Ecosystem Health (Ecosys Health )

Publisher: International Society for Ecosystem Health, Blackwell Publishing


As the official journal of ISEH, Ecosystem Health is dedicated to fostering a transdisciplinary ecosystem health perspective for dealing with critical human health and environmental issues. The aim of the Society and its Journal is to: establish the goal of healthy ecosystems as essential for the future of humanity; examine the influence of ecosystem health upon human population health; demonstrate how good practice can help prevent degradation and promote healing of the earth's ecosystems.

  • Impact factor
  • 5-year impact
  • Cited half-life
  • Immediacy index
  • Eigenfactor
  • Article influence
  • Website
    Ecosystem Health website
  • Other titles
    Ecosystem health (Online), Ecosystem health
  • ISSN
  • OCLC
  • Material type
    Document, Periodical, Internet resource
  • Document type
    Internet Resource, Computer File, Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

Publisher details

Blackwell Publishing

  • Pre-print
    • Author can archive a pre-print version
  • Post-print
    • Author cannot archive a post-print version
  • Restrictions
    • Some journals impose embargoes typically of 6 or 12 months, occasionally of 24 months
    • no listing of affected journals available as yet
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    • See Wiley-Blackwell entry for articles after February 2007
    • Publisher version cannot be used
    • On author or institutional or subject-based server
    • Server must be non-commercial
    • Publisher copyright and source must be acknowledged with set statement ("The definitive version is available at ")
    • Articles in some journals can be made Open Access on payment of additional charge
    • 'Blackwell Publishing' is an imprint of 'Wiley-Blackwell'
  • Classification
    ​ yellow

Publications in this journal

  • Ecosystem Health 09/2009; 3(3):129 - 132.
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    ABSTRACT: This paper investigates the logical interrelations between four properties that may be useful in understanding different aspects of sustainability and making it a more operational and useful concept. These properties are system stability, continuation, longevity, and health (integrity). The principal findings are as follows: (1) Stability is necessary but not sufficient for sustainability, continuation, longevity, and health. (2) Continuation is (a) sufficient but not necessary for sustainability, stability, and health and (b) both sufficient and necessary for longevity. (3) Longevity is (a) sufficient and necessary for sustainability and continuation and (b) sufficient but not necessary for stability and health. (4) Health is (a) necessary but not sufficient for sustainability, continuation, and longevity and (b) sufficient but not necessary for stability. (5) Sustainability itself is (a) sufficient but not necessary for stability and health; (b) necessary but not sufficient for continuation; and (c) both sufficient and necessary for longevity. These logical interrelations indicate that sustainability is not a simple concept but is related to others, some of which may provide useful measures for different applications. It seems important to explore formally the many dimensions of sustainability to build a precise concept for scientific use. The four attributes investigated here do not exhaust the possibilities.
    Ecosystem Health 09/2009; 3(3):136 - 142.
  • Ecosystem Health 09/2009; 3(3):154 - 161.
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    ABSTRACT: The need to transcend disciplinary boundaries in the teaching of environmental studies has become increasingly obvious. It has been particularly recognized that the relationship between environmental factors and human health needs to be taught much more broadly at universities. An international collaborative effort was begun to develop a course to teach core knowledge in environmental health to health professionals as well as others from a wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds. The course utilizes interactive learning methods and takes a holistic approach to the subject matter, linking the macro socioeconomic issues with the physical, chemical, biological, mechanical, and psychological hazards, as well as with the human health effects. It also aims to build skills in risk assessment, management, and communication. Several meetings (with representatives from the World Health Organization, the United National Environment Programme, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation, and the Council of Rectors of European Universities), a survey completed by 120 universities, a 3-day workshop (with teachers from across the globe), and three 2-week train-the-trainer courses (one in the Baltic, one in the Danube region, and one in South Africa) led to the conclusion that interdisciplinary, interactive teaching materials were highly desired, feasible to develop through international collaboration, and conducive to conveying the basic principles and methodologies needed to address environmental health problems.
    Ecosystem Health 09/2009; 3(3):143 - 153.
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    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACTA three-stage study was conducted to investigate the community health impacts of the Petro Canada petroleum refinery in Oakville, Ontario. A feasibility study was the basis for a stage 2 health survey in 1992 designed to examine the association between self-reported somatic and/or psychosocial symptoms and exposure to odorous refinery emissions in families living near the refinery. In stage 3, a qualitative investigation of residents’ experiences of the refinery was conducted in 1994 by means of depth interviews of a subsample of the survey respondents. The focus of this article is the results of the stage 2 and 3 studies. The survey results (n = 391) showed strong association between zone of residence and odor perception and annoyance, which, in turn, were strongly associated with the reporting of cardinal and general symptoms in adults and children. The strong mediating effect of odors on the refinery exposure–symptom reporting relationship was confirmed by the results of path analyses. The survey findings are consistent with the results of several previous studies of health effects due to environmental odor exposures, which suggest a psychosomatic reaction to the environmental stress associated with odorous emissions. The analysis of the depth interviews (n = 40) revealed the effects of social and community factors on residents’ experiences of the refinery emissions and served to elucidate the relationship between exposure, odor annoyance, and symptom reporting. Ten emergent themes were identified, and these were integrated in terms of three profiles of “typical” resident reactions to the refinery. Follow-up quantitative and qualitative studies are planned to determine whether the ongoing odor reduction plan at the refinery results in reduced levels of symptom reporting.
    Ecosystem Health 06/2008; 3(1):27 - 43.
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    ABSTRACT: The incessant quest for economic growth has dominated human energies for centuries. However, the costs in terms of social and ecological disruption have seldom been taken into account. In consequence, the Earth’s ecosystems have been increasingly disabled. The root problem lies in archaic economic thinking that is completely divorced from natural process. This thinking entrains the notions of unlimited substitution for scarce resources, growth without limits, and the myth that nature’s services are in never-ending supply. If there is to be a viable future for humankind, this thinking must give way to the realization that the economic process has steadily undermined one of the most critical societal goals, namely, that of preserving the health and integrity of the earth’s ecosystems. If we are to find our way, economic development must be tempered by ecological and social realities.
    Ecosystem Health 06/2008; 3(2):94 - 106.
  • Ecosystem Health 06/2008; 3(1):3 - 10.
  • Ecosystem Health 06/2008; 4(3):145 - 146.
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    ABSTRACT: With massive urbanization occurring worldwide, environment and health concerns have reached near-crisis dimensions in many cities throughout the world. Whilst age-old environmental health hazards such as unsafe food and water, microbiological contamination of the environment, overall poor sanitation, and inadequate environmental hygiene are today still prevalent, new environment and development problems have emerged, some of which appear to threaten the entire ecosystem.Environment and health problems today are complex, multidisciplinary in nature, interrelated, and often ill-defined with uncertain solutions. New and innovative approaches are needed to tackle such problems in the future, with development, environment, and health concerns addressed together in a coordinated and integrated way. The total environment must be supportive of health development.This paper highlights some of the key milestones in the recent history of the environment and public health fields, which have been instrumental in the development of more integrated approaches to addressing crosscutting environment and health problems, with particular emphasis placed on initiatives such as Agenda 21. It then discusses the concept and philosophy of the successful “Healthy Cities” project, which is an urban health and development project initiated by the World Health Organization to address more effectively health and environment issues at the local level. Other strategies such as the “Sustainable Cities” initiative are also mentioned. Finally, attention is drawn to some of the successes that have been achieved through participatory planning initiatives, and the implications for implementation in respect to institutional restructuring, human resource needs, and information systems are highlighted.
    Ecosystem Health 06/2008; 3(4):220 - 228.
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    ABSTRACT: This study surveyed 10 different geographical locations on Georgian Bay, Ontario, Canada, and compared the levels of water quality indicators throughout an 11-week period in the summer of 1994. Of the four indicator microorganisms studied (fecal coliforms, Escherichia coli, fecal streptococci, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa), fecal coliforms/E. coli appeared to be the most sensitive to changes in the surrounding environment. Fecal coliforms and E. coli were deemed to be good indicators of the relationship between human health and ecosystem health. A number of environmental variables were found to affect fecal coliform/E. coli concentrations in water and in sediment, including location, objective measure of fetch values (indicating the amount of water exchange), wind velocity, wave action, percentage of organic carbon in sediment (which is related to fetch), and boat number (again related to fetch). No effect on the indicator microorganism concentration was observed for week number, number of swimmers, number of cottages, water temperature, and rainfall.
    Ecosystem Health 06/2008; 3(2):107 - 114.
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    ABSTRACT: Ecosystem health is evaluated as an integrated assessment based on ecosystem stability, resilience, and vulnerability concepts. Special emphasis is focused on two dimensions in the ecosystem health concept: a geocentric approach (i.e., considering any impacts or interactions in terms of their effects on natural geosystems or ecosystems) which deals with assessment of natural ecosystems and their disturbance; and an anthropocentric approach, which concerns effects on human beings and human environment. Analysis of the relevant terminology leads to the development of a conceptual framework for ecosystem health. A suggested method of environmental risk assessment is based on ranking and merging into one criterion a series of individual estimates: bioresources abundance, biodiversity, ecosystem stability and resilience, and feedback effects of a disturbed environment on human beings and their activities.
    Ecosystem Health 06/2008; 4(1):52 - 60.
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    ABSTRACT: Ethics guidelines for professionals in the risk sciences are relatively recent. The need for accountability is recognized by many professionals, and has led to the development of ethics guidelines, anchored in organization-specific mission statements or sets of core values. Almost none of the professions’ existing codes reflect on broader social consequences such as concern for ecological integrity. The importance of this consideration was recently noted in The Toronto Resolution where ensuring ecological integrity was directly linked to professional conduct. Guidelines are useful and necessary for professional development and day-to-day functioning, but alone they are insufficient to ensure that professionals learn about ethics and how to apply the guidelines while simultaneously recognizing the broader social consequences of their professional pursuits. In the interests both of professional accountability, as well as concern for the seamless web upon which all life-support systems depend, each profession needs an ethics infrastructure. This paper provides a comprehensive organizational infrastructure, comprising a seven-step program—focusing more on process than on content—for the integration of ethics into professional life. A framework for action is developed, integrating several operationalizable process steps. Difficulties in raising professional awareness and introducing an ethics infrastructure are discussed in the context of epidemiology. Professional organization and consensus on core values are seen as laying the foundation for an ethics program. To implement a program, codifying professional conduct in the form of ethics guidelines, establishing consistent procedures and review processes, and establishing ethics education and training, are essential. Furthermore, introducing incentives to encourage ethical conduct, an ethics consultation service, and ongoing oversight and commitment, are critical components for success. Its process goals would include ongoing review, education, dissemination, and adherence to the professions’ core values, into which concern for issues beyond the narrow confines of professional pursuits would be integrated.
    Ecosystem Health 06/2008; 4(2):109 - 118.
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    ABSTRACT: Pollution from persistent toxic substances, interpreted as downward causation from the Biosphere, was the primary factor causing the integration of human and ecosystem health in the Great Lakes Basin. Institutional measures that set the political stage for integration were the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 and the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreements of 1972 and 1978 (the latter with an accent on an ecosystem approach and persistent toxic substances). Fish and wildlife biologists played a crucial role as “eco-catalysts” in alerting the public and the International Joint Commission (IJC) to reproductive and developmental health problems associated with persistent toxic substances in fish, reptiles, birds, mammals, and—by implication—humans.The rationale for the recommendation to sunset industrial chlorine stemmed from the IJC’s conclusion that persistent toxic substances, including many organochlorines, are harmful to humans and the Biosphere. It is conjectured that the focus on chlorinated chemicals arose from the fact that more than half of the 373 persistent toxic substances identified in the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem were organochlorines; the uncontrollability of many organochlorines in the production phase, in long-range transport in air and water, in chemical transformations in the environment, and in bioaccumulation in food chains; and the need for a strategic spearhead to break the dysfunctional, after-the-fact, one-by-one approach to regulating persistent toxic substances. Generic controls are necessary whenever public health or property is threatened by environmental conversion from harmless to harmful forms (as in the case of phosphorus, lead, mercury, and PCBs).Attention is drawn to the rarity of organochlorines in vertebrates and their general use in defense also to the bypassing of lower halogens in favor of iodine (as thyroxine) in regulating basal metabolism in vertebrates. The sunsetting of industrial chlorine is considered essential to the protection of human and biospheric health; however, because of the current requirement for proof of harm, chemical by chemical, the process is likely to take decades.
    Ecosystem Health 06/2008; 3(4):211 - 219.
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    ABSTRACT: Most ecosystems require periodic disturbances to maintain their integrity, and human modification of natural disturbance regimes (e.g. fire frequency) often leads to deleterious changes. Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa P. & C. Lawson) forests in the western United States are selected as examples. They were maintained in an open, park-like condition because of frequent low-intensity disturbances: fires and/or pest outbreaks. Fires enhanced grass cover, helped to reduce the buildup of organic matter, eliminated weak trees, and controlled pests. Euro-American settlement changed this balance by allowing heavy livestock grazing, which caused damage to the grass cover and contributed to soil erosion and depletion of the nutrient pool. Later, the policy of fire suppression promoted the establishment of a greater density of ponderosa pine and understory thickets at the expense of the grasses and caused excessive accumulation of coarse organic matter. Productivity of the forest subsequently declined and the thickets stagnated. Today, even unlogged ponderosa pine forests exhibit profound signs of stress: slow production and growth, decreased rate of nutrient cycling, simplified vertical and horizontal structure, and increased extent of disease. Some ecosystem services, such as the provision of soil and water quality, high biodiversity, and aesthetic value, are impaired.
    Ecosystem Health 06/2008; 3(3):171 - 184.
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    ABSTRACT: Subsistence hunting for Cree of the western James Bay region of northern Ontario, Canada, is a way of life. In this study, it is shown that ∼15% of the radiographic charts examined had evidence of pellets contained in the gastrointestinal system, intraluminally, and/or in the appendix. It is assumed that the consumption of wildgame with lead shot embedded in the tissue was the source of the pellets. Because the presence of lead shot in the human gastrointestinal tract appears to increase the body burden of lead and considerable evidence is available on the occurrence of lead poisoning in waterfowl due to the ingestion of lead pellets,it is suggested that the use of lead shot should be discontinued nationwide in Canada. Although bismuth/tin shot has been growing in appeal because of several recent waterfowl studies demonstrating its nontoxic nature, caution is advised because of the uncertainty about the toxicity of bismuth in humans, especially when consumed as whole pellets or fragments in wildmeats. We maintain that the nontoxic alternative of choice at this time is steel shot.
    Ecosystem Health 06/2008; 3(1):54 - 61.
  • Ecosystem Health 06/2008; 4(1):1 - 2.
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    ABSTRACT: The tribal communities of Meghalaya in northeast India—Khasis, Garos, and Jaintias—have a tradition of environmental conservation based on various religious beliefs which have been passed on from one generation to the other. Based on these beliefs, certain patches of forests are designated as sacred groves under customary law and are protected from any product extraction by the community. Such forests are very rich in biological diversity and harbor many endangered plant species including rare herbs and medicinal plants. Seventy-nine sacred groves were located, denoted on a geographical map of Meghalaya, and studied for their biodiversity value, status, and vegetation characteristics. A baseline floristic survey revealed that at least 514 species representing 340 genera and 131 families were present in these sacred groves. The status of sacred groves was ascertained through canopy cover estimate. A little over 1.3% of total sacred grove area was undisturbed, 42.1% had relatively dense forest, 26.3% had sparse canopy cover, and 30.3% had open forest. The vegetation characteristics and species diversity of an undisturbed sacred grove were compared with that of an unprotected disturbed forest. The species diversity indices were higher for the sacred grove than for the disturbed forest. The species composition and community characteristics differed significantly between the two forests. Sociocultural aspects of sacred grove conservation were analyzed, and views of the local people were enlisted. Based on the findings, conservation strategies for sacred groves were suggested.
    Ecosystem Health 06/2008; 4(1):20 - 32.
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    ABSTRACT: The Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE) in Sustainable Forestry Management is a new research initiative in Canada that examines management practices that protect boreal forest resources while permitting controlled economic development. A critical factor in the viability of such practices is socioeconomic and cultural acceptability in the communities of the region. Health is an essential factor in this dimension of sustainability. The NCE includes a health component that examines issues of human and ecosystem health related to boreal forest communities in western and northern Canada. These may be direct, involving direct health effects on the human body, or indirect, mediated by social mechanisms. Communities in the region are generally small, remote, limited in economic resources, and support a mixed economic development of forest products, oil and gas, and traditional aboriginal activities. The small and dispersed population and the time frame for the study do not permit application of the usual methods of broad-based community health research. Instead, emphasis is placed on four main elements with a variety of robust and sometimes qualitative methods to suit the problems. The four elements are: (1) ”Population health,“ a conceptual model of determinants of health, as interpreted for boreal forest communities; (2) application of the population health model to anticipate and prevent human health problems associated with various scenarios of sustainable forestry management; (3) occupational health and safety issues associated with increased activity in the forest products sector; and (4) large-scale ecosystem change and human health. The NCE presents an unusual opportunity to study both the ecosystem and human health implications of an ecological intervention. Its activities may provide insight into the complex relationship between human and ecosystem health.
    Ecosystem Health 06/2008; 3(1):11 - 26.