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, iScience, Volume 24, 19 March 2021
Proximity and size of the nearest market (‘market gravity’) have been shown to have strong negative effects on coral reef fish communities that can be mitigated by the establishment of closed areas. However, moray eels are functionally unique predators that are generally not subject to targeted fishing and should therefore not directly be affected by these factors. We used baited remote underwater video systems to investigate associations between morays and anthropogenic, habitat, and ecological factors in the Caribbean region.

iScience, Volume 24, 19 March 2021

In this article, we seek to draw upon a variety of multidisciplinary datasets that are yet to be compiled in a peer-reviewed publication, to support growing movements looking to re-cast the forests of the Wet Tropics as cultural landscapes as well as purely “primitive” Gondwanan remnants.
Elsevier, iScience, Volume 24, 19 March 2021
Mangrove-dominated estuaries host a diverse microbial assemblage that facilitates nutrient and carbon conversions and could play a vital role in maintaining ecosystem health. In this study, we used 16S rRNA gene analysis, metabolic inference, nutrient concentrations, and δ13C and δ15N isotopes to evaluate the impact of land use change on near-shore biogeochemical cycles and microbial community structures within mangrove-dominated estuaries.
Elsevier, Current Opinion in Environmental Science and Health, Volume 20, April 2021
Rapid emergence of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) is a global problem. Soil is a major reservoir of ARGs. The extensive use and/or abuse of antibiotics has increased ARGs proliferation in the soil. The dynamics and transfer of ARGs amongst microorganisms associated with plants and fauna are being investigated. Exogenous coselective agents further exacerbate the problem. Integrated approaches reducing selection pressure and disrupting ARGs transmission routes are essential in the One Health perspective, which appreciates the interconnectivity between humans, animals, and the environment.
Elsevier, Cities, Volume 26, August 2009
Urban forests are integral components of urban ecosystems, which could generate significant ecosystem services, such as offsetting carbon emission, removing air pollutants, regulating the microclimate, and recreation. These ecosystem services contribute to improving environmental quality, quality of life, and sustainable urban development. Despite a long history of inserting vegetation in human settlements in China, modern scientific study of this natural-cum-cultural resource did not start until the 1990s.
Elsevier, Current Research in Food Science, Volume 3, November 2020
The principal motivations for the worldwide trend towards reducing meat consumption are health, the environment and animal welfare. The present study investigated the willingness of omnivores to introduce mixed (beef-vegetable protein) and 100% vegetable protein products into their diet. The participants (n = 251) were young adult omnivores who consumed meat at least once a week. The stimuli were images of six different products representing two beef burgers, two mixed-protein burgers (50% beef and 50% seitan or soy) and two 100% vegetable protein burgers (seitan and soy).
Elsevier, One Earth, Volume 4, 22 January 2021
The upcoming Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meeting, and adoption of the new Global Biodiversity Framework, represent an opportunity to transform humanity's relationship with nature. Restoring nature while meeting human needs requires a bold vision, including mainstreaming biodiversity conservation in society. We present a framework that could support this: the Mitigation and Conservation Hierarchy.
Elsevier, One Earth, Volume 2, 22 May 2020
Mangrove forests are found on sheltered coastlines in tropical, subtropical, and some warm temperate regions. These forests support unique biodiversity and provide a range of benefits to coastal communities, but as a result of large-scale conversion for aquaculture, agriculture, and urbanization, mangroves are considered increasingly threatened ecosystems. Scientific advances have led to accurate and comprehensive global datasets on mangrove extent, structure, and condition, and these can support evaluation of ecosystem services and stimulate greater conservation and rehabilitation efforts.
Elsevier, One Earth, Volume 3, 18 December 2020
Restoring forest cover is a prominent option for climate mitigation. Effective deployment requires knowing where opportunities are and how they vary in carbon capture, costs, co-benefits, and feasibility. Here, we combined spatial, economic, and feasibility analyses to examine 10 different opportunity classes for restoration of forest cover across the contiguous United States. These include non-stocked forests, shrublands, protected areas, post-burn landscapes, pasture lands, croplands with challenging soils, urban areas, floodplains, streamsides, and biodiversity corridors.
Elsevier, One Earth, Volume 2, 19 June 2020
Protecting the ocean has become a major goal of international policy as human activities increasingly endanger the integrity of the ocean ecosystem, often summarized as “ocean health.” By and large, efforts to protect the ocean have failed because, among other things, (1) the underlying socio-ecological pathways have not been properly considered, and (2) the concept of ocean health has been ill defined. Collectively, this prevents an adequate societal response as to how ocean ecosystems and their vital functions for human societies can be protected and restored.