Ecosystem Health (Ecosys Health )

Publisher: International Society for Ecosystem Health, Blackwell Publishing

Description

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
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  • 5-year impact
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  • Cited half-life
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  • Immediacy index
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  • Eigenfactor
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  • Article influence
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  • Website
    Ecosystem Health website
  • Other titles
    Ecosystem health (Online), Ecosystem health
  • ISSN
    1526-0992
  • OCLC
    41986210
  • 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
  • Conditions
    • See Wiley-Blackwell entry for articles after February 2007
    • Publisher's version/PDF cannot be used
    • On author's server, institutional server 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 www.blackwell-synergy.com")
    • Articles in some journals can be made Open Access on payment of additional charge
    • 'Blackwell Publishing' is an imprint of 'Wiley'
  • Classification
    ​ yellow

Publications in this journal

  • 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.
  • 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.
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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: Existing definitions of agroecosystem health do not address one of the most important issues, namely, how tradeoffs should be made among different components of an agroecosystem. To resolve this issue, it is important to be clear on which perspective is being taken in any health assessment. An internal perspective would focus on the health of the biophysical components of the agroecosystem, whereas an external perspective would focus on human communities. This article proposes a three-stage, transdisciplinary approach to agroecosystem health, called a Framework for Agroecosystem Health Tradeoffs, which uses internal and external perspectives at different stages. In the first stage, the type of ecosystem and the time and spatial scale of concern are identified. Once this is established, required levels of biophysical indicators are set and monitored to ensure that basic internal needs for agroecosystem survival are met. In determining levels of biophysical indicators, “positivistic” scientific analysis would be required as well as normative judgments by society on acceptable levels of risk. The third stage involves determining the potential for making tradeoffs in the agroecosystem that would be beneficial to society without affecting the required levels of biophysical indicators specified in the second stage. Economic analysis and community consultation would be used to determine which agroecosystem components or services are valued most by society so that decisions on tradeoffs could be made. Although there remain practical problems in implementing this approach, the notion of setting minimum constraints which human activity cannot violate and making the best tradeoffs possible after these constraints are met provides a useful framework to begin putting agroecosystem health into practice.
    Ecosystem Health 06/2008; 3(2):82 - 93.
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    ABSTRACT: We now live under a comprehensive international trading system which affects what we eat, wear, buy, and produce. As of January 1995, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1947 (GATT 1947) was replaced by the World Trade Organization Agreement (WTOA) which sets out rules affecting practically all trade in goods and services worldwide.The implications for trade in agricultural goods are enormous. Today, not only are rules concerning trade in goods generally applicable to trade in agricultural goods, but new rules specific to trade in such products are set out in the WTOA’s Agreement on Agriculture. The WTOA promises to limit national agricultural policies which impede international trade in agricultural products. The new WTOA rules should increase efficiency of and decrease friction arising in trade in agricultural products. These developments represent truly positive economic and political outcomes.But what will be the environmental effects of changes in trade flows facilitated by WTOA rules and institutions? How will the new rules affect ecosystem health? The truth is that the worlds of trade law and ecosystem health are light-years apart. Advocates for free trade and those for the environment often distrust each other and think that the interests of one can be advanced only through the sacrifice by the other. The first part of this article traces some of the reasons for the evolution of this seemingly zero-sum game. The second section of the article examines the historical development and current treatment of environmental measures under the WTOA.The agricultural sector is then highlighted as a microcosm of how the new WTOA rules will produce environmental effects which positively, although perhaps unintentionally, affect agroecosystems. The article concludes with speculation as to whether it is not now time to reorient the acrimonious trade/environment debate to one which is less adversarial and more focused on achieving ecosystem health while continuing to improve international market access and trade relations.
    Ecosystem Health 06/2008; 4(2):92 - 108.
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    ABSTRACT: After surveying the two main paradigms for ecological risk assessment, this commentary discusses two mistakes often associated with the paradigm based on ecosystem health. These are the beard fallacy and the pragmatist fallacy. The argument is that if you really learn from experience with quantitative (human health) risk assessment, you can avoid importing similar fallacies into ecological risk assessment. The commentary suggests strategies for avoiding each of these fallacies and thus for improving analyses of ecosystem health.
    Ecosystem Health 06/2008; 3(2):73 - 81.
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    ABSTRACT: The sensitivities of three indicators of ecosystem health were evaluated at several sites in the Jornada Basin of the Chihuahuan Desert in southern New Mexico. The size of bare patches, proportion of total grass cover contributed by long-lived perennial grasses, and soil stability are interdependent indicators of ecosystem functions related to the retention and use of water and nutrients. Sensitivity tests were chosen using data collected along disturbance gradients and then tested using independent, ungrazed exclosures and adjacent grazed pastures. The mean size of bare soil patches was sensitive to anthropogenic disturbance. When bare soil patch data were transformed using natural logarithms, the skewness of the frequency distribution weighted by mean bare patch size could be used to indicate early disturbance to the ecosystem. The proportion of total vegetation that was long lived also was sensitive to anthropogenic disturbance and appears to be a good indicator of ecosystem degradation. The slake test for soil surface stability was extremely sensitive to disturbance and may serve as an early-warning indicator of soil degradation for the coarse-textured soils that were evaluated.
    Ecosystem Health 06/2008; 3(1):44 - 53.
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    ABSTRACT: The influences of human-caused changes in a natural ecosystem of Southern Brazil on mosquitoes of the family Culicidae, which may be vectors of diseases, were investigated. Particular attention was given to the effects of deforestation and human settlements with artificial irrigation. The work assumes a preserved environment as representative of the natural ecosystem before human intervention. Another collection site, 50 kilometers from the primitive forest, that presented the same fauna and flora of the former some 50 years ago was chosen as the modified environment. The results clearly showed that some species, such as the Kerteszia subgenus, do not survive these changes, whereas others have found such conditions favorable and have proliferated.
    Ecosystem Health 06/2008; 4(1):9 - 19.
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    ABSTRACT: This article describes the development of a framework for selecting a core set of indicators suitable for an integrated ecosystem health assessment of a governed landscape. Integrated assessments are those that consider a combination of biophysical, socioeconomic, and human health considerations. Highly governed landscapes are cultural landscapes that are strictly controlled by humans to the extent that they would revert to an entirely different form were it not for continued human intervention. One example of such a landscape, which serves as the setting for this investigation, is the former wetlands of the northeastern Italian coastal zone, which have been subject to widespread land reclamation and coastal development over the past century. The science of ecosystem health has been chosen as the frame of reference because “health” is not judged by the degree of “naturalness” but instead on the ability of the ecosystem to maintain and renew itself. The framework consists of first reviewing literature and methods related to ecological and environmental monitoring, state-of-the-environment reporting, landscape ecology, and sustainability. This is followed by the definition of indicator guidelines that are designed to assist in the evaluation and selection of potential indicators. A core set of indicators are then presented based on a conceptual framework devised for this purpose. Indicators are classed as abiotic, biotic, and cultural, and selected according to the ecological districts comprising the study area. The ultimate goal is their application to an ecological monitoring and assessment program within a governed landscape such as the northeastern Italian coastal zone. Given such a commitment, the normal process of core indicator refinement can then proceed, based on such actions as further consultations with interested stakeholders and evaluation of methodological and practical constraints to their actual application.
    Ecosystem Health 06/2008; 4(1):33 - 51.
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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: 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: 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: 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.
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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.