Journal of Applied Ecology publishes novel, broad-reaching papers on the interface between ecological science and the management of the natural environment. 

We cover all ecological realms and themes in applied ecology, with a focus on addressing the acute global challenges of mitigating and adapting to climate change, conserving biodiversity, and promoting nature’s multifaceted contributions to people. Journal of Applied Ecology is part of the prestigious British Ecological Society portfolio.


Featured in Journal of Applied Ecology

Skip slideshow

Browse Articles

free access

Cover Picture and Issue Information

  •  899-901
  •  7 May 2024

Graphical Abstract

Description unavailable

Cover image: The wolf (Canis lupus) is currently recolonizing its now human-dominated former ranges in Europe and North America. These human-modified ecosystems have largely changed in (meso)carnivore communities, wolves themselves (genetics, behavior), woody plant communities and the playing field for predator-prey interactions (landscape structure). The recognition of the novelty of human-modified ecosystems logically leads to novel pathways of how wolves can influence ecosystem functioning, which we discussed in our study Kuijper et al. 2024. The photo shows a wolf close to the village Białowieża in Poland. (pp.906–921).

Photo: © Tom Diserens.

Open access

Fish responses to manipulated microhabitat complexity in urbanised shorelines

  •  1095-1108
  •  4 April 2024

Graphical Abstract

Description unavailable

Our study shows that, to enhance fish diversity, it is important to provide three-dimensional habitat architecture that incorporates a wide range of microhabitat sizes and types. Our findings also highlight some key considerations when assessing the performance of intervention designs, including spatial-scale dependent effects of structural complexity, diel variation in fish-microhabitat relationships, and choice of intervention assessment metric (i.e. taxonomic vs. functional diversity).

Propensity score matching mitigates risk of faulty inferences in observational studies of effectiveness of restoration trials

  •  1127-1137
  •  3 April 2024

Graphical Abstract

Description unavailable

Failure to consider the non-random and selective deployment of restoration treatments by managers leads to faulty inference on their effectiveness. However, tools such as propensity-score matching can be used to remove the bias from analyses of the outcomes of management trials or to devise sampling plans that efficiently protect against the bias.

free access

Cover Picture and Issue Information

  •  599-601
  •  2 April 2024

Graphical Abstract

Description unavailable

Cover image: An adult long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum) lying on a bed of moss next to an alpine lake. Using long-toed salamanders as a case study, new recommendations for the use of species distribution models in translocation planning suggest that testing model settings and independent validation may improve translocation success. (pp. 713–732). Photo: © Dr. Arianna Kuhn.

Open access

Pyric herbivory in a temperate European wood‐pasture system

  •  1081-1094
  •  27 March 2024

Graphical Abstract

Description unavailable

In our temperate European wood pasture, fire and (cattle) grazing interacted in ways comparable to pyric herbivory in grassy ecosystems elsewhere in the world, especially in the most productive paddock. Fire attracted grazing, with cattle grazing longer on subplots that burned more fully. Grazing also affected fire, where over the course of our experiment cattle grazing reduced grass height and the proportion of a subplot that burned. We suggest that pyric herbivory is an interesting management method to further explore in the European context to address the loss of biodiversity in open ecosystems, particularly in more productive sites.

More articles
Open access

Can faster growth compensate for increased mortality in subtropical dry forest fragments?

  •  22 May 2024

Graphical Abstract

Description unavailable

Overall, our results are consistent with increasing tree mortality rates reported recently for the Australian wet tropics and suggest widespread and alarming impacts of increasing VPD on rainforest and dry forest community dynamics. To increase forest resilience in a changing climate, we recommend the retention of a buffer of plantation trees adjacent to old-growth forest corridors; widening the forest corridors using faster-growing species identified in this study and maintaining connections between scrub breaks and larger tracts of forest for species dispersal.

Open access

Landscapes with higher crop diversity have lower aphid species richness but higher plant virus prevalence

  •  21 May 2024

Graphical Abstract

Description unavailable

In summary, we found that landscape-scale crop diversity impacts plant virus prevalence at spatial scales of >1 km. This suggests that potato growers could reduce PVY prevalence by geographically isolating potato fields from other potato or other PVY hosts. Crop diversity had a negative influence on aphid vector communities, so growers could reduce risk of virus spread by aphid vectors by using certified potato seed in a diversified landscape.

Open access

A Bayesian analysis of adaptation of mountain grassland production to global change

  •  15 May 2024

Graphical Abstract

Description unavailable

Changes in LULC are more decisive for global biomass production than climate change. However, under the most extreme climate change scenario (RCP8.5), the seasonal shift in production and increased interannual variability threaten the current grass-based protected designation of origin (PDO) production system. Only the intensification adaptation solution showed significant gains in total biomass production. Still, the silvopastoralism would require less investment compared to the intensification and have a similar efficiency when assessing the gains of biomass by the surface concerned with adaptation solutions. Along with decreased total annual production due to decreasing grassland area compounded by more extreme climate change, the seasonal shift in production and increased interannual variability threaten the current grass-based PDO production system. Further Bayesian modelling co-developed with local stakeholders and experts could greatly contribute to adaptation planning of the regional production system.

Open access

Flying without fear: Shooting disturbance has little effect on site preferences in a conflict goose species

  •  15 May 2024

Graphical Abstract

Description unavailable

Our results demonstrate the importance of providing refuges within managed agricultural landscapes to encourage site use and minimise conflict. We highlight how low-intensity shooting disturbance may be ineffective in altering winter habitat selection of high-value foraging sites (especially near roosts). If future management aimed to stimulate redistribution, higher intensity shooting disturbance along with the spatial and temporal coordination of shooting effort would likely be required to create a stronger perceived gradient of disturbance risk.

Open access

Diversified cropping strengthens herbivore regulation by providing seasonal resource continuity to predators

  •  15 May 2024

Graphical Abstract

Description unavailable

Our results suggest that locally provided resource continuity through diversified cropping practices bolster biological pest regulation, thus underline the importance of lesser disturbance in arable ecosystems for the provision of ecosystem services. Enhanced predator species richness together with availability of alternative prey through the season underpins this enhanced pest regulation.

Open access

Restoration thinning accelerates small tree growth but may slow large tree growth in a multi‐age flood‐dependent forest

  •  11 May 2024

Graphical Abstract

Description unavailable

Restoration thinning may accelerate tree growth in young river red gum forests where all trees are small. But restoration thinning may be ineffective or detrimental in multi-aged forests where the goal is to promote the growth rates of trees that are already medium to large in size.

Leveraging relationships between species abundances to improve predictions and inform conservation

  •  10 May 2024

Graphical Abstract

Description unavailable

We present guidelines for using conditional prediction, which can help understand relationships between species abundances, improve predictions and inform conservation in a variety of contexts.

Open access

Predicting regional cumulative effects of future development on coastal ecosystems to support Indigenous governance

  •  7 May 2024

Graphical Abstract

Description unavailable

Our study demonstrates an inclusive, regional approach to assessing the cumulative effects of future development on coastal species. The novel participatory tools and predictive framework draw upon and interweave multiple forms of knowledge, enabling Indigenous values to drive the process, and appropriately integrate Indigenous knowledge into regional cumulative effects assessment. Our interactive web application provides First Nations partners access to all outputs, supporting Indigenous-led governance and in situ ecosystem-based management of their lands and water.

Open access

Using multi‐scale spatial models of dendritic ecosystems to infer abundance of a stream salmonid

  •  7 May 2024

Graphical Abstract

Description unavailable

Our study suggested conservation priority should involve multiple criteria, including present-day abundance, temporal trend and sensitivity to environmental drivers. Based on the inferred scale-specific variations in trout abundance, we recommend that future surveys strategically combine single-pass surveys with multi-pass surveys to optimize abundance estimation. Our approach is widely applicable to other species and ecosystems occupying dendritic habitats.

Open access

Equivalent mating system parameters in post‐mining and undisturbed native plant populations confirms restitution of bird‐pollinator function

  •  7 May 2024

Graphical Abstract

Description unavailable

Reviewing our results with other published studies to date suggests a resilience of bird-pollinator services in restored plant communities. These findings provide some reassurance to restoration practitioners working in these global south systems where bird pollination is a feature, at least for similar landscape scenarios. Our study also highlights the global contribution of ecological genetics to the objective assessment of functional species interactions in ecological restoration, an increasingly important goal of land managers and regulators seeking to improve restoration standards.

More articles
free access

REVIEW: An overview of the environmental risks posed by neonicotinoid insecticides

Abstract

Major knowledge gaps remain, but current use of neonicotinoids is likely to be impacting on a broad range of non-target taxa including pollinators and soil and aquatic invertebrates and hence threatens a range of ecosystem services.

free access

REVIEW: Wildlife camera trapping: a review and recommendations for linking surveys to ecological processes

Abstract

The rapid adoption of camera traps represents an exciting transition in wildlife survey methodology. We remain optimistic about the technology's promise, but call for more explicit consideration of underlying processes of animal abundance, movement and detection by cameras, including more thorough reporting of methodological details and assumptions. Such transparency will facilitate efforts to evaluate and improve the reliability of camera trap surveys, ultimately leading to stronger inferences and helping to meet modern needs for effective ecological inquiry and biodiversity monitoring.

More articles
free access

Guidance for successful tree planting initiatives

Graphical Abstract

Description unavailable

Tree planting, along with other strategies to increase tree cover in appropriate locations and contexts, can make a valuable contribution to ensuring the ecological and social well-being of our planet in coming decades, but only if these efforts are considered as one component of multifaceted solutions to complex environmental problems and are carefully planned, implemented and monitored over a sufficiently long time-scale with stakeholder engagement and broader consideration of socio-ecological complexities.

Open access

Renewable energies and biodiversity: Impact of ground‐mounted solar photovoltaic sites on bat activity

Graphical Abstract

Description unavailable

Ground-mounted solar photovoltaic developments have a significant negative effect on bat activity, and should be considered in appropriate planning legislation and policy. Solar photovoltaic developments should be screened in Environmental Impact Assessments for ecological impacts, and appropriate mitigation (e.g. maintaining boundaries, planting vegetation to network with surrounding foraging habitat) and monitoring should be implemented to highlight potential negative effects.

Open access

Pesticide effects on soil fauna communities—A meta‐analysis

Graphical Abstract

Description unavailable

Our study highlights that pesticide use has significant detrimental non-target effects on soil biodiversity, eroding a substantial part of global biodiversity and threatening ecosystem health. This provides crucial evidence supporting recent policies, such as the European Green Deal, that aim to reduce pesticide use in agriculture to conserve biodiversity. The detrimental effects of multiple substances revealed here are particularly concerning because realistic pesticide use often combines several substances targeting different pests and diseases over the crop season. We suggest that future guidelines for pesticide registration, restrictions and banning should rely on data able to fully capture the long-term consequences of multiple substances for multiple non-target species in realistic conditions.

free access

Controlling invasive plant species in ecological restoration: A global review

Graphical Abstract

Description unavailable

Decisions about which control method to use depend heavily on the invasive plant species' growth forms, the local economic situation where the restoration sites are located and resources available for control. More developed countries tend to use more chemical control, whereas less developed ones use mainly non-chemical methods. Since most of the reviewed studies were performed in countries with very high Human Development Index, we lack information from developing countries, which concentrates global hotspots for biodiversity conservation and global commitments of forest and landscape restoration.