Browse Articles

  • Comment |

    Zeolites and other technologies should be evaluated and pursued for reducing methane concentrations in the atmosphere from 1,860 ppb to preindustrial levels of ~750 ppb. Such a goal of atmospheric restoration provides a positive framework for change at a time when climate action is desperately needed.

    • R. B. Jackson
    • , E. I. Solomon
    • , J. G. Canadell
    • , M. Cargnello
    •  & C. B. Field
  • Perspective |

    Addressing sustainability challenges requires attention to the material basis of society. This Perspective illustrates how a Systems Thinking in Chemistry Education framework could help to integrate knowledge about the molecular world with the sustainability of Earth and societal systems.

    • Peter G. Mahaffy
    • , Stephen A. Matlin
    • , Thomas A. Holme
    •  & Jennifer MacKellar
  • News & Views |

    The Millennium Development Goal target 7c, to halve the proportion of the global population without access to safe drinking water by 2015, is the first international drinking water target ever met. Understanding how this was achieved is critical to replicating success.

    • Mark Everard
  • Article |

    Urgent action is needed to ensure food security and mitigate climate change. Through a multi-model comparison exercise, this study shows the potential negative trade-offs between food security and climate change mitigation if mitigation policies are carelessly designed.

    • Shinichiro Fujimori
    • , Tomoko Hasegawa
    • , Volker Krey
    • , Keywan Riahi
    • , Christoph Bertram
    • , Benjamin Leon Bodirsky
    • , Valentina Bosetti
    • , Jessica Callen
    • , Jacques Després
    • , Jonathan Doelman
    • , Laurent Drouet
    • , Johannes Emmerling
    • , Stefan Frank
    • , Oliver Fricko
    • , Petr Havlik
    • , Florian Humpenöder
    • , Jason F. L. Koopman
    • , Hans van Meijl
    • , Yuki Ochi
    • , Alexander Popp
    • , Andreas Schmitz
    • , Kiyoshi Takahashi
    •  & Detlef van Vuuren
  • Editorial |

    Protecting Madagascar’s unique biodiversity can improve the life of many in the country.

  • Q&A |

    Ming Hung Wong of the Southern University of Science and Technology, China, leads an international team investigating e-waste recycling impacts, and chaired the Waste Management Sub-Committee in the Hong Kong Advisory Council on the Environment.

    • Aiora Zabala
  • News & Views |

    Protected areas, such as parks and marine reserves, are a vital conservation tools. A new study models the trade-offs between using limited resources for acquiring new protected areas and managing existing ones.

    • Donald L. DeAngelis
  • Article |

    The challenges of meeting food, water and energy needs are interconnected, requiring integrated assessments of land use, socioeconomic policies and climate change. This study assesses the required increases in water, trade and agricultural land needed to double food production by 2050.

    • A. V. Pastor
    • , A. Palazzo
    • , P. Havlik
    • , H. Biemans
    • , Y. Wada
    • , M. Obersteiner
    • , P. Kabat
    •  & F. Ludwig
  • Analysis |

    Rural communities manage much of the world’s forests, but the effects on both landscapes and people are still unclear. This study estimates the impacts of such community-based forest management in Nepal from 2000–2012 and finds significant net reductions in both deforestation and poverty.

    • Johan A. Oldekop
    • , Katharine R. E. Sims
    • , Birendra K. Karna
    • , Mark J. Whittingham
    •  & Arun Agrawal
  • Article |

    Groundwater influences biophysical processes behind key ecosystem services. This study finds that many ecosystem service indicators respond nonlinearly when the water table is within a critical depth, with the potential for large effects in areas with shallow groundwater.

    • Jiangxiao Qiu
    • , Samuel C. Zipper
    • , Melissa Motew
    • , Eric G. Booth
    • , Christopher J. Kucharik
    •  & Steven P. Loheide
  • Comment |

    Madagascar’s recently elected president ran on a platform of improving the economy and raising people out of poverty. We suggest that addressing the precipitous decline of biodiversity will help to deliver this commitment, and we lay out ways in which President Rajoelina could firmly put the country on a trajectory towards sustainable growth.

    • Julia P. G. Jones
    • , Jonah Ratsimbazafy
    • , Anitry N. Ratsifandrihamanana
    • , James E. M. Watson
    • , Herizo T. Andrianandrasana
    • , Mar Cabeza
    • , Joshua E. Cinner
    • , Steven M. Goodman
    • , Frank Hawkins
    • , Russell A. Mittermeier
    • , Ando L. Rabearisoa
    • , O. Sarobidy Rakotonarivo
    • , Julie H. Razafimanahaka
    • , Andriamandimbisoa R. Razafimpahanana
    • , Lucienne Wilmé
    •  & Patricia C. Wright
  • Article |

    Although climate warming after the 1950s is clear in many studies, records suggest an earlier onset to industrial impacts. This study combines observational data with simulations and finds a weakening of temperature seasonality, attributable to human influence, over the Northern Hemisphere since the late nineteenth century.

    • Jianping Duan
    • , Zhuguo Ma
    • , Peili Wu
    • , Elena Xoplaki
    • , Gabriele Hegerl
    • , Lun Li
    • , Andrew Schurer
    • , Dabo Guan
    • , Liang Chen
    • , Yawen Duan
    •  & Jürg Luterbacher
  • Analysis |

    Millennium and sustainability goals may be well known, but the history of how those goals are formed remains hidden. This Analysis examines the political and academic factors that led to MDG 7C and how China and India have tried to achieve it.

    • Shizuki Fukuda
    • , Keigo Noda
    •  & Taikan Oki
  • Article |

    Modelling the network of power plants that supply a given city, and the amount of energy drawn from each plant, shows a city’s energy mix and demonstrates which other cities it shares most energy suppliers with.

    • Christopher R. DeRolph
    • , Ryan A. McManamay
    • , April M. Morton
    •  & Sujithkumar Surendran Nair
  • Article |

    Protected areas are vital for conserving biodiversity, but limited funds must be allocated between acquiring new areas and managing existing ones. Using a landscape model, this study finds that management is often the better first investment and is always a necessary complement to acquisition.

    • Vanessa M. Adams
    • , Gwenllian D. Iacona
    •  & Hugh P. Possingham
  • Article |

    An environmentally friendly behaviour is more likely to motivate a second such behaviour when both actions are similar and when the first behaviour is intrinsically motivated, according to a review of the literature.

    • Alexander Maki
    • , Amanda R. Carrico
    • , Kaitlin T. Raimi
    • , Heather Barnes Truelove
    • , Brandon Araujo
    •  & Kam Leung Yeung
  • Comment |

    Agricultural practices need to change to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. How to achieve the SDGs is heavily contested. Here we propose a policy framework that triggers the required transition. Organic agriculture, although not a silver bullet, is a useful component in such strategy.

    • Frank Eyhorn
    • , Adrian Muller
    • , John P. Reganold
    • , Emile Frison
    • , Hans R. Herren
    • , Louise Luttikholt
    • , Alexander Mueller
    • , Jürn Sanders
    • , Nadia El-Hage Scialabba
    • , Verena Seufert
    •  & Pete Smith
  • News & Views |

    How people respond to sustainability challenges is crucial. New findings suggest that when individuals adopt one pro-environmental behaviour, this might affect whether or not they engage in other, related behaviours.

    • Wokje Abrahamse
  • News & Views |

    In many countries, it is difficult for government agencies to know where animal farms are located. Using satellite imaging and deep learning provides a new, effective, accurate and low-cost approach for detecting these facilities.

    • Francesc X. Prenafeta-Boldú
    •  & Andreas Kamilaris
  • Comment |

    Advances in synthetic biology have the potential to develop new products, materials and services that could contribute to the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Support for synthetic biology initiatives in developing countries is needed to ensure that these benefits are open to all.

    • K. E. French
  • Article |

    While regional and planetary biodiversity is suffering from numerous crises, conservation movements have struggled with how to respond. At this inflection point for conservation, over 9,000 conservationists are surveyed to analyse their views and how these are predicted by their characteristics.

    • Chris Sandbrook
    • , Janet A. Fisher
    • , George Holmes
    • , Rogelio Luque-Lora
    •  & Aidan Keane
  • News & Views |

    The world’s food system is complex, highly interconnected and rapidly evolving. Attendant risks are poorly understood. A new study reveals important insight into how interconnectedness, structure and modularity of the global food network impact system resilience.

    • Michael J. Puma
  • Perspective |

    Urban systems must adapt to climatic and other global change. This Perspective uses urban systems to argue that sustainability and resilience are complementary but not interchangeable and that, in some cases, resilience can even render cities unsustainable.

    • Thomas Elmqvist
    • , Erik Andersson
    • , Niki Frantzeskaki
    • , Timon McPhearson
    • , Per Olsson
    • , Owen Gaffney
    • , Kazuhiko Takeuchi
    •  & Carl Folke
  • Article |

    Machine learning and satellite images are used to identify intensive animal agricultural facilities in the United States, which are otherwise difficult to track. This can facilitate monitoring their compliance with environmental law.

    • Cassandra Handan-Nader
    •  & Daniel E. Ho
  • Article |

    Drylands cover over 40% of Earth’s surface and will probably expand with warming climates. This study found that metallic micronutrients, essential for life, are low in dryland soils globally and are affected negatively by aridity, a threat to ecosystems and food production going forward.

    • Eduardo Moreno-Jiménez
    • , César Plaza
    • , Hugo Saiz
    • , Rebeca Manzano
    • , Maren Flagmeier
    •  & Fernando T. Maestre
  • Article |

    ‘Eating organic’ requires farming differently. Organic agriculture manages crop varieties and rotations to manage pests and nutrients. This study analyses different scenarios of organic conversion, finding that a smaller area worldwide planted with wheat, rice and maize must be offset by more nitrogen-fixing crops, such as beans, alfalfa and clover. Even then, caloric energy would fall by about 27% from current production.

    • Pietro Barbieri
    • , Sylvain Pellerin
    • , Verena Seufert
    •  & Thomas Nesme
  • Article |

    The movement of goods links consumers and producers of natural resources in a web of interactions. This study finds that the resilience of a food trade network depends on interconnectedness and that the increasing connectivity of global food trade is making it less resilient, including to supply shocks.

    • Chengyi Tu
    • , Samir Suweis
    •  & Paolo D’Odorico
  • Article |

    Agriculture sustains a large and growing human population, but generates widespread impacts. This study assesses the health effects of air pollution caused by maize production. Reduced air quality leads to 4,300 premature deaths annually in the United States, akin to US$39 billion in damages, and climate change damages of US$4.9 billion.

    • Jason Hill
    • , Andrew Goodkind
    • , Christopher Tessum
    • , Sumil Thakrar
    • , David Tilman
    • , Stephen Polasky
    • , Timothy Smith
    • , Natalie Hunt
    • , Kimberley Mullins
    • , Michael Clark
    •  & Julian Marshall
  • Analysis |

    Investing in infrastructure systems will lock-in patterns of development for future generations. This study finds that infrastructure either directly or indirectly influences the attainment of all of the Sustainable Development Goals, including 72% of the targets.

    • Scott Thacker
    • , Daniel Adshead
    • , Marianne Fay
    • , Stéphane Hallegatte
    • , Mark Harvey
    • , Hendrik Meller
    • , Nicholas O’Regan
    • , Julie Rozenberg
    • , Graham Watkins
    •  & Jim W. Hall
  • Author Correction |

    • Andrew Balmford
    • , Tatsuya Amano
    • , Harriet Bartlett
    • , Dave Chadwick
    • , Adrian Collins
    • , David Edwards
    • , Rob Field
    • , Philip Garnsworthy
    • , Rhys Green
    • , Pete Smith
    • , Helen Waters
    • , Andrew Whitmore
    • , Donald M. Broom
    • , Julian Chara
    • , Tom Finch
    • , Emma Garnett
    • , Alfred Gathorne-Hardy
    • , Juan Hernandez-Medrano
    • , Mario Herrero
    • , Fangyuan Hua
    • , Agnieszka Latawiec
    • , Tom Misselbrook
    • , Ben Phalan
    • , Benno I. Simmons
    • , Taro Takahashi
    • , James Vause
    • , Erasmus zu Ermgassen
    •  & Rowan Eisner
  • Analysis |

    Large-scale offshore wind turbines require rare-earth metals with a limited natural supply. This study addresses the neodymium material requirements needed to meet substantial electric generating capacity in the United States and estimates how much could be reused from decommissioned turbines.

    • Tomer Fishman
    •  & T. E. Graedel
  • Author Correction |

    • Rosemary Hill
    • , Guiomar Nates-Parra
    • , José Javier G. Quezada-Euán
    • , Damayanti Buchori
    • , Gretchen LeBuhn
    • , Marcia M. Maués
    • , Petina L. Pert
    • , Peter K Kwapong
    • , Shafqat Saeed
    • , Sara J Breslow
    • , Manuela Carneiro da Cunha
    • , Lynn V. Dicks
    • , Leonardo Galetto
    • , Mary Gikungu
    • , Brad G. Howlett
    • , Vera L. Imperatriz-Fonseca
    • , Phil O’B. Lyver
    • , Berta Martín-López
    • , Elisa Oteros-Rozas
    • , Simon G. Potts
    •  & Marie Roué
  • Article |

    Shipments of natural resources and goods connect distant regions but sometimes move more than their intended cargo. This study models the growth of the global shipping network and the implications for spreading invasive species in a changing climate, forecasting substantial increases in ship movements and a 3- to 20-fold increase in invasion risk in coming decades.

    • Anthony Sardain
    • , Erik Sardain
    •  & Brian Leung
  • News & Views |

    Bee keeping is on the rise in cities. Beehive products can be used to trace the source and transport of metal contaminants by studying one of our favourite food stuffs — honey.

    • Mark Patrick Taylor
  • Q&A |

    Joyeeta Gupta, professor of development at the University of Amsterdam, and Paul Ekins, professor of resource policy at University College London, are co-chairs of United Nations Environment’s sixth Global Environment Outlook: Healthy Planet, Healthy People. They talk to Nature Sustainability about drafting the new report.

    • Ryan Scarrow
  • Editorial |

    Developing a culture of innovation is critical to a successful sustainable development strategy.

  • Analysis |

    Pollinators are integral to ecosystem functions and human wellbeing, yet conservation approaches often ignore indigenous and biocultural perspectives and practices. This Analysis uses the IPBES framework to categorize biocultural practices and identify policies to support their roles in pollinator conservation.

    • Rosemary Hill
    • , Guiomar Nates-Parra
    • , José Javier G. Quezada-Euán
    • , Damayanti Buchori
    • , Gretchen LeBuhn
    • , Marcia M. Maués
    • , Petina L. Pert
    • , Peter K Kwapong
    • , Shafqat Saeed
    • , Sara J Breslow
    • , Manuela Carneiro da Cunha
    • , Lynn V. Dicks
    • , Leonardo Galetto
    • , Mary Gikungu
    • , Brad G. Howlett
    • , Vera L. Imperatriz-Fonseca
    • , Phil O’B. Lyver
    • , Berta Martín-López
    • , Elisa Oteros-Rozas
    • , Simon G. Potts
    •  & Marie Roué
  • News & Views |

    Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can influence each other positively or negatively. Climate change, inequalities and irresponsible consumption and production currently stand in the way of meeting the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

    • Prajal Pradhan