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.

Today, accredited zoos are not just places for entertainment, they are actively involved in research for conservation and health. During recent decades in which the challenges for biodiversity conservation and public health have escalated, zoos have made significant changes to address these difficulties. Zoos increasingly have four key areas of focus: education, recreation, conservation, and research. These key areas are important in addressing an interrelated global conservation (i.e. habitat and wildlife loss) and public health crisis.
Proagrica data landscape infographic
Proagrica has produced a White Paper report which sets out how its technology supports evidence-based production and the impact that will have on the world’s ability to feed the world sustainably. Driven by the power of big data to drive insights at farm level, solutions such as Proagrica will significantly advance SDG 2.4 to ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production.
RX,

World Travel Market, Responsible Tourism Blog, May 2017

The marketing value of the concept of ecotourism is now very low, as there is very little evidence that it delivers. Many people in the developing world are unable to visit National Parks and suffer only negative impacts – loss of access for meat, fruits, thatching grass and land for agriculture. How does a consumer or tour operator identify wildlife operators and conservancies that are really making a contribution? Either to wildlife and habitat conservation or to the livelihoods of local communities to ensure that they benefit from conservation?
This article highlights one of the winning proposals of the Elsevier Foundation Green & Sustainable Chemistry Challenge - “Biopesticides for improved paddy yield” - led by researcher Dr. Suzana Yusup. Her work shows how bio-pesticides can be safer and more effective than traditional pesticides, contributing to SDGs 8, 12, 13 and 15.
Using newly-released and globally available high-resolution remote sensing data on forest loss, we update the assessment of the cross-country determinants of deforestation in developing countries. We validate most of the major determinants found in the previous literature, generally based on earlier time-periods, except for the role of institutional quality. Agricultural trade, hitherto relatively neglected, is found to be one of the main factors causing deforestation.

Developing-developed world partnerships potentially present win-win opportunities for addressing climate-active gas emissions at lower cost whilst propelling developing nations on a lower-carbon trajectory, as carbon emissions, capture and storage are geographically independent. Expanded PES (payment for ecosystem service) principles provides a framework for assessing the transparency and efficacy of partnerships, tested on the model developed by The Converging World (TCW).

Elsevier,

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Volume 70, 1 April 2017

This literature review identifies the impacts of different renewable energy pathways on ecosystems and biodiversity, and the implications of these impacts for transitioning to a Green Economy. While the higher penetration of renewable energy is currently the backbone of Green Economy efforts, an emerging body of literature demonstrates that the renewable energy sector can affect ecosystems and biodiversity.

Green waste left over from vegetable harvesting provides feed for sheep and is then returned to the soil as manure
Livestock has disappeared from swathes of England in the past 50 years as many growers became increasingly specialised. However as our soils increasingly suffer leaching, erosion and compaction from ever-heavier modern machinery, more and more arable farmers are reaping the benefits of bringing sheep and cattle back on to the land. Such measures help support SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production.
This book chapter advances SDGs 15 and 2 by discussing basic soil physical, chemical, and biological properties and explores the interrelationships between different soil properties and functions as essential building blocks for a healthy functioning soil system.
The past decade has witnessed a burst of study regarding antibiotic resistance in the environment, mainly in areas under anthropogenic influence. Therefore, impacts of the contaminant resistome, that is, those related to human activities, are now recognized. However, a key issue refers to the risk of transmission of resistance to humans, for which a quantitative model is urgently needed. This opinion paper makes an overview of some risk-determinant variables and raises questions regarding research needs.

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