Ecosystem

Cities are wrestling with the practical challenges of transitioning urban water services to become water sensitive; capable of enhancing liveability, sustainability, resilience and productivity in the face of climate change, rapid urbanisation, degraded ecosystems and ageing infrastructure. Indicators can be valuable for guiding actions for improvement, but there is not yet an established index that measures the full suite of attributes that constitute water sensitive performance.
Graphical abstract of article
Microplastics (MPs) and nanoplastics (NPs) have attracted considerable attention in the recent years as potential threats to the ecosystem and public health. This review summarizes current knowledge of pathological events triggered by micro- and nano-plastics (MP/NPs) with focus on oxidative damages at different levels of biological complexity (molecular, cellular, tissue, organ, individual and population).
Termites are amongst the main macroinvertebrate decomposers in tropical ecosystems and they exert additional impacts through the creation of biostructures (mounds, galleries, sheetings, etc.) with different soil physical and chemical properties, thereby impacting positively on numerous ecosystem services for humankind. Unfortunately, this positive or ‘bright’ role of termites is often overshadowed by their ‘dark’ side, that is, their status as pests threatening agriculture and constructions.
Elsevier, Current Opinion in Insect Science, Volume 38, April 2020
Insect pollinators are becoming visible to societies. Many peer-reviewed papers evidence biophysical and ecological aspects of managed and non-managed insect pollinators. Evidence on stressors of declines yield peer-reviewed calls for action. Yet, insect pollinator declines are inherently a human issue, driven by a history of land-use trends, changes in technologies, and socio-cultural perceptions that unwittingly cause and perpetuate declines. Conservation requires integrating social and ecological understandings to reconfigure human behaviors across societies’ sectors.
The unprecedented global heatwave of 2014–2017 was a defining event for many ecosystems. Widespread degradation caused by coral bleaching, for example, highlighted the vulnerability of hundreds of millions of people dependent on reefs for their livelihoods, well-being, and food security. Scientists and policy makers are now reassessing long-held assumptions about coping with anthropogenic climate change, particularly the assumption that strong local institutions can maintain ecological and social resilience through ecosystem-based management, adaptation, and restoration.
Mercury contamination in soil, water and air is associated with potential toxicity to humans and ecosystems. Industrial activities such as coal combustion have led to increased mercury (Hg) concentrations in different environmental media. This review critically evaluates recent developments in technological approaches for the remediation of Hg contaminated soil, water and air, with a focus on emerging materials and innovative technologies. Extensive research on various nanomaterials, such as carbon nanotubes (CNTs), nanosheets and magnetic nanocomposites, for mercury removal are investigated.
Elsevier, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Volume 34, February 2019
There is worldwide concern about the environmental costs of conventional intensification of agriculture. Growing evidence suggests that ecological intensification of mainstream farming can safeguard food production, with accompanying environmental benefits; however, the approach is rarely adopted by farmers. Our review of the evidence for replacing external inputs with ecosystem services shows that scientists tend to focus on processes (e.g., pollination) rather than outcomes (e.g., profits), and express benefits at spatio-temporal scales that are not always relevant to farmers.
Elsevier, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 136, November 2018
Increasing accessibility of coral reefs from the latter third of the 20th century led quickly to recognition of the vulnerability of coral reef communities to a combination of direct and indirect human impacts. Coral reefs are confronted by the stark threats of climate and ocean changes from the increasing number, intensity and forms of human use impacting global and marine systems. Management, particularly of accessible coral reefs, occurs in the context of multiple scale transboundary water column linkages of lifecycle processes and increasing human use of coastal and marine space.
Activities in the food-energy-water nexus require ecosystem services to maintain productivity and prevent ecological degradation. This work applies techno-ecological synergy concepts in an optimization formulation to design a system for co-producing food and energy under constraints on ecological sustainability. The system includes land use activities and biomass conversion processes for the production of energy carriers, as well as supporting ecosystems that increase the supply of key ecosystem services.

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