Desertification, land degradation and drought

Living in a harsh, desert climate, Omani rural communities have developed locally-appropriate knowledge to deal with water scarcity. The aflaj taps into the natural water table and uses a gravity system to channel water through underground channels to villages. Traditional techniques of water management, represents a way of adapting to and coping with difficult climates but modernisation harms these traditional systems. This review finds ways for the aflaj system to respond to pressures of modernity and adapt to a multiple institutional framework to ‘transform’ collective water management, contributing to SDG 6.
Elsevier,

Science Bulletin, Volume 61, Issue 23, December 2016, Pages 1833-1838

Future climate change is usually projected by coupled earth system models under specific emission scenarios designed by integrated assessment models (IAMs): this offline approach means there is no interaction between the coupled earth system models and the IAMs. This paper introduces a new method to design possible future emission scenarios and corresponding climate change, in which a simple economic and climate damage component is added to the coupled earth system model of Beijing Normal University (BNU-ESMs. Measuring future climate change is critical for reporting on progress on SDG 13 Climate action.
Elsevier,

Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volumes 26–27, June 2017, Pages 77-83

Spatial distribution of deforestation observed in 1988–2004 and 2005–2014, including the main territorial units (agrarian settlements) created prior to 2004 and subsequently, along with key transportation infrastructure (paved roads and ports).
In the Brazilian Amazon, environmental considerations have not been adequately incorporated into long-term land use planning and this failure has partly been due to the complexities of the country’s existing inter-sectorial institutional arrangements. The authors point out the major challenges for the balance between of use of natural resources under a capital-driven agenda and the needs and aspirations of large and widely distributed populations throughout the Amazon region, which could have an important role in sustainability. This article demonstrates the multidiscilpinary nature of the SDGs by exploring the interconnectedness of economic development and environmental concerns.
Land Degradation (LD) in socio-environmental systems negatively impacts sustainable development paths. This paper provides an in-depth investigation of changes in biophysical and socioeconomic conditions of agricultural districts over time with the objective to assess local-scale spatial diversification in the degree of land susceptibility to degradation, taken as a proxy of desertification risk, related to SDG 15 (life on land).
Using newly-released and globally available high-resolution remote sensing data on forest loss, the authors update the assessment of the cross-country determinants of deforestation in developing countries. Agricultural trade, relatively neglected to date, is found to be one of the main factors causing deforestation. Insights into the relationship between the levels of forestation and trade are vital for understanding how to address SDG 15.2 to promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests.
Green waste left over from vegetable harvesting provides feed for sheep and is then returned to the soil as manure
Livestock has disappeared from swathes of England in the past 50 years as many growers became increasingly specialised. However as our soils increasingly suffer leaching, erosion and compaction from ever-heavier modern machinery, more and more arable farmers are reaping the benefits of bringing sheep and cattle back on to the land. Such measures help support SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production.
This study has investigated how smallholder farmers contribute to our global food supply. They looked at where farms are located, what type of commodities are produced (plants, livestock’s or fish) from farms of different sizes and their nutrition implications. They found that small farms produce 75–100% of all cereal in North America and South America, Australia, and New Zealand , livestock, and fruit in these regions, whereas small farms (<20 ha) found in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, southeast Asia, and China produce 75% of food commodities globally. This is in line with the attainment of SDG 2.
Maize growing under plastic

Critics claim that maize can cause unwanted environmental impacts. But supporters of the crop are able to show how by use of cover crops it can be grown responsibly, reducing or eliminating, for example, nutrient leaching and soil erosion. In south-west England, a Wessex Water project is using cover crops to protect and improve drinking water quality by working with growers whose farms surround boreholes and reservoirs that supply water for human consumption. Steps like this can contribute to SDG 6 to ensure sustainable management of water and SDG 12 to ensure sustainable production.

Reducing large-scale deforestation in commodity frontiers remains a key challenge for climate change mitigation and the conservation of biodiversity. Public and private anti-deforestation policies have been shown to effectively reduce forest loss, but the conditions under which such policies get adopted are rarely examined. This paper proposes a set of conditions for the adoption of effective anti-deforestation policies. Such conditions will help to advance SDG 15.2 to promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests and halt deforestation.
Elsevier,

Sustainable Cities and Society, Volume 28, 2017, Pages 450-452

This paper discusses the CO2 footprint of California’s drought during 2012–2014. The authors show that California drought significantly increased CO2 emissions of the energy sector by around 22 million metric tons, indicating 33% increase in the annual CO2 emissions compared to pre-drought conditions. They argue that CO2 emission of climate extremes deserve more attention, because their cumulative impacts on CO2 emissions are staggering. Most countries, including the United States, do not have a comprehensive a nationwide energy-water plan to minimize their CO2 emissions, therefore the authors argue that developing a national water-energy plan under a changing climate should be prioritized in the coming years.