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, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 50, June 2021
The association of melting Himalayan glaciers and planetary health is complex. Climate change has accelerated the melting of Himalayan glaciers, with profound impacts on the planetary health realms of the Himalayan region and that now threaten hundreds of millions of people. Using a complex adaptive systems framework based on a systematic literature review, this complexity has been captured and mapped in nine subsystem categories: ecological services, disaster, water security, food security, energy security, livelihood and culture, migration, conflict and public health.
The study indicates that indigenous agricultural practices may have affected populations of hutia, perhaps by attracting them and supporting them within anthropogenic mosaic landscapes.
Elsevier,

Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 50, June 2021

The Amazon is the most concentrated expression of life on Earth and it is clearly threatened.

Elsevier,

The Atlantic Walrus, Multidisciplinary insights into human-animal interactions, 2021, Pages 251-262

This book chapter advances SDGs 13, 14, and 15 by presenting an overview of the current management requirements regarding the hunting of Atlantic walruses. It highlights how management and regulation occur across local, national, regional and international levels and the importance of effective collaboration between hunters, scientists and managers for successful conservation.
Elsevier,

Environmental Systems Science, Theory and Practical Applications, 2021, Pages 89-133

This book chapter addresses SDG 13 and 15 by explaining an approach to environmental and human health risk from a systems perspective. It introduces exposure assessment methodologies, identifying failures of conventional methods. The chapter explains possible ways to augment them to address the large uncertainties in assessing and managing the risks to humans and ecosystems from chemicals and microbes.
To mark World Environment Day 2021, RELX’s Global Head of Corporate Responsibility, Dr Márcia Balisciano, talks to Dr Dan Fiscus and Dr Brian Fath about this year's theme: Ecosystem Restoration. 
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.
OSPAR is a regional agreement by which 15 governments and the EU co-operate to protect the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic. The approach has a bearing on SDG 14.
Elsevier,

Landscape Evolution, Landforms, Ecosystems, and Soils, 2021, Pages 301-338

This book chapter advances SDGs 13 and 15 by reviewing case studies of how landscapes respond to contemporary and future environmental change.
Elsevier,

Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part - C: Toxicology and Pharmacology, Volume 242, April 2021

This article advances SDG #14 by looking at the impact widely used antibiotics are having on aquatic organisms when they are excreted unchanged into enter our water bodies.

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