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Biodiversity and Human Health

Opening the causeways will restore east-west circulation to the semi-inclosed embayments and will improve ecosystem health. Vets collect chickens to cull in a bid to fight an outbreak of bird flu in Kiziksa village, north-west Turkey. Dengue Mosquito Siberian tiger in the snow tropical timber, deforestation Virginia's endangered yellow pitcher plant
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  • Photos from the Field
    Check out four slide shows highlighting images taken from a joint EPA-Yale field study exploring the links between biodiversity, habitat change, and Lyme disease risk.
  • Could Preserving Biodiversity Reduce Disease? EPA Funds $2.25 Million to Research Connections
    EPA has awarded three grants, totaling $2.25 million, to support research programs working to better understand and characterize the mechanisms that link environmental stressors, such as deforestation and climate change, to the loss of biodiversity and the transmission of infections diseases to people. [Read More]

EPA recognizes the importance of healthy ecosystems for our health and well-being, and conserving biodiversity is a primary way to sustain healthy ecosystems and the services they provide to us. One ecosystem service EPA is trying to better characterize is disease regulation – that is, maintaining biodiversity may protect us against emerging diseases like Lyme disease and West Nile virus.

The biodiversity-human health project complements existing domestic and international priorities to assess and manage emerging human diseases and ecosystem health hazards. But the research program is unique in its plans to link earth observations to the societal benefits outlined in the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) 10-Year Implementation Plan exit EPA: (1) understanding the environmental factors affecting human health and well-being, and (2) understanding, monitoring, and conserving biodiversity (GEOSS 2005).

The initiative on biodiversity and human health is being led by the U.S. EPA in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Center for Health Applications of Aerospace Related Technologies at NASA Ames Research Center, and the Smithsonian Institution exit EPA.

This program is one of the few that brings together multiple disciplines, encourages the coordination of earth observations and field data, and focuses on new knowledge and tools for decision-making that will inform integrated pest management programs, land use/development guidance, and social-behavioral changes.  EPA is working with U.S. Federal partners and international organizations to advance this work.

For additional technical information about this research program, contact: Montira Pongsiri (pongsiri.montira@epa.gov)

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video still from the discussion with Montira Pongsiri
Biodiversity and Human Health scientist Montira Pongsiri discusses biodiversity-human health connections in the research sponsored by the EPA STAR Research Program.

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