Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Biodiversity has roots in global health

23.05.2003


A crucial part in the battle to prevent outbreaks of deadly disease across the world lies with ecologists, an MSU professor says.



Preserving biodiversity and wildlife habitats are at the foundation of global health, says Jianguo "Jack" Liu, an ecologist who is the lead author for a Policy Forum in the May 23 issue of Science magazine.

The article outlines ways to protect biodiversity in China’s vast system of nature reserves. But Liu said the issues span farther than China, and are vital to more than pandas and gingko trees.


"As we look at outbreaks of diseases such as SARS and AIDS, there are indications that many diseases may cross over from animals," Liu said. "If the ecosystem isn’t healthy, then human health is in jeopardy."

The Policy Forum outlines the importance of finding better ways to protect China’s rich biodiversity in its 1,757 nature reserves, as well as the challenges of meshing ecology with socioeconomics. It is authored by Liu, his research colleagues Zhiyun Ouyang, Xiaoke Wang and Hong Miao from the Chinese Academy of Sciences; Stuart Pimm of Duke University; Peter Raven from the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis; and Nianyong Han of China’s National Committee on Man and Biosphere in Beijing.

The meshing of ecological and social sciences is the key to success, the paper notes, since the needs of nature and of humankind cannot be separated. The authors outline the push and pull in China – tourism both providing needed funding for maintenance of reserves, yet at the same time degrading habitat; villagers’ need for fuel wood to cook food and heat homes conflicting with forest preservation.

Because of this intricate interdependence, Liu and colleagues note that simple conservation education historically has not been enough to always sway people to jump on the ecology bandwagon.

"We need to address the bottom line when we’re talking about conservation: How to help people," Liu said. "If people’s basic necessities aren’t being met, they’ll do what they have to do to survive."

Liu’s group at MSU, partnering with researchers in China, has worked to understand not only the biology of habitat in China and other parts of the world, but also the social and economic pressures that affect habitat.

It’s important, Liu said, that people understand the longer-range benefits of preserving biodiversity. He points out that China holds a wealth of known and as-yet-to-be-discovered plants and animals with medicinal benefits.

"Once a species is lost, it cannot be restored," he said. "This isn’t like air or water pollution, which can be fixed. We need to better understand the complex linkages between biodiversity, human health, and economic development. We’re not just talking about the environment here. We’re also working to obtain long-term economic and health benefits to the world."


The work is funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Jack Liu | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://newsroom.msu.edu/news/archives/2003/01/households.html
http://www.panda.ur.msu.edu
http://newsroom.msu.edu/news/archives/2001/04/pandas.html

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

nachricht A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>