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Nature health benefits

Session coordinators: Sjerp de Vries & Hans Keune

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Nature health benefits session

Session report available here

Nature benefits human health in many ways. Examples are the importance of biodiversity to traditional and modern medicinal practice, and the utility of various species for medical research. Genetic and species diversity is functional to food production, and can play an important role in addressing issues of nutrition security including certain disease risks (e.g. obesity, diabetes) through dietary improvements. Biodiversity also plays a role in safeguarding air quality and access to fresh water, disaster risk reduction, and supports emergency responses and climate change adaptation. Furthermore, diverse natural environments may enhance experiences that reduce stress, support the development of cognitive resources, stimulate social contacts, attract people for physical activity, and support personal development throughout an individual’s lifespan. Moreover, recent studies show that declining contact with some forms of (microbiotic) life may contribute to the rapidly increasing prevalence of allergies and other chronic inflammatory diseases among urban populations worldwide (see other parallel session). Biodiversity thus can have an important contribution to both public health related ecosystem services and the reduction of health risks.

In this session we will discuss a diversity of experiences, expectations, opportunities and challenges regarding nature health benefits work in science, policy and practice. Also will we discuss potential linkages between different topical foci within and beyond the realm of different nature health benefits.


Session coordinators: Sjerp de Vries & Hans Keune

Introductory speakers:

Sjerp De Vries (Alterra): current methodological challenges on nature health benefits research

Peter van den Hazel (Phenotype project): what we can learn from the project results

Patrick Ten Brink (IEEP): overview of state of the art in science, policy and practice in Europe based on the Health and Social Benefits of Nature and Biodiversity Protection project

Patrick Van Damme (UGhent): traditional medicine - medicinal plants







Patrick ten Brink

Institute for European Environmental Policy

Health and Social Benefits of biodiversity and Nature Protection

Sjerp de Vries

Alterra, Wageningen UR (Netherlands)

Possible pathways linking nearby nature to human health and their relative importance

Peter Van den Hazel

Public health Services Gelderland-Midden (Netherlands)

Green and health in cities

Patrick Van Damme

Ghent University (Belgium)

Developing global medicinal plant markets: panacea or disaster ?

Chantal Shalukoma

Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (Congo)

Typology of healers in traditional medicine around the Kahuzi-Biega national Park,DR Congo

Pierre Duez

University of Mons (UMONS)

The project PhytoKat in Lubumbashi, D.R. Congo: conditions for the integration of traditional medicine in modern healthcare

Julie Garnier

Odyssey Conservation Trust (France)

One Health and Conservation Areas:  Benefits of Gender Sensitive Approach

Ben Somers

KU Leuven (Belgium)

Assessing spatio-temporal relationships between respiratory health and biodiversity using individual wearable technology - the Respirit project

Mariska Bauwelinck

VUB (Belgium)

Green space – health GRESP-H project Belgium

Xianwen Chen

NINA (Norway)

Urban Nature’s Health Effects and Monetary Valu-ation: A Systematic Review

Timo Assmuth

SYKE (Finland)

Multi-dimensional assessment of benefits and risks of nature to health – human and non-human






Vitalija Povilaityte-Petri, Pierre Duez

Sustainable use of medicinal plants and their products

Daniela Penafiel, Celine Termote, Ramon Espinel, Patrick Van Damme

Traditional Foods in Guasaganda- Ecuador, Counting To The Nutrition Indicator for Biodiversity

Raf Aerts, An Van Nieuwenhuyse, Marijke Hendricks, Lucie Hoebeke, Nicolas Dendoncker, Catherine Linard, Sebastien Dujardin, Willem Verstraeten, Andy Delcloo, Rafiq Hamdi, Nelly Saenen, Tim Nawrot, Jean-Marie Aerts, Jos Van Orshoven, Ben Somers

Cumulative alpha diversity dose CADD as an integrated measure of human exposure to biodiversity

Marianne Schlesser

Biodiversity 2020, Update of Belgium's National Strategy

Bianca Ambrose-Oji, Liz O'Brien, Jack Forster, Tom Conolly

Grow Wild – Flowers to the People

Nikol Kmentová, Milan Gelnar, Monika Mendlová, Maarten Van Steenberge, Stephan Koblmüller, Maarten P. M. Vanhove

Pelagic Fishes and their monogenean fauna in lake Tanganyika

Bakari Amuri, Duez Pierre

The project PhytoKat in Lubumbashi

last modified on 13 May 2016