Chapters and Articles, Yearbooks and Frontiers
Permafrost Peatlands: Losing Ground in a Warming World - Frontiers 2018/19: Emerging Issues of Environmental Concern Chapter 3
United Nations Environment Programme

Permafrost thaw is seen as one of the most important “tipping elements” that could precipitate a runaway greenhouse effect, or an uncontrollable “Hothouse Earth”. To avoid such a destructive scenario, it is critical that the world’s permafrost and its peatlands stay frozen and retain their carbon deposits.


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2019
Chapters and Articles, Yearbooks and Frontiers
The Nitrogen Fix: From Nitrogen Cycle Pollution to Nitrogen Circular Economy - Frontiers 2018/19: Emerging Issues of Environmental Concern Chapter 4
United Nations Environment Programme

Nitrogen is an extremely abundant element in the Earth’s atmosphere. In the form of the N2 molecule, nitrogen is harmless, making up 78 per cent of every breath we take. The two nitrogen atoms are held together by a strong triple bond (N N), making it extremely stable and chemically unreactive. The planet benefits because N2 allows a safe atmosphere in which life can flourish, while avoiding the flammable consequences of too much oxygen. The environmental interest in nitrogen focuses on the conversion of N2 into other
chemically reactive forms. For simplicity, scientists refer to all other nitrogen forms as “fixed” or “reactive nitrogen” (Nr).


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2019
Chapters and Articles, Yearbooks and Frontiers
Maladaptation to Climate Change: Avoiding Pitfalls on the Evolvability Pathway - Frontiers 2018/19: Emerging Issues of Environmental Concern Chapter 5
United Nations Environment Programme

As climate change negotiations progressed, researchers examined how and why some adaptation actions go awry, particularly those actions that waste substantial amounts of human, natural, or financial resources. Maladaptation thinking continues to advance, and one influential study considered the problem according to the outcomes, identifying five categories of maladaptation when compared to
alternative choices. According to this analysis, maladaptations are actions that increase greenhouse gas emissions, burden the most vulnerable disproportionately, incur high opportunity costs, reduce incentives to adapt, or set paths that limit the choices available to future generations.


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2019
Chapters and Articles, Yearbooks and Frontiers
Synthetic Biology: Re-engineering the environment - Frontiers 2018/19: Emerging Issues of Environmental Concern Chapter 1
United Nations Environment Programme

The world is facing unprecedented challenges to a healthy and sustainable future. Habitat destruction, invasive species, and overexploitation are contributing to immense biodiversity loss. Unsustainable, extractive industry practices further burden the environment, and by extension, human welfare. Vector-borne infectious diseases pose a major threat to global health. Rapid climate change is likely to expand the geographical range of tropical diseases and further stress already taxed species and ecosystems. A number of approaches devised to meet these challenges – some proposed and others already implemented – share a common strategy. That is, they depend upon the genetic manipulation of living organisms to acquire new functions that otherwise do not exist in nature, in order to serve human needs.


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2019
Chapters and Articles, Yearbooks and Frontiers
Ecological Connectivity: A Bridge to Preserving Biodiversity - Frontiers 2018/19: Emerging Issues of Environmental Concern Chapter 2
United Nations Environment Programme

Nature was once vast and boundless, but in an industrialized, 21st century world, this is no longer the case. Across the globe,
landscapes and seascapes are becoming more fragmented. Fragmentation is typically a symptom of landscape transformation and destruction. Maintaining or restoring connectivity between fragmented habitats or landscape patches has been identified as the key to counteracting many of the negative impacts of
fragmentation. Connectivity can be defined as the degree to
which landscapes and seascapes allow species to move freely
and ecological processes to function unimpeded.


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2019