No. 12 December 2018Solar-powered drinking water
Sea-water desalination is energy-intensive and costly. An attractive alternative is solar desalination, but the performance of current passive devices is not satisfactory. Asinari et al. develop a completely passive, multi-stage and low-cost distiller (pictured) using layers of membranes to achieve twice the yield of recent passive complete distillation systems.
See Asinari et al.
No. 11 November 2018Pesticide and antibiotic susceptibility in the Anthropocene
Resistance to pesticides and antibiotics in plants, microorganisms and insects, such as this Corn Earworm (Helicoverpa zea), are narrowing treatment opportunities of pests and pathogens and undermining the sustainability of agriculture and human health practices. In this Issue, the Living with Resistance project suggests promoting susceptible organisms as a sustainability strategy for combatting biocide resistance.
See Jorgensen et al.
No. 10 October 2018Integrating livestock and wildlife
Globally, most wildlife live outside of protected areas, creating potential conflicts. Keesing et al. assess tradeoffs between management for wildlife and for livestock in an East African savannah (pictured), finding potential benefits from integrating the two.
See Keesing et al
No. 9 September 2018Assessing water scarcity for decision making
Effective water interventions rely on robust projections of water availability. Greve et al. identify changes in the uncertainty range of anticipated water scarcity conditions that can improve decision making for water management.
See Greve et al.
No. 8 August 2018Voluntary surveillance in MPAs
Marine protected areas (MPAs) safeguard biodiversity, but formal capacity to enforce their rules is limited. Bergseth et al. surveyed fishers near MPAs and found nearly half had observed poaching but most do not intervene because they want to avoid conflict or they think it’s either not their responsibility or that poaching is a survival strategy.
See Bergseth et al.
No. 7 July 2018Technological water fixes
During the recent drought in California, shade plastic balls, pictured, were released in the Los Angeles reservoir to reduce evaporation. By using the water footprint indicator that covers the entire supply chain of the shade balls, Haghighi et al. assess the extent to which using them is sustainable.
See Haghighi et al.
No. 6 June 2018Valuing local water
Urban water delivery can be complicated and expensive, especially in arid climates requiring extensive reclamation projects that may be unreliable in the future. Porse et al. utilize new economic modelling to identify how local water sources and conservation can be more cost-effective for Los Angeles and cities in similar regions.
See Porse et al.
No. 5 May 2018Optimizing cocoa agroforests
Agroforestry, including trees in cropping systems, could help meet agricultural demand while supplying ecosystem services, such as carbon storage and biodiversity support. Blaser et al. test this potential in West African cocoa agroforests and find crop and ecosystem-service benefits optimized at low-to-intermediate shade-tree cover.
See Blaser et al.
No. 4 April 2018Coal mining and biodiversity
Coal mining provides energy resources and employment but dramatically alters landscapes and, indirectly, climate. Giam et al. synthesize studies on how coal mining under existing United States regulations affects stream biodiversity, including after stream restoration.
See Giam et al. and Osenberg.
No. 3 March 2018Impacts of changing diets
Food choices, like those pictured, have important environmental impact. Baiocchi et al. analysed dietary changes in China between 1997 and 2011. They looked at the environmental impact paired with nutritional content, and found significantly different trends between rural and urban areas.
See Baiocchi et al.
No. 2 February 2018Strategic planning for dams
Dams in the lower Mekong, like the Xayaburi one pictured, are built without considering impacts on river processes such as sediment trapping. Schmitt et al. estimate that strategic planning would allow the building of 70% of the lower Mekong's hydropower potential by trapping less than 20% of the basin's sand load.
See Schmitt et al.
No. 1 January 2018Foresting degraded landscapes
Southwest China is home to communities, agriculture and dramatic landscapes (pictured), but overuse of the land and drought have eroded regions bordering Vietman, Laos and Myanmar. Yue et al. analyse vegetation changes resulting from massive ecological engineering efforts, which since 2000 have promoted new forest growth and associated carbon storage.
See Yue et al.