This is a shot from the hip since I don't have data either way (I need to read this) but I have heard several times that we are producing too many PhDs for the number of potentially new academic positions and many are encouraged to seek employment in other avenues, such as government and consulting.
Since most ecology PhDs are funded through NSF (again, I have no data) or teaching stipends and we reduce the number of PhD students then how are courses covered and will ecology itself suffer if we have fewer folks in the field? In a way this is a selfish thought because I'm thinking of sabbaticals and if we have more funded sabbatical positions then we could help fill the gap by reducing the number of new PhDs. I know I would benefit a great deal from being in a new lab for a semester + summer.
Just some pre coffee thoughts, sitting in the lounge, waiting for my chair to get in because I left my office keys at home.