Along with other Senior Editors of the journal, he co-authored this year’s editorial: “On the extinction of the single-authored paper: The causes and consequences of increasingly collaborative applied ecological research”. This paper notes the continuing decline of single-authored papers in the journal, in common with a wide range of fields. The editors argue that the increase in multi-authored papers is likely to be associated with both benefits and challenges. Benefits include that papers are frequently greater in geographic scope and scale, that they are often more interdisciplinary, and that author lists tend to be more inclusive and more international. Multi-author papers are more likely to be accepted and there is some suggestion that they are also more likely to be cited. At the same time, there are challenges - not least those associated with frameworks for assessing researcher outputs, which often discourage working in large networks. Author recognition is an area that will require further consideration if larger networks - and the benefits they deliver - are to thrive in applied ecology.
Along with co-authors, Phil also published a policy direction on “Making rewilding fit for policy”. This paper considers the many definitions of rewilding, as well as the many different approaches to it, including Pleistocene, trophic, ecological and passive rewilding. The authors argue that the “re” of rewildling should not be interpreted as inevitably returning the ecosystem to some previous state; nor should the “wild” of rewilding inevitably exclude humans as part of an ecosystem. The key to rewilding should be that the system achieves a state of good ecological functionality, with minimal requirement for management to support that functionality. The authors identify an array of research needs which will need to be met before rewilding can be fully integrated into the management toolbox. They argue that environmental policy instruments that focus on maintaining prescribed communities might actually hinder the implementation of rewilding initiatives.