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  • Comment |

    Reduced human mobility during the pandemic will reveal critical aspects of our impact on animals, providing important guidance on how best to share space on this crowded planet.

    • Christian Rutz
    • , Matthias-Claudio Loretto
    • , Amanda E. Bates
    • , Sarah C. Davidson
    • , Carlos M. Duarte
    • , Walter Jetz
    • , Mark Johnson
    • , Akiko Kato
    • , Roland Kays
    • , Thomas Mueller
    • , Richard B. Primack
    • , Yan Ropert-Coudert
    • , Marlee A. Tucker
    • , Martin Wikelski
    •  & Francesca Cagnacci
  • Comment |

    Species distribution models are a powerful tool for ecological inference, but not every use is biologically justified. Applying these tools to the COVID-19 pandemic is unlikely to yield new insights, and could mislead policymakers at a critical moment.

    • Colin J. Carlson
    • , Joseph D. Chipperfield
    • , Blas M. Benito
    • , Richard J. Telford
    •  & Robert B. O’Hara
  • Comment |

    The recent fires in southern Australia were unprecedented in scale and severity. Much commentary has rightly focused on the role of climate change in exacerbating the risk of fire. Here, we contend that policy makers must recognize that historical and contemporary logging of forests has had profound effects on these fires’ severity and frequency.

    • David B. Lindenmayer
    • , Robert M. Kooyman
    • , Chris Taylor
    • , Michelle Ward
    •  & James E. M. Watson
  • Comment |

    Genomic regions conserved during evolution are important, but they have been ignored in conservation genetics. Managing deleterious mutations in such ultraconserved elements by genomics-informed conservation would make populations more resilient to future genetic drift.

    • Cock van Oosterhout
  • Comment |

    The ABCD conference format (All continents, Balanced gender, low Carbon transport, Diverse backgrounds) mixes live-streamed and pre-recorded talks with in-person ones to reflect a diverse range of viewpoints and reduce the environmental footprint of meetings while also lowering barriers to inclusiveness.

    • Rosetta C. Blackman
    • , Andreas Bruder
    • , Francis J. Burdon
    • , Peter Convey
    • , W. Chris Funk
    • , Sonja C. Jähnig
    • , Mary Alphonce Kishe
    • , Marcelo S. Moretti
    • , Vianny Natugonza
    • , Jan Pawlowski
    • , Rachel Stubbington
    • , Xiaowei Zhang
    • , Ole Seehausen
    •  & Florian Altermatt
  • Comment |

    Nationwide citizen science data show the importance of farmland outside protected areas for China’s avifauna. We urge the government of China to develop a national strategy for policy and research to protect biodiversity and traditional knowledge of sustainable agriculture to meet the post-2020 goal of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

    • Li Li
    • , Ruocheng Hu
    • , Jikun Huang
    • , Matthias Bürgi
    • , Ziyun Zhu
    • , Jia Zhong
    •  & Zhi Lü
  • Comment |

    Synthesizing evidence is an essential part of scientific progress, but it is often done in a slow and uncoordinated manner, sometimes producing misleading conclusions. Here, we propose the idea of an ‘open synthesis community’ to resolve this pressing issue.

    • Shinichi Nakagawa
    • , Adam G. Dunn
    • , Malgorzata Lagisz
    • , Alexandra Bannach-Brown
    • , Eliza M. Grames
    • , Alfredo Sánchez-Tójar
    • , Rose E. O’Dea
    • , Daniel W. A. Noble
    • , Martin J. Westgate
    • , Pieter A. Arnold
    • , Stuart Barrow
    • , Alison Bethel
    • , Eve Cooper
    • , Yong Zhi Foo
    • , Sonya R. Geange
    • , Emily Hennessy
    • , Witness Mapanga
    • , Kerrie Mengersen
    • , Claudia Munera
    • , Matthew J. Page
    • , Vivian Welch
    • , Matthew Carter
    • , Owen Forbes
    • , Luis Furuya-Kanamori
    • , Charles T. Gray
    • , W. Kyle Hamilton
    • , Fonti Kar
    • , Emily Kothe
    • , Joey Kwong
    • , Luke A. McGuinness
    • , Paige Martin
    • , Mandlenkosi Ngwenya
    • , Christopher Penkin
    • , Daniel Perez
    • , Michael Schermann
    • , Alistair M. Senior
    • , Juan Vásquez
    • , Wolfgang Viechtbauer
    • , Thomas E. White
    • , Mitchell Whitelaw
    •  & Neal R. Haddaway
  • Comment |

    There is an immediate need for a change in research workflows so that pre-existing knowledge is better used in designing new research. A formal assessment of the accumulated knowledge prior to research approval would reduce the waste of already limited resources caused by asking low priority questions.

    • Matthew J. Grainger
    • , Friederike C. Bolam
    • , Gavin B. Stewart
    •  & Erlend B. Nilsen
  • Comment |

    Private-sector capital is needed to scale-up forest and landscape restoration initiatives globally. To ensure the delivery of social and environmental restoration objectives, investors need to be matched appropriately to different types of restoration projects, while policies need to realign investment incentives away from degradation-driving activities.

    • Sara Löfqvist
    •  & Jaboury Ghazoul
  • Comment |

    Much research and policy effort is being expended on ways to conserve living nature while enabling the economic and social development needed to increase equity and end poverty. We propose this will only be possible if policy shifts away from conservation targets that focus on avoiding losses towards processes that consider net outcomes for biodiversity.

    • Joseph W. Bull
    • , E. J. Milner-Gulland
    • , Prue F. E. Addison
    • , William N. S. Arlidge
    • , Julia Baker
    • , Thomas M. Brooks
    • , Michael J. Burgass
    • , Amy Hinsley
    • , Martine Maron
    • , John G. Robinson
    • , Nik Sekhran
    • , Samuel P. Sinclair
    • , Simon N. Stuart
    • , Sophus O. S. E. zu Ermgassen
    •  & James E. M. Watson
  • Comment |

    The past half century has seen a move from a multiregionalist view of human origins to widespread acceptance that modern humans emerged in Africa. Here the authors argue that a simple out-of-Africa model is also outdated, and that the current state of the evidence favours a structured African metapopulation model of human origins.

    • Eleanor M. L. Scerri
    • , Lounès Chikhi
    •  & Mark G. Thomas
  • Comment |

    Currently honeybees are the sole model insect pollinator for regulatory pesticide risk assessments globally. Here we question whether this surrogacy approach provides adequate protection against potential non-target impacts of pesticide exposure for the wide diversity of insect pollinators on which agricultural production and wild plant ecosystems depend.

    • Elizabeth L. Franklin
    •  & Nigel E. Raine
  • Comment |

    States at the United Nations have begun negotiating a new treaty to strengthen the legal regime for marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction. Failure to ensure the full scope of fish biodiversity is covered could result in thousands of species continuing to slip through the cracks of a fragmented global ocean governance framework.

    • Guillermo Ortuño Crespo
    • , Daniel C. Dunn
    • , Matthew Gianni
    • , Kristina Gjerde
    • , Glen Wright
    •  & Patrick N. Halpin
  • Comment |

    Metastatic disease remains invariably fatal. Until truly curative therapies are developed, can clinical oncology benefit from lessons learned in pest management?

    • Jessica J. Cunningham
  • Comment |

    Land policies around the world tend to focus on support for agricultural output. We argue that this leads to ineffective public expenditure, environmental harm and missed opportunities for the use of rural resources. Applying thinking centred on ecosystems services to the governance of rural land would secure greater social value.

    • David Gawith
    •  & Ian Hodge
  • Comment |

    As Bolivia approaches presidential elections in October 2019, the country’s environmental leadership is at stake. We discuss urgent challenges and opportunities for reconciling conservation and societal needs in this mega-diverse country.

    • Alfredo Romero-Muñoz
    • , Álvaro Fernández-Llamazares
    • , Mónica Moraes R.
    • , Daniel M. Larrea-Alcázar
    •  & Claire F. R. Wordley
  • Comment |

    Current mangrove planting schemes aimed at reversing global losses are prioritising short-term increases in area over long-term establishment. Without sound, evidence-based restoration policies, this approach could accelerate the demise of mangrove forests and the ecosystem services they provide.

    • Shing Yip Lee
    • , Stu Hamilton
    • , Edward B. Barbier
    • , Jurgenne Primavera
    •  & Roy R. Lewis III
  • Comment |

    The inauguration of Jair Bolsonaro as Brazil’s new president has heralded a rapid acceleration of the erosion of environmental protection measures in the country. Brazil’s scientific community should rally to provide evidence that this is economically and socially unwise.

    • Denis Abessa
    • , Ana Famá
    •  & Lucas Buruaem
  • Comment |

    New antibiotics are urgently needed to combat rising rates of resistance against all existing classes of antimicrobials. We highlight key issues that complicate the prediction of resistance evolution in the real world and outline the ways in which these can be overcome.

    • Michael A. Brockhurst
    • , Freya Harrison
    • , Jan-Willem Veening
    • , Ellie Harrison
    • , Grace Blackwell
    • , Zamin Iqbal
    •  & Craig Maclean
  • Comment |

    Macroscopic organisms from the late Ediacaran period have often been described as failed experiments in the history of life. We argue that the field of Ediacaran palaeobiology should dispense with unhelpful historical classification schemes and embrace phylogenetic systematics if we are to establish the evolutionary relevance of these fossils.

    • Frances S. Dunn
    •  & Alexander G. Liu
  • Comment |

    Since its inception, the East African Association for Palaeoanthropology and Palaeontology has brought together scholars and researchers who conduct research in palaeoanthropology, archaeology and palaeontology, creating a balanced forum for the study of human heritage in Africa.

    • Zeresenay Alemseged
    • , Jackson Njau
    • , Briana Pobiner
    •  & Emmanuel Ndiema
  • Comment |

    Researchers in various contexts have long struggled with an apparent disconnect between an individual’s level of understanding of biological evolution and their acceptance of it as an explanation for the history and diversity of life. Here, we discuss the main factors associated with acceptance of evolution and chart a path forward for evolution education research.

    • Ryan D. P. Dunk
    • , M. Elizabeth Barnes
    • , Michael J. Reiss
    • , Brian Alters
    • , Anila Asghar
    • , B. Elijah Carter
    • , Sehoya Cotner
    • , Amanda L. Glaze
    • , Patricia H. Hawley
    • , Jamie L. Jensen
    • , Louise S. Mead
    • , Louis S. Nadelson
    • , Craig E. Nelson
    • , Briana Pobiner
    • , Eugenie C. Scott
    • , Andrew Shtulman
    • , Gale M. Sinatra
    • , Sherry A. Southerland
    • , Emily M. Walter
    • , Sara E. Brownell
    •  & Jason R. Wiles
  • Comment |

    Sociocultural transitions and medical advancements can disrupt evolutionary equilibriums underlying modern human anatomy, physiology and life history. Disentangling such complex biosocial evolutionary dynamics poses serious ethical questions but has strong potential for guiding public health policies.

    • Philipp Mitteroecker
  • Comment |

    Ash forests in North America and Eurasia are rapidly being lost to two invasive alien species: the emerald ash borer and Chalara ash dieback fungus. We argue that better regulatory policy and science-based intervention can help slow losses, and recommend an international consortium to coordinate science-based intervention.

    • Devrim Semizer-Cuming
    • , Konstantin V. Krutovsky
    • , Yuri N. Baranchikov
    • , Erik D. Kjӕr
    •  & Claire G. Williams
  • Comment |

    Debate surrounding the dilution effect hypothesis in disease ecology has reached such intensity that it is stymying further research. Yet collaborative progress is important for human health and biodiversity conservation.

    • Samniqueka Halsey
  • Comment |

    Evidence overwhelmingly shows structural barriers to women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, and suggests that the onus cannot be on women alone to confront the gender bias in our community. Here, I share my experience as a scientist and a woman who has collected data during more than ten years of scientific training about how best to navigate the academic maze of biases and barriers.

    • Kathleen E. Grogan
  • Comment |

    Ensuring an environmentally friendly overhaul of the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy will entail payments for environmental objectives, promoting High Nature Value Farmlands, improved flexibility and policy integration.

    • Alberto Navarro
    •  & José Vicente López-Bao
  • Comment |

    Globally, flora, fauna and many indigenous cultures have evolved to coexist sustainably with fire. We argue that the key to sustainable contemporary human coexistence with wildfires is a form of biomimicry that draws on the evolutionary adaptations of organisms that survive (and flourish) in the fire regimes in which they reside.

    • Alistair M. S. Smith
    • , Crystal A. Kolden
    •  & David M. J. S. Bowman
  • Comment |

    Indigenous knowledge and ecological science have complementary differences that can be fruitfully combined to better understand the past and predict the future of social-ecological systems. Cooperation among scientific and Indigenous perspectives can improve conservation and resource management policies.

    • Natalie C. Ban
    • , Alejandro Frid
    • , Mike Reid
    • , Barry Edgar
    • , Danielle Shaw
    •  & Peter Siwallace
  • 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 |

    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 |

    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 |

    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