Comment

  • Comment |

    Recently publicized killings of environmental defenders are the latest iteration of a long and tragic history of violent conflict over access to land and resources. To bring about effective change, we must first understand the drivers and conditions that lead to violence in the sphere of environmental and land conflict.

    • Jaboury Ghazoul
    •  & Fritz Kleinschroth
  • Comment |

    The emergence of chronic wasting disease among wild reindeer in Norway triggered the decision to eradicate an entire population of more than 2,000 animals. The cull, now complete, was a tremendously difficult process both politically and practically.

    • Atle Mysterud
    •  & Christer M. Rolandsen
  • Comment |

    The amount of open data in ecology and evolution is increasing rapidly, yet this resource remains underused. Here, we introduce a new framework and case study for conducting meta-analyses of open datasets, and discuss its benefits and current limitations.

    • Antica Culina
    • , Thomas W. Crowther
    • , Jip J. C. Ramakers
    • , Phillip Gienapp
    •  & Marcel E. Visser
  • Comment |

    Recent calls for the reintroduction of functionally important animal species are motivated by a desire to restore ecological function, but overlook the ecological roles performed by humans. Here, we consider humans in ecological context, exploring our roles in the maintenance and restoration of ecosystem function.

    • Rebecca Bliege Bird
    •  & Dale Nimmo
  • Comment |

    Regulations designed to prevent global inequalities in the use of genetic resources apply to both commercial and non-commercial research. Conflating the two may have unintended consequences for collaboration between the Global North and biodiverse countries in the Global South, which may promote global injustice rather than mitigate it.

    • Anna Deplazes-Zemp
    • , Samuel Abiven
    • , Peter Schaber
    • , Michael Schaepman
    • , Gabriela Schaepman-Strub
    • , Bernhard Schmid
    • , Kentaro K. Shimizu
    •  & Florian Altermatt
  • Comment |

    European governments are poised to ban neonicotinoid pesticides. Insights from six years as a senior government advisor have led me to conclude that agricultural reform is urgently needed, beyond cycles of pesticide licensing and withdrawal.

    • Ian L. Boyd
  • Comment |

    TreeDivNet is the largest network of biodiversity experiments worldwide, but needs to expand. We encourage colleagues to establish new experiments on the relation between tree species diversity and forest ecosystem functioning, and to make use of the platform for collaborative research.

    • Alain Paquette
    • , Andy Hector
    • , Bastien Castagneyrol
    • , Margot Vanhellemont
    • , Julia Koricheva
    • , Michael Scherer-Lorenzen
    • , Kris Verheyen
    • , Luis Abdala-Roberts
    • , Harald Auge
    • , Nadia Barsoum
    • , Jürgen Bauhus
    • , Christel Baum
    • , Helge Bruelheide
    • , Bastien Castagneyrol
    • , Jeannine Cavender-Bares
    • , Nico Eisenhauer
    • , Olga Ferlian
    • , Gislene Ganade
    • , Douglas Godbold
    • , Dominique Gravel
    • , Jefferson Hall
    • , Andy Hector
    • , Richard Hobbs
    • , Dirk Hoelscher
    • , Kristin B. Hulvey
    • , Mark Huxham
    • , Hervé Jactel
    • , Julia Koricheva
    • , Holger Kreft
    • , Jingjing Liang
    • , Simone Mereu
    • , Christian Messier
    • , Rebecca Montgomery
    • , Bart Muys
    • , Charles Nock
    • , Alain Paquette
    • , John Parker
    • , William Parker
    • , Victor Parra-Tabla
    • , Michael P. Perring
    • , Quentin Ponette
    • , Catherine Potvin
    • , Peter B. Reich
    • , Boris Rewald
    • , Hans Sandén
    • , Michael Scherer-Lorenzen
    • , Andy Smith
    • , Rachel Standish
    • , Margot Vanhellemont
    • , Kris Verheyen
    • , Martin Weih
    • , Meike Wollni
    •  & Delphine Clara Zemp
  • Comment |

    Evidence-based environmental management is being hindered by difficulties in locating, interpreting and synthesizing relevant information among vast scientific outputs. But software developments that allow enhanced collation and sharing of data will help.

    • Martin J. Westgate
    • , Neal R. Haddaway
    • , Samantha H. Cheng
    • , Emma J. McIntosh
    • , Chris Marshall
    •  & David B. Lindenmayer
  • Comment |

    Ecological concepts and their acronyms can obstruct understanding of complexity by providing seemingly simple and certain descriptions of the natural world. Their use requires a balanced approach.

    • Andrew F. Johnson
    •  & Susanna Lidström
  • Comment |

    Aichi Target 11 has galvanized expansion of the global protected area network, but there is little evidence that this brings real biodiversity gains. We argue that area-based prioritization risks unintended perverse consequences and that the focus of protected area target development should shift from quantity to quality.

    • Megan D. Barnes
    • , Louise Glew
    • , Carina Wyborn
    •  & Ian D. Craigie
  • Comment |

    Intergenerational rights to a healthy environment are protected by the constitutions of 74% of the world’s nations. These explicit commitments and similar, ancient principles of sovereign public trust are often overlooked but, if enforced, they offer sustainable protection for the biosphere.

    • Adrian Treves
    • , Kyle A. Artelle
    • , Chris T. Darimont
    • , William S. Lynn
    • , Paul Paquet
    • , Francisco J. Santiago-Ávila
    • , Rance Shaw
    •  & Mary C. Wood
  • Comment |

    Adaptive certification is the best remaining option for the trophy hunting industry in Africa to demonstrate sustainable and ethical hunting practices that benefit local communities and wildlife conservation.

    • Thomas C. Wanger
    • , Lochran W. Traill
    • , Rosie Cooney
    • , Jonathan R. Rhodes
    •  & Teja Tscharntke
  • Comment |

    Reciprocal interactions between hosts, their symbionts and their oncobiota (cancer cell communities) are yet to be studied in detail. Considering malignant cells in addition to the holobiont perspective allows greater understanding of the processes governing both host phenotypes and cancer dynamics.

    • Frédéric Thomas
    • , Camille Jacqueline
    • , Tazzio Tissot
    • , Morgane Henard
    • , Simon Blanchet
    • , Géraldine Loot
    • , Erika Dawson
    • , Frédéric Mery
    • , François Renaud
    • , Jacques Montagne
    • , Christa Beckmann
    • , Peter A. Biro
    • , Rodrigo Hamede
    •  & Beata Ujvari
  • Comment |

    Our incomplete taxonomic knowledge impedes our attempts to protect biodiversity. A renaissance in the classification of species and their interactions is needed to guide conservation prioritization.

    • Edward O. Wilson
  • Comment |

    We anticipate that conventional management approaches will be insufficient to protect coral reefs, even if global warming is limited to 1.5 °C. Emerging technologies are needed to stem the decline of these natural assets.

    • Ken Anthony
    • , Line K. Bay
    • , Robert Costanza
    • , Jennifer Firn
    • , John Gunn
    • , Peter Harrison
    • , Andrew Heyward
    • , Petra Lundgren
    • , David Mead
    • , Tom Moore
    • , Peter J. Mumby
    • , Madeleine J. H. van Oppen
    • , John Robertson
    • , Michael C. Runge
    • , David J. Suggett
    • , Britta Schaffelke
    • , David Wachenfeld
    •  & Terry Walshe
  • Comment |

    Targets for human development are increasingly connected with targets for nature, however, existing scenarios do not explicitly address this relationship. Here, we outline a strategy to generate scenarios centred on our relationship with nature to inform decision-making at multiple scales.

    • Isabel M. D. Rosa
    • , Henrique M. Pereira
    • , Simon Ferrier
    • , Rob Alkemade
    • , Lilibeth A. Acosta
    • , H. Resit Akcakaya
    • , Eefje den Belder
    • , Asghar M. Fazel
    • , Shinichiro Fujimori
    • , Mike Harfoot
    • , Khaled A. Harhash
    • , Paula A. Harrison
    • , Jennifer Hauck
    • , Rob J. J. Hendriks
    • , Gladys Hernández
    • , Walter Jetz
    • , Sylvia I. Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen
    • , HyeJin Kim
    • , Nicholas King
    • , Marcel T. J. Kok
    • , Grygoriy O. Kolomytsev
    • , Tanya Lazarova
    • , Paul Leadley
    • , Carolyn J. Lundquist
    • , Jaime García Márquez
    • , Carsten Meyer
    • , Laetitia M. Navarro
    • , Carsten Nesshöver
    • , Hien T. Ngo
    • , Karachepone N. Ninan
    • , Maria G. Palomo
    • , Laura M. Pereira
    • , Garry D. Peterson
    • , Ramon Pichs
    • , Alexander Popp
    • , Andy Purvis
    • , Federica Ravera
    • , Carlo Rondinini
    • , Jyothis Sathyapalan
    • , Aafke M. Schipper
    • , Ralf Seppelt
    • , Josef Settele
    • , Nadia Sitas
    •  & Detlef van Vuuren
  • Comment |

    As sea levels rise, human displacement and subsequent land-use change may be as ecologically significant as the direct impacts of climate change. New work suggesting that mean sea level will rise further and faster than previously thought calls attention to the importance of these indirect processes for ecology and conservation.

    • Steven L. Chown
    •  & Grant A. Duffy
  • Comment |

    The actions that lead to conservation successes and failures are the result of decision-making by individuals and organizations about what to conserve and how to conserve it. The psychology of decision-making should be considered when assessing conservation outcomes.

    • Sarah Papworth
  • Comment |

    The pernicious problem of evidence complacency, illustrated here through conservation policy and practice, results in poor practice and inefficiencies. It also increases our vulnerability to a ‘post-truth’ world dealing with ‘alternative facts’.

    • William J. Sutherland
    •  & Claire F. R. Wordley
  • Comment |

    Cancer evolution is central to poor outcomes of cancer therapies, enabling tumour progression and the acquisition of drug resistance. Joint efforts of evolutionary biologists, oncologists and cancer researchers are necessary to understand the principles of cancer evolution and to derive therapeutic strategies that can control it.

    • Katharina von Loga
    •  & Marco Gerlinger
  • Comment |

    Increasingly, the pathogens that pose the greatest threats to humans are those that evolve to escape prior immunity and pharmaceutical interventions. In response, we need to employ evolutionary thinking to manage infectious disease.

    • Colin A. Russell
    •  & Menno D. de Jong
  • Comment |

    Similarities in planning, development and culture within urban areas may lead to the convergence of ecological processes on continental scales. Transdisciplinary, multi-scale research is now needed to understand and predict the impact of human-dominated landscapes on ecosystem structure and function.

    • Peter M. Groffman
    • , Meghan Avolio
    • , Jeannine Cavender-Bares
    • , Neil D. Bettez
    • , J. Morgan Grove
    • , Sharon J. Hall
    • , Sarah E. Hobbie
    • , Kelli L. Larson
    • , Susannah B. Lerman
    • , Dexter H. Locke
    • , James B. Heffernan
    • , Jennifer L. Morse
    • , Christopher Neill
    • , Kristen C. Nelson
    • , Jarlath O’Neil-Dunne
    • , Diane E. Pataki
    • , Colin Polsky
    • , Rinku Roy Chowdhury
    •  & Tara L. E. Trammell
  • Comment |

    In 2018 technologies on the International Space Station will provide 1 year of synchronous observations of ecosystem composition, structure and function. We discuss these instruments and how they can be used to constrain global models and improve our understanding of the current state of terrestrial ecosystems. Author Correction (05 September 2017)

    • E. Natasha Stavros
    • , David Schimel
    • , Ryan Pavlick
    • , Shawn Serbin
    • , Abigail Swann
    • , Laura Duncanson
    • , Joshua B. Fisher
    • , Fabian Fassnacht
    • , Susan Ustin
    • , Ralph Dubayah
    • , Anna Schweiger
    •  & Paul Wennberg
  • Comment |

    Large-scale invasive species control initiatives are motivated by laudable desires for native species recovery and economic benefits, but they are not without risk. Management interventions and policies should include evidence-based risk–benefit assessment and mitigation planning.

    • R. Keller Kopf
    • , Dale G. Nimmo
    • , Paul Humphries
    • , Lee J. Baumgartner
    • , Michael Bode
    • , Nick R. Bond
    • , Andrea E. Byrom
    • , Julien Cucherousset
    • , Reuben P. Keller
    • , Alison J. King
    • , Heather M. McGinness
    • , Peter B. Moyle
    •  & Julian D. Olden
  • Comment |

    DNA sequencing is faster and cheaper than ever before but quantity does not necessarily mean quality. Towards a comprehensive understanding of the microbial biosphere, we need more reference genomes from single-celled eukaryotes (protists) across the full breadth of eukaryotic diversity.

    • Shannon J. Sibbald
    •  & John M. Archibald
  • Comment |

    Despite the obvious influence of space on interactions, constraints imposed by the built environment are seldom considered when examining collective behaviours of animals and humans. We propose an interdisciplinary path towards uncovering the impact of architecture on collective outcomes.

    • Noa Pinter-Wollman
    • , Stephen M. Fiore
    •  & Guy Theraulaz
  • Comment |

    The biodiversity of the Amazonian savannahs may be lost before it is known, unless scientists, conservationists and policymakers come together quickly to protect it.

    • William Douglas de Carvalho
    •  & Karen Mustin
  • Comment |

    Despite projections of a severe extinction event, a window of opportunity is now open for a mix of policies to avoid biodiversity collapse in the Cerrado hotspot.

    • Bernardo B. N. Strassburg
    • , Thomas Brooks
    • , Rafael Feltran-Barbieri
    • , Alvaro Iribarrem
    • , Renato Crouzeilles
    • , Rafael Loyola
    • , Agnieszka E. Latawiec
    • , Francisco J. B. Oliveira Filho
    • , Carlos A. de M. Scaramuzza
    • , Fabio R. Scarano
    • , Britaldo Soares-Filho
    •  & Andrew Balmford
  • Comment |

    As peace consolidates in Colombia, can biodiversity survive development? We discuss challenges and opportunities for integrating forest biodiversity conservation into developing, war-dilapidated economies of post-conflict regions, paving the way for a green economy and climate resilient society.

    • Brigitte Baptiste
    • , Miguel Pinedo-Vasquez
    • , Victor H. Gutierrez-Velez
    • , Germán I. Andrade
    • , Pablo Vieira
    • , Lina M. Estupiñán-Suárez
    • , Maria C. Londoño
    • , William Laurance
    •  & Tien Ming Lee
  • Comment |

    The founding members of the Cultural Evolution Society were surveyed to identify the major scientific questions and ‘grand challenges’ currently facing the study of cultural evolution. We present the results and discuss the implications for an emergent synthesis in the study of culture based on Darwinian principles.

    • J. Brewer
    • , M. Gelfand
    • , J. C. Jackson
    • , I. F. MacDonald
    • , P. N. Peregrine
    • , P. J. Richerson
    • , P. Turchin
    • , H. Whitehouse
    •  & D. S. Wilson
  • Comment |

    Can applying an evolutionary perspective generate effective change in clinical care and/or public health policy? An evolution-informed research programme has changed practice on UK post-natal units and UK health policies on infant care over the past two decades.

    • Helen L. Ball
  • Comment |

    Environmental laws are binding and enforceable tools that constrain human impacts on the environment, but how effective are they at keeping humanity away from critical planetary boundaries?

    • Guillaume Chapron
    • , Yaffa Epstein
    • , Arie Trouwborst
    •  & José Vicente López-Bao
  • Comment |

    A steep decline in archiving could make large tree-ring datasets irrelevant. But increased spatiotemporal coverage, the addition of novel parameters at sub-annual resolution, and integration with other in situ and remote Earth observations will elevate tree-ring data as an essential component of global-change research.

    • Flurin Babst
    • , Benjamin Poulter
    • , Paul Bodesheim
    • , Miguel D. Mahecha
    •  & David C. Frank
  • Comment |

    Clearing up after natural disturbances may not always be beneficial for the environment. We argue that a radical change is needed in the way ecosystems are managed; one that acknowledges the important role of disturbance dynamics.

    • David Lindenmayer
    • , Simon Thorn
    •  & Sam Banks
  • Comment |

    Given the growing and seemingly limitless capacity to industrialize the oceans, there is a need to reimagine how to effectively measure, monitor and sustainably manage this seventy-one per cent of the Earth's surface.

    • Jay S. Golden
    • , John Virdin
    • , Douglas Nowacek
    • , Patrick Halpin
    • , Lori Bennear
    •  & Pawan G. Patil
  • Comment |

    Major societal problems such as health, energy, food and clean water can be confronted using evolutionary principles, yet this approach is rarely explored. Here, we illustrate how nature's solutions can be applied and discuss the need for evolutionary biologists to inform the general public and influence decision makers.

    • Nina Wedell
    •  & David J. Hosken