Leaving Conservation Letters

21 12 2010

It is with both sighs of relief and some sentimentality that I announce my departure from the Senior Editor’s position at Conservation Letters.

After 3 volumes and 17 issues, and a very good prospect for an ISI Impact Factor > 3.0 coming out in June 2011, I feel that I’ve contributed sufficiently for the journal to persist in the conservation publication space for the coming decades.

Now I need a beer. ;-)

The road to Senior Editor certainly involved a steep learning curve for me, and I sincerely thank the four Editors-in-Chief (Hugh Possingham, Bill Sutherland, Richard Cowling & Mike Mascia) for their faith in my abilities and the flexibility to allow me to make important decisions. But most importantly, I thank our highly professional and rigorous editorial board who really did all the hard work (voluntarily, I might add). The full list of editors can be found here, but I want to pass on some extra gratitude to a few specific people here:

In a word, you lot were brilliant. Thank you for going well beyond expectations and handling some very difficult manuscripts. Your expertise, professionalism and generosity will not go unnoticed, I can guarantee that.

I also thank Jennifer Mahar for keeping me (mostly) on the ball and for making the whole thing come together. Marjorie Spencer, whose brainchild this journal was, was a breath of fresh air and enthusiasm. Thanks for stepping up for me (oh, and thanks too for the many drinks courtesy of Uncle Wiley).

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September 2010 Issue of Conservation Letters out

13 10 2010

Conservation Lettersfifth issue (September) of Volume 3 is now out. Some good ones here.

CJA Bradshaw

August issue of Conservation Letters and more citation statistics

3 08 2010

Trash fish © A. Lobo

The latest issue (Volume 3, Issue 4 – August 2010) of Conservation Letters is now available free-of-charge online. This issue’s papers include 1 Mini-Review, 2 Policy Perspectives, 6 Letters, 1 Correspondence and 1 Response:

Conservation Letters citation statistics

15 07 2010

As most CB readers will know, the ‘new’ (as of 2008) conservation journal kid on the block that I co-edit, Conservation Letters, was ISI-listed this year. This allows us to examine our citation statistics and make some informed guesses about the journal’s Impact Factor that should be ascribed next year. Here are some stats:

  • We published 31 articles in 5 issues in 2008, 37 articles in 6 issues in 2009, and so far 24 articles in 3 issues in 2010
  • Most authors were from the USA (53), followed by Australia (28), UK (29), Canada (10), France (7) and South Africa (4)
  • The published articles have received a total of 248 citations, with an average citation rate per article of 2.70
  • The journal’s h-index = 8 (8 articles have been cited at least 8 times)
  • The 31 articles published in 2008 have received thus far 180 citations (average of 5.81 citations per article)
  • The top 10 most cited articles are (in descending order): Read the rest of this entry »

June 2010 Issue of Conservation Letters

9 06 2010

The third issue of Conservation Letters Volume 3 is now out. A good line-up of papers, indeed. Note that we’ve gone up to 9 papers in this issue, so keep the good submissions coming. Conservation Letters will most likely be listed on ISI Web of Science this year, and receive its first Impact Factor in 2011.

Thanks for the support.

CJA Bradshaw

Most accessed Conservation Letters articles

3 06 2010

Not a big post, but I thought Conservation Bytes readers would appreciate knowing the most accessed papers in the journal Conservation Letters in 2008 and 2009:


  1. Critical need for new definitions of “forest” and “forest degradation” in global climate change agreements Nophea Sasaki & Francis E. Putz
  2. Global priority areas for incorporating land–sea connections in marine conservation Benjamin S. Halpern, Colin M. Ebert, Carrie V. Kappel, Elizabeth M.P. Madin, Fiorenza Micheli, Matthew Perry, Kimberly A. Selkoe & Shaun Walbridge
  3. Hitting the target and missing the point: target-based conservation planning in context Josie Carwardine, Carissa J. Klein, Kerrie A. Wilson, Robert L. Pressey & Hugh P. Possingham
  4. Mapping cumulative human impacts to California Current marine ecosystems Benjamin S. Halpern, Carrie V. Kappel, Kimberly A. Selkoe, Fiorenza Micheli, Colin M. Ebert, Caitlin Kontgis, Caitlin M. Crain, Rebecca G. Martone, Christine Sheare & Sarah J. Teck
  5. Ecosystem services and conservation strategy: beware the silver bullet Bhaskar Vira & William M. Adams


  1. Is oil palm agriculture really destroying tropical biodiversity? Lian Pin Koh & David S. Wilcove
  2. Native wildlife on rangelands to minimize methane and produce lower-emission meat: kangaroos versus livestock George R. Wilson & Melanie J. Edwards
  3. Conservation action in a changing climate T.R. McClanahan, J.E. Cinner, J. Maina, N.A.J. Graham, T.M. Daw, S.M. Stead, A. Wamukota, K. Brown, M. Ateweberhan, V. Venus & N.V.C. Polunin
  4. Quiet, Nonconsumptive Recreation Reduces Protected Area Effectiveness Sarah E. Reed & Adina M. Merenlender
  5. Calibrating conservation: new tools for measuring success Valerie Kapos, Andrew Balmford, Rosalind Aveling, Philip Bubb, Peter Carey, Abigail Entwistle, John Hopkins, Teresa Mulliken, Roger Safford, Alison Stattersfield, Matt Walpole & Andrea Manica

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New April Issue of Conservation Letters out now

22 04 2010

Low intensity fire in a longleaf pine-wiregrass system

Another great line up of papers has just come out in the April Issue of Conservation Letters:

CJA Bradshaw

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February Issue of Conservation Letters

13 02 2010

Diver at Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Hard to believe we’re already at Volume 3 – introducing the latest issue of Conservation Letters (Volume 3, Issue 1, February 2010). For full access, click here.

Note too we’ve jumped from 5 to 6 papers per issue. Congratulations to all our authors. Keep those submissions coming!

CJA Bradshaw

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Carbon = biodiversity

21 12 2009

I’ve decided to blog this a little earlier than I would usually simply because the COP15 is still fresh in everyone’s minds and the paper is now online as an ‘Accepted Article’, so it is fully citable.

The paper published in Conservation Letters by Strassburg and colleagues is entitled Global congruence of carbon storage and biodiversity in terrestrial ecosystems is noteworthy because it provides a very useful answer to a very basic question. If one were to protect natural habitats based on their carbon storage potential, would one also be protecting the most biodiversity (and of course, vice versa)?

Turns out, one would.

Using a global dataset of ~ 20,000 species of mammal, bird and amphibian, they compared three indices of biodiversity distribution (species richness, species threat & range-size rarity) to a new global above- and below-ground carbon biomass dataset. It turns out that at least for species richness, the correlations were fairly strong (0.8-ish, with some due to spatial autocorrelation); for threat and rarity indices, the correlations were rather weaker (~0.3-ish).

So what does this all mean for policy? Biodiversity hotspots – those areas around the globe with the highest biodiversity and greatest threats – have some of the greatest potential to store carbon as well as guard against massive extinctions if we prioritise them for conservation. Places such as the Amazon, Borneo Sumatra and New Guinea definitely fall within this category.

However, not all biodiversity hotspots are created equal; areas such as Brazil’s Cerrado or the savannas of the Rift Valley in East Africa have relatively lower carbon storage, and so carbon-trading schemes wouldn’t necessarily do much for biodiversity in these areas.

The overall upshot is that we should continue to pursue carbon-trading schemes such as REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) because they will benefit biodiversity (contrary to what certain ‘green’ organisations say about it), but we can’t sit back and hope that REDD will solve all of biodiversity’s problems world wide.


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ResearchBlogging.orgStrassburg, B., Kelly, A., Balmford, A., Davies, R., Gibbs, H., Lovett, A., Miles, L., Orme, C., Price, J., Turner, R., & Rodrigues, A. (2009). Global congruence of carbon storage and biodiversity in terrestrial ecosystems Conservation Letters DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2009.00092.x

December Issue of Conservation Letters

11 12 2009

Gemsbok (Oryx gazella) in Namibia

Another great line-up in Conservation Letters‘ last issue for 2009. For full access, click here.

October Issue of Conservation Letters

18 10 2009

The second-to-last issue in 2009 (October) of Conservation Letters is now out. Click here for full access.


Household goods made of non-timber forest products. © N. Sasaki

Papers in this issue:

August issue of Conservation Letters

6 08 2009

© Discovery Channel/W. Sloss

© Discovery Channel/W. Sloss

The latest edition of Conservation Letters is now out. Click here for full access (yes, all articles are still free!).

Papers in this issue:

Conservation Letters starts to Twitter

21 06 2009

Conservation LettersConservation Letters has joined the Twitter-sphere.

Click here to follow.

Click on the Journals page of ConservationBytes.com to access specific issues.

CJA Bradshaw

Latest issue of Conservation Letters now out

13 05 2009

Conservation Letters

The April issue of Conservation Letters is now out (a little late, but worth the wait). There are some good titles in this one, and I’ve blogged about a few of them already:

Happy reading!

CJA Bradshaw

One year later: Conservation Letters

17 02 2009

Conservation Letters

I have been very proud to be a part of Conservation Letters‘ success since its inaugural issue in April 2008. I thought I’d share our Chief Editors’ retrospective editorial after the first year. Thanks to all who have made CL such a success!

In the editorial that launched Conservation Letters, we promised a journal that would publish novel and innovative papers drawing on a diversity of disciplines, and including perspectives and case studies from across the globe. We anticipated first class research that would help deliver effective policy and management solutions. Furthermore, we pledged rapid publication: a review time of six weeks and submission-to-publication time of 20 weeks. So let’s see how we have done in the first volume.

The five issues of the first volume comprise 37 papers drawn from 146 submissions. Of these submissions, 40% were rejected without review. We did better than our target for processing manuscripts: average review time was five weeks and submission-to-publication time was 17.5 weeks.

Coverage of topics has been diverse. Several papers dealt with mainstream conservation science: habitat and population decline, climate change impacts and assessments for conservation planning. Many dealt with “hot” topics, namely natural capital and ecosystem services, conservation economics, and monitoring and evaluation. Few papers had a strictly biological focus – most also considered social dynamics and focused on production land and waterscapes. Most straddled disciplines. Although all papers articulated implications for policy and practice, two documented research that was engaged with the stakeholders responsible for developing policy or implementing practice.

We are disappointed that the geographic spread of the submissions was strongly biased in favor of developed, English-speaking nations: 36% of first authors hailed from the USA, 19% from UK, 16% from Australia and 6% from Canada. Only 11% of submissions originated from mainland Europe, 5% from Asia, 3% from Africa, 2% from Latin America. More encouraging was that almost half the papers published dealt with topics that transcended biome boundaries; the remainder was equally shared between land and water ecosystems.

At this early stage, it is difficult to assess whether any of the papers have had an impact on conservation policy and practice. However, the editorial team is pursuing ways of monitoring the extent to which papers are influential in catalyzing actions that safeguard nature and its services in a secure, just, and sustainable way. What we can report is that research published in Conservation Letters aroused considerable interest from major television networks (BBC, ABC, National Geographic), magazines (Economist, American Scientist), newspapers (New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Sydney Morning Herald) and conservation organizations (BirdLife International, The Nature Conservancy). Two papers attracted most of the media interest: Wilson and Edwards’ paper on low emission kangaroo meat (issue 3, 119-128) and Reed and Merenlender’s contribution that assessed the impact on carnivore populations of non-consumptive recreation in protected areas (issue 3, 146-154). Along with Kapos et al’s paper on measuring conservation success (issue 4, 155-164) and Koh and Wilcove’s article on the impacts of oil palm agriculture on tropical biodiversity (issue 2, 60-64), as of November these contributions also had the highest impact as measured by downloads. Conservation Letters will apply for ISI listing in early 2009 so it will soon be possible to track impact via citation analysis.

Overall, we are very pleased with the first volume of the journal. The papers are scientifically rigorous, innovative and – importantly – likely to have a real impact on policy and practice. Moreover, we believe that the quality and speed of the review process has been good. However, the journal does face certain challenges in maintaining this high quality of content and process. We need to attract more contributions with social science perspectives, that involve scientists from developing countries, and that are socially engaged in processes leading to implementation of conservation actions. As Conservation Letters grows and becomes even more diverse, we will also need to recruit to our editorial board more rare individuals like the ones we already have: leading scientists who are willing to allocate time to editorial chores that advance conservation science and policy.

Our success is attributed to the conservation science community who has so enthusiastically supported the journal by submitting their top-notch papers to a fledgling journal. Of key importance has been our outstanding editorial board. Its members have ensured a rigorous, fair and speedy review process. We wish to thank in particular those who dealt with four or more submissions for the first volume, namely Bill Adams, James Blignaut, Justin Brashares, Nicholas Dulvy, Richard Krannich, David Lindenmayer, Atte Moilanen, Mathieu Rouget, Javier Simonetti and Kerrie Wilson. At the helm is Corey Bradshaw, our Senior Editor whose dedication and commitment have underpinned our achievement thus far. Corey shouldered the lion’s share of editorial responsibilities for the early issues, personally handling 18 submissions. Thanks too for the sterling work by the team at Wiley-Blackwell: Managing Editor Jen Mahar and Associate Publisher Marjorie Spencer. Finally the entire team is hugely appreciative of the guidance of our Editorial Advisor, Michael Hochberg, whose experience as editor of our sister journal Ecology Letters, provided important direction for the editorial team.

By any measure conservation research is booming – both in terms of its scientific and real world impact. The remarkable early enthusiasm for Conservation Letters is testimony to the excitement that surrounds our discipline. We, the Chief Editors, are very grateful for your support.

Richard M. Cowling
Michael B. Mascia
Hugh Possingham
William J. Sutherland

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