NCEAS Project 12667

Venture: Understanding how land-use change impacts the dynamics of vector-borne and water borne infectious disease of humans and domestic livestock

  • Andrew P. Dobson
  • Nita Bharti
  • Matthew H. Bonds

ActivityDatesFurther Information
Working Group9th—13th September 2013Participant List  

Abstract
Land-use change is rapidly converting forests and savannas into ‘anthro-habitat’: land whose primary focus is the production of agriculture, or other goods and services of direct benefit to the human economy. This conversion significantly alters the interactions between the environment, disease vector species, and populations of humans and domestic livestock. The resulting changes in the infection dynamics of many vector- and water-borne disease systems lead to new opportunities for pathogen infections and only occasionally steer the dynamics towards pathogen reduction or eradication. In this venture we undertake a series of synthetic examinations that bring together GIS data on land-use change with data on disease and vector distributions and host abundance in order to develop mathematical and heuristic models. The goal is to understand the impact of land use change on disease ecology to minimize disease risk and maximize direct and indirect economic benefits. Our initial focus is on malaria, schistosomiasis, cholera, Chagas disease and African trypanosomiasis. Our approaches will build upon the large sets of data available for these pathogens to develop synthetic model frameworks that can primarily produce locally specific, anthropologically appropriate, actionable recommendations for minimizing disease risk. This framework will ultimately be adaptable to examine the interactions between land use change and a broad variety of pathogens.