Journal article

A horizon scan of global conservation issues for 2015

William J Sutherland, Mick Clout, Michael Depledge, Lynn V Dicks, Jason Dinsdale, Abigail C Entwistle, Erica Fleishman, David W Gibbons, Brandon Keim, Fiona A Lickorish, Kathryn A Monk, Nancy Ockendon, Lloyd S Peck, Jules Pretty, Johan Rockstrom, Mark D Spalding, Femke H Tonneijck, Bonnie C Wintle

Trends in Ecology & Evolution | ELSEVIER SCIENCE LONDON | Published : 2015


This paper presents the results of our sixth annual horizon scan, which aims to identify phenomena that may have substantial effects on the global environment, but are not widely known or well understood. A group of professional horizon scanners, researchers, practitioners, and a journalist identified 15 topics via an iterative, Delphi-like process. The topics include a novel class of insecticide compounds, legalisation of recreational drugs, and the emergence of a new ecosystem associated with ice retreat in the Antarctic.

University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by Natural Environment Research Council

Funding Acknowledgements

This is an exercise of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative and was funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. We thank Simon Kerley for input. We thank the large number of individuals who suggested issues or responded to questions. For suggesting specific issues that were subsequently modified and described in this article we thank Esther Bertram (pharmaceutical pollution and biofilms), Jan Slaats and Benedict Gove, who independently identified underground coal gasification, Dale Turner (legalisation of recreational drugs), Fiona Fidler (reproducibility in environmental science), Lammert Hilarides (investor-state dispute settlements), and Rod Salm and Eric Conklin (coral diseases in the Indo-Pacific). Tom Warne-Smith and Becky LeAnstey provided advice on investor-state dispute settlements and bioplastics, respectively. W.J.S. is funded by Arcadia.