Ecological restoration’s impact on public health: Results of a literature review, some reflections and predictions

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Laura Orlando

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Different kinds of ecological restoration activities are being investigated and tried across the globe, many to great success. To strengthen and broaden the impact of these efforts, and to rapidly increase the amount of ecological restoration throughout the world, the EcoHealth Network (EHN) is creating an interactive network of long-term sites that will address key deficits in science, education, and outreach. EHN will discuss this work and also its efforts to combine social, economic, and ecological perspectives to address two related knowledge gaps: 1) soil responses to restoration, and 2) the relationships between ecosystem health and human health. We will also explore existing and new research opportunities on soil biodiversity in relationship to human health and as a foundation to ecosystem health. Human health and ecosystem health are seldom linked by the disciplines that study them, with the exception of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), with its dynamic, holistic approaches. Research linkages could show, for example, how health outcomes might inform ecological restoration and, for instance, the public health benefits of the cumulative impacts of restored ecosystems. To address knowledge gaps about relationships between soil biodiversity, human health, and ecological restoration, we have undertaken an interdisciplinary literature review on the inclusion of public health and other health outcomes in ecological restoration. Based on the synthesis of the literature, we will present TEK case studies, research possibilities, collaborative opportunities, and policy initiatives that can accelerate public understanding and awareness of the enormous benefits of ecological restoration for human health.

Resource Type:
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

Society for Ecological Restoration