Biodiversity and ecosystems

Biodiversity and ecosystems, encompassing the vast variety of life on Earth and the natural systems they inhabit, are fundamental to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Their importance is acknowledged explicitly in several SDGs due to their critical role in maintaining environmental balance and supporting human life and well-being.

SDG 14 (Life Below Water) and SDG 15 (Life on Land) are directly focused on the conservation and sustainable use of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, respectively. These goals recognize the intrinsic value of biodiversity and the vital services ecosystems provide, such as habitat for wildlife, carbon sequestration, and soil formation. The preservation and restoration of ecosystems like forests, wetlands, and coral reefs are essential for maintaining biodiversity, which in turn supports ecological resilience and the sustenance of human life.

The role of biodiversity and ecosystems in achieving SDG 2 (Zero Hunger) is significant. The variety of life forms, including plants, animals, and microorganisms, underpins agricultural productivity. Pollinators, soil organisms, and genetic diversity of crops are all crucial for food production and agricultural resilience. Ecosystems support agriculture not just in terms of crop yield but also in sustaining the natural resources like soil and water, upon which agriculture depends.

Similarly, SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation) is closely tied to the health of ecosystems. Natural habitats such as forests and wetlands play a key role in filtering and purifying water, maintaining the water cycle, and regulating water flow. This natural filtration process is vital for providing clean drinking water and supporting sanitation systems.

Biodiversity and ecosystems are also crucial for SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being). Natural environments regulate diseases by supporting a balance among species that, in turn, can control pest and disease outbreaks. Additionally, a vast number of medical discoveries, including medicines and treatments, have their origins in biological resources, underscoring the potential of biodiversity in contributing to human health and well-being.

Moreover, biodiversity and ecosystems play a significant role in addressing climate change, linking to SDG 13 (Climate Action). Ecosystems such as forests and oceans are major carbon sinks, absorbing and storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Protecting and restoring these ecosystems are vital strategies for climate change mitigation. Additionally, healthy ecosystems provide crucial services for climate change adaptation, such as protecting against extreme weather events and helping communities adjust to changing environmental conditions.

However, achieving these goals requires addressing threats to biodiversity and ecosystems, such as habitat destruction, pollution, overfishing, and invasive species. It also involves balancing the needs of human development with environmental conservation, ensuring sustainable use of natural resources.

Biodiversity and ecosystems are integral to achieving multiple SDGs. Their conservation and sustainable use not only benefit the environment but are essential for food security, water purity, human health, and combating climate change. The protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems are therefore crucial steps towards sustainable development and ensuring the well-being of current and future generations.

Elsevier,

Global Ecology and Conservation, Volume 52, August 2024

This paper highlights the importance for conservation biologists and on-the-ground practitioners to engage more with local pastoralists to tackle the complex and infrequently described conflicts on how best to implement protective policies.
This study introduces an innovative method using DNA barcodes to accurately identify species, addressing the critical issue of trafficking invaluable medicinal plants like Trillium govanianum.
This papers shows that deforestation negatively affects orchid bee species diversity and that protected areas house the highest richness and abundance of orchid bees.
A perspective piece on ecosystem restoration and seed provenance, highlighting different stakeholders and frameworks and current needs
The most significant threat to environmental components is the alarming increase of micro- and nano- plastics (MNPs) within the ecosystem. Among the several remediation techniques available to date, microbial remediation showed better promise to degrade or sustainably remove MNPs from the environment. Microorganisms have evolved genes that impact changes in plastic pollutants under stable ecophysiological processes that depend on biotic and abiotic elements.
The paper demonstrates that coastal ecosystem restoration leads to increased abundance and diversity of animals, comparable to natural reference sites, underscoring its importance in mitigating biodiversity loss and environmental degradation.
Amphibian rewilding initiatives may provide early indications of ecological health and better contribute to conservation goals, by simultaneously protecting highly endangered species, and promoting ecological stability in these species ecosystems. Authors recommend the rapid (re)introduction of this “forgotten” taxon via the guidelines of trophic rewilding.
As climate is changing ecosystems, how to do alter our goals for conservation
Elsevier,

Biological Conservation, Volume 292, April 2024

Conservation translocations have become popular and important conservation tools and this paper reviews the recent studies concerning animal translocation redefining the field to translocation science to embrace sociopolitical factors.
This Review supports SDGs 3 and 15 by exploring the links between climate change, biodiversity loss, and infectious diseases. The authors focus on the social, political, and financial factors that frame these issues, and suggest that a better understanding of these interactions is needed to drive solutions.

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