urban river

Read our July issue

Hydrologic data from river gauges inform water management decisions and should capture the broad diversity of streams and rivers on Earth, as Krabbenhoft and colleagues suggest.


  • As a result of the significant disruption that is being caused by the COVID-19 pandemic we are aware that many researchers will have difficulty in meeting the timelines associated with our peer review process during normal times. Please do let us know if you need additional time. Our systems will continue to remind you of the original timelines but we intend to be highly flexible at this time.

  • Batteries are crucial to move towards a more sustainable energy supply. This Focus highlights recent advances on battery technology research that has embedded sustainability principles in different components and at different life cycle stages.

Nature Sustainability is a Transformative Journal; authors can publish using the traditional publishing route OR via immediate gold Open Access.

Our Open Access option complies with funder and institutional requirements.


  • Protected areas (PAs) are not completely halting biodiversity loss, according to growing evidence. This study shows the limited effectiveness of a large network of PAs despite favourable socio-economic context and high conservation efforts, suggesting that PA functional design matters beyond increasing resources.

    • Tsegaye T. Gatiso
    • Lars Kulik
    • Hjalmar S. Kühl
  • Determining the safe operating space for sustainable food production depends on the interactions of multiple processes within the Earth system. Expert knowledge provides critical insight into how these processes interact that improves Earth system modelling and our understanding of the limits of global food production.

    • Anna Chrysafi
    • Vili Virkki
    • Matti Kummu
    Article Open Access
  • With a growing demand for minerals, protected areas (PAs) are under pressure to allow mining activities. This study examines the impacts of five policy scenarios under which combinations of PAs allow mining in the Brazilian Amazon, and shows the need for long-term planning to safeguard biodiversity.

    • Juliana Siqueira-Gay
    • Jean Paul Metzger
    • Laura J. Sonter
  • While fears of ‘water wars’ have been publicized in recent years, this Article illustrates the complexities surrounding resource availability and socio-political dynamics that may induce, or prevent, conflicts over water in arid landscapes.

    • Nikolas Galli
    • Jampel Dell’Angelo
    • Maria Cristina Rulli
  • Urban regions are growing rapidly worldwide, threatening surrounding habitats, including in drylands. This study finds that indirect impacts to surrounding drylands are more than ten times greater than direct impacts and that such impacted areas contain almost 60% of threatened species globally.

    • Qiang Ren
    • Chunyang He
    • Burak Güneralp
    • There are no silver bullet chemistries for batteries — but zinc technology, with its safety, cost and environmental advantages, has received renewed interest as a choice for sustainability. Now, direct imaging sheds light on the charge carrier, clearing a major barrier to understanding and upgrading this energy system.

      • Fei Wang
      • Kang Xu
      • Chunsheng Wang
      News & Views
    • Hydrological modelling makes it possible to derive measures of water availability that are representative of its importance for human sustenance. This approach, and focusing on water utilization processes rather than simplifying them into environmental factors, helps identify new quantitative evidence of interconnections between conflict, society and the environment.

      Research Briefing
    • Sustainable agrifood systems are critical to redefining the interactions of humanity and nature in the twenty-first century. This Perspective presents an agenda and examples for the comprehensive redesign of agrifood systems according to principles of sufficiency, regeneration, distribution, commons and care.

      • Steven R. McGreevy
      • Christoph D. D. Rupprecht
      • Masashi Tachikawa
    • Little is known about the potential of digital twins in the pursuit of sustainability. This study examines the likely benefits of digital twins in urban sustainability paradigms, their limitations when modelling socio-technical and socio-ecological systems and possible ways to attenuate them.

      • Asaf Tzachor
      • Soheil Sabri
      • Michele Acuto
  • Mounting evidence of the effect of pollution on human health is shaping the field of sustainability in clinical care. Jodi Sherman, MD and associate professor at the Yale School of Medicine and Yale School of Public Health, explains that healthcare pollution harms public health, is underappreciated and escapes oversight of health services.

    • Lisa Palmer
  • The anniversary of a historic publication provides the chance to reflect on how we consider limits and on the value of cross-fertilization between research traditions.

  • Flooding, already the largest hazard facing humankind, is becoming more frequent and affecting more people. Adapting to flooding must consider more than just water to encapsulate the effects of sediment movement, re-imagine flooding through a sociogeomorphic lens and expand approaches to knowing about floods.

    • Jim Best
    • Peter Ashmore
    • Stephen E. Darby
  • While traditional farming has fed billions of people, it is exerting mounting pressure on land, water and the environment. To complement current agricultural practices, we present a green chemical farming concept that provides pathways to efficient and renewable food production by leveraging chemistry and chemical engineering.

    • Ning Yan
    • Kang Zhou
    • Maxim Park Dickieson
  • Commemorating the environmental movement matters, but fulfilling its goals matters more.