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 article highlights the winning proposals of the first edition of the Elsevier Foundation Green & Sustainable Chemistry Challenge. The winning proposals were chosen for their innovative green chemistry aspects and their large positive impact on the environment, contributing to SDGs 6, 12 and 15.
Annelids (Lumbricidae and Enchytraeidae) and nematodes are common soil organisms and play important roles in organic matter decomposition, nutrient cycling and creation of soil structure and porosity. However, these three groups have rarely been studied together and only few studies exist for urban soils.
Elsevier,

Disasters and Public Health, Second Edition, 2016.

This book chapter advances SDGs 3 and 13 by explaining the factors contributing to wildfire morbidity and mortality.
This book chapter advances SDGs 15 and 11 by looking at land restoration and its military dimensions, as part of the environmental security discourse, a topic that has not received as much attention as it should in mainstream environmental security studies and policy discussions.
Elsevier, Environmental Science and Policy, Volume 55, January 01, 2016
Ecological impacts of industrial agriculture include significant greenhouse gas emissions, loss of biodiversity, widespread pollution by fertilizers and pesticides, soil loss and degradation, declining pollinators, and human health risks, among many others. A rapidly growing body of scientific research, however, suggests that farming systems designed and managed according to ecological principles can meet the food needs of society while addressing these pressing environmental and social issues.
This report offers a framework for principle-based collaboration between business, the UN, governments, civil society and other stakeholders in relation to soil management and the entire agricultural value chain. It directly supports SDG 2 and SDG 15.
Elsevier,

Current Opinion in Insect Science, Volume 12, 1 December 2015

Strategies are urgently required to ensure long term maintenance of current levels of global insect diversity. Yet insect diversity is huge and immensely complex, with many species and individuals making up an important part of compositional and functional biodiversity worldwide. As only a fifth of all insects have been scientifically described, we have the task of conserving largely what is unknown. Inevitably, this means that there are various challenges and shortfalls to address when we aim to future-proof insect diversity.

This book addresses goals 13 and 14 by discussing conservation and biodiversity factors in freshwater ecosystems
One mechanism by which land use change influences biodiversity and ecological processes is through changes in the local climate. Here, the relationships between leaf area index and five climate variables - air temperature, relative humidity, vapour pressure deficit, specific humidity and soil temperature - are investigated across a range of land use types in Borneo, including primary tropical forest, logged forest and oil palm plantation.
Elsevier, Forest Policy and Economics, Volume 49, 1 December 2014
This paper investigates how three aspects of governance systems, namely the policy context, the influence of key agents and their discursive practices, are affecting national-level processes of policy design aimed at REDD. +, reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries; and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries. We conducted analysis in six REDD. + countries (Brazil, Cameroon, Indonesia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam).

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