Biodiversity and ecosystems

Ecological infrastructure (EI) refers to ecosystems that deliver services to society, functioning as a nature-based equivalent of, or complement to, built infrastructure. EI is critical for socio-economic development, supporting a suite of development imperatives at local, national and international scales. This paper presents the myriad of ways that EI supports sustainable development, using South Africa and the South African National Development Plan as a case study, linking to the Sustainable Development Goals on a global level. We show the need for EI across numerous development and sustainability issues, including food security, water provision, and poverty alleviation contributing to several SDGs not least, goals 1, 11 and 17.

World Development, Volume 96, August 2017, Pages 359-374

This article reviews the evidence and outcomes of Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) Schemes in achieving environmental objectives and socio-economic co-benefits in varying contexts. These schemes, which offer incentives to land users to protect or enhance environmental or ecological services, are subject to refreshed analysis in this article. SDG 15 targets A and B are specifically concerned with financial incentives for environmental protection and conservation.

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.
Proagrica data landscape infographic
Proagrica has produced a White Paper report which sets out how its technology supports evidence-based production and the impact that will have on the world’s ability to feed the world sustainably. Driven by the power of big data to drive insights at farm level, solutions such as Proagrica will significantly advance SDG 2.4 to ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production.
Reed Exhibitions,

World Travel Market, Responsible Tourism Blog, May 2017

Ecotourism wildlife conservation and sdgs
The marketing value of the concept of ecotourism is now very low, as there is very little evidence that it delivers. Many people in the developing world are unable to visit National Parks and suffer only negative impacts – loss of access for meat, fruits, thatching grass and land for agriculture. How does a consumer or tour operator identify wildlife operators and conservancies that are really making a contribution? Either to wildlife and habitat conservation or to the livelihoods of local communities to ensure that they benefit from conservation?
This articles addresses SDG 17 - Partnerships for the SDG's. It highlights the needs of joint involvement of various sectors, using as an example The Converging World (TCW) partnership model which currently links south-west England and Tamil Nadu, raising funds for wind turbines in India to avert emissions from conventional sources and reinvesting operating surpluses into forest restoration. In this case the developing-developed world partnership offers equal opportunities in addressing the Climate Action element of SDG 13, serving as an example of positive partnerships in fulfilling the SDGs.
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.
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.

This is the first global quantitative assessment of how humanity is negatively affecting Natural World Heritage Sites (NWHS) by analysing human footprint and forest loss . The lessons being learnt from this research on NWHS is clearly related to how we need to protect our natural ecosystems, directly advancing knowledge for SDG 15, which is about the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems. This article has also won the February 2017 Atlas award.