Biodiversity Conservation and Human Health

The connections between biodiversity and human health have become a focus of recent attention and research as anthropogenic causes have led to an unprecedented loss of global biodiversity. Using the World Health Organization’s Ecosystems program, this module reviews biodiversity-human health linkages, both direct (e.g., food) and indirect (e.g., waste removal), as well as the potential conflicts of interest between biodiversity conservation and human health (e.g., reduction in disease vectors from forest clear-cutting). These linkages are not clear-cut and often leave much to consider in planning conservation programs.

View this module in other languages:
Conservación de la Biodiversidad y Salud Humana (Spanish)
Conservation de la Biodiversité et Santé Humaine (French)

See also:
Human Evolution and Biodiversity

Themes: People and Conservation, Understanding Biodiversity

Language: English

Region: Global

Keywords: biodiversity, ecosystem function, ecosystem services, values, role play

Components: 6

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Synthesis: Biodiversity Conservation and Human Health

Author: A. Gómez, E. Nichols

   

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Recommended Resource: Learning from Lyme

Source: AMNH Science Bulletins, October 2011

Since its discovery in 1975, Lyme disease has become one of the most commonly reported diseases transmitted by insects, spiders or other arthropods. Declining biodiversity may be one factor contributing to the rise in this disease among humans. The ticks that infect humans feed on a number of hosts, only some of which are effective at transmitting the disease; but human impact on natural habitats has greatly reduced species diversity in tick hosts. Recent studies indicate that the species that adapt best to these changing conditions are also more likely to carry and transmit Lyme disease to ticks, which then convey the disease to humans. Preserving a balance of species could be essential in preventing an increase in Lyme disease among humans and may have an impact on other emerging infectious diseases.


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Exercise: Biodiversity Conservation and Human Health

Author: A. Gómez, E. Nichols

   

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Presentation: Biodiversity Conservation and Human Health

Author: A. Gómez, E. Nichols

Teaching Notes: Biodiversity Conservation and Human Health

Author: A. Gómez, E. Nichols

Solutions: Biodiversity Conservation and Human Health

Author: A. Gómez, E. Nichols


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