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Nature Sustainability's 2nd Anniversary

Nature Sustainability is celebrating two years of publishing great research from the natural and social sciences and engineering. Contributions ranged from empirical and experimental work to policy-relevant conceptual analysis. Topics included land-use management, air pollution, food production, urban ecology and battery recycling, among many others. In addition, the journal's Reviews and opinion pieces have fostered discussion across sustainability scholars and practitioners. Multiple other formats, such as News & Views and Q&A, have brought important topics to broader audiences.

Life sciences and ecology

Since the early 1980s, remotely sensed data has shown the Earth to be slowly greening. Climate change, CO2 fertilization and land-use change are competing explanations. Using satellite data from 2000–2017, this study finds striking greening of both China and India, driven primarily by land-use change, with forest growth and cropland intensification more important in China and cropland more important in India.

Article | | Nature Sustainability

Soil-based initiatives to mitigate climate change and restore soil fertility both rely on rebuilding soil organic carbon. Controversy about the role soils might play in climate change mitigation is, consequently, undermining actions to restore soils for improved agricultural and environmental outcomes.

Comment | | Nature Sustainability

Social sciences

The number of environmental activists and defenders killed per week around the world over the past 15 years has doubled. Countries with the most corruption and weakest rule of law have the highest correlation with deaths but environmental rights face threats even in industrialized countries.

Article | | Nature Sustainability

Engineering and technology

Various battery recycling processes exist, but the related environmental and economic implications can vary by specific battery chemistry. This study examines the greenhouse gas emissions, energy inputs and costs associated with producing and recycling lithium-ion cells with different cathode chemistries.

Analysis | | Nature Sustainability

Precision farming enabled by big data and gene-editing technologies are accelerating progress toward increasing nitrogen-use efficiency. However, farmer engagement, public–private partnerships and sound public policies are critical to harness the potential of such technologies to reduce hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico.

Comment | | Nature Sustainability