COVID-19 lockdown and natural resources: a global assessment on the challenges, opportunities, and the way forward

Background: The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a global pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2, which has an enormous effect on human lives and the global environment. This review aimed to assess the global scientific evidence on the impact of COVID-19 lockdown on natural resources using international databases and search engines. Thus, the unprecedented anthropause due to COVID-19 has positive and negative effects on natural resources. Main body This review showed that the unprecedented pandemic lockdown events brought a negative impact on the physical environment, including pollution associated with a drastic increase in person protective equipment, deforestation, illegal poaching and logging, overfishing, disruption of the conservation program and projects. It is noted that the spread of pandemic diseases could be aggravated by environmental pollution and a rapid increase in the global population. Despite these negative impacts of COVID-19, the anthropause appear to have also several positive effects on natural resources such as short term reduction of indoor and outdoor environmental pollutants (PM2.5, PM10, NO2, SO2, CO, and CO2), reduction in noise pollutions from ships, boats, vehicles, and planes which have positive effects on aquatic ecosystems, water quality, birds behaviour, wildlife biodiversity, and ecosystem restoration. Conclusion Therefore, governments and scientific communities across the globe have called for a green recovery to COVID-19 and implement multi-actor interventions and environmentally friendly technologies to improve and safeguard sustainable environmental and biodiversity management and halt the next pandemic.