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  1. Whitaker, Mark Douglas (Ed.)
    Innovation in ecological restoration is necessary to achieve the ambitious targets established in United Nations conventions and other global restoration initiatives. Innovation is also crucial for navigating uncertainties in repairing and restoring ecosystems, and thus practitioners often develop innovations at project design and implementation stages. However, innovation in ecological restoration can be hindered by many factors (e.g., time and budget constraints, and project complexity). Theory and research on innovation has been formally applied in many fields, yet explicit study of innovation in ecological restoration remains nascent. To assess the use of innovation in restoration projects, including its drivers and inhibitors, we conducted a social survey of restoration practitioners in the United States. Specifically, we assessed relationships between project-based innovation and traits of the individual practitioner (including, for example, age, gender, experience); company (including, for example, company size and company’s inclusion of social goals); project (including, for example, complexity and uncertainty); and project outcomes (such as completing the project on time/on budget and personal satisfaction with the work). We found positive relationships between project-based innovation and practitioner traits (age, gender, experience, engagement with research scientists), one company trait (company’s inclusion of social goals in their portfolio), and project traits (project complexity and length). In contrast, two practitioner traits, risk aversion and the use of industry-specific information, were negatively related to project-based innovation. Satisfaction with project outcomes was positively correlated with project-based innovation. Collectively, the results provide insights into the drivers and inhibitors of innovation in restoration and suggest opportunities for research and application. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 25, 2024
  2. Over the last decade, there has been a remarkable increase in scientific literature addressing human–wildlife interactions (HWI) and associated concepts, such as coexistence, tolerance, and acceptance. Despite increased attention, these terms are rarely defined or consistently applied across publications. Indeed, the meaning of these concepts, especially coexistence, is frequently assumed and left for the reader to interpret, making it hard to compare studies, test metrics, and build upon previous HWI research. To work toward a better understanding of these terms, we conducted two World Café sessions at international conferences in Namibia, Africa and Ontario, Canada. Here, we present the array of perspectives revealed in the workshops and build upon these results to describe the meaning of coexistence as currently applied by conservation scientists and practitioners. Although we focus on coexistence, it is imperative to understand the term in relation to tolerance and acceptance, as in many cases these latter terms are used to express, measure, or define coexistence. Drawing on these findings, we discuss whether a common definition of these terms is possible and how the conservation field might move toward clarifying and operationalizing the concept of human-wildlife coexistence. 
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  3. null (Ed.)
    Growing demand for water resources coupled with climate-driven water scarcity and variability present critical challenges to agriculture in the Western US. Despite extensive resources allocated to downscaling climate projections and advances in understanding past, current, and future climatic conditions, climate information is underutilized in decisions made by agricultural producers. Climate information providers need to understand why this information is underutilized and what would better meet the needs of producers. To better understand how agricultural producers perceive and utilize climate information, we conducted five focus groups with farmers and ranchers across Montana. Focus groups revealed that there are fundamental scalar issues (spatial and temporal) that make climate information challenging for producers to use. While climate information is typically produced at regional, national, or global spatial scales and at a seasonal and mid- to end-of-century temporal scales, producers indicated that decision-making takes place at multiple intermediate and small temporal and spatial scales. In addition, producers described other drivers of decision-making that have little to do with climate information itself, but rather aspects of source credibility, past experience, trust in information, and the politics of climate change. Through engaging directly with end-users, climate information providers can better understand the spatial and temporal scales that align with different types of agricultural producers and decisions, as well as the limitations of information provision given the complexity of the decision context. Increased engagement between climate information providers and end-users can also address the important tradeoffs that exist between scale and uncertainty. 
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  4. Lin, Chung-Ying (Ed.)
    Background University students are increasingly recognized as a vulnerable population, suffering from higher levels of anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and disordered eating compared to the general population. Therefore, when the nature of their educational experience radically changes—such as sheltering in place during the COVID-19 pandemic—the burden on the mental health of this vulnerable population is amplified. The objectives of this study are to 1) identify the array of psychological impacts COVID-19 has on students, 2) develop profiles to characterize students' anticipated levels of psychological impact during the pandemic, and 3) evaluate potential sociodemographic, lifestyle-related, and awareness of people infected with COVID-19 risk factors that could make students more likely to experience these impacts. Methods Cross-sectional data were collected through web-based questionnaires from seven U.S. universities. Representative and convenience sampling was used to invite students to complete the questionnaires in mid-March to early-May 2020, when most coronavirus-related sheltering in place orders were in effect. We received 2,534 completed responses, of which 61% were from women, 79% from non-Hispanic Whites, and 20% from graduate students. Results Exploratory factor analysis on close-ended responses resulted in two latent constructs, which we used to identify profiles of students with latent profile analysis, including high (45% of sample), moderate (40%), and low (14%) levels of psychological impact. Bivariate associations showed students who were women, were non-Hispanic Asian, in fair/poor health, of below-average relative family income, or who knew someone infected with COVID-19 experienced higher levels of psychological impact. Students who were non-Hispanic White, above-average social class, spent at least two hours outside, or less than eight hours on electronic screens were likely to experience lower levels of psychological impact. Multivariate modeling (mixed-effects logistic regression) showed that being a woman, having fair/poor general health status, being 18 to 24 years old, spending 8 or more hours on screens daily, and knowing someone infected predicted higher levels of psychological impact when risk factors were considered simultaneously. Conclusion Inadequate efforts to recognize and address college students’ mental health challenges, especially during a pandemic, could have long-term consequences on their health and education. 
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