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.


Jean-Pierre Desforges, Christian Sonne, Rune Dietz, Milton Levin, Marine Mammal Ecotoxicology, Academic Press, 2018, Pages 321-343

This chapter advances SDGs 13 and 14 by discussing environmental threats to marine mammals' health and wellbeing.
This book chapter addresses goals 13, 15, 11 and 14 by discussing conservation efforts to protect biodiversity on tropical islands
PCC Systems community 10K Trees challenge
Supports Goal 15. The HPCC Systems community 10K Trees challenge has launched in conjunction with the National Forest Foundation’s effort to plant 50 million trees across the National Forests of the USA by 2023.

Mangrove forests provide critical services around the globe to both human populations and the ecosystems they occupy. However, losses of mangrove habitat of more than 50% have been recorded in some parts of the world, and these losses are largely attributable to human activities. The importance of mangroves and the threats to their persistence have long been recognized, leading to actions taken locally, by national governments, and through international agreements for their protection. In this review, we explore the status of mangrove forests as well as efforts to protect them.

To establish an estimation procedure for reliable catch amount of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, light-gathering fishing operations in the northwestern Pacific were analyzed based on the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) day/night band (DNB) data provided by the Suomi National Polar Partnership (SNPP) satellite. The estimated fishing activities were compared with the navigation tracks of vessels obtained from the automatic identification system (AIS).
The net ecosystem exchange (NEE) is the difference between ecosystem CO2 assimilation and CO2 losses to the atmosphere. Ecosystem respiration (Reco), the efflux of CO2 from the ecosystem to the atmosphere, includes the soil-to-atmosphere carbon flux (i.e., soil respiration; Rsoil) and aboveground plant respiration. Therefore, Rsoil is a fraction of Reco and theoretically has to be smaller than Reco at daily, seasonal, and annual scales.
In many tropical regions, such as New Caledonia, soil erosion from anthropogenic activities and subsequent ecological restoration are major issues that require detailed soil and vegetation data for the production of management plans. To determine if some plant species are more useful for stabilizing soil aggregates and thus reducing erodibility, we examined three species endemic to New Caledonia, and measured how root traits and associated mycorrhizas and fungi influenced Ferralsol aggregate stability (MWD).
Elsevier, Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, Volume 254, 15 February 2018
Globally, agriculture has intensified during the past 50 years due to increased mechanization, changes in the timing of farming operations, grassland conversion to cropland, and increased agrochemical inputs. Birds associated with farmlands and grasslands in North America have experienced severe declines over the last several decades, prompting the need for a comprehensive review of the drivers, mechanisms and magnitude of effects on bird populations.

Coastal Wetlands: An Integrated Ecosystem Approach, Volume , 1 January 2018

This book chapter advances SDGs 14 and 15 by discussing salt marsh restoration and rehabilitation projects that have been initiated at many locations around the world as a means of addressing past habitat loss as well as future threats.

World Seas: An Environmental Evaluation Volume II: The Indian Ocean to the Pacific, Volume , 1 January 2018

This book chapter advances SDGs 14 and 15 by looking at Fiji, which is one of the most developed of the Pacific Island economies with a population highly dependent on the country’s rich biodiversity and natural resources for food, agriculture, tourism, culture, coastal protection, shelter, recreational sports, and other vital human needs. Sustainable use and practical management of coastal resources are urged while there is still a chance of ecosystem repair and restoration.