Biodiversity and ecosystems

Over the last two decades, there has been growing interest on the effects of agricultural practices on soil biology in Europe. As soil biota are known to fluctuate throughout the season and as agro-environmental conditions may influence the effect of agricultural practices on soil organisms, conclusions cannot be drawn from a single study. Therefore, integrating the results of many studies in order to identify general trends is required. The main objective of this study was to investigate how soil biota are affected by repeated applications of organic amendments (i.e.
The assessment of microbial functional diversity is an important indicator of soil quality. Different methodological approaches are currently used; among them are enzyme activities (EA) and CLPP (community level physiological profile) techniques (e.g. MicroResp™ MR).
Non-vascular plants such as mosses, lichens and especially microalgae are widespread in terrestrial ecosystems, but their contribution in the nutrient cycling and energy budget of soil food webs is generally neglected. Despite a relatively low total biomass, soil microalgae can be very productive and contribute to the diet of many soil decomposers such as Collembola. Using 15N/14N ratios we showed that phycophagy is of particular importance for Collembola in extreme habitats like rock surfaces, or seasonally during the wintertime.
This book chapter addresses goals 15 and 17 by providing an overview of educational programming used across cheetah conservation organizations, including considerations for designing, implementing, and evaluating such programs for success.
Ecological infrastructure (EI) refers to ecosystems that deliver services to society, functioning as a nature-based equivalent of, or complement to, built infrastructure. EI is critical for socio-economic development, supporting a suite of development imperatives at local, national and international scales. This paper presents the myriad of ways that EI supports sustainable development, using South Africa and the South African National Development Plan as a case study, linking to the Sustainable Development Goals on a global level.
Multiple nutrient deficiencies related to severe soil fertility depletion have emerged as the major constraint to the sustainability of agriculture on a global scale. Use of biochar and biochar-compost mixtures from different alternative organic sources have been proposed as an option for improving soil fertility, restoring degraded land, and mitigating the emissions of greenhouse gasses associated with agriculture.

Social Ecology in the Digital Age, Solving Complex Problems in a Globalized World, 2018, Pages 223-264

This book chapter advances SDGs 13 and 15 by confronting what many scientists and policymakers regard as our gravest existential threats today—global climate change and its impacts on groundwater and food supplies, sea level rise and coastal flooding, ocean acidification extreme weather events, biodiversity loss, violent conflict over scarce resources, and disease pandemics.
This book chapter addresses goals 3, 12, and 15 by exploring how combining the knowledge derived from traditional medicinal practices with modern science creates endless possibilities for drug discovery and the use of plants in the treatment of a wide array of conditions.
Megacities contain at least 10 million people whose wellbeing largely depends on ecosystem services provided by remote natural areas. What is, however, most often disregarded is that nature conservation in the city can also contribute to human wellbeing benefits. The most common mind set separates cities from the rest of nature, as if they were not special kinds of natural habitats.
Climate change is modifying global biogeochemical cycles. Microbial communities play an integral role in soil biogeochemical cycles; knowledge about microbial composition helps provide a mechanistic understanding of these ecosystem-level phenomena. Next generation sequencing approaches were used to investigate changes in microbial functional groups during ecosystem development, in response to climate change, in northern boreal wetlands.