This issue represents the final one in volume 76 of Journal of Wildlife Management. As this one is pretty much in the books, one cannot help but wonder what the future holds for the journal. Lenny Brennan is putting together a piece for Wildlife Society Bulletin to examine how The Wildlife Society publications have changed through time. He solicited input from past and present Editor-In-Chiefs, including me. In my contribution, I contrasted topics of papers published in volume 31 of the journal (1967) with those published in volume 75 (2011). Over this span of nearly 35 years, papers transitioned from a primary focus on game species to focus on a broader array of species, most of which were nongame. Details on the analysis are in the Bulletin. Surely many factors—social, economic, political, scientific—underlie this shift in focus. I will not even try to explain here how this change happened, but invite somebody so inclined to develop a paper on the topic. I would gladly consider including it in the Journal.
Speaking of change, did you know that 1 of the 28 members of the Editorial Board for volume 31 was a woman? In contrast, 8 of 42 current members of the 2012 Board of Associate Editors are women. Progress? I hope so, but in my opinion it still falls short of where we should be. How many women Editor-In-Chiefs have there been for the Journal or the Bulletin? I am afraid we all know the answer. Is it coincidence? Perhaps. Is it tradition? Perhaps. Is change needed? Yes!
The Wildlife Society and the Journal of Wildlife Management face increasing competition with time. Many professional societies are struggling to persist. Traditional journals face increasing competition with new online journals. Subscriptions to Journal of Wildlife Management have undergone recent declines to the point that we need to consider new strategies. At this writing, I think that Journal of Wildlife Management continues to be the preeminent wildlife journal in the world. But the journal will not retain that stature without continuing to change. The focus of the journal changes with each volume, and the diversity of membership on the editorial board improves with time. Whether or not these incremental changes are enough is unknown. Regardless, change is imperative if the journal is to remain relevant. If the journal ceases to be relevant, it will cease to be.