Watersheds and Human Health
Case studies and anecdotes indicate that trends in natural ecosystems and human health are related but we lack a rigorous understanding of how. In particular, the impact of watershed disturbance on water-borne disease is still poorly understood at a global level. A clearer picture of these links would help improve the health of some of the world’s poorest people while providing a human health case for conserving some of the most important landscapes and seascapes.
The Luc Hoffmann Institute Watersheds and Human Health project is testing a ‘Big Data’ approach to illustrate how the condition and management of watersheds affects human health. These insights will help improve the effectiveness of conservation investments by addressing a social dimension.
The ultimate outcome of this work will be improved capacity for joint analysis of environment and human health implications under the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals. The research team are currently working on a global dataset linking environment and human health usable by the conservation community, a series of scientific papers and a vulnerability analysis for a WWF priority river basin. This project is primarily supported by HEAL (The Planetary Health Alliance), the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and SESYNC.
Main Image: © Brent Stirton / Getty Images / WWF-UK