Reaching out!

Amongst the many challenges of conservation in the 21st century is the business of effective communication of information. Both theory and practice seem to suggest that unless conservation and environmental stewardship have a much larger constituency than they currently do, they are unlikely to succeed in the long term. In order to do this, we have to communicate to a large audience not only the threats that face the environment today, which the popular media does to some extent, but the state of the art research in conservation science, accounts of success and failure, and stories from a diversity of landscapes.

One of the ironies of conservation is that while it is a fundamentally human enterprise, it has been dominated by biologists and other natural scientists. In almost all conservation contexts, there are human actions or societies that need to be managed, and yet, little emphasis has been given to understand these communities, their perceptions, and needs, which may be required to bring about social change. Several journals now deal with the interface between conservation and society. In their introductory editorial to Conservation and Society, “Why do we need a new journal on conservation?” Kamaljit Bawa and Vasant Saberwal commented on the need to publish rigorous research from interdisciplinary perspectives and to make information available to readers in the Third World. Conservation and Society, open access since 2005, has certainly achieved its primary goal. Nevertheless, though it is an open access journal with subsidised subscriptions to the developing world, Conservation and Society still has a limited readership, restricted to a largely academic audience. As a rigorous academic journal, it has little appeal for the interested lay reader.

Conservation information, however, needs to reach out to a much wider cross-section of civil society and to a greater diversity of stakeholders. With Current Conservation we look to fill this gap by providing the latest in conservation research in an attractive and accessible format, through open access online content and a hard copy version at affordable prices. Current Conservation will carry the latest in research news from the naturaland social-science facets of conservation, such as conservation biology, environmental history, anthropology and sociology, ecological economics, landscape ecology, etc. Current Conservation will also periodically translate the content of Conservation and Society, reprinting the articles in language that is accessible to a wide readership.

Current Conservation is similar to Conservation and Society in its objective of showcasing work representing various facets of conservation. Like Conservation and Society, it too will focus—though will not restrict itself—to information from the developing world. We hope that these two ventures will complement each other and help contribute to meeting the massive challenge that confronts conservation communication today.

This article is from issue


2007 Jul