Monday links: three #OpenAccess papers on #riparian #restoration and #ecology

Jay-Z and many other rappers have made the claim that "haters gonna hate." Jay-Z has also made clear that he prefers to shrug the haters off "like dirt from his shoulder." Within the realm of open access science, there are myriad haters, dismissing open access science as pay-to-play, less rigorously peer-reviewed than traditional for-profit journals, or just not as elite as paywalled journal X, Y or Z. The easiest way that scientists can pull a Jay-Z and shrug these haters off, is by putting forth the same high quality science to open access venues that they submit to the paywall journals. In theory, if the science is of sufficient quality and relevance, it will be read and cited comparably to "elite" (paywalled?) journal content.

When helplessly procrastinating on writing or analysis, I usually search out new papers, sometimes in new venues. When procrastinating doing this, I've been closely watching some of the open-access journals to see whether they take off with the applied river research and restoration communities. Currently, it appears that the open access movement is rolling full tilt in the basic research sector, but may be moving more slowly in the applied realms of ecological restoration and conservation. Perhaps more open access papers like the following will tilt the balance towards high-quality applied papers in the usual (and new) open access venues.

A nice example of an applied and open access riparian ecology paper is that by Pollock et al. where the authors have pulled a combination of FIA and CMER data to look at current condition in Douglas fir-dominated ecosystems. These semi-pristine stands can be used to infer successional trajectories for riparian conifer forests of the western Cascades in the absence of novel disturbance or human management.

Michael M. Pollock, Timothy J. Beechie, and Hiroo Imaki. 2012. Using reference conditions in ecosystem restoration: an example for riparian conifer forests in the Pacific Northwest. Ecosphere. 3:art98. DOI:

Pseudotsuga menziesii: the dominant tree species in the forests studied by Pollock et al. 2012.

Matt O'Callaghan, et al. recently looked at digital elevation models and streamflow to assess habitat inundation and identify how foodwebs and prey selection shifted in response to inundation frequency and duration.

O'Callaghan MJ, Hannah DM, Boomer I, Williams M, Sadler JP. 2013. Responses to River Inundation Pressures Control Prey Selection of Riparian Beetles. PLoS ONE 8(4): e61866. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0061866

Fernando Magdaleno has put together a case study on the Ebro Basin, one of Spain's most heavily modified and heavily studied watersheds. The authors examined forest patch area, shape diversity, and indices of fragmentation and patch size, to effectively convey how the riparian zone has changed over almost a century of water extraction and land-use change.

Magdaleno, F and J.A. Fernandez-Yuste. 2013. Evolution of the Riparian Forest Corridor in a Large Mediterranean River System. Riparian Ecology and Conservation. 1: 36-45.
DOI: 10.2478/remc-2013-0005

Figures 1 and 2 from Magdaleno and Fernandez-Yuste: Spain's Ebro basin.

While there are still some open-access haters out there, papers like these should keep putting high-quality applied science into the hands of the public and decision-makers. Hopefully, the day will come soon when applied ecologists don't need to run and hide their papers behind paywalls for fear of a lack of impact.

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