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Wilderness, biodiversity, and human health

Posted date: October 06, 2015
Publication Year: 
2015
Authors: Dustin, Daniel L.; Schwab, Keri A.; Bricker, Kelly S.
Publication Series: 
Proceedings (P)
Source: In: Watson, Alan; Carver, Stephen; Krenova, Zdenka; McBride, Brooke, comps. Science and stewardship to protect and sustain wilderness values: Tenth World Wilderness Congress symposium; 2013, 4-10 October, Salamanca, Spain. Proceedings RMRS-P-74. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 169-175.
Note: This article is part of a larger document.

Abstract

This paper illustrates how wilderness, biodiversity, and human health are intertwined. Proceeding from the assumption that humankind is part of, rather than apart from, nature, health is re-imagined as a dynamic relationship that can best be conceived in broad ecological terms. Health, from an ecological perspective, is a measure of the wellness of the individual and the ecosystem considered together. Health, at its core, is symbiotic in nature. To make the case, seven organisms are discussed that have great potential medicinal value for humankind if only their habitats are protected and preserved. Human-induced threats to those habitats are also examined to illustrate humankind's increasing power to change the face of the earth in cataclysmic ways. Finally, the importance of reducing the psychological distance that increasingly separates humankind from nature is emphasized if nature's biological storehouse of health-promoting properties - especially those contained in wilderness - is to be preserved.

Citation

Dustin, Daniel L.; Schwab, Keri A.; Bricker, Kelly S. 2015. Wilderness, biodiversity, and human health. In: Watson, Alan; Carver, Stephen; Krenova, Zdenka; McBride, Brooke, comps. Science and stewardship to protect and sustain wilderness values: Tenth World Wilderness Congress symposium; 2013, 4-10 October, Salamanca, Spain. Proceedings RMRS-P-74. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 169-175.