Mar, 2021 - By SMI
A team of researchers conducted a literature review to better understand which areas of our health are likely to be impacted the most due to changes occurring in nature.
Previous research has showed the many ways in which nature has undergone changes due to humans' growing presence, and how these changes have affected our quality of life ranging from nutrition, income, and air quality. A team of researchers reviewed literature which focused on the relationship between environmental degradation and human health and wellbeing. The systematic review titled ‘Global trends in nature's contributions to people’ was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The work adds on to the IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) Global Assessment report published in 2019 which provided a detailed assessment of biodiversity loss and nature’s declining state.
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences review assesses how loss of biodiversity impacts our health and distinguishes nature’s possible contributions, actual contributions, environmental condition, and effect on humans' quality of life. The team assessed data such as greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere, and knowledge regarding pest control to understand if the trends were deteriorating or improving since 1970. Many of the trends indicated a sharp drop. With regards to agriculture, the review suggests that we are facing interconnected risks like decline in yield, pollinator population, and soil productivity. Moreover, upward trends such as increasing production of crop commodity comes with a warning as trends related to human health and food deviate depending on regional and socio-economic variables. The review documents how important nature’s contribution is to human life, and scientists are hopeful that it can improve people’s ability to sustainably, effectively and equitably manage earth’s systems.
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