Biodiversity and ecosystems

Biodiversity and ecosystems are foundational to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They are explicitly recognized in SDG 14 (Life Below Water) and SDG 15 (Life on Land), which aim to conserve and sustainably use aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Biodiversity and healthy ecosystems also support SDG 2 (Zero Hunger) by providing the variety of life that underpins agricultural productivity. They contribute to SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation) by providing essential water filtration services, and to SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being) by regulating disease and offering potential sources for medical discoveries. Moreover, these biological resources play a significant role in climate change mitigation and adaptation, linking to SDG 13 (Climate Action). Hence, the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems is essential to achieving multiple SDGs.

Insects have a significant role towards achieving sustainable development, but the decline of insect knowledge outreach efforts is dampening their impact. Revisiting the perspective and approach to entomological literacy is required to respond to the evolving human needs for sustainable living in light of the decline of insect biomass and biodiversity, and entomology. This is also an opportunity to reflect on the interests about insects in the age of video games.
Non-ribosomal peptides (NRPs) and polyketides (PKs) are among the most profuse families of secondary metabolites (SM) produced by bacteria. These compounds are believed to play an important ecological role in microbe-microbe and microbe-plant interactions in soil and roots microbiomes. Over the years, screening of NRPs and PKs in soil bacteria has resulted in high rates of rediscovery, mainly due to challenges associated with bacterial isolation.
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.
Each year the RELX Environmental Challenge is awarded to projects that best demonstrate how they can provide sustainable access to safe water or sanitation. In the past decade, the company has awarded $750,000 to projects and solutions that improve the world’s water quality and sanitation. This article, using innovative parallax storytelling technology, looks at the tangible impact of the RELX Environmental Challenge.
Dr. Dr. Dênis Pires de Lima, 2017 first prize winner of the Elsevier Foundation-ISC3 Green & Sustainable Chemistry Challenge
In 2017, Dr. Dênis Pires de Lima from the Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, was awarded the first prize of € 50,000 for his project “From Cashews to castor oil, combating mosquito-borne diseases.” Contributing to SDGs 3 and 15, Dr. Pires de Lima and his team’s project promoted the use of natural waste from locally sourced cashew nuts and castor oil, to produce environmentally friendly insecticides against mosquitoes carrying Zika and Dengue fever — a sustainable alternative to conventional, substantially toxic insecticides. Three years later, we interviewed Dr. about his experience as a winner of the Green Sustainable Chemistry Challenge, as well as the upcoming steps for his winning project.
This book chapter advances SDGs 6, 14 and 15 by examining how sustainable materials for environmental remediation are useful tools for helping address goals relating to ecosystem health and pollution control.
Humans, through agricultural fertilizer application, inject more reactive nitrogen (Nr) to terrestrial ecosystems than do natural sources. Ammonia volatilization is a major pathway of agricultural Nr loss. Using a process-based dynamic model, Shen et al. show that ammonia volatilization from agricultural land in the US will increase by up to 81% by the end of this century due to climate change alone, posing threats to food security, air quality, and ecosystem health, but mitigation strategies are available.

Producing food exerts pressures on the environment. Understanding the location and magnitude of food production is key to reducing the impacts of these pressures on nature and people. In this Perspective, Kuempel et al. outline an approach for integrating life cycle assessment and cumulative impact mapping data and methodologies to map the cumulative environmental pressure of food systems. The approach enables quantification of current and potential future environmental pressures, which are needed to reduce the net impact of feeding humanity.

Typical thermographic images of adult Malayan sun bears taken shortly after rest and in a postabsorptive state at (A) TA = 23 °C, (B) TA = 28 °C, and (C) TA = 29 °C.
Thermoregulation in Malayan sun bears is not fully understood. Therefore, in this study the effect of meteorological variables on both behavioural and autonomic thermoregulatory mechanisms in sun bears was examined in order to identify temperature thresholds for the activation of various thermoregulatory mechanisms. Infrared thermography was used to non‒invasively determine body surface temperature (TS) distribution in relation to ambient temperature (TA) and to determine the thermoneutral zone (TNZ) of sun bears.