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 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.

Compared to other climate regions of the world, Mediterranean regions are likely to experience more severe effects of climate change as rainfall decreases and temperatures increase. Global climate change models predict a reduction in rainfall and rise in the temperature of rivers in South Africa's Cape Fold Ecoregion (CFE) – a Mediterranean region in the south-west corner of the country.

In this work, the authors take on  a broad-scale quantitative assessment of butterfly biodiversity. They find with some examples of North American butterflies that shared biogeographic histories and trophic associations do not necessarily assure similar diversity outcomes.
Nexis Newsdesk™ has created graphics on the SDGs and the Global Media Landscape, offering charts & insights into global media coverage of the Sustainable Development Goals. View findings for Global Goal 14.
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.
Anthropogenic activity is a major driver of seabird injury and mortality in the 21st century. Although most seabirds perish within the natural environment as a result of human activities, some are rescued and admitted to rehabilitation centres. Despite the considerable number of admissions, little is known regarding the physiological response seabirds have to specific admission reasons and the rehabilitation process.

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.

The COVID-19 pandemic has stalled and rolled back progress on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Ecosystem services (ESs), defined as the contributions of ecosystems to human well-being, underpin the achievement of SDGs. To promote SDG achievement in post-pandemic era, we teased out the links between ESs and SDGs while examining the impact of COVID-19. We found that ESs benefited all SDGs, yet man-made pressures led to degradation of ecosystems and their services. There is broad consensus that the virus lurks in degraded ecosystems and generates spillover due to human interference.

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.

Elsevier,

Geography and Sustainability, Volume 2, March 2021

This article supports SDG 15 by demonstrating both climate change and social-economic developments play important roles to wildlife recovery in Qingzang Plateau. How to effectively promote the wildlife restoration and conservation in Qingzang Plateau is challenging.

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