Editorial by

Geoffrey Wain

We are all adorned by face paint – the markings of our tribe. Whatever our profession, we each pursue our jobs and tasks with inbuilt bias, values and beliefs. Nature conservation is no different, being full of factions. Amongst us we prioritise different natures and different species, and we can widely interpret the specific pressures upon the natural world. We cherry pick data to suit our view, and we deny the bias in the institutions, the media and the newspapers which feed our views. We are a tribal mix and the tribes can be at different levels, even varying within the same organisation and the same office.

Tribes of various types feature strongly in this edition. David Blake looks at polarised positions across wildlife and game management. With a foot in both camps, he hears the imperfect claims of both sides. The prejudice rings out loud and clear to him. He sees great value in compromise and cooperation, and recognition that we all care for the same ecosystem.

Steve Carver also steps amongst different camps. His article reveals an intolerance to rewilding from an assortment of bloggers and tweeters, some with backgrounds well away from wildlife. Perhaps his window on this dispute shows that conflict can arise from misunderstanding, wilful or not, and from fundamentalist attitudes. And of course, it is easy to hold forth and to offend on social media. It is refreshing to see this culture of offence being challenged on twitter, with Steve’s facilitating role switching the negativity into a more productive dialogue. Steve will be curating some discussions on conservation and agriculture and game in our next issue. Please let us know if you’d like to participate in this.  

As ECOS readers we become a whole different tribe in 2018. Open access, making ECOS free on the web, will hopefully bring a greater range of readers. Our community should grow and presumably will diversify, and hopefully the ideas in ECOS will circulate further and stir more debate. We might also be rediscovered by lost friends. The arrival of new tribal members can bring unsettling situations, but we must be up for the challenge – overall we expect this to bring some exciting new dynamics.  

We are nothing without the commitment of our readers, friends and supporters, so a big thanks for being part of the ECOS journey so far.

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