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A collection of knowledge to celebrate World Environment Day

By: , Posted on: June 4, 2020

Every year since 1974, June 5 has been World Environment Day. This day of celebration is a focal point for national and international environmental action. Governments, charities, communities, celebrities and individuals come together to raise awareness of environmental issues and drive important programs forward. This year’s World Environment Day theme is biodiversity. Defined as the variety of organisms in a habitat, it is integral to the wellbeing of human society and the environment. Frighteningly, we are facing an unprecedented biodiversity crisis. Scientists are warning that without programs to protect the biosphere, around 25% of all known species could be made extinct in the next ten years.

To support researchers focused on questions of biodiversity, Elsevier is making a collection of important content freely available on ScienceDirect for the next 12 months. This includes book chapters and journal articles in a range of fields, providing both foundational information and up-to-date research on biodiversity. Topics covered include food science, health and well-being, water quality, life on land, life under water, and responsible consumption. We hope that providing this content will help not only researchers, but also non-scientists engaging with this topic.

Click here to access the complete collection.

Below are some key biodiversity chapters included in our Special Issue:

Pathology of Wildlife and Zoo Animals

Chapter 2: Forensic Wildlife Pathology

Tabitha C. Viner, Rebecca A. Kagan

On average, one new infectious disease emerges in humans every four months with 75% of those infections coming from animals. Zoonotic diseases spill into human life due to destroyed animal habitats or illegal trade. Discussed in this chapter are the most common forensic pathology cases encountered by the veterinary pathologist, including mortalities associated with vehicle and structural collisions, energy infrastructure, environmental and regulated toxins, and firearms.

Read on ScienceDirect

Medicinal Spices and Vegetables from Africa: Therapeutic Potential Against Metabolic, Inflammatory, Infectious and Systemic Diseases

Chapter 10: Anticancer Activities of African Medicinal Spices and Vegetables

  1. Kuete, O. Karaosmanoğlu, and H. Sivas

Nature is an essential source of many drugs used in modern medicine. This chapter reports the ability of African medicinal spices and vegetables to tackle malignant diseases. Data were retrieved from published articles, available in scientific databases, such as Pubmed, ScienceDirect, Scopus, Google Scholar, and Web of Knowledge, related to African medicinal spices and vegetables, isolated compounds, and cancer cells.

Read on ScienceDirect

Aquatic Functional Biodiversity

Chapter 6: Biodiversity, Ecosystem Functioning, and Services in Fresh Waters: Ecological and Evolutionary Implications of Climate Change

Guy Woodward and Daniel M. Perkins

Freshwater ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to the different components of climate change, yet we still have a limited understanding of the consequences of these environmental drivers and their interactions with other stressors, especially at the higher, multispecies, organizational levels. We review the current state of the field and identify several key areas where rapid progress has already been made, as well as those that remain largely uncharted.

Read on ScienceDirect

Emerging and Reemerging Viral Pathogens

Chapter 7: Coronaviridae: 100,000 Years of Emergence and Reemergence

Yassine Kasmi, Khadija Khataby, Amal Souiri, and Moulay Mustapha Ennaji

We know that many emerging infectious diseases in recent times have originated in wild animals, such as Coronavirus. The coronavirus family (Coronaviridae) is a positive-sense single-stranded RNA, with a size of 27 kb. These viruses have a potential species specificity and interspecies transmission. The interspecies transmission of viruses from one host species to another is a major factor responsible for the majority of emerging and reemerging infections. The Coronaviridae is one of the most popular emerging viral families that threaten to the public health, and this chapter goes into more detail on its characteristics and transmission.

Read on ScienceDirect

Encyclopedia of Biodiversity (Second Edition)

Definition of Biodiversity

Ian R. Swingland

An unequivocal, precise, and generally accepted definition of biodiversity does not exist. However, the need for such a definition that is both scientifically sensible and universally applicable is imperative to help guide the design of policy and programs for the future, as well as to make critical decisions in the present. One of the many reasons for this state of affairs is that the definition of biodiversity affects objectives in national and regional research and conservation management, and in international funding priorities. Because so much is now formally invested in using the word biodiversity, its definition will continue to play a crucial role in both biodiversity conservation planning and public policy.

Read on ScienceDirect

Biodiversity of Mammals

Joshua R. Ginsberg

Ranging in size from a shrew to the blue whale, mammals are found in the air, on and under the ground, and in the oceans, rivers, and lakes of the world. A total of 151 families are divided into 1226 genera and represent 5416 species. This chapter includes coverage on mammals, their characteristics and why their ecosystems are so important.

Read on ScienceDirect

Encyclopedia of the World`s Biomes

World Terrestrial Ecosystems

Roger Sayre, Madeline Martin, Deniz Karagulle, Charlie Frye, Sean Breyer, Dawn Wright, Kevin Butler, Keith Van Graafeiland, Timothy Boucher, Jennifer McGowan, Jerry Touval, Nicholas Wolff, Leonardo Sotomayor, Edward Game, and Hugh Possingham

As the source providing units for several goods and services required for human survival (e.g. food, fuel, fiber, water provision and purification, etc.) ecosystems must be sustainably managed. This will require a globally comprehensive and detailed understanding of the distribution of ecosystems on Earth. While there have been several attempts to partition the planet into large ecologically meaningful areas (ecoregions), a high spatial resolution map of Earth’s terrestrial ecosystems at the on-the-ground occurrences (patch) level has heretofore been lacking. A new, high resolution (250 m) map of data-derived World Terrestrial Ecosystems is characterized, and its utility for assessing policy-mandated ecosystem conservation targets is described.

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Deserts: Life in the Extremes

Dominick A. DellaSala and Michael I. Goldstein

Deserts are biodiverse places where life thrives in the extremes. Deserts cover roughly one-third of the Earth’s surface, exist on every continent and in hot (subtropical), cool coastal, and polar climates (the Arctic and Antarctica deserts are covered in the Polar Biome section). Eleven of the world’s largest (> 50,000 km2) deserts are in Asia, 7 in Australia, 5 in North America, and 2 each in Africa and South America. Deserts are biodiverse places with many endemic life forms uniquely adapted to some of the most extreme terrestrial environments on Earth. Many species are threatened by agriculture and aquaculture, energy development, desertification, unabated collection of plants and seeds for horticulture and private ornamental collectors, livestock overgrazing, invasive plants, off highway vehicles, and climate change.

Read on ScienceDirect

In recent years, the goals of World Environment Day have become closely linked with promoting progress on the environmental dimensions of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Visit the RELX SDG Resource Center for more information on this initiative as well as further resources related to biodiversity and the other goals.

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