Policy Directions

Policy Directions are a paper type for policy-related pieces that aim to inform and improve policy over a wide range of subjects by providing a broader policy context for the topic and relating it to the wider issues around constrained decision making. Read the guidelines for authors and the articles listed below.

Policy Directions for consideration in the journal can be submitted here.

A prioritised list of invasive alien species to assist the effective implementation of EU legislation
by  Carles Carboneras and colleagues
The authors assess an unprecedented number of species with potential to harm EU biodiversity using a simple methodology and recommend which species should be considered for risk assessment in a ranked order of priority along the timeline 2018–2030, based on their maximum reported impact and their invasion history in Europe.

Developing a framework of minimum standards for the risk assessment of alien species
by  Helen E. Roy and colleagues
The authors provide a checklist of components that should be within invasive alien species risk assessments and recommendations to develop risk assessments to meet these proposed minimum standards. Although inspired by implementation of the European Union Regulation on invasive alien species, and as such developed specifically within a European context, the derived framework and minimum standards could be applied globally.

Integrating invasive species policies across ornamental horticulture supply chains to prevent plant invasions
by  Philip E. Hulme and colleagues
Closing the plant invasion pathway associated with ornamental horticulture requires government-industry agreements to fund effective pre- and post-border weed risk assessments that can be subsequently supported by widely adopted, as well as verifiable, industry codes of conduct. This will ensure producers and consumers make informed choices in the face of better targeted public education addressing plant invasions.

Reframing the evidence base for policy-relevance to increase impact: a case study on forest fragmentation in the oil palm sector
by Jennifer M. Lucey, Georgina Palmer, Kok L. Yeong, David P. Edwards, Michael J. M. Senior, Sarah A. Scriven, Glen Reynolds and Jane K. Hill
This case study demonstrates how having an in-depth understanding of the ‘policy arena’ (the state of policy and the actors and influencing factors that affect policy) and responding with relevant and specific information, enabled effective uptake of science to inform the design of conservation set-asides in the oil palm industry.

Invasive species management will benefit from social impact assessment
by Sarah L. Crowley, Steve Hinchliffe and Robbie A. McDonald
As invasive species management grows in scope and scale, social impact assessment provides a rigorous process for recognising and responding to social concerns. It could therefore produce more democratic, less conflict-prone and more effective interventions.

Slow intrinsic growth rate in forest elephants indicates recovery from poaching will require decades
by Andrea K. Turkalo, Peter H. Wrege and George Wittemyer
Debates regarding the sustainability of the ivory trade for the species appear to have overestimated growth rates of forest elephants. The information presented here indicates that sustainable offtake models for forest elephants need reassessment.

Seeking convergence on the key concepts in ‘no net loss’ policy
by Joseph Bull, Ascelin Gordon, James Watson and Martine Maron
The recommendations made in this article, on improving clarity and supporting convergence on key no net loss (NNL) concepts, should help eliminate ambiguity in policy documentation. This is crucial if policymakers are to design robust policies that are (i) transparent, (ii) translatable into practice in a consistent manner and (iii) sufficiently understood and supported by stakeholders to be effective in practice.

Replication, effect sizes and identifying the biological impacts of pesticides on bees under field conditions
by Ben Woodcock, Matthew Heard, Mark Jitlal, Maj Rundlöf, James Bullock, Richard Shore and Richard Pywell
Regulatory studies benefit from data sources collated over a range of spatial scales, from laboratory to landscapes. Basing effect size thresholds solely on expert judgement, as has been done, may be inappropriate. Rather, definition through experimental or simulation studies that assess the biological consequences of changes in colony size for bee populations is required. This has implications for regulatory bodies outside the European Union.

A conflict management tool for conservation agencies
by Juliette Claire Young, Des B. A. Thompson, Peter Moore, Alastair MacGugan, Allan Watt and Stephen Mark Redpath
We argue this new tool has wide applicability and democratic legitimacy and offers an exciting and practical approach to improve the management of conservation conflicts.

The need for a consistent fire policy for Cerrado conservation
by Giselda Durigan and James Ratter
The National Fire Policy required by law must be urgently implemented in Brazil, including use of fire for Cerrado conservation in public and private lands on the basis of existing knowledge of indigenous people and scientists. Objective regulations on prescribed burning, land manager training, incentives for fire research and experimentation and a broad campaign to disseminate the benefits of fire for Cerrado conservation should be the cornerstones of the policy. If implemented, the policy can give the biodiversity of the Cerrado a future that has previously been severely threatened by fire suppression.

Invasion pathways at a crossroad: policy and research challenges for managing alien species introductions
by Philip Hulme
Policymakers require new risk analysis tools to predict the hazards posed by species with no prior invasion history, the vulnerability of native biodiversity to emerging diseases, and the components of regional species pools that become invasive following connection via corridors.

Developing fencing policies for dryland ecosystems
by Sarah M. Durant and colleagues
Implementing this research agenda to evaluate fencing interventions in dryland ecosystems will enable better management and policy decisions. The United Nations Conventions on Migratory Species (CMS) and to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) are appropriate international agreements for moving this agenda forward and leading the development of policies and guidelines on fencing in drylands.