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.

An article focused on (i) understanding how climate change is decreasing ocean biodiversity and (ii) identifying the planetary health impacts accelerated by ocean biodiversity erosion.

Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry, Volume 32, December 2021

Graphical abstract

Microplastics (MPs) are found in all conceivable media from air, sediments, soils, freshwater, seawater, and organisms, including humans. This paper emphasizes current advances in the study of MPs and presents a review of recent two years of literature on the occurrence and fate of these particles in the environment. The occurrence and fate of MPs are affected by their characteristics and interaction with the media in the environment, including particle mobility and transport processes.

This content aligns with Goal 15: Life on Land by exploring the fossil history, phylogeny, and diversity of crocodilians.

Animal Behavior (Third Edition), 2022, Pages 531-573

This book chapter advances SDGs 13, 15, and 17 by explaining how conservation of species in the wild by creating sanctuaries is most successful if aspects of behavior such as territoriality, dispersal, and migration are factored into sanctuary design.
Fish experiencing abnormally high or prolonged elevations in temperature can exhibit impaired reproduction, even for species adapted to warm water environments. Such high temperature inhibition of reproduction has been linked to diminished gonadal steroidogenesis, but the mechanisms whereby hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis signaling is impacted by high temperature are not fully understood.
As the rapid development of population leads to increasing demand for food and land resources, issues such as deforestation, land restoration from lakes, and the recuperation of grassland can lead to a ferocious cycle. This chapter reviews issues and challenges of the land reclamation process and strategic solutions proposed for its sustainable development.
Effects of the COVID-19 public health crisis related to biodiversity loss and ecosystem health
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, caused by zoonotic SARS-CoV-2, has important links to biodiversity loss and ecosystem health. These links range from anthropogenic activities driving zoonotic disease emergence and extend to the pandemic affecting biodiversity conservation, environmental policy, ecosystem services, and multiple conservation facets. Crucially, such effects can exacerbate the initial drivers, resulting in feedback loops that are likely to promote future zoonotic disease outbreaks.
This articles describes an investigative study in a suspected wildlife hunting incident in which molecular biology techniques were employed to identify the species involved. The genetic analysis in this study was suitable for diagnosing the species and concluding a criminal investigation. Molecular forensic techniques can, therefore, provide an important tool that enables local law enforcement agencies to apprehend poachers.
Elsevier, The Lancet Regional Health - Europe, Volume 9, October 2021
Europeans are not only exposed to direct effects from climate change, but also vulnerable to indirect effects from infectious disease, many of which are climate sensitive, which is of concern because of their epidemic potential. Climatic conditions have facilitated vector-borne disease outbreaks like chikungunya, dengue, and West Nile fever and have contributed to a geographic range expansion of tick vectors that transmit Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis.
Elsevier, The Lancet, Volume 398, 9 October 2021