Emerging Conservation Issues for 2018

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RESEARCH AREA
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This week’s featured research article has just been published in Trends in Ecology and Evolution and presents a horizon scan of the emerging conservation issues for 2018. This is the researcher’s ninth annual horizon scan to identify emerging issues that they believe could affect global biological diversity, natural capital and ecosystem services, and conservation efforts. Twenty-four experts in conservation research and practice, ecology, economics, policy, and science communication identified 15 topics following a wide consultation. They followed a Delphi like process to score and identify the most important. The issues highlighted span a wide range of fields and include thiamine deficiency in wild animals, the geo-graphic expansion of chronic wasting disease, genetic control of invasive mammal populations and the effect of culturomics on conservation science, policy and action. The aim of the study was to highlight systematically both risks and opportunities to the conservation of biological diversity that are not widely known by conservation scientists and decision makers. Horizon scanning allows users, including but not limited to policy makers, researchers, innovators, educators, investors, and practitioners, to identify future political, environmental, technological, and societal changes and consider their possible effects. Horizon scanning can help reduce the degree for conservation biology to be a crisis discipline, and to be a proactive rather than a reactive science. The horizon scanning process is not intended to draw attention to phenomena that are widely understood to affect societal needs or values, including those related to all aspects of biological diversity. Instead, it is intended as an early awareness and alert system drawing attention to novel issues that, if realised, may create pivotal opportunities or threats and thus warrant further analysis in the near future. It supports the capabilities of organizations to deal better with an uncertain and complex future. The article can be downloaded here (or email jennie.fluin@sa.gov.au for a copy).