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.

This book chapter addresses goals 6, 9, and 12 and 14 by presenting the feasibility of traditional and nature-based in situ treatment processes for beverage effluents addressing the environmental problems associated with its management and providing the relevant socioeconomic and environmental values.

Foundations for Sustainability, A Coherent Framework of Life-Environment Relations, 2019, Pages 1-25

Contributing to SDGs 13, 14 and 15, this introductory chapter presents theory and applications rigorously rooted in science, and we modify the foundations of science so the ground is fertile to nurture the roots of the theory and actions the authors see as necessary to solve the human-environment crisis.

Foundations for Sustainability, A Coherent Framework of Life-Environment Relations, 2019, Pages 27-47

Contributing to SDGs 13, 14 and 15, the authors describe a set of principles, and related goals, mission, and ultimate purpose, for a new science that serves life and humanity.

Foundations for Sustainability, A Coherent Framework of Life-Environment Relations, 2019, Pages 205-230

Contributing to SDGs 13, 14 and 15, this chapter explores technology and applications with break-through capacity to contribute solutions to the systemic human-environment problem.

Biodiversity of Pantepui: The Pristine “Lost World” of the Neotropical Guiana Highlands, 2019, Pages 403-417

This book chapter addresses goals 13 and 15 by summarising studies carried out to date aimed at estimating the potential impact of the projected global warming by the end of this century on the Pantepui biota, particularly on vascular plants.
Elsevier, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Volume 33, December 2018
Rapid ocean warming as a result of climate change poses a key risk for coral reefs. Even if the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement are achieved, coral reefs are likely to decline by 70–90% relative to their current abundance by midcentury. Although alarming, coral communities that survive will play a key role in the regeneration of reefs by mid-to-late century.

TrAC - Trends in Analytical Chemistry, Volume 109, December 2018

Explore in-depth analysis on microplastic pollution in soil, its ecological risks, and innovative analytical methods for managing this emerging challenge.

Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 34, October 2018, Pages 33-42.

This article contributes to goal 15 by arguing that the SDG portfolio can trigger a major step towards more holistic land use perspectives at the agriculture-forestry interface. This, in turn, has the potential to initiate institutional change to enhance dynamic sustainability.
Elsevier, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 136, November 2018
Increasing accessibility of coral reefs from the latter third of the 20th century led quickly to recognition of the vulnerability of coral reef communities to a combination of direct and indirect human impacts. Coral reefs are confronted by the stark threats of climate and ocean changes from the increasing number, intensity and forms of human use impacting global and marine systems. Management, particularly of accessible coral reefs, occurs in the context of multiple scale transboundary water column linkages of lifecycle processes and increasing human use of coastal and marine space.
Ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi are crucial in the functioning of most forest ecosystems. Increased understanding of ECM symbiosis has led to numerous advancements in environment protection and forestry. The ECM fungi are a diverse group, both phylogenetically and functionally. Research covering their community structure on distinct sites shows that the presence of certain taxa depends on particular stand traits, such as tree species and age structure.