Large-scale development projects have received significant attention in the natural and social sciences, as mines, canals, dams, pipelines, and highways shape landscapes and societies. Yet many large-scale development projects are proposed but not actually built. To the extent that such projects are studied, it is often to understand the potential socio-environmental changes they could cause, if completed.
In the last four decades, amphibian populations across the world have experienced declines attributed to climate change, habitat alteration, and infectious disease. Notably, many of these declines have been attributed to the introduction of novel pathogens through human-mediated movement to naïve amphibian species or populations (e.g., FV3-like ranavirus and Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis; Cunningham 2018). Successful control of these pathogens remains elusive, despite continued research.
Communities of mobile livestock keepers—pastoralists—often have systems for the governance and management of land and resources that do not conform to theoretical models that have been developed based on experience in other kinds of ecosystems. Because of the unique characteristics of pastoralist systems, well-intentioned efforts to strengthen communal property rights can have the unintended consequence of undermining the mobility, flexibility and adaptability that are essential features of these systems.
Through fertilizer application and the combustion of fossil fuels, humans provide more nitrogen (N) to the Earth system than provided by natural processes, leading to the perception of N as a pollutant causing coastal eutrophication, low-oxygen dead zones, and impaired freshwater resources. However, recent environmental changes also include elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations (eCO2), amounting to more than a 30% increase since 1960, largely driven by the combustion of fossil fuels.