Rhythm of the Rivers: An Ecosystem Approach to Human Health on the Amazon Frontier

  • Tamsyn P. Murray
  • Roger Packham


Since 1996, a team of Canadian and Peruvian researchers has been developing an ecosystem approach to human health. The ecosystem approach provides an interdisciplinary, holistic guide to how to investigate complex socio-ecological problems, drawing on, and bringing together, a wide variety of methods, actors and scales of investigation (Murray et al., 2001). The development of the approach began with a conceptual framework that brought together the most recent understanding of ecosystems as complex systems with secondary data and exploratory fieldwork. This was followed by its application in understanding and improving a problematic situation in the Peruvian Amazon. Equipped with the ecosystem approach, the Ucayali region of Peru was revisited in an attempt to provide new insights into the driving forces of human health and to investigate the key determinants of, and linkages between, ecosystem and human health. Ultimately the aim of the project was to synchronize health and land use policies and improve the health of local people through better management of their natural resources.


Geographic Information System Food Insecurity Participatory Action Research Ecosystem Approach Soft System Methodology 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tamsyn P. Murray
    • 1
    • 2
  • Roger Packham
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Systemic DevelopmentUniversity of Western Sydney Hawkesbury CampusPenrith South DCAustralia
  2. 2.Centro Internacional de Agriculture Tropical (CIAT) Eco-Regional CentrePucallpaPeru

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