Special issue on the social-ecological future of the American West

We invite papers for the focus collection of Environmental Research Letters (erl.iop.org) entitled:

The Social-Ecological Future of the American West

As the pace and scale of global change continue to increase, large landscape conservation and stakeholder collaboration have been identified as key strategies for preserving ecosystem structure, function, and services as well as achieving sustainable use of common pool resources. Few places in the world exemplify the needs and challenges of managing trade-offs in large landscapes better than the American West. Home to some of the most iconic landscapes and wildlife in North America, the American West is facing growing pressures from development, food production, and climate change. Furthermore, the dominance of federal land ownership across the region, combined with the interspersion of private lands owned by legacy ranchers, multi-millionaires, and amenity migrants, sets the stage for complex common pool resource problems that are likely to be exacerbated as aridity increases across the region. Transdisciplinary scholarship is crucial to disentangle key social-ecological interactions and feedbacks affecting environmental sustainability in the American West and inform the development of effective governance and management strategies.

The papers in this focus collection will synthesize existing knowledge, highlight important gaps, and chart a path for future inquiry on social-ecological sustainability in the American West. Contributions are invited from social, ecological, and physical scientists, as well as humanities scholars, that focus on an integrated set of topics.

Deadline for responses

We will be grateful if you could respond to this invitation with a "Yes", "No" or "Maybe" by 30 November 2018. Please note that contributions must be of the same format and meet the same publication criteria as regular research letter articles in ERL.

Further details, as well as the full scope and aims of the collection are available at:

For more information about general journal scope and submission requirements (including the recommended upper limit of 4000 words for research letter articles) please visit:

If you are interested in contributing, we ask that you submit abstract on a specific topic to be assessed by the Guest Editors. Abstracts should be around 200 words and demonstrate why the manuscript will be a good fit for the focus collection. The deadline for submitting an abstract is 18 January 2019. Please email the abstract directly to Dr Neil Carter (neilcarter@boisestate.edu).

Deadline for submissions

The nominal date for submission of full manuscripts is until 17 May 2019 and submissions earlier in this period are encouraged. ERL publishes focus collections incrementally, with accepted articles published as soon as the peer review process is concluded, avoiding any delay to the publication of individual contributions.  All articles will be collected together on the dedicated webpage above with contributions added on an on-going basis.

Due to ERL’s broad scope and open access model, this collection will be targeted at a diverse audience of Earth & environmental scientists, practitioners, policy makers, and non-specialist readers. This, as well as additional coverage via our social media channels or via our sister community channel; Environment and Energy at Physics World, means published ERL articles have outstandingly high visibility and impact – each article receives on average over 1,600 downloads within 6 months of publication and the latest ISI Impact Factor is 4.5.

ERL is an open access journal, completely free to read, and is funded solely by article publication charges. Authors should therefore be aware of the article publication charge for accepted and published articles, including those in focus collections. Full details about the article charge can be found on the article charge page.

We look forward to hearing from you regarding your proposed contribution; please feel free to discuss with us any matters relating to the focus collection.

Best wishes,

Clare Aslan, Northern Arizona University
Neil Carter, Boise State University
Hannah Gosnell, Oregon State University
Matthew A Williamson, University of California, Davis

(Guest Editors)