Table of Contents

Japanese Table of Contents

Volume 486 Number 7401 pp5-152

7 June 2012

About the cover

Earth is getting a second chance. At the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the world’s leaders pledged to protect the planet’s climate and biodiversity. Since then, however, the situation has deteriorated further. Twenty years on, on the eve of the second Rio Earth Summit, we report on what went wrong — and how things may yet be put right. Elsewhere in the issue, a series of Reviews and research papers explores how biodiversity loss is affecting ecosystems, and how much the consumption patterns of the developed world are to blame. Cover by Julene Harrison (photo: Samuel Acosta/Shutterstock).

This Week


  • Back to Earth

    The world has a surfeit of pledges, commitments and treaties. What it needs from the second Earth summit in Rio is firm leadership and a viable plan for success.

World View


Seven Days

  • Seven days: 1–7 June 2012

    The week in science: Tension over Europe’s next research funding programme; Venus transits the Sun; and the Shaw and Kavli prizes are awarded.

News in Focus




Books and Arts

  • Food security: Eating globally

    Tom MacMillan gets a taste of the argument against consuming only locally grown food.

    • Review of The Locavore's Dilemma: In Praise of the 10,000-Mile Diet
      Pierre Desrochers & Hiroko Shimizu
  • Virology: The battle inside

    José Esparza enjoys the memoir of a long-term veteran of the virus wars.

    • Review of No Time to Lose: A Life in Pursuit of Deadly Viruses
      Peter Piot
  • Psychology: Markets in mind

    Investment bankers are addicts on a steroid roller coaster, finds Richard Lea.

    • Review of The Hour Between Dog and Wolf: Risk-taking, Gut Feelings and the Biology of Boom and Bust
      John Coates
  • Q&A: The data visualizer

    Aaron Koblin, head of the Data Arts Team in Google's Creative Lab, uses data visualization and crowdsourcing to reveal the changing relationship between people and technology. As he presents his work at the Eyeo Festival of digital creativity and prepares to release a collaboration with Google, London's Tate Modern and artist Chris Milk, he talks about the beauty of big data.

    • Review of Eyeo Festival 2012



  • Dental science: Oral observatory

    Studying the mouth, including the diagnostic potential of saliva, is offering opportunities to explore overall health.

    • Roberta Kwok



Career Briefs


naturejobs job listings and advertising features



Technology Feature

  • Biorepositories: Building better biobanks

    High-quality, data-rich samples are essential for future research. But obtaining and storing these samples is not as straightforward as many researchers think.

    • Monya Baker



  • Approaching a state shift in Earth’s biosphere

    • Anthony D. Barnosky
    • Elizabeth A. Hadly
    • Jordi Bascompte
    • Eric L. Berlow
    • James H. Brown
    • Mikael Fortelius
    • Wayne M. Getz
    • John Harte
    • Alan Hastings
    • Pablo A. Marquet
    • Neo D. Martinez
    • Arne Mooers
    • Peter Roopnarine
    • Geerat Vermeij
    • John W. Williams
    • Rosemary Gillespie
    • Justin Kitzes
    • Charles Marshall
    • Nicholas Matzke
    • David P. Mindell
    • Eloy Revilla
    • Adam B. Smith

    There is evidence that human influence may be forcing the global ecosystem towards a rapid, irreversible, planetary-scale shift into a state unknown in human experience.

  • Biodiversity loss and its impact on humanity

    • Bradley J. Cardinale
    • J. Emmett Duffy
    • Andrew Gonzalez
    • David U. Hooper
    • Charles Perrings
    • Patrick Venail
    • Anita Narwani
    • Georgina M. Mace
    • David Tilman
    • David A. Wardle
    • Ann P. Kinzig
    • Gretchen C. Daily
    • Michel Loreau
    • James B. Grace
    • Anne Larigauderie
    • Diane S. Srivastava
    • Shahid Naeem

    Two decades ago the first Earth Summit raised the question of how biological diversity loss alters ecosystem functioning and affects humanity; this Review looks at the progress made towards answering this question.