Category: Publications

Working with scientists better informs managers’ decisions on bird conservation

by Lisa Sheppard, Prairie Research Institute

Scientists studying birds have the data, and conservation managers make the decisions in the field, but if the two groups collaborate, together they can form the best outcomes on real-world bird conservation issues, according to an Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) ecologist.

Translational ecology is a technique in which those who conduct the science and those who use the information partner to ensure that management decisions are scientifically based. The approach is especially applicable to issues such as conflicts between wind turbines and birds and predator management in which there are several opposing viewpoints, said Auriel Fournier, director of the INHS Forbes Biological Station.

“Often, what we see in traditional research is that scientists try to answer the scientific questions and then tie the information back to management of bird populations, but there is no discussion about the issues managers need to have addressed,” said Fournier. “As a result, there is a mismatch between the data and the issue that managers are dealing with. The conversation needs to start on day one with scientists soliciting feedback from folks on the ground.”

Translational ecology offers six principles, including collaboration, engagement, commitment, communication, process, and decision framing. In this process, other entities may become involved, including non-profits, organizations, government agencies, and university Extension.

All parties share their knowledge and commit to a long-term collaboration. Relationship-building gives individuals a sense of ownership in solving challenges and a decision framework that helps to achieve outcomes based on the managers’ needs, values, and timeframes.

In one example of how translational ecology works, the authors applied the technique to a conflict about free-roaming cats in Ontario, Canada. Wildlife enthusiasts recognize cats at threats to birds and small mammals, while others feel that cats benefit from having free range outdoors.

In the early 2010s, a group convened in Guelph, Ontario with representatives from humane societies, veterinary clinics, community science initiatives, government wildlife services, and ornithologists to form the Guelph Cat Population Task Force. The group co-authored a white paper compiling research related to birds and cats.

From this early work, Nature Canada created the coalition Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives to foster an understanding of stakeholders’ values, goals, and diverse perspectives and emphasize their commonalities. Committee members promoted building relationships and buy-in of the shared goals. As a result, they identified needed research, developed policy recommendations, and promoted education.

“There are never easy answers to some issues related to bird conservation, particularly because these are not strictly scientific problems, but may also be social, political, and legal problems as well,” Fournier said. “By building partnerships through the translation ecology approach, data and information that managers will use can be exchanged.”

If the process is effective, policy makers’ and conservation managers’ decisions will be better informed and the science will be more applicable to real-world situations. Ideally, managers will be more open to considering different decisions than they might have made without the collaboration. In other cases, they may make the same decisions but have the knowledge needed to justify their choices.

Fournier is co-author of an article in the journal Ornithological Applications, which is available through certain university networks.


Media contact: Auriel Fournier, 217-300-8698,

This post originally appeared on the Prairie Research Institute blog. Read the original post here.

A new approach to identify genetic boundaries of species could also impact policy

Read the full story from San Diego State University.

A new approach to genomic species delineation could impact policy and lend clarity to legislation for designating a species as endangered or at risk. Evolutionary biologists model the process of speciation, which follows population formation, improving on current species delineation methods.

Carbon emissions from dams considerably underestimated so far

Read the full story from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ.

Among other things, dams serve as reservoirs for drinking water, agricultural irrigation, or the operation of hydropower plants. Until now, it had been assumed that dams act as net carbon stores. Researchers have now shown that dams release twice as much carbon as they store.

The Chief Sustainability Officer 10 Years Later: The Rise of ESG in the C-Suite

Download the report.

Who are these CSOs, what are they responsible for, and which issues do they think will take hold as we look to the future of sustainable business? Most critically, do they have the required skills and authority to solve our most wicked problems? This report—an update to the Weinreb Group’s seminal CSO Back Story published 10 years ago—answers these questions, providing an in-depth look at CSOs1 today and their powerful role in business.

Call for ‘paradigm shift’ to fight airborne spread of COVID-19 indoors

Read the full story from the Queensland University of Technology.

Researchers are calling for a ‘paradigm shift’ in combating airborne pathogens such as COVID-19, demanding universal recognition that infections can be prevented by improving indoor ventilation systems.

Breakthrough in reverse osmosis may lead to most energy-efficient seawater desalination ever

Read the full story from Purdue University.

Making fresh water out of seawater usually requires huge amounts of energy. The most widespread process for desalination is called reverse osmosis, which works by flowing seawater over a membrane at high pressure to remove the minerals.  

Now, Purdue University engineers have developed a variant of the process called “batch reverse osmosis,” which promises better energy efficiency, longer-lasting equipment and the ability to process water of much higher salinity. It could end up a difference-maker in water security around the world.

New conductive polymer ink opens for next-generation printed electronics

Read the full story from Linköping University.

Researchers have developed a stable high-conductivity polymer ink. The advance paves the way for innovative printed electronics with high energy efficiency.

How to pick a tree-planting project? Mongabay launches transparency tool to help supporters decide

Read the full story at Mongabay.

Mongabay has put together a database to show whether tree-planting and reforestation projects publicly disclose the criteria that experts say are keys to success. Our directory is built on a three-month research effort to record publicly available information on more than 350 tree-planting projects in 80 countries.

Rather than make an assessment (and perceived endorsement) of the quality of the projects, Mongabay’s review is based on how much information is publicly disclosed by an organization. Here, we present some key questions to ask and criteria to consider when evaluating the legitimacy and effectiveness of a tree-planting project.

Canada announces new energy and emissions database

Read the news release.

Improvements in energy efficiency are critical to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. The Government of Canada is building a clean energy future to strengthen the economy, create jobs and support the natural resource sectors as we recover from COVID-19.

Lenore Zann, Member of Parliament for Cumberland–Colchester, on behalf of the Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Natural Resources, today announced an $80,000 investment to Sustainability Solutions Group to support the development of the Municipal Energy and Emission Database (MEED), an integrated geospatial platform that tracks greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for municipalities across Canada.

Smithfield reveals new commitments in its 2020 Sustainability Impact Report

Read the full story in Food Engineering.

The protein supplier has announced it will reduce GHG emissions across its entire domestic supply chain 30 percent by 2030 as well as obtain 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, such as solar and wind power, over the same time period.

%d bloggers like this: