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Ecology and Evolution in Ireland

9 November 2016

Edited by Yvonne M. Buckley, Hugh B. Feeley, Paul Giller, Ian Montgomery and John Quinn

Researchers based in Ireland or working on Irish ecosystems have had a long history of association with the British Ecological Society and its journals. During his BES Presidential address the English born Amyan MacFadyen, then based in Northern Ireland, had “some thoughts on the behavior of ecologists” (Macfadyen 1975). Macfadyen appealed for a more integrative and systems based approach, which resonates increasingly as technological advances proliferate. While differences in funding, research priorities and cultures have naturally driven diversity in research outputs across Northern Ireland (part of the United Kingdom) and the Republic of Ireland, the recently founded Irish Ecological Association brings together ecologists and evolutionary biologists from across the island as a partner organization of the BES. Given current political uncertainties following the “Brexit” referendum in the UK it is vital that cross-border UK and Irish scientific collaborations and funding continue to be strengthened. The new partnership between IEA and BES comes at an important time for ecological science in these islands.

The full introduction to this Virtual Issue can be downloaded here.

Novel Ecosystems in the Anthropocene

1 August 2016
The theme of the 2016 Ecological Society of America meeting is "Novel Ecosystems in the Anthropocene". The BES journals team agree that given our rapidly changing climate it is more important than ever to increase our understanding of basic ecological principals so that we can predict species responses to changing and novel ecosystems. All the BES journals welcome submissions that attempt to solve these problems. This Virtual Issue compiles some of our best research into the ecology of this new epoch and we hope that the below articles will be of interest to researchers and managers working in this important area.

Endangered Species

1 May 2016
To celebrate Endangered Species Day 2016 the BES journals have compiled this virtual issue on the topic. The papers below are drawn from the journals and provide examples of the latest research on endangered species. They cover a broad range of plants, animals and insects as well as terrestrial and aquatic systems. We hope that this selection of papers will be of interest to researchers and stakeholders in this important and fascinating field.

Demography Behind the Population

1 March 2016
The British Ecological Society journals in collaboration with our partner open access journal Ecology and Evolution are pleased to present a cross-journal virtual issue celebrating the sheer breadth of demography research published across our journals.

This virtual issue Demography Behind the Population highlights the interdisciplinary nature of the field as well as providing added context for the publication of our recently published cross-journal Special Feature Demography Beyond the Population showcasing the latest in demography research and linking several disciplines and scales across ecology and evolution. This Special Feature is first time that the BES journals have collaborated in this unique way. You can read the lay summaries for Functional Ecology's contribution to the special feature here.

On Tuesday 1 March at 1pm GMT we are hosting a live webinar in association with the Special Feature. It is free to register for the webinar via the BES website. The webinar will also be available online to watch afterwards as well.

Open Access Week 2015

25 October 2015
To coincide with the 8th Annual International Open Access Week, we are delighted to bring together a selection of recent open access papers published in all five BES Journals. All of these papers have been published through the Online Open programme. The BES offers its members a 25% discount towards the cost of the Online Open scheme. Read the papers here.

Early Career researcher Awards 2014

22 March 2015
Each year the BES awards a prize for the best paper, in each of its journals, by an author at the start of their research career. This Virtual Issue brings together the winning and highly commended papers selected by the editors from journal issues published in 2014. Read the papers here.

BES Early Career Researcher Awards

28 March 2017
Each year the BES awards a prize for the best paper, in each of its journals, by an author at the start of their research career. This Virtual Issue brings together the winning and highly commended papers selected by the editors from journal issues published in 2016. Read the papers here.

Invasive Species

27 March 2017
Edited by Manuela González-Suárez and Pablo González-Moreno

Invasive species represent a serious conservation and social problem. The abundance and geographical distribution of invasive organisms continues to increase globally and considerable efforts are currently devoted to better understand the current and potential invasive species and their impacts, as well as to explore which are the most effective management actions and policy decisions to prevent further problems. This virtual issue showcases recent work on invasive species published in the journals of the British Ecological Society. We grouped these studies into three non-exclusive themes that showcase the latest approaches to understand and manage invasive species.

National Tree Week 2016

1 November 2016
Edited by the BES journal editorial teams
National Tree Week celebrates tree planting within local communities. This virtual issue contains recent papers from BES Journals that highlight the global importance of trees and forests as habitat for species from insects to primates, and in meeting human needs for fuel and agriculture. The selected papers also demonstrate novel methods scientists are using to study trees and forests.

Authors in Asia

15 January 2016
In recognition of the increasing number of submissions to and publications in the Journal of Applied Ecology from authors based in Asia, we have compiled a Virtual Issue of papers from authors in Asia published in the Journal over the last few years. The Virtual Issue highlights a number of key areas including applied ecology in an era of rapid change, managing the impacts of land use change, the science of healthy ecosystems, reducing human-wildlife conflicts and managing species. The papers listed here will be freely available to read until March 2016.

To accompany this Virtual Issue you can find a series of related blog posts on the Applied Ecologist’s blog.

Tropical Biology and Conservation

16 June 2016
Edited by Susan Cheyne

There are few landscapes in the tropics which are not impacted by humans in some way. From small-scale harvesting of non-timber forest products to plantations and extractive industry, humans are shaping tropical landscapes and forests at a rapid and increasing rate. With many of these areas also being biodiversity hotspots and home to many threatened and endemic species, a greater understanding of the impacts human activities are having on flora and fauna are essential. The papers gathered under this Virtual Issue for the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation 2016 Annual Meeting represent a fraction of the work in a field which is rapidly expanding. Yet these papers exemplify the high quality of the science being produced by researchers and practitioners who are increasingly making use of new techniques and technologies, and successfully engaging and partnering with industry and stakeholders to lead the way in policy reform and best practice management.

Ecological Restoration

14 August 2015
Edited by Jeremy James

Over the last several decades, the critical role that ecosystem restoration plays in mitigating environmental change, increasing food security, and improving political and economic stability has been cemented in numerous national and international agreements, policies, and programs. Meeting this global restoration need, however, is widely viewed as one of the most long-standing and immense challenges of our time. The research, practice and outcomes of ecological restoration have long been viewed as salient tests of our understanding of how ecological systems work. While our understanding of how ecological communities assemble, function and respond to perturbations has gradually progressed over the last several decades, in many cases this increased knowledge has not been readily incorporated into restoration practices or resulted in improved restoration outcomes. 

The barriers that prevent new ecological knowledge from being adopted into new practices that improve restoration outcomes are numerous and complex. The Journal of Applied Ecology has had a long history of publishing leading ideas that address these barriers. In recognition of the Society for Ecological Restoration’s 2015 World Conference and in support of shared goals that ultimately aim to slow and reverse ecosystem degradation across the globe, the Journal of Applied Ecology has compiled a Virtual Issue on 20 key papers, published in the journal over the last three years, specifically aimed at improving our ability to predict and manage restoration outcomes and overcome adoption barriers to ecosystem restoration.

Broadly, this Virtual Issue is organized in four themes. The first theme, “Testing and advancing ecological theory to improve restoration outcomes” centres on the long standing effort to use restoration challenges as opportunities to test and improve our understanding of ecology and translate basic ecological understanding into applied practices that solve critical issues. The second theme, “Integrating knowledge into practice”, explores pathways to overcome multiple barriers that constrain application of existing and new information including how information is accessed and where knowledge is derived, how managers and researchers can jointly identify key knowledge gaps, and how managers and researchers can cooperatively work towards understanding how to most effectively put new knowledge into practice. The last two themes examine specific opportunities to optimize how restoration knowledge is put into practice including use of limited restoration resources and improving understanding of restoration cost and benefits. Specifically, theme three, “Prioritizing management efforts”, examines how to optimize the spatial and temporal allocation of restoration resources and how uncertainty can be addressed in the management decision making process while, theme four, “Effects of restoration on ecosystem services”, explores recovery of market and non-market ecosystem services following restoration, how net benefits can be quantified, as well as how potential trade-offs between services should be considered.

The papers organized under this Virtual Issue reflect only a small portion of the vigorous work pursued by researchers, practitioners, policymakers and other stakeholders over the last several years and only touch on the enormous work ahead if we are to reach even a fraction of our restoration goals over the coming decades. The key concepts highlighted in the themes of this Virtual Issue, however, can give us great hope that partnerships between scientists and practitioners are increasingly improving knowledge exploration in this field and making major headway in overcoming restoration barriers. Some specific indicators include the greater focus and institutional value of measuring applied impact of ecological work and clearer recognition of how qualitative information and tacit knowledge, often derived from site specific management experience can help advance the larger field of restoration ecology. In addition, the increasing emphasis that government agencies and non-profit groups are placing on quantifying the benefits of various conservation and restoration practices represent clear opportunities where researcher/practitioner partnerships can test and refine our ecological understanding at large spatial and temporal scales and ultimately identify pathways to improve restoration outcomes and increase adoption of effective restoration practices.