long-term problems. The simplest cases are in the media every day. The overharvesting of trees continues with little research into the long-term recovery of the harvested area and exactly how the forest community changes as it recovers. We mine areas for minerals and drill and mine tar sands for oil and gas with little long-term view of the recovery path which may stretch to hundreds or thousands of years while our current research program is long-term if it goes for 10 years. Canada has enough of these disturbance problems to fill the leger. The Giant Gold Mine in the Northwest Territories of Canada mined 220,000 kg of gold from 1948 to 2004 when it closed. It left 237 tonnes of arsenic trioxide dust, a by-product for extracting gold. The long-term ecosystem problems from this toxic compound will last for centuries but you might expect it will be much sooner forgotten than subjected to long-term study.

So where are we ecologists with respect to these large problems? We bewail biodiversity loss and when you look at the available data and the long-term studies you would expect to measure biodiversity and, if possible, manage this biodiversity loss. But you will find only piecemeal short-term studies of populations, communities, and ecosystems that are affected. We tolerate this unsatisfactory scientific situation even for ecosystems as iconic as the Great Barrier Reef of eastern Australia where we have a small number of scientists monitoring the collapse of the reef from climate change. The only justification we can give is that “Mother Nature will heal itself” or in the scientific lingo, “the organisms involved will adapt to environmental change”. All the earth’s ecosystems have been filtered through a million years of geological change, so we should not worry, and all will be well for the future, or so the story goes.

I think few ecologists would agree with such nonsense as the statements above, but what can we do about it? My main emphasis here is long-term monitoring. No matter what you do, this should be part of your research program. If possible, do not count birds on a plot for 3 years and then stop. Do not live trap mice for one season and think you are done. If you have any control over funding recommendations, think continuity of monitoring. Long-term monitoring is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for managing biodiversity change.

There are many obstacles interfering with achieving this goal. Money is clearly one. If your research council requests innovation in all research proposals, they are probably driven by Apple iPhone producers who want a new model every year. For the past 50 years we have been able to fund monitoring in our Yukon studies without ever using the forbidden word monitor because it was not considered science by the government granting agencies. In one sense it is not whether you consider science = innovation or not, but part of the discussion about long term studies might be shifted to consider the model of weather stations, and to discuss why we continue to report temperatures and CO2 levels daily when we have so much past data. No one would dream of shutting down weather monitoring now after the near fiasco around whether or not to measure CO2 in the atmosphere (Harris, 2010, Marx et al. 2017).

Another obstacle has been the destruction of research sites by human developments. Anyone with a long history of doing field research can tell you of past study areas that have been destroyed by fire or are now parking lots, or roads, or suburbia. This problem could be partly alleviated by the current proposals to maintain 30% of the landscape in protected areas. We should however avoid designating areas like the toxic waste site of the Giant Gold Mine as a “protected area” for ecological research.

Where does this all lead? Consider long-term monitoring if you can do the research as part of your overall program. Read the recent contributions of Hjeljord, and Loe (2022) and Wegge et al. (2022) as indicators of the direction in which we need to move, and if you need more inspiration about monitoring read Lindenmayer (2018).

Birks, H.J.B. (2019) Contributions of Quaternary botany to modern ecology and biogeography. Plant Ecology & Diversity, 12, 189-385.doi: 10.1080/17550874.2019.1646831.

Harris, D.C. (2010) Charles David Keeling and the story of atmospheric CO2 measurements. Analytical Chemistry, 82, 7865-7870.doi: 10.1021/ac1001492.

Hjeljord, O. & Loe, L.E. (2022) The roles of climate and alternative prey in explaining 142 years of declining willow ptarmigan hunting yield. Wildlife Biology, 2022, e01058.doi: 10.1002/wlb3.01058.

Lindenmayer, D. (2018) Why is long-term ecological research and monitoring so hard to do? (And what can be done about it). Australian Zoologist, 39, 576-580.doi: 10.7882/az.2017.018.

Marx, W., Haunschild, R., French, B. & Bornmann, L. (2017) Slow reception and under-citedness in climate change research: A case study of Charles David Keeling, discoverer of the risk of global warming. Scientometrics, 112, 1079-1092.doi: 10.1007/s11192-017-2405-z.

Wegge, P., Moss, R. & Rolstad, J. (2022) Annual variation in breeding success in boreal forest grouse: Four decades of monitoring reveals bottom-up drivers to be more important than predation. Ecology and Evolution.12, e9327. doi: 10.1002/ece3.9327.

Alas Biodiversity

One would have to be on another planet not to have heard of the current COP 15 meeting in Montreal, the Convention on Biological Diversity. Negotiators have recently finalised an agreement on what the signatory nations will do in the next 5 years or so. I do not wish to challenge the view that these large meetings achieve much discussion and suggestions for action on conservation of biodiversity. I do wish to address, from a scientific viewpoint, issues around the “loss of biodiversity” and in particular some of the claims that are being made about this problem.

The first elephant in the room which must not be ignored is human population growth. At a best guess there are perhaps three times as many people now on earth as the earth can support. So the background for all biodiversity action is human population size and the accompanying resource demands. Too few wish to discuss this elephant.

The second elephant is the vagueness of the concept of biodiversity. If we take its simple meaning to be ‘all life on Earth’, we must face the fact that we are not even close to having a complete catalogue of life on earth. To be sure we know most of the species of birds and mammals, a lot of the fish and the reptiles, so we have made a start. But look at the insects and you will find guesses of several million species that are undescribed. And we have hardly begun to look at the bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

The consequence of this is loose speech. When we say we wish to ‘protect biodiversity’ what exactly do we wish to protect? Only the birds but not all of them, only the ones we like? Or only the large mammals like the polar bears, the African lion, and the panda? Typically, conservation of biodiversity focuses on one charismatic species and hopes for spill over to others, applying the well-known principles of population ecology to the immediate threat. But ecologists talk about ecological communities and ecosystems, so this raises another issue of how to define these entities and how protecting biodiversity can be applied to them.

Now the third elephant comes into play, climate change. To appreciate this, we need to talk to paleoecologists. If you were fortunate to live in central Alaska or the Yukon 30,000 years ago and you formed a society for the conservation of biodiversity, you would face a vegetation community that was destined to disappear or change dramatically, not to mention species like the mammoths and saber-toothed tigers that no longer exist but we love to see in museums. So there is a time scale as well as a spatial scale to biodiversity that is easily forgotten. Small national parks and reserves may not be a solution to the issue.

So whither biodiversity science? If we are serious about biodiversity change, we must lay out more specific questions as a start. Exactly what species are we measuring and for how long and with what precision? We need to concentrate on areas that are protected from human exploitation, one of the main reasons for biodiversity losses, the loss of habitat due to agriculture, mining, forestry, human housing, roads, invasive pests, the list goes on. We need groups of ecologists to concentrate on the key areas we define, on the key threats affecting each area, how we might mitigate these effects, and once these questions are decided we need to direct funding to these groups. Biodiversity funding is all over the map and often wasted on trivial problems. Biodiversity issues are at their core problems in community and ecosystem ecology, and yet we typically treat them as single species problems. We need to study communities and ecosystems. To say that we as ecologists do not know how to study community and ecosystem ecology would be a start. Studying one fish species extensively will not protect the community and ecosystem it requires for survival. If you need a concrete example, consider Pacific salmon on the west coast of North America and the ecosystems they inhabit. This is not a single species problem. In some river systems stocks are doing well, while in other rivers salmon are disappearing. Why? If we know that at least part of the answer to this question lies in ecosystem management and yet no action is undertaken, is this because it costs too much or what? Why can we spend a billion dollars going to the moon and not spend this money on serious ecological problems subject to biodiversity increases or declines? Perhaps part of the problem is that to get to the moon we do not give money to 10 different agencies that do not talk or coordinate with one another. Part of the answer is that governments do not see biodiversity loss or gain as an important problem, and it is easier to talk vaguely about it and do little in the hope that Nature will rectify the problems.

So, we continue in the Era of Biodiversity without knowing what this means and too often without having any plan to see if biodiversity is increasing or declining in any particular habitat or region, and then devising a plan to ameliorate the situation as required. This is not a 5 year or a 10-year plan, so it requires a long-term commitment of public support, scientific expertise, and government agencies to address. For the moment we get an A+ grade for talking and an F- grade for action.

Dupont-Doaré, C. & Alagador, D. (2021) Overlooked effects of temporal resolution choice on climate-proof spatial conservation plans for biodiversity. Biological Conservation, 263, 109330.doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2021.109330.

Fitzgerald, N., Binny, R.N., Innes, J., Pech, R., James, A., Price, R., Gillies, C. & Byrom, A.E. (2021) Long-Term Biodiversity Benefits from Invasive Mammalian Pest Control in Ecological Restorations. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, 102, e01843.doi: 10.1002/bes2.1843.

Moussy, C., Burfield, I.J., Stephenson, P.J., Newton, A.F.E., Butchart, S.H.M., Sutherland, W.J., Gregory, R.D., McRae, L., Bubb, P., Roesler, I., Ursino, C., Wu, Y., Retief, E.F., Udin, J.S., Urazaliyev, R., Sánchez-Clavijo, L.M., Lartey, E. & Donald, P.F. (2022) A quantitative global review of species population monitoring. Conservation Biology, 36, e13721.doi. 10.1111/cobi.13721.

Price, K., Holt, R.F. & Daust, D. (2021) Conflicting portrayals of remaining old growth: the British Columbia case. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 51, 1-11.doi: 10.1139/cjfr-2020-04530.

Shutt, J.D. & Lees, A.C. (2021) Killing with kindness: Does widespread generalised provisioning of wildlife help or hinder biodiversity conservation efforts? Biological Conservation, 261, 109295.doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2021.109295.