Enhancing the ecological modelling of disease emergence risk under global change

Proponente Moreno Di Marco - Professore Associato
Sottosettore ERC del proponente del progetto
Componenti gruppo di ricerca
Componente Categoria
Luigi Maiorano Componenti strutturati del gruppo di ricerca
Carlo Rondinini Componenti strutturati del gruppo di ricerca
Componente Qualifica Struttura Categoria
Ana Benítez-López Postdoc Estación Biológica de Doñana (Spain) Altro personale aggregato Sapienza o esterni, titolari di borse di studio di ricerca
Carlos Zambrana-Torrelio Associate Vice President for Conservation and Health EcoHealth Alliance (USA) Altro personale aggregato Sapienza o esterni, titolari di borse di studio di ricerca

Biodiversity provides essential contributions to humanity, including food, clean water, climate mitigation, and recreation. Yet, escalating human pressures are driving global biodiversity loss, with dramatic risks for our health and economy. For example, human incursions into high-biodiverse landscapes and increased wildlife trade were identified as the key drivers behind many recent emerging infectious diseases (EID), such as SARS, Ebola, and MERS. These are also the main scientific hypotheses behind the COVID-19 outbreak. Failure at reducing global biodiversity loss is driven by trade-offs with other societal priorities, such as food and energy production, and this ultimately determines increased risk for human health. These perceived trade-offs emerge from short-sighted decision making, which disregards the synergistic effect that environmental protection has for sustainable development and improved health. As the current pandemic demonstrates, the emergence of infectious diseases can cause large-scale mortality and morbidity with economic impacts which are orders of magnitude higher than any short-term gain from unsustainable use of natural resources.
While recent research has shown that opportunities exist to achieve multiple environmental objectives with the same investment, no study has comprehensively identified priority actions to fully exploit the links between biodiversity conservation and reduction of disease emergence. This project will explore these links under a new light, by estimating the avoided risk to humanity that derives from environmental protection in biodiversity-rich areas. The goal is to pinpoint under-explored synergies between biodiversity conservation and reduced risk of EID under the effects of climate, land-use, human population, and wildlife trade. Tackling the global-scale challenge of sustainable development requires building on the ability of natural systems to buffer against undesired effects of human pressure.

LS8_2, SH2_6, LS8_1

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