Environmental Impact Assessment

Elsevier, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Volume 33, August 2018
Efforts to protect nature are facing a growing crisis, one that often revolves around the burgeoning impacts of roads and other infrastructure on biodiversity and ecosystems. Potential solutions are possible but they will involve serious trade-offs and the confrontation of deep misconceptions. Here, I identify some time-critical tactics to aid scientists in informing and influencing the global infrastructure debate.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), adopted in September 2015, are accompanied by targets which have to be met individually and collectively by the signatory states. SDG14 Life Below Water aims to lay the foundation for the integrated and sustainable management of the oceans. However, any environmental management has to be based around targets which are SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bounded – otherwise it is not possible to determine whether management actions are successful and achieve the desired aims.
Land Degradation (LD) in socio-environmental systems negatively impacts sustainable development paths. This study proposes a framework to LD evaluation based on indicators of diversification in the spatial distribution of sensitive land. We hypothesize that conditions for spatial heterogeneity in a composite index of land sensitivity are more frequently associated to areas prone to LD than spatial homogeneity. Spatial heterogeneity is supposed to be associated with degraded areas that act as hotspots for future degradation processes.
Increasing interest in deep-seabed mining has raised many questions surrounding its potential environmental impacts and how to assess the impacts’ significance. Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the International Seabed Authority (ISA) is charged with ensuring effective protection of the marine environment as part of its responsibilities for managing mining in seabed areas beyond national jurisdiction (the Area) on behalf of humankind.