Research Topic

Enhancing human health and ecosystem values from changes to land systems

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About this Research Topic

Land cover, land-use and land-use change are critically linked to ecosystem functions and services that in turn support human populations. While underpinning development and sustaining economies, increasing human demand for land and the many and varied resources derived from it has nevertheless contributed to degrading or collapsing natural ecosystems globally. This in turn has resulted in unprecedented biodiversity loss and a decline in other values, such as fresh water provision, carbon storage or long-term agricultural productivity, often with negative impacts on human health.

In order to meet global and local targets for human health protection as well as sustainable development, biodiversity, and climate change, better utilising land systems has the potential to provide a range of significant co-benefits across multiple sectors, including health.

Whereas recent work has highlighted clear and significant health co-benefits that could be secured from, for example, climate change mitigation activities, less clear is the health co-benefit potential of understanding and manipulating land systems more specifically. Similarly, whereas land system science and natural capital accounting approaches are developing rapidly to capture and manage environmental values, less clear is their current use and potential for simultaneously protecting or enhancing human health.

The goal of this Research Topic is to fill some of these gaps, to explore the potential for and practicalities of leveraging land use decisions and policies to secure health and environmental co-benefits across multiple sectors.

Submissions are invited on any topic under this broad remit but at a minimum all studies should include explicit address or integration of all three aspects: 1) human health values, 2) ecosystem values, and 3) land system processes or policies. We particularly encourage studies taking a quantitative approach to answering specific, well-formulated questions but other types of studies are also welcome, including novel reviews and syntheses, commentaries/perspectives, data papers and methods papers.


Keywords: Co-benefits, biodiversity, ecosystems, ecosystem services, non-communicable disease, climate change, agriculture, urbanisation, conservation, prioritization, carbon emissions, carbon sequestration, land configuration, land management


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Land cover, land-use and land-use change are critically linked to ecosystem functions and services that in turn support human populations. While underpinning development and sustaining economies, increasing human demand for land and the many and varied resources derived from it has nevertheless contributed to degrading or collapsing natural ecosystems globally. This in turn has resulted in unprecedented biodiversity loss and a decline in other values, such as fresh water provision, carbon storage or long-term agricultural productivity, often with negative impacts on human health.

In order to meet global and local targets for human health protection as well as sustainable development, biodiversity, and climate change, better utilising land systems has the potential to provide a range of significant co-benefits across multiple sectors, including health.

Whereas recent work has highlighted clear and significant health co-benefits that could be secured from, for example, climate change mitigation activities, less clear is the health co-benefit potential of understanding and manipulating land systems more specifically. Similarly, whereas land system science and natural capital accounting approaches are developing rapidly to capture and manage environmental values, less clear is their current use and potential for simultaneously protecting or enhancing human health.

The goal of this Research Topic is to fill some of these gaps, to explore the potential for and practicalities of leveraging land use decisions and policies to secure health and environmental co-benefits across multiple sectors.

Submissions are invited on any topic under this broad remit but at a minimum all studies should include explicit address or integration of all three aspects: 1) human health values, 2) ecosystem values, and 3) land system processes or policies. We particularly encourage studies taking a quantitative approach to answering specific, well-formulated questions but other types of studies are also welcome, including novel reviews and syntheses, commentaries/perspectives, data papers and methods papers.


Keywords: Co-benefits, biodiversity, ecosystems, ecosystem services, non-communicable disease, climate change, agriculture, urbanisation, conservation, prioritization, carbon emissions, carbon sequestration, land configuration, land management


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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