Journal of Applied Ecology: Instructions for Authors


NEW: Online submission and review of manuscripts is now available. Please follow the instructions for authors given below. When your manuscript has been prepared in accordance with these instructions, please access the following web site: You must select the Journal of Applied Ecology when you log on to the online submission site.

Editorial Policy

As a world-leading publication with truly intercontinental coverage, the Journal of Applied Ecology has a distinct niche that combines the highest standards of ecological science with direct relevance to environmental management. For readers, the Journal provides generic, topical and applicable knowledge from all types of organisms and all types of ecosystems. For authors, it offers publication in a journal of recognized prestige with a large circulation to researchers, environmental managers, students and libraries. Our ISI® impact factor of 2·94 is within the top rank of all ecology journals. On immediacy, the speed at which our papers are cited, we are in the top 5%.

The Journal of Applied Ecology publishes original papers that apply ecological concepts, theories, models and methods to the management of biological resources in their widest sense. Equally, the editors encourage contributions that use applied ecological problems to test and develop basic ecological theory. The focus, which should be explicitly ecological, includes all major themes in applied ecology: conservation biology, global change, pollution biology, wildlife and habitat management, land use and management, aquatic resources, restoration ecology, nuisance species, and the effects of genetically modified organisms. Articles that interact with related fields are welcomed providing that their relevance to applied ecology is clear.

Since the scope is large, contributions should be of the highest quality. Some will convey important recommendations for environmental management and policy, and we encourage ‘Forum’ articles that stimulate dialogue between ecologists and managers. We seek ‘Reviews’ or ‘Mini-reviews’ that offer timely synthesis, and we publish methodological developments or evaluations under the title of ‘Methodological Insights’.

Welfare and Legal Policy

Researchers must have proper regard for conservation and animal welfare considerations. Attention is drawn to the ‘Guidelines for the Use of Animals in Research’ published in each January issue of the journal Animal Behaviour since 1991. Any possible adverse con-sequences of the work for ecosystems, populations or individual organisms must be weighed against the possible gains in knowledge and its practical applications. Authors are required to sign a declaration that their work conforms to the legal requirements of the country in which it was carried out (see below), but editors may seek advice from referees on ethical matters and the final decision will rest with the editors.


All published papers become copyright of the British Ecological Society.

The Journal of Applied Ecology has a fully web-based system for the submission and review of manuscripts. Authors should submit their manuscripts online to ensure the speediest review. If you are not able to submit your manuscript online you should contact the Managing Editor at: Full instructions (and a helpline) are accessible from the ‘Get Help Now’ icon on the online submission site at


It is the authors’ responsibility to ensure that the submission is complete and correctly formatted, to avoid delay or rejection. Original figures and disk versions should be submitted only when requested. There is no page charge.

All authors are asked to confirm at the submission and revision stages:

  • • that the work as submitted has not been published or accepted for publication, nor is being considered for publication elsewhere, either in whole or substantial part;
  • • that all authors and relevant institutions have read the submitted version of the manuscript and approve its submission;
  • • that all persons entitled to authorship have been so included;
  • • that all work conforms to the legal requirements of the country in which it was carried out, including those relating to conservation and welfare, and to the Journal's policy on these matters (see above).


All papers are peer reviewed. Any revision should normally be submitted within 2 months of being requested unless the editor agrees to an extension.


PDF proofs will be sent to the correspondence author. Alterations, other than printer's errors, may be charged to the author. Proofs must be returned to the editorial office by first class mail or airmail within 3 days of receipt. The editors reserve the right to correct the proofs, using the accepted version of the typescript, if the author's corrections are overdue. Proofs should be checked carefully, and it is the correspondence author's responsibility to ensure they are correct.

  • • A Copyright Assignment Form must be completed for all articles accepted for publication in the journal. This form is also available as a Word document.
  • • A File Description Form must accompany the final accepted version of accepted manuscripts.


Authors will be provided with 50 printed offprints and one electronic version of their paper. Additional paper offprints may be ordered at prices quoted on the order form, which accompanies proofs, provided that the form is returned with the proofs. The cost is more if the order form arrives too late for the main print run. Offprints are normally dispatched within 3 weeks of publication of the issue in which the paper appears; however, please note that they are sent by surface mail, so overseas orders may take up to 6 weeks to arrive. Please contact the publishers if the offprints fail to arrive. Electronic offprints are sent to the first author at his or her first email address on the title page of the paper, unless advised otherwise; therefore please ensure that the name, address and email of the receiving author are clearly indicated on the manuscript title page if he or she is not the first author of the paper. A copy of the Publisher's Terms and Conditions for the use of the PDF file will accompany the electronic offprint, and the file can only be distributed in accordance with these requirements.

Types of Paper

standard papers

These should not normally exceed 10 printed pages, or c. 8500 words, inclusive of all text, tables, figure legends, references and appendices.

Title page: this should carry a concise and informative title. Do not include the authorities for any taxonomic names. List authors’ names and addresses, and indicate the e-mail and fax number of the correspondence author. Authors may suggest a running title not exceeding 45 characters, and a word count of the entire paper including references should be provided.

Summary: a statement of the purpose of the paper and the main results, conclusions and recommendations, using clear, factual, numbered statements. In all types of paper, the summary should follow a formula in which point 1 sets the context and need for the work; point 2 indicates the approach and methods used; the next 2–3 points outline the main results and the last point identifies the wider implications and relevance to management or policy. This last point is the most important of all in synthesizing the paper's key messages as widely as possible; it should be generic, seminal and accessible to non-specialists. To improve accessibility to our users and to encourage authors to identify seminal aspects of their papers, the final summary point in all our items is entitled explicitly as ‘Synthesis and applications’. The whole summary should be readily understandable to all the Journal's readers, and must not normally exceed 350 words.

Key-words: a list in alphabetical order not exceeding seven words or short phrases. Avoid overlap with the title.

Introduction: state the reason for the work, the context and the hypotheses being tested.

Materials and methods: include sufficient details for the work to be repeated.

Results: state the results, drawing attention to important details in tables and figures.

Discussion: point out the importance of the results in the context of previous studies. Where appropriate, set out recommendations for management or policy.

Acknowledgements: Be brief.

References: (see Specifications below).

Tables (see Specifications). These should be referred to in the text as Table 1, etc. Avoid duplication between figures and tables.

Figures and figure legends (see Specifications). Figures should be referred to in the text as Fig. 1, etc. (note Figs 1 and 2 with no period). Illustrations should be referred to as Figures.

methodological insights

These papers either illustrate new developments in applied ecology, or provide a forum for the discussion, review, revision and application of established methods. The scope embraces all methodological stages from the design of investigations and the collection of data to analysis, synthesis and application. Papers in this section are often shorter than standard contributions and can either follow the same structure or have a more flexible format similar to reviews.

reviews and mini-reviews

The editors are actively seeking reviews and mini-reviews on topical themes in all the major areas of applied ecology.

forum articles

Forum articles stimulate debate in the ecological community. They should be short contributions offering conceptual advance, opinion, response to previous articles, or identifying gaps in knowledge. We welcome items that develop dialogue between ecologists and environmental managers. The title page, summary (up to 150 words), references, tables and figures should follow the format for standard papers. The Journal encourages forum contributions organized around a cogent theme.



Typescripts should be typed in double spacing with a generous margin, and pages should be numbered consecutively, including those containing acknowledgements, references, tables and figure legends. Lines should be numbered within pages. We strongly recommend that authors submit a single Word file with embedded figures. This file will be converted to PDF (portable document format) upon upload. Referees will review the PDF version while the Word file will remain accessible by the Managing Editor. Typescripts must be in English and spelling should conform to the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English. Editors will modify manuscripts that do not conform to scientific, technical, stylistic or grammatical standards, and some minor alterations will normally be seen by authors only at the proof stage.

Authors should retain their electronic manuscript file in case of any difficulties arising during online submission. Following acceptance of a manuscript for publication authors will be asked to post a PC-compatible diskette containing files of all components for production, along with original figures and a signed copyright agreement form. Do not send hard copy of original figures until the paper has been accepted.


Disk versions should be submitted after final acceptance. They will be used by the publishers and should exactly match the accepted copy. Authors will be provided with a File Description Form on which to record the software and any special (non-keyboard) characters. Do not use the carriage return (enter) at the end of lines within a paragraph. Turn the hyphenation option off. Save figures on disk in as many different formats as are available. Encapsulated postscript (EPS) files can usually be used but cannot be modified. Always enclose a hard copy of figures and tables. Disks will not be returned to authors.


Hard copies of figures should be supplied with the final version of the manuscript when requested by the Managing Editor. Final versions should be submitted on disk, whenever possible. Please submit electronic artwork as TIFF files (for half-tones) or EPS files (for vector graphics) if possible. These are standard formats when exporting from graphics packages such as CorelDraw, Excel, Freehand and Illustrator. Detailed information on the publisher's digital illustration standards is available on the Blackwell Publishing Homepage at

Alternatively, provide the original artwork (no bigger than A4) that can be electronically scanned.

Please ensure that symbols, labels, etc. are large enough for 50% reduction. Figures should not be boxed and tick marks should be on the inside of the axes. Photographs should be glossy prints of good contrast. Photographs used together to make one figure should be well matched for tonal range. Lettering or arrows should be added by authors using transfer film.

Colour figures

It is the policy of the Journal of Applied Ecology for authors to pay the full cost for the reproduction of any colour figures. Therefore, please note that if there is colour artwork in your manuscript when it is accepted for publication, Blackwell Publishing require you to complete and return a colour work agreement form before your paper can be published. This form can be downloaded as a PDF file from the internet. The web address for the form is:

To read PDF files, you must have Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. If you do not have this program, this is available as a free download from the following web address:

If you are unable to download the form, please contact Penny Baker (at the address below), who will e-mail or fax a form to you.

Once completed, please return the form to: Penny Baker, Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK.

Any article received by Blackwell Publishing Ltd with colour work will not be published until the form has been returned.

Figure legends

Legends should be on a separate sheet with enough detail for figures to be understood without reference to the text. If symbols are straightforward (circles, squares, crosses or triangles), include them in the figure legend. If they are more complicated, put them on the figure in a key. In the full-text online edition of the Journal, figure legends may be truncated in abbreviated links to the full screen version. Therefore, the first 100 characters of any legend should inform the reader of key aspects of the figure.


Each table should be on a separate page, numbered and titled.


References in the text should be separated by a semi-colon. Three authors should be cited in full at first mention, e.g. (Norris, Bannister & Walker 1998). More than three authors should be abbreviated: (Manel et al. 1999). Work with the same first author and date should be coded by letters: (Thompson et al. 1991a,b). The references should be listed in alphabetic order with the journal name in full. The format should be as follows.

Begon, M., Harper, J.L. & Townsend, C.R. (1996) Ecology: Individuals, Populations and Communities, 3rd edn. Blackwell Science, Oxford.

Tuyttens, F.A.M. (1999) The consequences of social perturbation caused by badger removal for the control of bovine tuberculosis in cattle: a study of behaviour, population dynamics and epidemio-logy. PhD thesis, University of Oxford.

McArthur, W.M. (1993) History of landscape development. Re-integrating Fragmented Landscapes (eds R.J. Hobbs & D.A. Saunders), pp. 10–22. Springer Verlag, Berlin.

Hill, M.O., Roy, D.B., Mountford, J.O. & Bunce, R.G.H. (2000) Extending Ellenberg's indicator values to a new area: an algorithmic approach. Journal of Applied Ecology, 37, 3–15.

References should be cited as ‘in press’ only if the paper has been accepted for publication. Three copies of any paper by the author on the same topic and cited as ‘in press’ must be included with the typescript so that they can be sent to referees. Work not yet submitted for publication may be cited in the text and attributed to its author as: ‘full author name, unpublished data’.

Citations from World Wide Web

The Journal of Applied Ecology accepts that authors may sometimes wish to cite information available from the world wide web in similar ways to the citation of published literature. In using this option, authors are asked to ensure that:

  •  (i) fully authenticated addresses are included in the reference list, along with titles, years and authors of the sources being cited;
  • (ii) the sites or information sources have sufficient longevity and ease of access for others to follow up the citation;
  • (iii) the information is of a scientific quality at least equal to that of peer-reviewed information available in learned scientific journals;
  • (iv) hard literature sources are used in preference where they are available.

It is likely that official web sites from organizations such as learned societies, government bodies or reputable NGOs will most often satisfy quality criteria.

Scientific names

Give Latin names in full, together with the naming authority at first mention in the main text. Alternatively, where there are many species, cite a Flora or check-list. Do not give authorities for species cited from published references. Latin names following common names should not be separated by a comma or brackets.

Makers’ names

Special pieces of equipment should be described such that a reader can trace specifications by writing to the manufacturer; thus: ‘Data were collected using a solid-state data logger (CR21X, Campbell Scientific, Utah, USA).’ Where commercially available software has been used, details of the supplier should be given in brackets or the reference given in full in the reference list.

Units and symbols

Authors should use the International System of Units (S.I., Systeme International d’Unités; see Quantities, Units and Symbols, 2nd edn (1975) The Royal Society, London). Use L for litre not l to avoid confusion with ‘one’. Use the negative index for units, e.g. number of insects g−1 dry wt (also note there is no period for wt). Mathematical expressions should contain symbols not abbreviations. If the paper contains many symbols, they should be defined as early in the text as possible, or within the Materials and Methods.

Mathematical material

Mathematical expressions should be carefully represented. Suffixes and operators such as d, log, ln and exp will be set in Roman type; matrices and vectors will be set in bold type; other algebraic symbols (except Greek letters) will be set in italic. Make sure that there is no confusion between similar characters like l (‘ell’) and 1 (‘one’). Ensure that expressions are spaced as they should appear. Equations should be identified as eqn 1, eqn 2, etc.

Numbers in tables and formulae

The level of significance implied by numbers based on experimental measurements should reflect, and not exceed, their precision; only rarely can more than 3 figures be justified. Be consistent within tables. Probability values should be denoted as P.

Numbers in text

Numbers from one to nine should be spelled out except when used with units, e.g. two eyes but 10 stomata and 5 °C.