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Issue 571, 18/11/2021

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In this issue
Global biodiversity indices: used to inform policy decisions — but are they robust and accurate?

Global biodiversity indices are essential tools for summarising and communicating broad trends in environmental change (such as biodiversity loss), and to support global conservation policy decisions. However, few indices have been evaluated for their capacity to report on biodiversity change, such as declines in threatened species, which could result in misleading information for conservation policy. This study uses decision science to evaluate nine biodiversity indices. Click here to read more

Global biodiversity indices are essential tools for summarising and communicating broad trends in environmental change (such as biodiversity loss), and to support global conservation policy decisions. However, few indices have been evaluated for their capacity to report on biodiversity change, such as declines in threatened species, which could result in misleading information for conservation policy. This study uses decision science to evaluate nine biodiversity indices.
Toxic chemical pollutants: long-range air transport to remote European mountain ranges

Semi-volatile organic chemical pollutants (SOCs) accumulate and persist in the environment, particularly in cold environments such as polar and alpine regions. These pollutants (SOCs) include previously banned or restricted organochlorine compounds (OCs) such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which are manmade chemicals that have been used widely in electrical equipment such as capacitors, as well as in paint, sealants and flame retardants. The semi-volatile nature of these pollutants mean that they can travel long distances by air. This study examines the processes of transport, deposition and degradation of SOCs in four alpine European sites. Click here to read more

Toxic chemical pollutants: long-range air transport to remote European mountain ranges
Seagrass meadows: policy recommendations for protection from shellfishing activities

Intertidal seagrasses (i.e. those living between the low- and high-water tide marks) are of high ecological and economic value, yet human pressures such as fishing for shell and leisure walking may have reduced their distribution globally1. In this study, researchers quantified the impact of shellfishing2 activities on seagrass meadows in the Oka estuary (Basque Country, northern Spain). The research highlights the risk that trampling and digging pose to seagrasses and proposes measures for their future conservation. Click here to read more

Seagrass meadows: policy recommendations for protection from shellfishing activities
Researchers call for inclusion of genetic diversity monitoring and conservation in global commitments

The key to successful adaptation of species — genetic variation — is under threat following anthropogenic pressures such as habitat loss. In a call to action, researchers have highlighted the need for greater explicit recognition of genetic diversity in global conservation policy. Knowledge gaps must be addressed with monitoring and concepts should be made accessible for policymakers. Click here to read more

Researchers call for inclusion of genetic diversity monitoring and conservation in global commitments
Novel nitrogen hazard tool better identifies agricultural groundwater pollution potential

Researchers evaluate a ‘nitrogen-input hazard index tool’ in a Spanish groundwater basin declared a nitrate-vulnerable zone. The tool aids risk analyses of agricultural activities in vulnerable areas — where groundwater is susceptible to nitrate pollution — an environmental concern as it can endanger human water supply, and negatively impact aquatic ecosystems. Click here to read more

Novel nitrogen hazard tool better identifies agricultural groundwater pollution potential
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Science for Environment Policy is published by the European Commission's DG Environment and edited by the Science Communication Unit (SCU), at the University of the West of England, Bristol. This service is provided by Ecorys.

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