Analyses

  • Analysis |

    Distinguishing types of farm workers, an analysis of Fairtrade certification in the cocoa sector of Cote d’Ivoire finds that the standard improves the livelihoods of cooperative workers but makes little difference for wage labourers working on small farms.

    • Eva-Marie Meemken
    • , Jorge Sellare
    • , Christophe N. Kouame
    •  & Matin Qaim
  • Analysis |

    Road length has almost doubled in 2003–2018 within the Congo Basin forests. Deforestation within 1 km of roads has increased greatly. Almost half of the roads within logging concessions were subsequently abandoned, but most roads outside concessions endured.

    • Fritz Kleinschroth
    • , Nadine Laporte
    • , William F. Laurance
    • , Scott J. Goetz
    •  & Jaboury Ghazoul
  • Analysis |

    While marine protected areas are key for supporting biodiversity and coastal communities, the outcomes can be, and can be perceived, as a mixed bag. Synthesizing research from 118 articles, this Analysis draws broad insights about both the effects of marine protected areas as well as which aspects remain understudied.

    • Natalie C. Ban
    • , Georgina Grace Gurney
    • , Nadine A. Marshall
    • , Charlotte K. Whitney
    • , Morena Mills
    • , Stefan Gelcich
    • , Nathan J. Bennett
    • , Mairi C. Meehan
    • , Caroline Butler
    • , Stephen Ban
    • , Tanya C. Tran
    • , Michael E. Cox
    •  & Sara Jo Breslow
  • Analysis |

    Water consumption does not put a constant stress on available supplies, but is instead a function of flexibility in demands for food, water and energy. This analysis looks at 36 years of water consumption around the globe to identify basins under the most stress, and how they can lower their intensive uses.

    • Yue Qin
    • , Nathaniel D. Mueller
    • , Stefan Siebert
    • , Robert B. Jackson
    • , Amir AghaKouchak
    • , Julie B. Zimmerman
    • , Dan Tong
    • , Chaopeng Hong
    •  & Steven J. Davis
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Analysis |

    Honey can be used as a biomonitor to determine the source and fate of heavy metal pollutants in cities. This study analyses lead isotopes and trace element concentrations in honey from six geographical sectors in Vancouver, Canada. It finds that hives in the downtown sector of the city, near the Port of Vancouver, produced honey with elevated trace element concentrations and less radiogenic Pb isotopic compositions.

    • Kate E. Smith
    • , Dominique Weis
    • , Marghaleray Amini
    • , Alyssa E. Shiel
    • , Vivian W.-M. Lai
    •  & Kathy Gordon
  • Analysis |

    Water-use efficiency in the production of food must not only take into account quantities and yields, but also the nutrients and dietary impacts. Animal and plant foods show little difference in this demand efficiency, and best serve as complimentary rather than substitutable foods.

    • Kerstin Damerau
    • , Katharina Waha
    •  & Mario Herrero
  • Analysis |

    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.

    • Rebecca E. Ciez
    •  & J. F. Whitacre
  • Analysis |

    Water utilities worldwide are diversifying their portfolios of water supplies to smooth growing variation in water availability. This simulation finds that the option of engaging in an open water-trading scheme in the San Francisco Bay Area could promote regional resiliency and lowers costs.

    • P. Gonzales
    •  & N. K. Ajami
  • Analysis |

    An integrated assessment of global crop, livestock and aquaculture production, and fisheries landings over 53 years shows how shocks created in one food sector can spill over into multiple sectors, and which regions are shock hotspots.

    • Richard S. Cottrell
    • , Kirsty L. Nash
    • , Benjamin S. Halpern
    • , Tomas A. Remenyi
    • , Stuart P. Corney
    • , Aysha Fleming
    • , Elizabeth A. Fulton
    • , Sara Hornborg
    • , Alexandra Johne
    • , Reg A. Watson
    •  & Julia L. Blanchard
  • Analysis |

    The rooftop photovoltaics (PV) industry in the United States has grown significantly, but little is known about any racial and ethnic disparity in PV adoption. This study compares the adoption of rooftop PV across census areas grouped by racial and ethnic majority. It finds that in census areas that have predominantly black or Hispanic people, average rooftop PV installation is significantly lower.

    • Deborah A. Sunter
    • , Sergio Castellanos
    •  & Daniel M. Kammen
  • Analysis |

    Reducing direct economic losses from disasters is part of mitigating disaster impacts. This study presents an update to the leading dataset on normalized US hurricane losses in the continental United States from 1900 to 2017.

    • Jessica Weinkle
    • , Chris Landsea
    • , Douglas Collins
    • , Rade Musulin
    • , Ryan P. Crompton
    • , Philip J. Klotzbach
    •  & Roger Pielke Jr
  • Analysis |

    'No net loss’ biodiversity policies seek to offset biodiversity losses caused by economic development. This study assesses the global extent of such biodiversity offsets, finding that they occupy an area much larger than recognized and that most are small and implemented due to regulatory requirements.

    • Joseph William Bull
    •  & Niels Strange
  • Analysis |

    Cryptocurrency mining requires extensive energy consumption for computers to verify the blockchain and generate new currency. This analysis compares several cryptocurrencies and metals in terms of the amount of energy needed to create one US dollar of value, as well as the carbon emissions that may be directly attributable to cryptocurrency mining.

    • Max J. Krause
    •  & Thabet Tolaymat
  • Analysis |

    Provision of electricity in sub-Saharan Africa is often affected by outages leading to increased use of backup diesel generators. In this study, the authors estimate the air emissions, consumer costs and fossil energy consumption resulting from the use of such generators.

    • DeVynne Farquharson
    • , Paulina Jaramillo
    •  & Constantine Samaras
  • Analysis |

    The net environmental costs of rare earths production in China, the largest producer, are estimated to be almost US$15 billion. Scenarios show that the largest reduction in environmental impact can be achieved by tackling illegal mining.

    • Jason C. K. Lee
    •  & Zongguo Wen
  • Analysis |

    Understanding the sources of particulate matter responsible for extreme air pollution and climate change is critical for designing adequate policies to protect the wellbeing of citizens. This study shows that extraordinary levels of particulate matter with diameter smaller than 1 µm were observed in Dublin in November 2016 and January 2017 and can be attributed to emissions from residential burning of peat and wood, often promoted as ‘slow renewables’.

    • Chunshui Lin
    • , Ru-Jin Huang
    • , Darius Ceburnis
    • , Paul Buckley
    • , Jana Preissler
    • , John Wenger
    • , Matteo Rinaldi
    • , Maria Christina Facchini
    • , Colin O’Dowd
    •  & Jurgita Ovadnevaite
  • Analysis |

    Focusing on China’s six natural gas sources and three end-use gas-forcoalsubstitution strategies in 2020, this study shows that, except for coal-based synthetic gas, replacement of coalwith gas usually has air–carbon–water co-benefits, although with air–water trade-offs in the magnitude ofimprovement.

    • Yue Qin
    • , Lena Höglund-Isaksson
    • , Edward Byers
    • , Kuishuang Feng
    • , Fabian Wagner
    • , Wei Peng
    •  & Denise L. Mauzerall
  • Analysis |

    Cobalt is used in rechargeable batteries, and half the world’s supply comes from one district in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This study assesses the sustainability of artisanal mining there, finding much higher levels of cobalt in blood and urine of community members and especially of children.

    • Célestin Banza Lubaba Nkulu
    • , Lidia Casas
    • , Vincent Haufroid
    • , Thierry De Putter
    • , Nelly D. Saenen
    • , Tony Kayembe-Kitenge
    • , Paul Musa Obadia
    • , Daniel Kyanika Wa Mukoma
    • , Jean-Marie Lunda Ilunga
    • , Tim S. Nawrot
    • , Oscar Luboya Numbi
    • , Erik Smolders
    •  & Benoit Nemery
  • Analysis |

    Intensifying agricultural production often imposes environmental costs. This study assesses progress towards the redesign of agricultural systems, finding that seven types of sustainable intensification now characterize an estimated 29% of farms on 9% of agricultural land worldwide.

    • Jules Pretty
    • , Tim G. Benton
    • , Zareen Pervez Bharucha
    • , Lynn V. Dicks
    • , Cornelia Butler Flora
    • , H. Charles J. Godfray
    • , Dave Goulson
    • , Sue Hartley
    • , Nic Lampkin
    • , Carol Morris
    • , Gary Pierzynski
    • , P. V. Vara Prasad
    • , John Reganold
    • , Johan Rockström
    • , Pete Smith
    • , Peter Thorne
    •  & Steve Wratten
  • Analysis |

    Land management and ownership by Indigenous Peoples are critical components of conservation strategies, but information on these has previously never been aggregated. Here, global data is compiled to show that Indigenous Peoples have tenure rights or manage a quarter of the world’s land area and 40% of all protected areas and intact ecosystems.

    • Stephen T. Garnett
    • , Neil D. Burgess
    • , John E. Fa
    • , Álvaro Fernández-Llamazares
    • , Zsolt Molnár
    • , Cathy J. Robinson
    • , James E. M. Watson
    • , Kerstin K. Zander
    • , Beau Austin
    • , Eduardo S. Brondizio
    • , Neil French Collier
    • , Tom Duncan
    • , Erle Ellis
    • , Hayley Geyle
    • , Micha V. Jackson
    • , Harry Jonas
    • , Pernilla Malmer
    • , Ben McGowan
    • , Amphone Sivongxay
    •  & Ian Leiper
  • Analysis |

    China’s agricultural output is growing rapidly, but the environmental impacts are unclear. This study finds this impact has risen, but much more slowly than output due to improved farm management, though ongoing shifts in cropland location may challenge this development.

    • Lijun Zuo
    • , Zengxiang Zhang
    • , Kimberly M. Carlson
    • , Graham K. MacDonald
    • , Kate A. Brauman
    • , Yingchun Liu
    • , Wen Zhang
    • , Huayong Zhang
    • , Wenbin Wu
    • , Xiaoli Zhao
    • , Xiao Wang
    • , Bin Liu
    • , Ling Yi
    • , Qingke Wen
    • , Fang Liu
    • , Jinyong Xu
    • , Shunguang Hu
    • , Feifei Sun
    • , James S. Gerber
    •  & Paul C. West
  • Analysis |

    As agriculture is the primary driver of eutrophication resulting from the oversupply of nitrogen and phosphorus to water bodies, much attention has been paid to the environmental impacts of food consumption. Little is known about the impacts of consuming other goods. This study shows that in 2011 the final demand for non-food products accounted for over one-third of the global marine and freshwater eutrophication impacts—a 28% increase since 2000.

    • Helen A. Hamilton
    • , Diana Ivanova
    • , Konstantin Stadler
    • , Stefano Merciai
    • , Jannick Schmidt
    • , Rosalie van Zelm
    • , Daniel Moran
    •  & Richard Wood
  • Analysis |

    Aquaculture is surpassing wild-caught seafood, but we feed aquaculture with wild forage fish for key nutrients. This study finds removing such forage fish from diets of livestock and non-carnivorous aquaculture species and moderating its use in China will help sustain forage fish populations in the future.

    • Halley E. Froehlich
    • , Nis Sand Jacobsen
    • , Timothy E. Essington
    • , Tyler Clavelle
    •  & Benjamin S. Halpern
  • Analysis |

    A social network analysis of over 20,000 reports of illegal child adoption in China reveals the most important cities, provinces and paths of child trafficking. Over 80% of the network can be reached by targeting four cities.

    • Zhen Wang
    • , Liyuan Wei
    • , Sha Peng
    • , Liangchun Deng
    •  & Beibei Niu
  • Analysis |

    Freshwater resources sustain ecosystems and societies, so reliable monitoring is critical. This study finds that streamgaging data reporting has declined worldwide since 1979, and that variation in monitoring threatens many US river basins.

    • Albert Ruhi
    • , Mathis L. Messager
    •  & Julian D. Olden
  • Analysis |

    A unique dataset of over 550 programmes of Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) worldwide, grouped into water, forest- and land-use carbon, and biodiversity programmes, is used to assess the trends and the current status of such policy instruments.

    • James Salzman
    • , Genevieve Bennett
    • , Nathaniel Carroll
    • , Allie Goldstein
    •  & Michael Jenkins
  • Analysis |

    A curated global dataset of Payments for Environmental Services (PES) reveals that theoretical principles are only partially applied in practice, particularly conditionality, which makes payments underperform.

    • S. Wunder
    • , R. Brouwer
    • , S. Engel
    • , D. Ezzine-de-Blas
    • , R. Muradian
    • , U. Pascual
    •  & R. Pinto
  • Analysis |

    Little is known about the water impacts of concrete production. This study quantifies this impact globally for 2012 and projects it to 2050. It also evaluates in which regions the impacts will be more severe, based on the availability of renewable water resources.

    • Sabbie A. Miller
    • , Arpad Horvath
    •  & Paulo J. M. Monteiro
  • Analysis |

    After developing a unit-based air pollutants emission inventory of more than 30,000 fossil fuel power plants operating worldwide in 2010, the authors find that retiring or implementing controlling measures on coal-fired power plants, representing 0.8% of global capacity, could reduce PM2.5 emissions from coal-fired plants by up to 14.2%.

    • Dan Tong
    • , Qiang Zhang
    • , Steven J. Davis
    • , Fei Liu
    • , Bo Zheng
    • , Guannan Geng
    • , Tao Xue
    • , Meng Li
    • , Chaopeng Hong
    • , Zifeng Lu
    • , David G. Streets
    • , Dabo Guan
    •  & Kebin He