Response to critique on Conservation Effectiveness series (commentary)

first_imgArticle published by Mike Gaworecki Commentary, Conservation, Editorials, Environment, Research, Researcher Perspective Series Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img The team behind Mongabay’s Conservation Effectiveness series appreciates the feedback on our series offered by Madeleine McKinnon and her colleagues. We believe that we and the authors of the commentary share the common goals of encouraging and enabling conservation actions based on the available scientific evidence, and increasing the standard of scientific studies that evaluate the impact of conservation.Importantly, our goal was not to carry out a systematic review — an intensive, sometimes years-long process beyond the scope of our resources. We believe that systematic reviews are invaluable and crucial for answering specific, relatively narrow research questions. At the same time, they are not suitable for providing an overview of evidence of a wide range of outcomes, across a broad spectrum of evidence types, as we have tried to do with this series.We cannot identify an example of our series challenging the findings of existing systematic reviews, as McKinnon and co-authors imply it does. We strongly agree that there are opportunities for improvement. One of the main improvements we hope to make next is turning our database into a dynamic, growing, open contribution platform. The other members of the team behind Mongabay’s Conservation Effectiveness series and I appreciate the feedback on our series offered by Madeleine McKinnon and her colleagues. We believe that we and the authors of the commentary share the common goals of encouraging and enabling conservation actions based on the available scientific evidence, and increasing the standard of scientific studies that evaluate the impact of conservation.Before addressing the specific points made by McKinnon and her co-authors, we would also like to emphasize that our series and visualizations have additional goals:• To make scientific evidence accessible to non-scientists.• To increase the ease with which practitioners can orient themselves in and interact with scientific evidence in order to make informed opinions given the limited time they have.• To demonstrate to a broad audience the complexity of scientific evidence and the different ways in which conservation success can be viewed.• To inspire discussion about what conservation success means for different stakeholders, beyond scientists.Importantly, our goal was not to carry out a systematic review — an intensive, sometimes years-long process beyond the scope of our resources. We believe that systematic reviews are invaluable and crucial for answering specific, relatively narrow research questions. At the same time, they are not suitable for providing an overview of evidence of a wide range of outcomes, across a broad spectrum of evidence types, as we have tried to do with this series.BiasFirst, we disagree that the alternative to a systematic review is “cherry-picking results to fit a desired narrative.” There are many known and unknown biases in scientific research and publication; some can be addressed, others cannot. Reviews, including systematic ones, can suffer from different degrees of bias. Our series is absolutely not a collection of studies cherry-picked to fit a certain narrative. When we did go beyond our review methodology and subjectively selected specific studies to include, such as in the story on Environmental Advocacy, we acknowledged it openly and clearly conveyed our reasons for doing so. One of the main conclusions of all pieces in the series was that “more evidence is needed.”The authors of the commentary highlight the non-exhaustiveness of our database as a bias. Our approach of sampling the literature rather than attempting to gather every last relevant study — that is, our non-exhaustiveness — does not equal being biased per se, although it, like any other sampling, can introduce biases. For example, as we acknowledge on our methods page, we may have introduced bias by only including English-language and peer-reviewed publications. Smaller samples are more prone to biases than larger ones, and we believe that our target of 1,000 search results was a reasonable sample size that would lead to an acceptable level of bias. Moreover our goal was not to carry out systematic, exhaustive reviews, and we’ve clearly stated that our databases are not exhaustive in all of our stories.Amazon rainforest tree in Peru. Photo by Rhett Butler.It’s worth pointing out that even an exhaustive review of all literature is still likely to suffer from biases. For example, publication bias — where journals tend to publish studies with highly significant results rather than ones that, equally importantly, find no substantial change — can be quantified, but not truly eliminated.Our criteria for inclusion of individual studies are described on the methods page. They included things like the study being peer-reviewed; the methodology being clearly described so that the study can be classified as one of the seven types of evidence; the study containing information on the country it examined, the outcomes it measured, what the outcomes were, what it compared the intervention in question to, etc.; the study fitting within our geographic scope; and others.We have read the systematic review on decentralized forest management (DFM) that the McKinnon et. al. commentary suggests our methodological bias may have led us to overlook (Samii et al. 2015). However, this systematic review appears to be, in many parts of the text, a word-by-word copy of an earlier systematic review on payments for ecosystem services, apart from the acronym PES being replaced by DFM. The authors even failed to correct the number of studies found, leaving incorrect numbers in their abstract that did not correspond to the main text. We appreciate the work that went into this review, but we were worried about its rigor given the copy-and-paste warning signs. Nevertheless, we did go through this study in detail and included relevant individual studies that fit our inclusion criteria.TransparencyWe detail our methodology and criteria for including studies here. When two researchers reached different conclusions about whether to include a study, we mentioned it in the infographic within the squares corresponding to the study in question.We acknowledge that Google Scholar is not an ideal search platform, due to the lack of transparency in its search algorithm and the recent change with regard to the use of Boolean operators. Until Google Scholar clarifies its search processes, we would recommend that researchers, scholars and journalists use additional databases, providing they have access to them. If they use Google Scholar, we recommend using “private” or “incognito” search settings to avoid potential biases.We are hoping to open our platform to contributions by researchers, so that our database can be dynamic and grow at the same pace as the evidence base. We have already tested the platform’s documentation for making contributions on several scientists, and will continue to improve it so that anyone can transparently contribute.SubjectivityWe agree that research synthesis is useful for translating large bodies of data into broad insights. Before we respond to the comments on the infographic, we want to emphasize that an important capability of our infographic is the ability to convey specific, geographically local insights. For example, for an NGO in Indonesia hoping to implement a PES project, it’s useful to consult a systematic review to see whether PES has worked overall. But it’s also important to be able to quickly access regional evidence, for example just from Malaysia and Indonesia, or evidence on a particular outcome of PES projects, for example the effect on biodiversity. Our infographic allows both of these functions.We thank the authors for their comments on the visualization. It is difficult to represent conservation evidence and there are numerous pitfalls to avoid. The commentary raises two important points that we will address separately, one about interpreting outcomes as positive, neutral, or negative; the other about evidence types.In our visualization, “vote counting” by adding up the number of green/positive, yellow/neutral, and red/negative squares is discouraged: at no point in the series do we engage in “vote counting,” the unequal weights of individual studies is emphasized in the caveats section in the methods, and we specifically warn against vote counting in the summary PDF documents:“The majority of extracted data points do not imply causation, only correlation. Studies vary in the rigor of design, sample size, methodology, and scope. Therefore, data points (individual squares) cannot be summed or used to calculate overall effect! One red square does NOT cancel out one green square. Please use as a non-exhaustive map of existing scientific evidence rather than as a final verdict on whether PES is effective.”That is indeed why we chose to portray each outcome as an individual square, rather than something like a bar chart or percentage, which would imply that vote counting or averaging were possible. We hope to encourage readers to explore individual results by clicking on squares, which should further bring home the message that not all squares are equal.Additionally, the authors imply that we ignore “the wide array of impacts occurring within and between populations and time frames within a single study.” We do not. Where a single study examined different populations or different time frames, it is represented as multiple outcomes in our database and visualization. We emphasize again that this leads to individual squares in the visualization not being independent and underscores the inappropriateness of vote counting.Finally, the authors argue that we are “giving equal weight to studies whether poorly designed or rigorously executed.” We do not. An important function of our visualization is to communicate that there are different types of evidence, and that these need to be treated and interpreted differently.Rainforest in Borneo. Photo by Rhett Butler.One level of distinction is represented by the light and dark shades of the squares (see legend). At a finer level, the drop-down menu “Select type of evidence” lets users separate different types of evidence within the visualization based on the rigor of the study design. However, our “types of evidence” categories capture only two aspects of the study design variability (the ability to show correlation versus causation, and the ability to generalize). It was beyond our scope to also distinguish between different sample sizes, durations, geographic areas, funding sources, etc.Our visualization is not perfect. However, we hope that it is a step toward better communication of science to a broad audience, and we will continue improving and testing it.False confidenceOne of the main concerns the commentary raises is that we are overly and falsely confident in our results. In all our articles, we conclude that there is either not enough rigorous evidence, or not enough evidence overall, while acknowledging the different levels of rigor with which individual studies have been designed. Even so, we believe that potential overconfidence in this particular conclusion could lead to productive channeling of funding and research effort to fill these knowledge gaps.Again, we do not do vote counting anywhere in the series, and we discourage readers from vote counting using our database. In terms of the forest certification example, we disagree that the article or visualization make conclusions that would be substantially different to conclusions made by the individual, rigorously designed studies mentioned in the critique. The handful of quasi-experimental studies (which can be displayed separately by selecting “Study III” in the “Select types of evidence” drop-down menu) find some positive and some neutral environmental and social outcomes. This reflects very well the findings of less-rigorous studies, which find some positive, some neutral, and very few negative environmental and social outcomes of certification and reduced impact logging.Opportunities for improvementWe cannot identify an example of our series challenging the findings of existing systematic reviews, as McKinnon and co-authors imply it does. We strongly agree that there are opportunities for improvement. One of the main improvements we hope to make next is turning our database into a dynamic, growing, open contribution platform. We will certainly keep in mind the potential biases and pitfalls that such approaches present and will continue informing users about the limitations, with the vision of further narrowing the gap between science and practice in conservation in a rigorous and transparent way.last_img read more

Mortgage mess costing jobs

first_imgIt’s an employment collapse that threatens to rival the massive layoffs in the airline industry that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when some 100,000 employees lost their jobs. “It’s far from over,” said Bart Narter, a senior analyst with Celent, a Boston-based financial research and consulting firm. “The subprime lending collapse will continue to ripple through the financial sector.” For five years, the nation’s housing market was booming and mortgage companies grew quickly, at times offering lucrative jobs to people with little experience. But as home values declined and interest rates rose in the past year, rising delinquencies and defaults – especially in subprime mortgages targeted at borrowers with risky credit – have pounded lenders who couldn’t keep pace. “These kind of mortgage lenders just sprung up like mushrooms and grew like men,” said John A. Challenger of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “They staffed up and now you have a bust.” America’s largest mortgage lender, Calabasas-based Countrywide Financial Corp., began layoffs this week. Last week, Arizona mortgage lender First Magnus Financial Corp. shut down its operations and laid off nearly 6,000 workers. On Monday, Capital One Financial Corp. said it would shutter Greenpoint Mortgage, its wholesale mortgage banking business, and lay off 1,900 employees. “It’s only been weeks,” Challenger said. “These companies are acting remarkably quickly, stopping on a dime.” “I don’t feel like HomeBanc did anything. It was a perfect storm of a bad housing market,” Clark said as his job draws to a close. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! TRENDS: Lenders are eliminating subprime departments and letting thousands of people go. By Ieva M. Augstums THE ASSOCIATED PRESS CHARLOTTE, N.C. – At the North Carolina offices of mortgage lender HomeBanc Corp., Archie Clark is the only employee left. But in a few days, he’ll be gone, too. “It’s pretty much a ghost town over there,” Clark said. “Somebody went in and took the furniture from the lobby. I don’t know who did that. I put some of the other stuff in the back and locked it up.” When Clark finishes helping movers from the company’s Atlanta headquarters collect computers and other property, he’ll join the more than 25,000 workers nationwide who have lost jobs in the financial services industry in August – with more than half coming since last Friday. With few exceptions, the cuts result directly from the woes in the nation’s housing market. More layoffs are announced daily. On Wednesday, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. closed its “subprime” mortgage business, laying off 1,200 workers at 23 offices; Scottsdale, Ariz.-based 1st National Bank Holding Co. closed its wholesale mortgage unit and cut 541 jobs, and Accredited Home Lenders Holding Co. added 1,600 positions to the heap. On Tuesday, banking giant HSBC said it would close an office and cut 600 jobs. Since January, more than 40,000 workers have lost their jobs at mortgage lending institutions, according to recent company layoff announcements and data compiled by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. Meanwhile, construction companies have announced almost 20,000 job cuts this year, while the National Association of Realtors expects membership rolls to decline this year for the first time in a decade. last_img read more

Spotify Premium free trial extended to 3 months

first_imgNew Delhi: Beginning Thursday, users can join Spotify’s Premium tier for free for three months that would essentially let them stream music without advertisements, the Swedish music streaming app has announced.According to the music streaming giant, the ‘first three months for free’ offer is always on and not for a limited time, and will roll out across Spotify Premium plans globally.The Spotify Premium trial service, which was earlier available for 30 days, lets users skip any track, listen offline, hear high-quality music and use the app on their mobile device as a computer remote control. Also Read – Swiggy now in 500 Indian cities, targets 100 more this year”Music and podcasts play an important role in people’s lives so we wanted to give users the first three months for free to fully enjoy everything that Spotify Premium has to offer. “We know it takes time to fully experience all of the features available with Premium, so we’re giving people the time that they need to fall in love with Premium’s seamless listening experience and on-demand access to more than 50 million tracks, billions of playlists and 450,000 podcast titles for free,” Alex Norstrom, Chief Premium Business, Spotify, said in a statement.Earlier this month, the company announced it has hit 232 million monthly active users globally, which is a 29 per cent increase year-on-year (YoY), along with 108 million premium subscribers which is a 31 per cent (YoY) growth.The company, which entered India in February this year and announced two million users in India in April, did not reveal the users’ growth in the country.last_img read more