World Environment Day 2021

World Environment Day is the most renowned day for environmental action. Since 1974, it has been celebrated every year on June 5th, engaging governments, businesses, celebrities and citizens to focus their efforts on a pressing environmental issue.

To mark World Environment Day 2021, Elsevier presents a curated list of free access journal articles and book chapters in support of this year's theme - Ecosystem Restoration.

People and the planet are only as healthy as the ecosystems we all depend on. Bringing degraded ecosystems back to life – for example by planting trees, cleaning up riverbanks, or simply giving nature space to recover – increases their benefits to society and biodiversity. Without reviving ecosystems, we cannot achieve the Sustainable Development Goals or the Paris Climate Agreement. But ecosystems are also complex and highly varied, and their restoration needs careful planning and patient implementation.

World Environment Day 2021 also marks the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, a rallying call for the protection and revival of ecosystems all around the world, for the benefit of people and nature. The UN Decade runs from 2021 through 2030, which is also the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals and the timeline scientists have identified as the last chance to prevent catastrophic climate change. It aims to halt the degradation of ecosystems, and restore them to achieve global goals. Only with healthy ecosystems can we enhance people’s livelihoods, counteract climate change, and stop the collapse of biodiversity.

Elsevier, Sustainable Cities and Society, Volume 62, November 2020
This paper assesses the influence of land development patterns on intra-urban thermal variation in a densely-developed subtropical city, considering joint effect from greenspace pattern and built-up geometry. Despite growing research on urban climates, research at a scale that can support urban planning with scientificallyinformed strategies is still not as well documented for warm climate cities as for temperate cities. In response, this paper uses land surface temperature and geoinformation to assess the subtropical city of Taipei, Taiwan.
Elsevier, Food Webs, Volume 24, September 2020
Ecology plays a central role in the management and conservation of ecosystems. However, as coral restoration emerges as an increasingly popular method of confronting the global decline of tropical coral reefs, an ecological basis to guide restoration remains under-developed. Here, we examine potential contributions that trophic ecology can make to reef restoration efforts. To do so, we conducted a comprehensive review of 519 peer-reviewed restoration studies from the past thirty years.
Elsevier, Current Opinion in Insect Science, Volume 40, August 2020
Tropical insects are astonishingly diverse and abundant yet receive only marginal scientific attention. In natural tropical settings, insects are involved in regulating and supporting ecosystem services including seed dispersal, pollination, organic matter decomposition, nutrient cycling, herbivory, food webs and water quality, which in turn help fulfill UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Current and future global changes that affect insect diversity and distribution could disrupt key ecosystem services and impose important threats on ecosystems and human well-being.
Elsevier, Environment International, Volume 134, January 2020
Soil contamination by potentially toxic elements (PTEs) has led to adverse environmental impacts. In this review, we discussed remediation of PTEs contaminated soils through immobilization techniques using different soil amendments with respect to type of element, soil, and amendment, immobilization efficiency, underlying mechanisms, and field applicability. Soil amendments such as manure, compost, biochar, clay minerals, phosphate compounds, coal fly ash, and liming materials are widely used as immobilizing agents for PTEs.
Elsevier, Environment International, Volume 134, January 2020
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, Geography and Sustainability, Volume 1, March 2020
Water footprint (WF) measures human appropriation of water resources for consumptive use of surface and ground water (blue WF) and soil water (green WF) and for assimilating polluted water (grey WF). Questions have been often asked about the exact meaning behind the numbers from WF accounting. However, to date environmental sustainability of WF has never been assessed at the sub-national level over time. This study evaluated the environmental sustainability of blue, green and grey WF for China's 31 mainland provinces in 2002, 2007 and 2012, and identified the unsustainable hotspots.
Elsevier, iScience, Volume 23, 26 June 2020
Sharks are a taxon of significant conservation concern and associated public interest. The scientific community largely supports management policies focusing on sustainable fisheries exploitation of sharks, but many concerned members of the public and some environmental advocates believe that sustainable shark fisheries cannot and do not exist and therefore support total bans on all shark fisheries and/or trade in shark products.
Elsevier, Geography and Sustainability, Volume 1, December 2020
The Baltic Sea is essential for marine ecosystem services (MES) provision and the region's socio-economic dynamics. It is considered one of the busiest and most polluted regional seas in Europe. In recent years a collective effort in enforcing European and regional environmental policies and directives (e.g. Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC, 2000; Marine Strategy Framework Directive 2008/56/EC, 2008; Maritime Spatial Planning Directive 2014/89/EU, 2014) has been carried out. Ecosystem Services assessment and mapping is integrated into these directives.
Elsevier, Geography and Sustainability, Volume 2, March 2021
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.
Elsevier, iScience, Volume 24, 19 March 2021
The Ganga basin includes some of the most densely populated areas in the world, in a region characterized by extremely high demographic and economic growth rates. Although anthropogenic pressure in this area is increasing, the pollution status of the Ganga is still poorly studied and understood. In the light of this, we have carried out a systematic literature review of the sources, levels and spatiotemporal distribution of organic pollutants in surface water and sediment of the Ganga basin, including for the first time emerging contaminants (ECs).