One of your most important tasks as an author of an ecology paper or grant is to explain why your work (or your proposed work, in the case of a grant) is interesting and important. Why should others pay attention to/fund/emulate/etc. whatever it is you’re doing, as opposed to paying attention to/fund/emulating something else?
One common way ecologists make the case that their work is interesting and important is to cite others who’ve recently called for more of that sort of work. You can see why ecologists do this. We’d all like to be able to say that we’re doing the sort of work that everyone agrees most needs doing right now.
The trouble is, we all can say that–and all of us are equally right. Meaning we’re all equally wrong. Because the recent literature includes calls for every sort of work ecologists do, on every topic ecologists study.
I’m too lazy to look up and link to all the citations, but just off the top of my head I can think of recent calls that ecology needs more place-based observational natural history, more field experiments, more microcosm and mesocosm experiments, more long-term data, more remotely-sensed data, more theoretical work, more applied work, more math, less math, more sophisticated statistics, less sophisticated statistics, more synthesis of existing data, more emphasis on collecting new data, and last but not least more work on [name of your favorite ecological topic] and more work on [name of your least-favorite ecological topic].
This isn’t to say that every topic is equally interesting and important, and that every approach to studying topic X is equally valid and informative. It’s just to say that ecologists disagree with one another on those matters. Part of why we disagree is that deciding what research is “interesting” or “important” isn’t a purely objective decision, but isn’t purely subjective either. It’s possible but difficult to make a case for the value of your work that resonates with other people. But there’s no alternative except to make your case as best you can. Citing someone else who’s made the same case isn’t a bad thing–I’ve probably done it myself, though I haven’t gone back and checked. But it doesn’t really help your case much, because anybody can do that.
There’s an old joke the economists have correctly predicted seven of the last four recessions. Well, ecologists have called for more work on seven of the four topics that most need more work, using seven of the four most promising approaches. So when making the case for your own work, try to keep the focus on ecology, not on what other ecologists have said about ecology.