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Volume 5 Issue 5, May 2022

Tropical forest carbon loss

Tropical forests store huge reserves of carbon but are under growing assault. Using satellite data, Zeng and colleagues show that annual carbon loss in tropical forests more than doubled between 2001 and 2019. Agricultural activities are driving most of this loss.

See Feng et al.

Image: LeoFFreitas / Moment / Getty. Cover Design: Valentina Monaco.


  • The protection and enhancement of biological diversity as an essential driver of sustainable development is in need of transformative change. It’s time to make that happen.



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Comment & Opinion

  • Most cities lack holistic monitoring and green infrastructure to mitigate pollution in urban runoff. We call for systematic characterization of runoff and more widespread treatment to protect biodiversity and human health. This challenge requires data-driven, adapted, low-cost and sustainable solutions for dense urban centres.

    • Mathieu Lapointe
    • Chelsea M. Rochman
    • Nathalie Tufenkji
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News & Views

  • The world is facing a sand crisis, as booming sand use poses global sustainability challenges. A study now presents a blueprint for a less sand-demanding future, where synergistic material-efficiency strategies are crucial for curbing sand demand.

    • Zhi Cao
    • Eric Masanet
    News & Views
  • In the global transition to sustainable development, policy coherence is key. A new study highlights the equal importance of policy dynamism over time — how policymakers must anticipate national advances in sustainability to meet shifting strategic needs.

    • Tiffany H. Morrison
    News & Views
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  • Understanding interactions between people and nature is increasingly vital. This Perspective argues that synthesizing concepts and theories from diverse disciplines is crucial, and suggests a conceptual framework for unifying this effort and science.

    • Masashi Soga
    • Kevin J. Gaston
  • Agriculture can reduce environmental pressures and tackle poverty and related injustices. Showing examples of agricultural systems that do so while producing food and energy, this Perspective calls for a refocused debate away from the misleading ‘fuel versus food’ dichotomy.

    • Lisa A. Schulte
    • Bruce E. Dale
    • J. Gordon Arbuckle
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  • Sand for building material is a vital but increasingly scarce resource. Demand for sand is projected to increase substantially in the coming decades, particularly in lower-income countries. Strategic modifications to building practices, however, can reduce global building sand demand by up to 50%.

    • Xiaoyang Zhong
    • Sebastiaan Deetman
    • Paul Behrens
    Brief Communication
  • Forest conservation contributes to climate change mitigation and delivers a host of other benefits to society, but such benefits are usually assessed qualitatively at the project level. This study provides a quantitative assessment of multiple benefits from forest carbon projects across Southeast Asia.

    • Tasya Vadya Sarira
    • Yiwen Zeng
    • Lian Pin Koh
    Brief Communication Open Access
  • Artificial intelligence methods can help biodiversity conservation planning in a rapidly evolving world. A framework based on reinforcement learning quantifies the trade-off between the costs and benefits of area and biodiversity protection and achieves better solutions with empirical data than alternative methods.

    • Daniele Silvestro
    • Stefano Goria
    • Alexandre Antonelli
    Article Open Access
  • The development of innovative packaging materials could contribute to greater sustainability in the food and beverage industry. Here the authors report squid-skin-inspired metallized composite materials that show adaptive infrared and dynamic thermoregulatory properties, and could be manufactured in a scalable way.

    • Mohsin Ali Badshah
    • Erica M. Leung
    • Alon A. Gorodetsky
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Amendments & Corrections

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