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.

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.
This book chapter advances SDGs 12 and 15 by explaining how humans have a detrimental impact on natural habitat due to various activities including deforestation, urbanization, roads, the energy sector (renewable and coal), mining, and climate change. The most important form of habitat destruction is deforestation either to develop land for agriculture (70%) or to harvest lumber intensively.
Elsevier, World Development, Volume 96, 1 August 2017
We adopt a theory-based approach to synthesize research on the effectiveness of payments for environmental services in achieving environmental objectives and socio-economic co-benefits in varying contexts.

Gopalakrishnan, Varsha and Bakshi, Bhavik R., "Including Nature in Engineering Decisions for Sustainability", Editor(s): Martin A. Abraham, Encyclopedia of Sustainable Technologies, Elsevier (2017), Pages 107-116

Through the practice of biomimicry, engineering can both emulate and conserve the natural world. In this chapter, the author notes that our development practices have often "ignored or undervalued" nature, and describes the ways in which we can aim to build systems that are self-sustaining and resilient, much like earth's ecosystems. This chapter advances SDGs 7, 11 and 13.
Elsevier, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 26-27, 1 June 2017
Spatial distribution of deforestation observed in 1988–2004 and 2005–2014, including the main territorial units (agrarian settlements) created prior to 2004 and subsequently, along with key transportation infrastructure (paved roads and ports).
The Brazilian Amazon is being affected by the new worldwide geopolitical transformation that is tending towards an integrated global economy. In the region environmental considerations have not been adequately incorporated into long-term land use planning and this failure has partly been due to the complexities of the country's existing inter-sectorial institutional arrangements. In this paper, we briefly explore two distinct economic development phases that have been reshaping Amazonian landscapes since the 1990s.