The first international and cross-disciplinary publishing platform for Ecology and Transportation is now established with Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.
Transportation and infrastructure are significant drivers of the global loss of biodiversity. Their impact on nature is increasingly recognized. The need for effective mitigation is eminent, given the massive expansion of infrastructure that is anticipated at global level for the near future.
This calls for intensified collaboration between research and practice, for the development of effective mitigation approaches and better decision-support. To promote this, IENE has together with ANET, ICOET and CIBIV, initiated a joint platform for scientific publication on Ecology and Transportation. This platform is hosted by the community-rooted open-access publisher Frontiers.
The first research topic was launched in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, in the section Urban Ecology in September 2016. It will be the first in a series of topics, featuring the upcoming conferences and their specific themes. However, we welcome and encourage the submission of manuscripts on transportation and ecological questions not presented at either conference.
More information about submissions
Please visit the website of Frontiers to discover more details about the topic, how to submit your manuscript and what types of papers that are allowed etc:
Background and topic description
Massive impact on the landscape
Even though infrastructures such as roads, railroads, canals or energy networks may occupy but a small proportion of an area, they affect entire landscapes. They kill millions of wild animals, disintegrate populations and pollute and disturb adjacent ecosystems. They also entail complex cumulative effects and secondary development and exploitation of nature.
This is especially true when new infrastructures are built through formerly unfragmented natural habitats. But it applies likewise to existing networks in already highly fragmented urban and peri-urban environments.
Solutions need to be shared and evaluated
Given proper planning, there are nevertheless means to minimize the pressure on the environment, preserve ecosystem services, and, to some degree, even improve ecological conditions. De-fragmentation plans for nature in urban centers, green bridges connecting city parks with peri-urban forests, or road verge management providing refuges for insect fauna in agricultural landscapes illustrate the potential of adopted mitigation strategies.
Yet, there are still gaps in knowledge about the functionality and efficacy of the measures that can be applied. How much mitigation is needed to maintain biodiversity at a desirable level? Technical innovations and new mitigation concepts may be promising, but need to be evaluated and tested.
Also, the interplay between the transport sector and other sectors of society must be enhanced to safeguard mitigation efforts on long-term basis. Public consultation, knowledge transfer, and citizen-involvement are therefore just as essential as are legal and policy frameworks, ecological knowledge and technical mitigation tools.
New publishing platform available
This calls for broad collaboration in research and practice, for interdisciplinary exchange, for the harmonizing of standards and international guidelines.
To achieve these goals, communities of practice have evolved over the past decades. Regular international conferences are held in Europe (IENE) and in the USA (ICOET), and more recently in Australasia (ANET) and Brazil (CIBIV). They provide important platforms for ecologists, engineers, planners and stakeholders to present new knowledge and plans, discuss problems, exchange experiences and find solutions.
With this new research topic on Ecology & Transportation, we now intend to initiate a joint platform for scientific publication of research papers, case study reports, reviews and opinions that is accessible for different disciplines.