Studies indicate that land use change is a driver of zoonotic pathogen spillover, or the transmission of pathogens from wild animals to humans, which can result in pandemics and other human health crises. Zoonotic spillover is the transmission of pathogens from wild animals to humans. A new paper published in Conservation Letters outlines four conservation paradigm shifts that will mitigate these risks.
The paper, “Fostering landscape immunity to protect human health: A science-based rationale for shifting conservation policy paradigms” is coauthored by Jonathan Patz, a Nelson Institute professor, the Tony McMichael Professor, and the John P. Holton Chair of Health and the Environment. Together, he and his colleagues detail the four paradigms that will aid in mitigating pandemic risks. These areas include investing in policies and programs that recognize the influence and connections between humans and ecological systems, protecting human health as an ecological service, investing in methods that intercept zoonotic pathogens, and investing in ecological restoration that will serve as a countermeasure to reduce zoonotic disease introduction.