Conservation Medicine: Ecological Health in Practice

By A. Alonso Aguirre; Richard S. Ostfeld et al. | Go to book overview

Preface

Traditional approaches to the development of health strategies and environmental protection offer limited solutions to increasingly complex challenges. We are starting to see a connection between ecosystem health, human health, and animal health with the greater understanding of global climate change, and the wide-ranging influence of human effects on the planet. One out of five human health concerns has an environmental cause. With an everincreasing human population putting pressure on the planet's resources, and increasing globalization of the world's economy, the ecology of the earth is experiencing dramatic changes, manifested by novel and potentially catastrophic health consequences.

This book provides a broad survey of the intersection of ecology and health sciences as it applies to achieving a more sustainable future for our species and others. It examines ecological health issues from various standpoints, including the emergence, reemergence, and resurgence of infectious diseases; the increasing biological effects of toxic chemicals and hazardous substances; and the health implications of ecological alterations, such as habitat fragmentation and degradation, loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and global climate and atmospheric changes. The thesis of this book is that health connects all species on the planet. Ecology teaches us about the interdependence of species, and health is a fundamental aspect of this tenet.

Our book is intended to be a primer for ecological and health practitioners and their students who seek to define and achieve ecological health as part of a more sustainable way for humans to live on a planet of finite resources. The definition of health is changing with time as our awareness of the multifaceted effects on health come to light. Environmental influences on health are more apparent. Conservation medicine has evolved to provide a framework for creating solutions to

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