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Ecosystem Health and Sustainability

Thank you for agreeing to review a manuscript for Ecosystem Health and Sustainability (EHS), the online, open-access journal published jointly by the Ecological Society of America and the Ecological Society of China. Before starting your review, please make sure you have time and can complete the review in a maximum of two weeks. If you cannot complete the review within this time frame, please decline to review the paper and please provide suggestions for alternative reviewers.

1. What topics does EHS cover?

Ecosystem Health and Sustainability publishes articles on advances in macro-ecology and sustainability science, on how changes in human activities affect ecosystem conditions, and on systems approaches for applying ecological science in decision making to promoting sustainable development, with a particular focus on regions undergoing rapid environmental change. We welcome multi-scale, integrative, and interdisciplinary studies and international collaboration studies between industrialized and industrializing countries.

Suitable topics for EHS

• Global to regional to local studies of international significance
• Impacts of global or regional environmental change on natural ecosystems
• Interdisciplinary research involving integration of natural, social, and behavioral sciences
• Science and policy that promotes the use of ecological sciences in decision making
• Novel or multidisciplinary approaches for solving complex ecological problems
• Multi-scale and long-term observation of ecosystem evolution
• Development of novel systems approaches or modeling and simulation techniques
• Rapid responses to emerging ecological issues

2. What types of article does the journal publish?

Editorials: authoritative, informed, and often provocative pieces, written by experts, calling for action on topical issues pertaining to ecological research and its policy implications. Editorials will be written or commissioned by the Editorial Board members. Length limit: 1000 words.

Research Articles: complex, original, observational, experimental, or theoretical studies that, due to their very integrated nature, defy dissolution into shorter publications focused on a single topic or message. Articles should follow the format of a traditional research article (Abstract, Key words, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, and Conclusions). Writing must be clear and concise and the quality of English must be high. Length limit: 7000 words (not including figures, tables, and references); length limit for the abstract: 250 words.

Critical Reviews: comprehensive, synthetic papers that describe recent developments of interdisciplinary significance and highlight future directions for ecological research. Critical Reviews must be more than overviews of the literature and simple compilations of facts. They should reflect the development of a topic and encompass relevant natural history, observational and experimental data, analyses, models, and theory. Length limit: 8000 words (not including figures, tables, and references); length limit for the abstract: 250 words.

Policy Forum: relatively short, high-impact discussion papers examining the implications of incorporating ecological theory, principles, and methods into policy making and practical resource management. These papers should be forward looking and/or speculative and should include discussion of new directions, new syntheses, and resolutions of existing and emerging issues. Length limit: 2000 words; length limit for the abstract: 100 words.

Comments and Replies: short letters responding to papers that have previously been published in this or another journal. These letters may point out errors or omissions, discuss interpretation of results in published papers, or offer comments or concerns regarding any topic of interest in macro-ecology and sustainability science. Length limit: 800 words (not including figures, tables, and references). No abstract necessary.

International Collaboration Studies: reports on important new results or progress in international collaborative ecological studies (transnational and multinational collaboration projects, international collaborative programs, etc.) of broad significance. These articles should be concise with an abstract, an introductory paragraph, main progress and perspectives, a conclusions section, and up to four figures or tables. Length limit: 3000 words (not including figures, tables, and references); length limit for the abstract: 250 words.

In all cases, information needed to support a paper’s conclusions should be included in the Supplemental Materials.


3. Review criteria

(a) Does the article fit the mission and scope of the journal?

(b) Are the contents relevant to macro-ecology and sustainable development research, including

• Theoretical innovation, novel or multidisciplinary approaches, or
• Important policy or management implications to achieve sustainable development goals at regional or global scales, or
• Practical regional applications but with international significance?

(c) Is the research approach appropriate and clearly described?

(d) Is the statistical analysis appropriate and correct?

(e) Are the contents of the article presented logically, and are the arguments convincing?

(f) Is the English written to a high standard?

(g) Is the writing style crisp, concise, and accessible?


4. Review requirements

Please review the scientific content of the paper, but do not polish the language line by line.

Rapid review

  • EHS seeks to provide rapid publication; this requires a speedy response from both editors and reviewers. Reviewers should provide their report within a short period of time (typically 2 weeks) to allow for a rapid decision and publication schedule.
  • Reviewers are not expected to provide detailed comments on the style or format of the text.
  • Language polishing is not the reviewer's responsibility. If the English is not understandable, the article should be rejected. However, if the topic is of interest, the reviewer should mention this in the report to the Subject Editor.
  • Concise review

    Your report should be concise and should focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the submission, highlighting areas that need revision. Identify major deficiencies as necessary.


    Your review and recommendation should be considered confidential. Please do not show the manuscript to anyone or discuss it, except to solicit assistance with a technical point. If you feel a colleague is more qualified than you to review the paper, do not pass the manuscript on to that person. Please decline to review the paper and provide the suggested alternate reviewer’s name and email address in the form provided in EcoTrack.

    Conflicts of interest

    If you feel you might have difficulty writing an objective review, please contact the Editorial Office immediately (; please do not review it. If your previous or present connection with the author(s) or an author's institution might be construed as creating a conflict of interest, but no actual conflict exists, please discuss this issue in your confidential comments to the Subject Editor. If in doubt, please contact the Subject Editor.

    Fairness and objectivity

    Your review should be fair and objective. Harsh words in a review will cause the reader to doubt your objectivity. As a result, your criticisms will be rejected, even if they are correct! Comments directed to the author should convince the author that (1) you have read the entire paper carefully, (2) your criticisms are objective and correct, are not merely differences of opinion, and are intended to help the author improve his or her paper, and (3) you are qualified to provide an expert opinion on the research reported in the paper. If you fail to win the author's respect and appreciation, much of your effort will have been wasted.


    If you choose to remain anonymous, avoid comments to the authors that might serve as clues to your identity and be careful about annotating the manuscript. If you choose to annotate the manuscript in Word, you must remove identifying information using “Options” before annotation. Unless you indicate otherwise, we will assume you wish to remain anonymous.


    5. Review format

    Please provide a short statement to identify the major contributions of the paper. What are its major strengths and weaknesses and its suitability for publication? Please include both general and specific comments bearing on these questions and emphasize your most significant points from the following categories:


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