The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 15 (SDG15) aims to “protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss”. It calls for scientists, policy makers, and all individuals to work to cause a fundamental shift in our relationship with the natural environment. Open access research is a vital part of this.
We are in the midst of the greatest species extinction event since the dinosaur age. In 2019, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) found that nearly 1 million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction. This tremendous loss of biodiversity is accelerated by human behaviour including land-use changes such as deforestation, desertification, habitat encroachment, and activities related to increased consumption such as overfishing and overhunting. Climate change is also a significant contributor to the erosion of biodiversity and changes to biological dynamics on our planet. This is especially problematic as biomes such as forests and their biodiversity offer nature-based solutions to climate change.
Free-to-access research in our latest SDG collection dives deeper into these topics by exploring:
Functional diversity in different habitat types in a vulnerable Ghana ecosystem
The diversity and abundance of breeding birds in urban areas
The evolutionary history of an endangered shark species.
Forest loss, land degradation, and the stalling of protection of key biodiverse areas also pose major threats to humans and nature. We need to work together to protect terrestrial ecosystems. Therefore, our collection of articles also explores topics such as:
The challenges of land reclamation based on ecological conditions and ecosystems in artificial wetlands
Tree species diversity in a newly established national park
Urban expansion and the loss of agriculture
Where are we now with SDG15?
Progress towards Goal 15 has been modest, and therefore barrier-free access to research is more important than ever for changemakers. All our publications are open access, making it easier for policymakers and practitioners around the world to access the materials they need to make important decisions towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
Read the article collection, Spotlight on SDGs: Life on Land>>
This blog post is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY). Illustration by David Jury.