The 12th International Grouse Symposium (IGS) was held in Matsumoto, Japan from 24 to 27 July 2012. This was the second IGS held in Asia and underscores the international interest in grouse (Tetraonidae). The conference was hosted flawlessly by Dr. Hiroshi Nakamura of Shinshu University and brought together grouse researchers from all over the world.
This is the 4th time that Wildlife Biology has published a group of papers emanating from an International Grouse Symposium. These papers, which will appear in this and following issues of Wildlife Biology, reflect not only specific trends in grouse research, but also general research interests of wildlife biologists. Yet they also reflect traditional areas of grouse research. They represent a cross section of researchers from Asia, North America and Europe. There are papers on nutrition, population dynamics, habitat selection and disturbance. These papers often crosswalk between disciplines so that integration of ideas is an important theme. Interestingly, although most grouse species are hunted in at least parts of their ranges, the papers tend to focus on issues related to conservation threats rather than hunting. In this sense, they reflect the growing concern about the continued deterioration or isolation of grouse habitats, and factors that could impact grouse in the future such as climate change, human disturbance and land use that results in habitat loss. The papers also present a nice blend of meticulous field work with sophisticated analysis of data derived from that work.
The review process was based on the standards that are the norm at Wildlife Biology. In particular, I selected reviewers from among international experts, most of whom had never attended an IGS. Each paper had two reviewers and when reviews were in conflict, I served as the final arbiter for resolving specific scientific issues or presentations. The result was a dynamic and rigorous review process. The responsibility for final acceptance of all grouse papers rested with me.
I hope that readers will find these papers as interesting as I did. Moreover, I thank the authors for their diligence and professionalism in accepting reviewer, editorial criticism and striving to improve their papers. Likewise, I thank the reviewers for providing insightful and careful reviews that improved these papers greatly.