Influential conservation papers of 2022

3 01 2023

Following my annual tradition, I present the retrospective list of the ‘top’ 20 influential papers of 2022 as assessed by experts in Faculty Opinions (formerly known as F1000). These are in no particular order. See previous years’ lists here: 2021, 2020, 201920182017201620152014, and 2013.


Genetic variance in fitness indicates rapid contemporary adaptive evolution in wild animals — “… this paper adds a much-needed perspective to the status of genetic diversity and adaptive potential in contemporary populations.

Habitat, geophysical, and eco-social connectivity: benefits of resilient socio-ecological landscapes — “… distinguishes four distinct but interrelated types of connectivity: landscape, habitat, geophysical, and eco-social connectivity, of which the fourth type is new. The authors discuss how these different types of connectivity are related to ecosystem services and disservices, and how they interact with each other to influence landscape sustainability issues.

Glyphosate impairs collective thermoregulation in bumblebees — “… low-dose glyphosate, combined with global increases in temperature, converge to disrupt homeostatic regulation in bee colonies. This is a crucial revelation for understanding the loss of bees across the globe, as they serve as major pollinators in nature and agriculture.

Human disturbances affect the topology of food webs — “… provides great opportunities for the study of food web structures, their dynamics and stability under different human influences.

A comprehensive database of amphibian heat tolerance — “provides estimates of amphibian upper thermal limits – a relevant trait for assessing the vulnerability of this highly-threatened group of ectotherms to rising temperatures – derived from thousands of experimental studies.”

Rapid transformation of tundra ecosystems from ice-wedge degradation — “… identify the diversity of effects that the degradation of ice wedges has on these soils and how it affects changes in heat exchange, carbon balance, hydrology, vegetation composition, and wildlife ... these decadal changes will, with time, affect upwards of 30% of this arctic land surface, with broad implications for the ecology of the region, including the human population.”

Marine protected areas do not buffer corals from bleaching under global warming — “… challenges the notion that marine protected areas … are further efficient (local-scale benefits) in buffering corals from bleaching under climate warming … disclosed that bleaching is expected to occur even in larger and older MPA sites experiencing thermal stress from marine heatwaves.”

Limited climate change mitigation potential through forestation of the vast dryland regions — “… point to an important unintended consequence of tree planting that partially undermines their ability to cool the planet … forests often darken the Earth’s surface thus absorbing solar energy and heating the surface … the effect of this massive afforestation on the climate is minimal.

Reintroducing bison results in long-running and resilient increases in grassland diversity — “… arguably the most convincing evidence that bison serve as a keystone species critical for maintaining grassland plant diversity, justifying their reintroduction to their original habitats.

Merging theory and experiments to predict and understand coextinctions — “a very thought-provoking publication that combines theoretical insights with thoughts on how to best test [coextinctions] empirically.

The planetary role of seagrass conservation — “provides an interesting set of suggestions on how to foster the recovery of seagrasses and why such a recovery is important.

Genomic reaction norms inform predictions of plastic and adaptive responses to climate change — “… make the case for a strong role of genomic plasticity with respect to local adaptation and ecosystem services.

Habitat-based biodiversity assessment for ecosystem accounting in the Murray-Darling Basin — “… Environmental accounting can lead to good biodiversity outcomes from major planning decisions provided that biodiversity is measured precisely and accurately. This article demonstrated that such measurements are possible but that there is a need to improve the spatial resolution of the primary biodiversity observations used.

Invasions of ecological communities: Hints of impacts in the invader’s growth rate — “… a novel theoretical approach to estimating the long-term effects of an invading species on a resident community, where these effects on the community are signaled by the invader’s growth rate.

Protecting connectivity promotes successful biodiversity and fisheries conservation — “… use a biophysical model of larval dispersal to recreate the possible dispersal pathways of larval fish from one coral reef to another, for every coral reef around the world … this complex web of fish movement across areas open and closed to fishing, connectivity can provide important stability to populations of exploited reef fish and other ecosystem services.

Avoiding ocean mass extinction from climate warming — “... evaluating potential large-scale ocean extinctions based on the fossil record and contemporary vulnerability … concludes that polar species are at the highest risk of extinction because they have nowhere to go to shift their habitats to colder regions … the tropical ocean is at risk for the greatest loss of biological richness as the ocean warms excessively and dissolved oxygen levels fall too low to sustain many species, making the tropical ocean an unsuitable habitat.

Templates for multifunctional landscape design — “… present a spatially explicit simulation modelling approach that integrates the geography, biodiversity, ecosystem services, and land use intensity of a regional landscape … a conceptually inspiring and technically exciting approach for better understanding how landscape composition and configuration – especially land-use intensity and fragmentation – interactively modulate landscape multifunctionality and sustainability.

Elevated extinction risk of cacti under climate change — “… found that 60 percent of the species investigated will be exposed to a reduction in favourable climate. Put simply, “the number of cactus species at risk is projected to increase sharply in the future” and furthermore, “…climate change will become a primary driver of cactus extinction”.

Climate change increases cross-species viral transmission risk — “… simulates that climate change will force animal aggregation in areas overlapping with human populations of Africa, south China, India, and Southeast Asia … will lead to a 4,000 times increase in novel viral sharing among species, with bats being the primary drivers.”

Protected areas have a mixed impact on waterbirds, but management helps — “… highlights the need to ensure such areas are managed according to the local wildlife needs, and it is important as many governments assess the type of land they will provide in agreeing to protect 30% of land and sea by the end of the decade.


And just an observation — these twenty papers were published in the following journals: Science (6), Nature (2), PNAS (1), Nature Plants (1), Trends in Ecology and Evolution (1), Scientific Data (1), Ecology Letters (1), Conservation Letters (1), Conservation Biology (1), Methods in Ecology and Evolution (1), Global and Planetary Change (1), Journal of Animal Ecology (1), Landscape Ecology (1), BMC Ecology and Evolution (1).


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6 01 2023
Williams duarte

Gracias por compartir estos trabajos.
Con respecto a cactus he notado reducción de muchas poblaciones, confrecuencia la invación de especies del entorno es una de las causas.
Aún en cultivo he notado que se dan alteraciones con mayor frecuencia que antes. Por ejemplo mayor tendencia a variegarse y aparición de brotaciones monstruosas probablemente provocada por agente invasor que actúa sobre células de meristemos. Gracias buen año

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