Thursday, December 19, 2013

More links for 2013: the 'new' conservation, the IPCC report in haiku, and more.

Conservation science has been at the receiving end of some harsh criticisms in the last couple of years, particularly from the current chief scientist of the Nature Conservancy, Peter Kareiva (e.g. 1).  They have suggested that conservation science needs to be redefined and refocused on human-centred benefits and values if it is to be successful. Some pushback in the form of TREE article from Dan Doak et al. suggests that reframing conservation in terms of its human benefits is not the best or only solution.

In a similar vein, another new paper in TREE asks what issues should the conservation community be addressing. A short-list of 15 issues suggests highly specific problems that should be addressed soon, including the exploitation of Antarctica, rapid geographic expansion of macroalgal cultivation for biofuels, and the loss of rhinos and elephants.

Even if the official IPCC report proves too long or dry for the average person to read before the end of the year, there is also a haiku version. The pretty watercolour illustrations don't make the report any more cheerful, unfortunately.

Finally, a new journal, "Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene" seems positioned to focus precisely on these kind of issues. According to their website: 

"Elementa is a new, open-access, scientific journal founded by BioOne, Dartmouth, Georgia Tech, the University of Colorado Boulder, the University of Michigan, and the University of Washington.
Elementa represents a comprehensive approach to the challenges presented by this era of accelerated human impact, embracing the concept that basic knowledge can foster sustainable solutions for society....Elementa publishes original research reporting on new knowledge of the Earth’s physical, chemical, and biological systems; interactions between human and natural systems; and steps that can be taken to mitigate and adapt to global change. "

It will be interesting to see how it develops.

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