Wetlands and human health: an overview
This paper provides an introduction to the Wetlands and Human Health special issue and an overview of the papers. It identifies the disjunct that can exist between managing wetland health and human health. There is a need to resolve the potential conflict between managing wetlands for their values and managing them for positive human health outcomes. All authors have used the Ramsar definition of wetlands and the World Health Organization definition of human health. The papers (several are reviews) cover a range of wetlands and diseases from mosquito-borne to snail or pathogen vectors. Mosquito management is a common theme, illustrating, for the eastern USA, that wetland damage from the early to mid twentieth century can be ameliorated by careful restoration and, for Australia, that damage may be avoided. Constructed wetlands provide an opportunity to create ecosystem services and wetland value such that careful design and operation can minimise mosquito risks. Although the papers focus on negative health impacts of wetlands they deal with these to minimise health risks while restoring or maintaining wetland function or by exploring knowledge needs that would facilitate wise management.
KeywordsDisease Schistosomiasis Cholera West Nile virus Ross River virus Mosquito Constructed wetlands Management Salt marsh Mangrove
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