, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 290–291 | Cite as

The Need for Heuristics in Ecosystem Approaches to Health

News from the IAEH

In an attempt to promote health and well-being in the context of complex social and ecological interactions, ecosystem approaches to health have developed a set of core principles focused on systems thinking, transdisciplinarity, participatory approaches, social and gender equity, sustainability, and knowledge-to-action. While these principles can help guide how research might intervene in promoting social, political, and ecological change, we feel that principles alone are insufficient to think through and act upon an issue, hence our motivation for starting a dialog about the need for heuristics in Ecohealth research and training.

Heuristics are tools that enable people to discover for themselves new knowledge, usually through applying a trial and error process and then reflecting on what has been learned. Take for example, the concept of panarchy in resilience thinking, which draws attention to cycles nested within different temporal and spatial scales and that considers ecological...

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© International Association for Ecology and Health 2014

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