Our July 2020 issue features a special section on forests and trees, spanning research from the assessment of imperiled walnut–fruit forests in Tajikistan, to the recovery of a Critically Endangered bracket fungus in Estonia and the investigation of threatened tree species across Cuba and China. Our Briefly section highlights some of the effects of Covid-19 on biodiversity conservation and our Editorial calls for collective crisis leadership during this time of upheaval.

Find out more about this issue’s contents, including our Editor’s picks, below.

Forests and trees

  • The first rapid forest inventory and resource use assessment of Dashtijum Nature Reserve, Tajikistan: a mixed methods approach – Pilkington et al. (Read our blog post here)
  • Population structure and genetic diversity of Magnolia cubensis Acunae (Magnoliaceae): effects of habitat fragmentation and implications for conservation – Hernández et al.
  • Integrated conservation for Parakmeria omeiensis (Magnoliaceae), a Critically Endangered plant species endemic to south-west China – Yu et al.
  • Distribution and conservation status of Magnolia ovoidea (Magnoliaceae): a Critically Endangered species in Yunnan, China – Han et al.
  • Investigating the status of Cinnamomum chago (Lauraceae), a plant species with an extremely small population endemic to Yunnan, China – Zhang et al.
  • A tree species with an extremely small population: recategorizing the Critically Endangered Acer yangbienseTao et al.
  • Recovery of the Critically Endangered bracket fungus Amylocystis lapponica in the Estonian network of strictly protected forests – Runnel et al. (Read our blog post here)

Behind the Cover

The walnut–fruit forests of Central Asia are of special scientific interest as they are the source of numerous domesticated tree species. In Tajikistan, the poorest country in Central Asia, the forest community contains 10 fruit and nut species, five of which are categorized as threatened. These species are harvested for fruits, nuts and firewood and play a vital role in the region’s culture and livelihood security. In the forests of Dashtijum Nature Reserve in Tajikistan most households harvest at least one fruit or nut species, including the pistachio Pistacia vera (pictured), collect firewood and graze livestock, and people are aware of declines in availability of fruits, nuts and firewood and in the quality of grazing. Although conservation management by the government and NGOs is partly effective, there is a need for increased enforcement of grazing restrictions, to prevent further forest degradation. For further details, see here. (Photograph © Jessica Hyde/Shutterstock).

Editorial – A call for collective crisis leadership’ by Ngwenya et al.

‘We are at a critical moment in history. To move humanity away from inaction, we need an inclusive, enabling approach involving everyone—from health and finance ministers to Indigenous Nations, grassroots organizations, NGOs, businesses and heads of state. Standing alone, we are being set up to fail, constantly firefighting without the resources or opportunities to tackle the source of the blaze. Collectively, we must deal with the root causes of environmental crises. Only then will we see transformational change unfolding, perhaps with more ease than we ever imagined.’

View of Mole National Park, Ghana, at sunset. Photo: Emma Muench

Editor’s picks

  • From conflict to collaboration: the contribution of co-management in mitigating conflicts in Mole National Park, Ghana – Soliku & Schraml
  • Code word usage in the online ivory trade across four European Union member states – Alfino & Roberts
  • Bringing sustainable seafood back to the table: exploring chefs’ knowledge, attitudes and practices in Peru – De La Lama et al.
  • The Roosevelt–Rondon expedition marmoset Mico marcai: unveiling the conservation status of a Data Deficient species – Silva et al.

Conservation News

  • New report applies the mitigation hierarchy and deep-ocean science to determine risks and impacts of deep-seabed mining – Howard et al.
  • Searching for Vatica pentandra, a tree endemic to Kalimantan and known only from a single collection in 1955 – Linsky et al.
  • Conserving the poorly known and threatened monkey-frogs of the Brazilian Cerrado highlands – Magalhães et al.
  • New and increasing threats may have significant impact on Jamaica’s black-billed parrot Amazona agilisCawley et al.
  • The Whitley Awards 2020 – Law


Emma started her role as Editorial Assistant at Oryx in 2018, having previously completed a BSc in Geography at the University of Sussex and an MSc in Conservation Science at Imperial College London. She has a keen interest in marine conservation and has experience working on sea turtle, coral reef, and tropical fish monitoring projects. Her previous research includes an ethological study on the impact of human enrichment on the welfare of captive giant Pacific octopus, and an investigation into the barriers to increased conservation involvement in European zoos.