Biodiversity Conservation Can Support Public Health
Recent multi-country analyses illustrate linkages between ecosystem conditions and children’s health and nutrition.
Reports and Evidence
- Upstream Watershed Condition Predicts Rural Children’s Health Across 35 Developing Countries is a study of linkages between watershed conditions and health. Researchers found that higher upstream tree cover was associated with lower probability of diarrheal disease among children from rural households living in downstream communities.
- Impacts of Forests on Children’s Diet in Rural Areas Across 27 Developing Countries is an analysis of forest and diet linkages. Scientists found that children living within three kilometers of forests had 25 percent greater dietary diversity and reduced vitamin A and iron deficiencies compared to children living farther away from forests.
Photo by: Susanna Jolly.
Cross-Sectoral Integration Can Benefit Health and Nature
USAID projects that integrate health and the environment highlight benefits for both community health and local ecosystems.
- Biodiversity Integration in Practice: A Case Study of USAID in Mozambique illustrates the approach and process used by USAID/Mozambique to integrate its biodiversity, education, food security and nutrition, and health sectors through the Integrated Gorongosa and Buffer Zone project.
- Biodiversity Integration in Practice: A Case Study of USAID in Western Honduras illustrates the approach and process used by USAID/Honduras to integrate its biodiversity, education, food security and nutrition, and governance sectors, using water and watersheds as a unifying theme.
- Integration of Health, Environment, and Development in the Lake Victoria Basin through the the Population, Health, and Environment Approach details integrated activities implemented by Health of People and the Environment in the Lake Victoria Basin (HoPE-LVB) that simultaneously improve access to health services while also helping communities manage natural resources and conserve critical ecosystems.
- USAID-supported population, health, and environment (PHE) programming in Madagascar worked with communities to reduce destructive fishing practices, protect local marine ecosystems, and improve access to reproductive health and family planning services for nearly 3,000 women. The communities worked to conserve the ecosystems they depend on for food security and livelihoods.
- USAID/Indonesia Forest and Climate Support project tested whether convenient, affordable, and quality health care might be the key to ending illegal logging. By providing innovative health services to communities around Gunung Palung, a national park in West Kalimantan, Indonesia, these groups have seen rapid and dramatic improvements in public health indicators while reducing the number of families involved in illegal logging by 90 percent.
- USAID’s Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group promotes the use of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) integration guidelines to reduce the impacts of infrastructure and pollution on freshwater ecosystems, and employing PHE guidelines to identify and develop synergies between critical ecosystem services and human health and well-being.
Photo by: Jake Lyell.