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Read our February issue

Nature Sustainability publishes significant original research from a broad range of natural, social and engineering fields about sustainability, its policy dimensions and possible solutions.

Latest Research

  • Article |

    Physicochemical treatments of heavy-metal pollution in waste water have several environmental and structural disadvantages. This Article shows that sulfide-producing yeasts are able to remove mercury, lead and copper from real-world water samples and offer a platform for metal re-extraction.

    • George L. Sun
    • , Erin. E. Reynolds
    •  & Angela M. Belcher
  • Review Article |

    A literature review on transboundary freshwater cooperation and conflict finds the former prevails, followed by non-violent conflict. Despite greater understanding of drivers, analysis of recent events and better datasets are needed.

    • Thomas Bernauer
    •  & Tobias Böhmelt
  • Article |

    Two-dimensional lamellar membranes for water purification are promising but suffer from swelling that reduces their ion sieving performance in water. This study reports easy-to-fabricate, non-swelling MXene membranes prepared by the intercalation of Al3+ ions that could be scalable.

    • Li Ding
    • , Libo Li
    • , Yanchang Liu
    • , Yi Wu
    • , Zong Lu
    • , Junjie Deng
    • , Yanying Wei
    • , Jürgen Caro
    •  & Haihui Wang
  • Perspective |

    Increasing urbanization will lead to a significant expansion of buildings and related infrastructure, major sources of greenhouse gas emissions. This Perspective discusses the possibility of constructing mid-rise urban buildings with engineered timber for long-term carbon storage and carbon emissions reduction.

    • Galina Churkina
    • , Alan Organschi
    • , Christopher P. O. Reyer
    • , Andrew Ruff
    • , Kira Vinke
    • , Zhu Liu
    • , Barbara K. Reck
    • , T. E. Graedel
    •  & Hans Joachim Schellnhuber
  • Article |

    Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon affects both older (primary) and younger (secondary) forests. This study finds that most forest loss over the period 2008–2014 was from secondary forests and that the almost 190% rise in deforestation buffered losses from primary forests.

    • Yunxia Wang
    • , Guy Ziv
    • , Marcos Adami
    • , Cláudio Aparecido de Almeida
    • , João Francisco Gonçalves Antunes
    • , Alexandre Camargo Coutinho
    • , Júlio César Dalla Mora Esquerdo
    • , Alessandra Rodrigues Gomes
    •  & David Galbraith

News & Comment

  • Editorial |

    Engineering approaches to wastewater treatment must aim for more than improved efficiency.

  • Comment |

    The assessment of land degradation and restoration by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services shows that land degradation across the globe is a wide and severe issue and is showing no signs of slowing down. This trend must be halted and reversed.

    • Louise Willemen
    • , Nichole N. Barger
    • , Ben ten Brink
    • , Matthew Cantele
    • , Barend F. N. Erasmus
    • , Judith L. Fisher
    • , Toby Gardner
    • , Timothy G. Holland
    • , Florent Kohler
    • , Janne S. Kotiaho
    • , Graham P. von Maltitz
    • , Grace Nangendo
    • , Ram Pandit
    • , John A. Parrotta
    • , Matthew D. Potts
    • , Stephen D. Prince
    • , Mahesh Sankaran
    • , Anastasia Brainich
    • , Luca Montanarella
    •  & Robert Scholes
  • Comment |

    Disadvantaged communities are vulnerable to the impacts of lead exposure risking further worsening of their living standards, an outcome likely to weaken global efforts towards the Sustainable Development Goals. We urge policy makers to adopt protection systems aimed at safeguarding the most threatened populations.

    • David O’Connor
    • , Deyi Hou
    • , Yong Sik Ok
    •  & Bruce P. Lanphear
  • Comment |

    Changes in social and environmental conditions in the Western Highlands of Guatemala undermine food security and job opportunities. We describe how targeted assistance can build upon traditional agricultural systems to increase adaptive capacity, improve nutrition, provide jobs and thereby reduce pressures to migrate.

    • Keith L. Kline
    • , Luis F. Ramirez
    • , Carlos Sum
    • , Santiago Lopez-Ridaura
    •  & Virginia H. Dale
  • Editorial |

    While global efforts to tackle hunger and other food-related crises are stepping up, Nature Sustainability and the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability convene a new Expert Panel focusing on system changes and human agency.