Integrate ecosystem services into socio-economic development to enhance achievement of sustainable development goals in the post-pandemic era

Elsevier, Geography and Sustainability, Volume 2, March 2021
Yin C., Zhao W., Cherubini F., Pereira P.

The COVID-19 pandemic has stalled and rolled back progress on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Ecosystem services (ESs), defined as the contributions of ecosystems to human well-being, underpin the achievement of SDGs. To promote SDG achievement in post-pandemic era, we teased out the links between ESs and SDGs while examining the impact of COVID-19. We found that ESs benefited all SDGs, yet man-made pressures led to degradation of ecosystems and their services. There is broad consensus that the virus lurks in degraded ecosystems and generates spillover due to human interference. The pandemic and global lockdown/restriction disrupted the flow of ESs and altered human ESs demand, threatening the efforts for the SDGs. We suggested: 1) to study the association and traceability of ESs-SDGs under the pandemic; 2) to prioritize pressing issues such as health care, livelihood, and resource security and in the long run, we should promote human-nature harmony to achieve the SDGs; and 3) to enhance ESs and to promote the SDGs through local community efforts, ESs accounting, and ecosystem restoration. This paper provides insights into the importance of ESs to the SDGs and the ways to integrate ESs into socio-economic development to promote the SDG achievement after the pandemic.