Natural capital and ecosystem service management for health and wellbeing in Oceania

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


It is important to review the nature and measurement of the 'health outputs' of endevours to maintain ecosystem services (ES) - this is different within different ES frameworks. This presentation explores this using examples from the authors research in the Oceania region. For example, Canberra, Australia’s “Bush Capital” has the highest proportion of the population living within walkable distance of greenspaces - and the largest area of greenspace per capita of any Australian city. It provides a useful example of how ‘health’ can be integrated with other ecosystem services (ES). Access to and time spent in greenspaces is increasingly associated with improvements in the physical and psychological health of urban residents. Mechanisms include exposure to biodiverse microorganisms and the stimulation of the immune system. In South East Queensland, endemic, wildlife‐origin zoonotic disease risks such as from Hendra and Ross River viruses may be reduced within an ES framework, an approach that will be increasingly valuable as climate change and pressures on natural environments intensify. In Pacific Island Countries where health services are less well developed, and vulnerability to climate change is greater, ES approaches to managing health risks have greatest potential value. For example, fresh water quality, access and flood control is negatively linked to diarrhoeal diseases. Environmental contamination with human pathogens may impact reef health and livelihoods, poverty and nutrition. Building from these and other examples, we can integrate synergies and trade-offs for human and ecosystem health to progress sustainable development in Oceania.
Period5 Sept 2019
Event titleOceania Ecosystem Services Forum
Event typeConference
Conference number2
LocationChristchurch, New ZealandShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational