Latest Research

  • 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
  • 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
  • Article |

    Despite Antarctica’s reputation for being pristine, the construction and footprint of research stations and activities favours its relatively small regions without ice. This study uses GIS mapping of satellite imagery to quantify the extent of these impacts and finds that they impact more than half of all large coastal ice-free areas.

    • Shaun T. Brooks
    • , Julia Jabour
    • , John van den Hoff
    •  & Dana M. Bergstrom
  • 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
  • Article |

    Biodiversity enhances the resilience of ecosystems to environmental change. This study uses an agent-based model seeded with data from Swiss mountain-farming communities to show that the diversity of actors, such as farmers, enhances the resilience of social-environmental systems to economic and climate change.

    • Adrienne Grêt-Regamey
    • , Sibyl H. Huber
    •  & Robert Huber
  • Review Article |

    The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and other high-level agreements acknowledge the linked nature of social and biophysical systems. This Review explains one research tradition, sociometabolic research, that explores these links. Sociometabolic research uses methods from systems science and allied areas to study the biophysical basis of economic activity. The authors use tangible examples from recent research to demonstrate strengths and weaknesses and then explore future directions.

    • Helmut Haberl
    • , Dominik Wiedenhofer
    • , Stefan Pauliuk
    • , Fridolin Krausmann
    • , Daniel B. Müller
    •  & Marina Fischer-Kowalski
  • Article |

    Water constraints can affect plans to expand electricity capacity. This study shows that in the United States such constraints can increase the cost of electricity generation with slightly reduced electrification of end-use sectors, and can incentivize early retirement of water-intensive technologies.

    • Lu Liu
    • , Mohamad Hejazi
    • , Gokul Iyer
    •  & Barton A. Forman
  • Article |

    Air pollution harms human and ecosystem health and challenges sustainable development accompanying industrial activity. Winter air pollution in Delhi is extreme, and most assume that this megacity and others create their own pollution. This study uses new methods to fingerprint this pollution, finding that rural crop and wood burning contribute substantially to Delhi’s winter haze.

    • Srinivas Bikkina
    • , August Andersson
    • , Elena N. Kirillova
    • , Henry Holmstrand
    • , Suresh Tiwari
    • , A. K. Srivastava
    • , D. S. Bisht
    •  & Örjan Gustafsson
  • Article |

    Indigenous agroecosystems often balance food production with environmental concerns better than industrial approaches, but they are rarely considered for meeting modern food needs. This study uses spatial models and climate scenarios to find indigenous production in Hawaiʻi’s past could meet significant population demands then and, potentially, now, but with lower capacity in the warmest end-of-century scenario.

    • Natalie Kurashima
    • , Lucas Fortini
    •  & Tamara Ticktin
  • 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
  • Article |

    Since the early 1980s, remotely sensed data has shown the Earth to be slowly greening. Climate change, CO2 fertilization and land-use change are competing explanations. Using satellite data from 2000–2017, this study finds striking greening of both China and India, driven primarily by land-use change, with forest growth and cropland intensification more important in China and cropland more important in India.

    • Chi Chen
    • , Taejin Park
    • , Xuhui Wang
    • , Shilong Piao
    • , Baodong Xu
    • , Rajiv K. Chaturvedi
    • , Richard Fuchs
    • , Victor Brovkin
    • , Philippe Ciais
    • , Rasmus Fensholt
    • , Hans Tømmervik
    • , Govindasamy Bala
    • , Zaichun Zhu
    • , Ramakrishna R. Nemani
    •  & Ranga B. Myneni
  • Perspective |

    Sand and gravel have become important commodities due to infrastructure and coastal protection schemes, leading to shortages on a global level. This Perspective looks at how Greenland could diversify its economy towards export of its sand resources and the potential impacts on the environment and local way of life.

    • Mette Bendixen
    • , Irina Overeem
    • , Minik T. Rosing
    • , Anders Anker Bjørk
    • , Kurt H. Kjær
    • , Aart Kroon
    • , Gavin Zeitz
    •  & Lars Lønsmann Iversen
  • Perspective |

    Effectively managing natural capital and its associated ecosystem services is difficult given that the effects of most actions depend on the wider environmental conditions. This Perspective presents an analytical framework that allows identifying why and where management actions can best enhance natural capital.

    • Rebecca Spake
    • , Chloe Bellamy
    • , Laura J. Graham
    • , Kevin Watts
    • , Tom Wilson
    • , Lisa R. Norton
    • , Claire M. Wood
    • , Reto Schmucki
    • , James M. Bullock
    •  & Felix Eigenbrod
  • 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
  • Article |

    Coal power generation contributes greenhouse gas and toxic air pollution worldwide. This study provides the most comprehensive analysis of such air pollution, analysing data on 7,861 coal-generating units and their supply chains. China, the United States, India, Germany and Russia contribute the most, and pollutant exposure risks are highest in India and China, but for differing reasons.

    • C. Oberschelp
    • , S. Pfister
    • , C. E. Raptis
    •  & S. Hellweg
  • Article |

    Per-capita freight in the United States has been increasing in recent decades. This study presents projections to 2050 to examine the emissions, and health and climate impacts of US freight truck and rail transportation under various policy scenarios.

    • Liang Liu
    • , Taesung Hwang
    • , Sungwon Lee
    • , Yanfeng Ouyang
    • , Bumsoo Lee
    • , Steven J. Smith
    • , Christopher W. Tessum
    • , Julian D. Marshall
    • , Fang Yan
    • , Kathryn Daenzer
    •  & Tami C. Bond
  • 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
  • Review Article |

    The value of ecosystem services in cities around the world is highly uncertain. This Review focuses on ten of the most commonly cited urban ecosystem services and presents a synthesis of the scholarship on the factors that moderate the value and equitable distribution of such services.

    • Bonnie L. Keeler
    • , Perrine Hamel
    • , Timon McPhearson
    • , Maike H. Hamann
    • , Marie L. Donahue
    • , Kelly A. Meza Prado
    • , Katie K. Arkema
    • , Gregory N. Bratman
    • , Kate A. Brauman
    • , Jacques C. Finlay
    • , Anne D. Guerry
    • , Sarah E. Hobbie
    • , Justin A. Johnson
    • , Graham K. MacDonald
    • , Robert I. McDonald
    • , Nick Neverisky
    •  & Spencer A. Wood
  • Brief Communication |

    Waste plastic can be converted into a potential fuel source using a new nano-scale catalyst. This catalyst has well-defined and uniform surface openings, so it needs only one step to convert low-density polyethylene into a gasoline-type product.

    • Zheng Zhang
    • , Kinga Gora-Marek
    • , Jonathan S. Watson
    • , Jinsen Tian
    • , Matthew R. Ryder
    • , Karolina A. Tarach
    • , Lidia López-Pérez
    • , Joaquin Martínez-Triguero
    •  & Ignacio Melián-Cabrera
  • Perspective |

    Transgressing planetary boundaries has generated global, ongoing and interconnected problems that represent a real challenge to policy makers. This Perspective sheds light on the complexities of designing policies that can keep human life within the biophysical limits of planet Earth.

    • Thomas Sterner
    • , Edward B. Barbier
    • , Ian Bateman
    • , Inge van den Bijgaart
    • , Anne-Sophie Crépin
    • , Ottmar Edenhofer
    • , Carolyn Fischer
    • , Wolfgang Habla
    • , John Hassler
    • , Olof Johansson-Stenman
    • , Andreas Lange
    • , Stephen Polasky
    • , Johan Rockström
    • , Henrik G. Smith
    • , Will Steffen
    • , Gernot Wagner
    • , James E. Wilen
    • , Francisco Alpízar
    • , Christian Azar
    • , Donna Carless
    • , Carlos Chávez
    • , Jessica Coria
    • , Gustav Engström
    • , Sverker C. Jagers
    • , Gunnar Köhlin
    • , Åsa Löfgren
    • , Håkan Pleijel
    •  & Amanda Robinson
  • Perspective |

    Since the 1990s, global agricultural output has been driven largely by innovations that raised the efficiency of using labour, land and other inputs, together called total factor productivity (TFP). This Perspective discusses this reality and suggests two pathways for future growth: technology-based and ecosystem-based. Future research on farm-system sustainability and resilience should leverage these options.

    • Oliver T. Coomes
    • , Bradford L. Barham
    • , Graham K. MacDonald
    • , Navin Ramankutty
    •  & Jean-Paul Chavas
  • Article |

    Offshore mariculture could promote food security and economic development while sparing wild fisheries. This model-based study finds that the Caribbean could produce over 40 million metric tons of cobia (Rachycentron canadum), about half as much as the current global wild fish catch, and in less than 1.5% of the study area.

    • Lennon R. Thomas
    • , Tyler Clavelle
    • , Dane H. Klinger
    •  & Sarah E. Lester
  • Article |

    To achieve both biodiversity conservation and timber production in tropical forests, this modelling study finds that improved management has much more impact than the choice between sparing forests or sharing forest land for both purposes.

    • Rebecca K. Runting
    • , Ruslandi
    • , Bronson W. Griscom
    • , Matthew J. Struebig
    • , Musnanda Satar
    • , Erik Meijaard
    • , Zuzana Burivalova
    • , Susan M. Cheyne
    • , Nicolas J. Deere
    • , Edward T. Game
    • , F. E. Putz
    • , Jessie A. Wells
    • , Andreas Wilting
    • , Marc Ancrenaz
    • , Peter Ellis
    • , Faisal A. A. Khan
    • , Sara M. Leavitt
    • , Andrew J. Marshall
    • , Hugh P. Possingham
    • , James E. M. Watson
    •  & Oscar Venter
  • Article |

    Maintaining food security by increasing smallholder production is a global sustainability concern. This study uses field trials on potatoes to demonstrate the positive impact of within-species diversification on yield, disease resistance and improved soil health.

    • Li-Na Yang
    • , Zhe-Chao Pan
    • , Wen Zhu
    • , E-Jiao Wu
    • , Dun-Chun He
    • , Xiao Yuan
    • , Yan-Yu Qin
    • , Ying Wang
    • , Ruey-Shyang Chen
    • , Peter H Thrall
    • , Jeremy J Burdon
    • , Li-Ping Shang
    • , Qi-Jun Sui
    •  & Jiasui Zhan
  • Brief Communication |

    The Sustainable Development Goals agenda is proposed as an interconnected framework that requires policy coherence for implementation. This study shows that the connections across goals are uneven and that gender equality, peace and governance concerns are not adequately integrated.

    • Philip J. K. McGowan
    • , Gavin B. Stewart
    • , Graham Long
    •  & Matthew J. Grainger
  • Perspective |

    Organizations are social systems different from ecosystems and natural resources. Using social systems theory, and employing the concepts of emergence, resilience and scale, this Perspective presents management principles for pursuing sustainability across an array of organizational contexts.

    • Dror Etzion
  • Perspective |

    Issues around the use of natural resources are often framed in terms of the nexus concept. This Perspective discusses why the nexus concept matters in understanding the link between bio-physical and human dimensions, particularly with regard to the SDGs.

    • Raimund Bleischwitz
    • , Catalina Spataru
    • , Stacy D. VanDeveer
    • , Michael Obersteiner
    • , Ester van der Voet
    • , Corey Johnson
    • , Philip Andrews-Speed
    • , Tim Boersma
    • , Holger Hoff
    •  & Detlef P. van Vuuren
  • Article |

    Global environmental change complicates the goal of securing adequate nutrition for a growing world population. This study assesses the per capita availability of food nutrients for various scenarios to the year 2050. Results suggest that economic growth will expand food and macronutrient access more than climate change will suppress it, but that micronutrient inadequacies will plague some regions.

    • Gerald Nelson
    • , Jessica Bogard
    • , Keith Lividini
    • , Joanne Arsenault
    • , Malcolm Riley
    • , Timothy B. Sulser
    • , Daniel Mason-D’Croz
    • , Brendan Power
    • , David Gustafson
    • , Mario Herrero
    • , Keith Wiebe
    • , Karen Cooper
    • , Roseline Remans
    •  & Mark Rosegrant
  • Article |

    Human diets strongly affect prospects for relative sustainability, affecting health, land, water, biodiversity and livelihoods. This study finds that select ‘future foods’, including insects, seaweed and cultured meat, provide major environmental benefits compared with current animal-source foods while safeguarding key micronutrients essential for human health.

    • A. Parodi
    • , A. Leip
    • , I. J. M. De Boer
    • , P. M. Slegers
    • , F. Ziegler
    • , E. H. M. Temme
    • , M. Herrero
    • , H. Tuomisto
    • , H. Valin
    • , C. E. Van Middelaar
    • , J. J. A. Van Loon
    •  & H. H. E. Van Zanten
  • Review Article |

    The wastewater treatment industry contributes approximately 1.6% of greenhouse gas emissions. This Review analyses alternative wastewater treatment pathways for simultaneous CO2 capture and utilization and shows the multiple benefits of microbial electrochemical and phototrophic processes.

    • Lu Lu
    • , Jeremy S. Guest
    • , Catherine A. Peters
    • , Xiuping Zhu
    • , Greg H. Rau
    •  & Zhiyong Jason Ren
  • Article |

    Solar desalination is an attractive alternative to energy-intensive conventional seawater desalination. In this study, the authors present a completely passive, multi-stage and low-cost distiller using layers of membranes to achieve a distillate flow rate of almost 3 l m–2 h–1.

    • Eliodoro Chiavazzo
    • , Matteo Morciano
    • , Francesca Viglino
    • , Matteo Fasano
    •  & Pietro Asinari
  • Brief Communication |

    US coastlines that are exposed to hurricanes are subject to a myriad of regulations regarding building and rebuilding of structures, yet satellite imagery shows that the footprint of residential buildings increases after hurricane events for both new and renovated structures. Such an effect poses a challenge for vulnerable coastlines to build resilience in the face of growing hazards and houses.

    • Eli D. Lazarus
    • , Patrick W. Limber
    • , Evan B. Goldstein
    • , Rosie Dodd
    •  & Scott B. Armstrong
  • 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
  • Article |

    This study spatially maps the economic value of some major ecosystem services provided by the Brazilian Amazon. It also estimates changes in these values under scenarios of degradation and low-impact logging.

    • Jon Strand
    • , Britaldo Soares-Filho
    • , Marcos Heil Costa
    • , Ubirajara Oliveira
    • , Sonia Carvalho Ribeiro
    • , Gabrielle Ferreira Pires
    • , Aline Oliveira
    • , Raoni Rajão
    • , Peter May
    • , Richard van der Hoff
    • , Juha Siikamäki
    • , Ronaldo Seroa da Motta
    •  & Michael Toman
  • Article |

    Sustainability depends on the resilience of natural, social and engineered systems. This theoretical study quantifies resilience to repeated disturbances, synthesizing understanding of how the sizes of shocks, or ‘kicks’, and recovery, or ‘flows’, contribute to maintaining systems in desirable states.

    • Katherine Meyer
    • , Alanna Hoyer-Leitzel
    • , Sarah Iams
    • , Ian Klasky
    • , Victoria Lee
    • , Stephen Ligtenberg
    • , Erika Bussmann
    •  & Mary Lou Zeeman
  • Perspective |

    Reservoirs are frequently posited as a method of increasing water supplies, especially in arid areas. However, they may be inducing and enabling demands for water through increased population and economic activity, and these demands can surpass even the supply that the reservoir can provide and counterintuitively make the areas more vulnerable to drought conditions.

    • Giuliano Di Baldassarre
    • , Niko Wanders
    • , Amir AghaKouchak
    • , Linda Kuil
    • , Sally Rangecroft
    • , Ted I. E. Veldkamp
    • , Margaret Garcia
    • , Pieter R. van Oel
    • , Korbinian Breinl
    •  & Anne F. Van Loon
  • Review Article |

    Resistance to antimicrobials and pesticides — collectively, biocides — undermines human health and food production. This Review assesses options for governing and promoting susceptibility to biocides to remain within the planet’s safe operating space.

    • Peter Søgaard Jørgensen
    • , Athena Aktipis
    • , Zachary Brown
    • , Yves Carrière
    • , Sharon Downes
    • , Robert R. Dunn
    • , Graham Epstein
    • , George B. Frisvold
    • , David Hawthorne
    • , Yrjö T. Gröhn
    • , Govind Tikaramsa Gujar
    • , Dušan Jasovský
    • , Eili Y. Klein
    • , Franziska Klein
    • , Guillaume Lhermie
    • , David Mota-Sanchez
    • , Celso Omoto
    • , Maja Schlüter
    • , H. Morgan Scott
    • , Didier Wernli
    •  & Scott P. Carroll
  • Article |

    A provision of the Forest Act in Brazil could legalize deforestation of an additional 6.5–15 million ha of private lands, under a plausible scenario of protected public land reaching 65% in some states.

    • Flavio L. M. Freitas
    • , Gerd Sparovek
    • , Göran Berndes
    • , U. Martin Persson
    • , Oskar Englund
    • , Alberto Barretto
    •  & Ulla Mörtberg
  • Article |

    Human and animal faeces simultaneously threaten global health and provide resources for recovery. This study presents the first global-scale analysis of recoverable faeces from 2003 projected to 2030 and of associated burdens. Production from domestic animals is about four times that of humans, emphasizing the need for better onsite management.

    • David M. Berendes
    • , Patricia J. Yang
    • , Amanda Lai
    • , David Hu
    •  & Joe Brown
  • Review Article |

    The interaction between land degradation and the livelihoods of the poor is complex and conditioned by important economic, social and environmental factors. These factors are also in part responsible for the limited success of economic growth policies to reduce poverty.

    • Edward B. Barbier
    •  & Jacob P. Hochard