Frontiers 2018/19: Emerging issues of environmental concern

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January 2019

Frontiers 2018/19: Emerging issues of environmental concern consolidates and analyzes the emerging issues that will have profound effects on our society, economy, and environment. Some of these issues are linked to new technologies that have astonishing applications and uncertain risks, while others are perennial issues, such as the fragmentation of wild landscapes and the thawing of long-frozen soil. Another issue, nitrogen pollution, represents an unintended consequence of decades of human activity in the biosphere. 

The issues explained in this report include: 

  • Synthetic Biology: Re-engineering the environment 
  • Ecological Connectivity: A bridge to preserving biodiversity 
  • Permafrost Peatlands: Losing ground in a warming world 
  • The Nitrogen Fix: From nitrogen cycle pollution to nitrogen circular economy 
  • Maladaptation to Climate Change: Avoiding pitfalls on the evolvability pathway

The acting executive director of the UN Environment Programme states that the issues examined in Frontiers should serve as a reminder that whenever we interfere with nature- whether at the global scale or the molecular level - we risk creating long-lasting impacts on our planetary home.