© 2015

Wetlands and Human Health

  • C Max Finlayson
  • Pierre Horwitz
  • Philip Weinstein

Part of the Wetlands: Ecology, Conservation and Management book series (WECM, volume 5)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Angus Cook, Peter Speldewinde
    Pages 15-30
  3. Bonnie T. Derne, Philip Weinstein, Colleen L. Lau
    Pages 45-74
  4. Scott Carver, David P. Slaney, Paul T. Leisnham, Philip Weinstein
    Pages 95-121
  5. Matthew P. McCartney, Lisa-Maria Rebelo, Sonali Senaratna Sellamuttu
    Pages 123-148
  6. Pierre Horwitz, C Max Finlayson, Ritesh Kumar
    Pages 193-225
  7. C Max Finlayson, Pierre Horwitz, Phillip Weinstein
    Pages 251-263

About this book


The book addresses the complex interactions that occur between wetlands and the health and well-being of people. As wetlands provide many valuable ecosystem services and are amongst the most degraded ecosystems globally, further degradation could greatly affect the wellbeing and health of people dependent on them. Healthy wetlands are generally associated with enhanced ecosystem services and improved outcomes for human health, and unhealthy wetlands with degraded ecosystem services and poor outcomes for human health. However, the relationships can also be paradoxical with some direct benefits for human health leading to the loss of other ecosystem services, in particular regulating and supporting services, and the enhancement of others, leading to poor outcomes for human health. This results in a health paradox whereby there is a loss regulating and supporting services from steps to enhance human health. A wetland paradox also occurs when there are poor outcomes for human health as a consequence of the maintenance or enhancement of ecosystem services.

In response a framework for the conceptualisation of human and wetland relationships, including the paradoxical situations has been provided based on the concept of wetlands as settings for human health. This enables the trade-offs that have and will occur between wetland ecosystem services and human health to be addressed. Interventions for managing wetlands can have important implications for human health and well-being, although these may not always be recognised. While the Ramsar Convention has provided an international forum for addressing the wise use of wetlands and providing guidance for managers it has only recently considered the human health implications of wetland management. Through the policy setting provided by the Convention a set of health-related activities have been identified and in this paper mapped against the wise use guidance previously provided.


Tackling these

problems requires genuine cross-disciplinary collaboration; a key finding of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment that considered the links between human well-being and ecosystem health. This book brings the disciplines of ecology and health sciences closer to provide a synthesis for researchers, teachers and policy makers interested in or needing information to manage wetlands and human health and well-being issues.


ecosystem services and benefits human health human well-being wetland ecology wetland management

Editors and affiliations

  • C Max Finlayson
    • 1
  • Pierre Horwitz
    • 2
  • Philip Weinstein
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute for Land, Water and Society,Charles Sturt UniversityAlburyAustralia
  2. 2.School of Natural SciencesEdith Cowan UniversityJoondalupAustralia
  3. 3.School of Biological SciencesThe University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

Bibliographic information


“The volume emphasizes an ecosystem approach that ties the well-being of humans–individuals and populations–to water bodies that in fact provide a wealth of ecological services, both necessities and luxuries. … The social importance of wetlands is emphasized throughout. … Summing Up: Recommended. All readers.” (M. Gochfeld, Choice, Vol. 53 (5), January, 2016)