Browse Articles

  • Comment |

    Biodiversity research is replete with scientific studies depicting future trajectories of decline that have failed to mobilize transformative change. Imagination and creativity can foster new ways to address longstanding problems to create better futures for people and the planet.

    • Carina Wyborn
    • , Federico Davila
    • , Laura Pereira
    • , Michelle Lim
    • , Isis Alvarez
    • , Gretchen Henderson
    • , Amy Luers
    • , Maria Jose Martinez Harms
    • , Kristal Maze
    • , Jasper Montana
    • , Melanie Ryan
    • , Chris Sandbrook
    • , Rebecca Shaw
    •  & Emma Woods
  • Q&A |

    Jon Hutton and Melanie Ryan, respectively the Director and the Head of Programme of the Luc Hoffmann Institute, tell Nature Sustainability about the making of the Biodiversity Revisited project.

    • Monica Contestabile
  • Article |

    The most-efficient solar cells use Pb-based halide perovskites; however, their toxicity poses environmental and health risks. Here, the authors report an adsorbent that allows for sustainable Pb management in these devices.

    • So Yeon Park
    • , Ji-Sang Park
    • , Byeong Jo Kim
    • , Hyemin Lee
    • , Aron Walsh
    • , Kai Zhu
    • , Dong Hoe Kim
    •  & Hyun Suk Jung
  • Matters Arising |

    • W. Wyatt Oswald
    • , David R. Foster
    • , Bryan N. Shuman
    • , Elizabeth S. Chilton
    • , Dianna L. Doucette
    •  & Deena L. Duranleau
  • Analysis |

    Interaction between international organizations and national governments over 238 World Heritage ecosystems shows patterns of productive and counterproductive dynamics, which yield lessons to improve environmental governance.

    • T. H. Morrison
    • , W. N. Adger
    • , K. Brown
    • , M. Hettiarachchi
    • , C. Huchery
    • , M. C. Lemos
    •  & T. P. Hughes
  • Editorial |

    Governments need to act now to halt rising inequalities or they will fail to deliver on the promise of a better future for all.

  • News & Views |

    Reports on the widespread presence of plastic particles in the environment have raised concerns about whether these particles could be taken up by plants and end up on our plates. An experimental study now reveals a mechanism through which nanoplastics can make their way into plant roots.

    • Matthias C. Rillig
  • Article |

    The presence of microplastics in wastewaters used for irrigation highlights the urgency of analysing the possible uptake of microplastics by crop plants. This study shows that submicrometre and micrometre plastic particles from treated wastewater enter the steles of crop plants via a crack entry at sites of lateral root emergence.

    • Lianzhen Li
    • , Yongming Luo
    • , Ruijie Li
    • , Qian Zhou
    • , Willie J. G. M. Peijnenburg
    • , Na Yin
    • , Jie Yang
    • , Chen Tu
    •  & Yunchao Zhang
  • Article |

    Solar-driven interfacial evaporation can be a sustainable process to obtain clean water but device efficiency and simplicity need improving. This study presents a super-wicking and super-light-absorbing aluminium surface with increased efficiency, a simple structure and strong performance.

    • Subhash C. Singh
    • , Mohamed ElKabbash
    • , Zilong Li
    • , Xiaohan Li
    • , Bhabesh Regmi
    • , Matthew Madsen
    • , Sohail A. Jalil
    • , Zhibing Zhan
    • , Jihua Zhang
    •  & Chunlei Guo
  • Analysis |

    International trade interacts with Sustainable Development Goal targets in profound ways. This study finds that while trade improves scores for environmental Sustainable Development Goals in developed countries, it decreases them in developing countries, and distant trade is a bigger contributor to scores than adjacent trade between countries.

    • Zhenci Xu
    • , Yingjie Li
    • , Sophia N. Chau
    • , Thomas Dietz
    • , Canbing Li
    • , Luwen Wan
    • , Jindong Zhang
    • , Liwei Zhang
    • , Yunkai Li
    • , Min Gon Chung
    •  & Jianguo Liu
  • Perspective |

    The natural capital concept is making way into government policy processes and the private sector, but different understandings of the approach might lead to misuse or omissions. In order to address this issue, a comprehensive framework for natural capital analysis and decision making is presented.

    • Ian J. Bateman
    •  & Georgina M. Mace
  • Brief Communication |

    Accurate estimates of emissions distribution in a vehicle fleet can help air pollution control. With diesel emissions data from chassis dynamometer tests and on-road remote sensing, this study shows that previous results about a skewed distribution towards the highest 10% emitters may not be correct.

    • Yuhan Huang
    • , Nic C. Surawski
    • , Yat-Shing Yam
    • , Casey K. C. Lee
    • , John L. Zhou
    • , Bruce Organ
    •  & Edward F. C. Chan
  • Analysis |

    A new database of over 2,700 policies on nitrogen around the world highlights the predominance of policies incentivizing its use or managing trade, and the need for integration to avoid shifting pollution from one sink to another.

    • David R. Kanter
    • , Olivia Chodos
    • , Olivia Nordland
    • , Mallory Rutigliano
    •  & Wilfried Winiwarter
  • Article |

    Runoff from mountain water sources is critical to some lowland populations. In this Article, these populations are projected to increase from 0.2 billion people in the 1960s to 1.5 billion by mid-century.

    • Daniel Viviroli
    • , Matti Kummu
    • , Michel Meybeck
    • , Marko Kallio
    •  & Yoshihide Wada
  • Brief Communication |

    Comparing relevant indicators of the Sustainable Development Goals with other indicators of biodiversity trends shows little relation between the two, because the former more strongly reflect socioeconomic indicators.

    • Yiwen Zeng
    • , Sean Maxwell
    • , Rebecca K. Runting
    • , Oscar Venter
    • , James E. M. Watson
    •  & L. Roman Carrasco
  • Q&A |

    Pushpam Kumar, Chief Environmental Economist at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), talks to Nature Sustainability about the need to focus on wealth to achieve sustainability.

    • Monica Contestabile
  • Article |

    Moral concerns matter for decisions in markets where activities generate negative externalities such as pollution emissions. With controlled experiments in which trading creates pollution, this study shows that a large portion of producers refrain from polluting even at the cost of forgoing profits.

    • Axel Ockenfels
    • , Peter Werner
    •  & Ottmar Edenhofer
  • Article |

    Air pollution harms health but rises with economic activity, which aids health. This study uses long-range Saharan dust to isolate impacts, finding a significant rise in Sub-Saharan infant mortality from particulate pollution.

    • Sam Heft-Neal
    • , Jennifer Burney
    • , Eran Bendavid
    • , Kara K. Voss
    •  & Marshall Burke
  • Analysis |

    Little is known about how human factors influence the patterns of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the intertidal zone, a transitional boundary between terrestrial and marine environments. This study shows that human activities affect both the distribution and the deposition of PAHs.

    • Min Lv
    • , Xiaolin Luan
    • , Chunyang Liao
    • , Dongqi Wang
    • , Dongyan Liu
    • , Gan Zhang
    • , Guibin Jiang
    •  & Lingxin Chen
  • Article |

    Global responses of crops to warmer temperatures will affect agricultural sustainability. This study of maize, rice, soybean and wheat projects yield reductions of 3–13% under 2 °C warming.

    • Xuhui Wang
    • , Chuang Zhao
    • , Christoph Müller
    • , Chenzhi Wang
    • , Philippe Ciais
    • , Ivan Janssens
    • , Josep Peñuelas
    • , Senthold Asseng
    • , Tao Li
    • , Joshua Elliott
    • , Yao Huang
    • , Laurent Li
    •  & Shilong Piao
  • Comment |

    The current definition of desertification excludes hyper-arid zones given their lack of economic activity. However, the 101 million people living there, ongoing land degradation associated with the use of groundwater for intensive agriculture and climate-change-induced aridity call for a revision of this definition.

    • Jaime Martínez-Valderrama
    • , Emilio Guirado
    •  & Fernando T. Maestre
  • Article |

    After forest loss, public subsidies often encourage reforestation with tree plantations. This modelling study finds that between 1986 and 2011, Chile’s forest subsidies probably reduced biodiversity without increasing carbon stored in aboveground plant material.

    • Robert Heilmayr
    • , Cristian Echeverría
    •  & Eric F. Lambin
  • Article |

    Forest planting is considered a natural climate solution, but effects on soil carbon are unclear. This study, in northern China, finds that planting forests increases carbon in soils poor in it and vice versa.

    • Songbai Hong
    • , Guodong Yin
    • , Shilong Piao
    • , Ray Dybzinski
    • , Nan Cong
    • , Xiangyi Li
    • , Kai Wang
    • , Josep Peñuelas
    • , Hui Zeng
    •  & Anping Chen
  • Article |

    Air pollution and dust can reduce photovoltaic electricity generation. This study shows that, without cleaning and with precipitation-only removal, particulate matter can reduce photovoltaic generation in polluted and desert regions by more than 50%, with soiling being the major cause of reduction.

    • Xiaoyuan Li
    • , Denise L. Mauzerall
    •  & Mike H. Bergin
  • Editorial |

    Embedding behavioural, environmental and health considerations, alongside economic needs, into transport policies can pave the way to a sustainable system.

  • Comment |

    Governments are deciding on measures to help economies recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, but, as in previous crises, a narrow focus on fighting the recession could have adverse effects on the environment and health. We suggest that health and sustainability should be at the heart of the economic response.

    • Carla Guerriero
    • , Andy Haines
    •  & Marco Pagano
  • Article |

    Ethnographic and anthropological records of 91 societies show that chronic resource scarcity and environmental unpredictability are linked to higher subsistence diversity and resilience.

    • Carol R. Ember
    • , Erik J. Ringen
    • , Jack Dunnington
    •  & Emily Pitek
  • Analysis |

    A reliable charging infrastructure is critical to wider adoption of electric cars. With large-scale social data and machine intelligence, this study shows the importance of the quality, not just the quantity, of charging stations to consumers, suggesting policy design should include consumer data.

    • Omar Isaac Asensio
    • , Kevin Alvarez
    • , Arielle Dror
    • , Emerson Wenzel
    • , Catharina Hollauer
    •  & Sooji Ha
  • Analysis |

    The renewable polyethylene furandicarboxylate (PEF) has potential to replace the fossil-based polyethylene terephthalate, but the energy-intensive production hinders wider adoption. This study shows that PEF from industrial CO2 emissions and non-food biomass can save 40.5% emissions and energy use.

    • L. Jiang
    • , A. Gonzalez-Diaz
    • , J. Ling-Chin
    • , A. Malik
    • , A. P. Roskilly
    •  & A. J. Smallbone
  • Article |

    A smart management of hydropower, combined with solar and wind energy, can provide the flexibility needed to power West Africa and at cheaper cost than using natural gas, according to a simulation model.

    • Sebastian Sterl
    • , Inne Vanderkelen
    • , Celray James Chawanda
    • , Daniel Russo
    • , Robert J. Brecha
    • , Ann van Griensven
    • , Nicole P. M. van Lipzig
    •  & Wim Thiery
  • Editorial |

    The effects of the COVID-19 outbreak are unfolding rapidly and governments around the world are seeking scientific advice to respond. Sustainability communities should be part of the process but need to up their efforts to engage with policy needs.

  • Article |

    Natural disasters can obstruct first responders when and where they are needed most. This analysis models the response of emergency service stations during flooding events in England to find major impacts on ambulance and fire services at a time of escalating flood risks to the country.

    • Dapeng Yu
    • , Jie Yin
    • , Robert L. Wilby
    • , Stuart N. Lane
    • , Jeroen C. J. H. Aerts
    • , Ning Lin
    • , Min Liu
    • , Hongyong Yuan
    • , Jianguo Chen
    • , Christel Prudhomme
    • , Mingfu Guan
    • , Avinoam Baruch
    • , Charlie W. D. Johnson
    • , Xi Tang
    • , Lizhong Yu
    •  & Shiyuan Xu