, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 153–162 | Cite as

Human Health, Well-Being, and Global Ecological Scenarios

  • Colin D. ButlerEmail author
  • Carlos F. Corvalan
  • Hillel S. Koren


This article categorizes four kinds of adverse effects to human health caused by ecosystem change: direct, mediated, modulated, and systems failure. The effects are categorized on their scale, complexity, and lag-time. Some but not all of these can be classified as resulting from reduced ecosystem services. The articles also explores the impacts that different socioeconomic–ecologic scenarios are likely to have on human health and how changes to human health may, in turn, influence the unfolding of four different plausible future scenarios. We provide examples to show that our categorization is a useful taxonomy for understanding the complex relationships between ecosystems and human well-being and for predicting how future ecosystem changes may affect human health.


Ecosystem Service State Failure Ecosystem Change Provision Ecosystem Service Sacred Grove 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment for providing many opportunities to discuss the main ideas expressed in this article with colleagues. We also thank Professor D. Crawford–Brown and two anonymous reviewers for their comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Colin D. Butler
    • 1
    Email author
  • Carlos F. Corvalan
    • 2
  • Hillel S. Koren
    • 3
  1. 1.National Centre for Epidemiology and Population HealthAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.World Health OrganisationGenevaSwitzerland
  3. 3.Carolina Environmental ProgramUniversity of North Carolinaat Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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