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Conservation: thrive on slings and arrows

Nature volume 540, pages 3839 (01 December 2016) | Download Citation

Aaron Ellison rightly calls for conservation scientists to engage more actively in the political process (Nature 538, 141; 2016). Unfortunately, those doing so can become targets for physical and verbal threats, personal abuse, bullying and trolling on social media.

As a conservation scientist, I have experienced many such reactions at first hand. I have been embroiled for more than 30 years in the politics of native forest logging, tree-plantation expansion and culling of over-abundant native and exotic animals. Resilience against such attacks is underpinned by a drive to conduct and communicate high-quality science that contributes to the conservation and management of natural environments and biodiversity.

Communicating good data and sound science to resource managers, policymakers and politicians is crucial for managing environmental resources and for reinforcing political decisions. Scientists need more training and mentoring in such skills — and in dealing with unwelcome fallout from lobbyists and the public.

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  1. Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.

    • David Lindenmayer

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Correspondence to David Lindenmayer.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/540038d

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