Ecosystem Approaches to Human Health: Key Concepts and Principles

  • Crescenti Y. DakuboEmail author


The previous chapter discussed some of the key milestones leading to the emergence of the ecosystem approach to human health. This evolution occurred in both the public health and natural resources management sectors, and was buttressed by global initiatives seeking to promote sustainable development. Within the public health sector, the conceptualization of health and its determinants evolved from a narrow, individualistic and biomedical perspective to a broader, ecological and holistic perspective. Similar events in the natural resources sector saw a move towards a more integrated approach to natural resources management, with concerns for human health taking centre stage. Globally, there have been a number of initiatives drawing attention to the interdependencies among society, environment and the health and well-being of individuals and communities.


Ecosystem Health Participatory Action Research Ecosystem Approach Healthy Community Ecosystem Degradation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Bell A (1994) Non-human nature and the ecosystem approach: the limits of anthropocentrism in Great Lakes management. Alternatives 20:20–25Google Scholar
  2. Costanza R (1992) Toward an operational definition of ecosystem health. In: Costanza R, Norton BG, Haskell BD (eds) Ecosystem health: new goals for environmental management. Island press, pp 239–256Google Scholar
  3. Costanza R, Norton BG, Haskell BD (1992) Ecosystem health: new goals for environmental management. Island Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  4. Dakubo C (2004) Ecosystem approach to community health planning in Ghana. EcoHealth 1: 50–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Duhl LJ (1976) The process of recreation: the health of the “I” and the “Us”. Ethics Sci Med 3:33–63PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Fals-Borda O, Rahman MA (1991) Action and knowledge: breaking the monopoly with participatory action research. Apex Press; Intermediate Technology Publications, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  7. Farmer P (2001) Infections and inequalities: the modern plagues. Updated Edition. University of California Press, Berkeley, CAGoogle Scholar
  8. Forget G, Lebel J (2001) An ecosystem approach to human health. Int J Occup Environ Health 7(2 Suppl):S3–S38PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Forsyth T (2003) Critical political ecology: The politics of environmental science. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  10. Fox NJ (1991) Postmodernism, rationality and the evaluation of health care. Sociol Rev 39(4): 709–744CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 10.
    Fox NJ (1994) Postmodernism, sociology and health. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, ONGoogle Scholar
  12. Hancock T (1990) Towards healthy and sustainable communities: health, environment and economy at the local level. A presentation at the 3rd colloquium on environmental health. Quebec, CanadaGoogle Scholar
  13. International Development Research Centre (1997) An approach and method for assessing human and environmental conditions and progress toward sustainability: overview. IUCN-The World Conservation Union. IDRC Assessment Tools. Ottawa, ONGoogle Scholar
  14. Karr JR (1991) Biological integrity: a long neglected aspects of water resource management. Ecol Appl 1:66–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Karr JR, Fausch KD, Angermeier PL, Yant PR, Schlosser IJ (1986) Assessing biological integrity in running waters: a method and its rationale. Ill Nat Hist Surv Spec Pub 5 ChampaignGoogle Scholar
  16. Kay JJ (1993) On the nature of ecological integrity: some closing comments. In: Woodley S, Kay, J, Francis G (eds) Ecological integrity and the management of ecosystems.St. Lucie Press, Delray Beach, FLGoogle Scholar
  17. Kay J, Regier HA, Francis M, Francis G (1999) An ecosystem approach for sustainability: addressing the challenge of complexity. Futures 31:721–742CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kerr SR, Dickie LM (1984) Measuring the health of aquatic ecosystems. In: Cairns VW, Hodson PV, Nriagu JO (eds) Contaminant effects on fisheries. Wiley, New York, NY, pp 279–28Google Scholar
  19. Labonté R (1991) Econology: integrating health and sustainable. Part one: theory and background. Health Promot Int 6:49–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lebel J (2003) In focus: an ecosystem approach. IDRC, Ottawa, ONGoogle Scholar
  21. Lincoln Y (1992) Fourth generation evaluation, the paradigm revolution and health promotion. Can J Public Health 83:S6–S10PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Maini JS (1992) Sustainable development of forests. Unasylva 43:3–8Google Scholar
  23. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Series (2005). Ecosystems and human well-being: a Framework for Assessment; Ecosystems and Human well-being. Available online at: Accessed 10 May 2010
  24. Minkler M (1989) Health education, health promotion and the open society: An historical perspective. Health Educ Behav 16:17–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Nielsen NO (2001). Ecosystem approaches to human health. Cad Saúde Pública 17: Suppl:69–75Google Scholar
  26. Noack H (1987) Concepts of health and health promotion. In: Abelin, T etal (eds) Measurement in health promotion and protection. WHO, Copenhagen, pp 5–28Google Scholar
  27. Odum EP (1953) Fundamentals of ecology. W. B. Saunders, Philadelphia, PAGoogle Scholar
  28. Odum EP (1985) Trends expected in stressed ecosystems. Bioscience 35:419–422CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Parkes M, Panelli R (2001) Integrating catchment ecosystems and community health: the value of participatory action research. Ecosyst Health 7:85–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Peden DG (1999) Mono-, multi-, inter-, and trans disciplinarity in IDRC research activities. International Development Research Center, Ottawa, ONGoogle Scholar
  31. Randall P (1998). Health care systems in Africa: Patterns and Prospects. Report from the workshop, Health Systems and health care: Patterns and Perspectives. 27–29 April 1998. The North-South Co-ordination Group. University of Copenhagan and The ENRCA Health NetworkGoogle Scholar
  32. Rapport DJ (1992) Evaluating ecosystem health. J Aquat Ecosyst Health 1:15–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rapport DJ (1995). Ecosystem health: an emerging, integrating science. In: Rapport DJ, Gaudet CL, Callow P (eds) Evaluating and montinoring the health of large-scale ecosystems. NATO ASI Series 1, (28). Springer, Germany, pp 5–31Google Scholar
  34. Rapport DJ et al (2001) Ecosystem health: the concept, the ISEH, and the important tasks ahead. Ecosyst Health 5:82–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rapport DJ, Costanza R, McMichael AJ (1998) Assessing ecosystem health. Trends Ecol Evol 13:397–402PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Schindler DW (1990) Experimental purtabations of whole lakes as tests of hypotheses concerning ecosystem structure and function. Oikos 57:25–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Seedhouse D (1986) Health: the foundations of achievement. Wiley, ChichesterGoogle Scholar
  38. Steedman RS, Regier HA (1990). Ecological basis for an understanding of ecosystem integrity in the Great Lakes Basin. Proceedings of a workshop on integrity and surprise, June 14–16, 1988. International Joint Commission, Windsor, Ontario and Great Lakes Fishery Commission, Ann Arbor, MIGoogle Scholar
  39. Tansley AG (1935) The use and misuse of vegetational terms and concepts. Ecology 16:284–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Van Leeuwen J, Waltner-Toews D, Abernathy T, Smith B (1999) Evolving models of human health toward an ecosystem context. Ecosyst Health 5:204–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Waltner-Toews D (2001) An ecosystem approach to health and its applications to tropical and emerging diseases. Cad Saude Publica 17(Suppl:7–22):discussion 23–36Google Scholar
  42. Whyte WF (1991) Participatory action research. Sage, Newbury Park, CAGoogle Scholar
  43. World Health Organization (1948) Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization as adopted by the International Health Conference, New York, 19–22 June, 1946; signed on 22 July 1946 by the representatives of 61 States (Official Records of the World Health Organization, no. 2, p. 100) and entered into force on 7 April 1948.Google Scholar
  44. World Health Organization (1978) Alma-Ata 1978. Primary health care, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  45. World Health Organization (1986) Health promotion: Ottawa charter. International Conference on Health Promotion, Ottawa, 17–21 November 1986. Geneva, SwitzerlandGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Thunder BayCanada

Personalised recommendations