SIMPEL- Addressing Wildlife Risk Knowledge Gaps at the Environment-Health Nexus of the Andes-Amazon-Orinoco: Socio-ecological Impacts and Mechanisms of Pathogen Emergence in Changing Landscapes (Volkswagen Stiftung)
Human alterations of landscapes and resultant impacts on human and animal distributions are key environmental changes occurring worldwide. Evidence is growing that such anthropogenic environmental changes are driving increased emergence of zoonotic pathogens. However, the current understanding of these linkages is limited, primarily correlative, and inconsistent across spatial and temporal scales, pathogens, transmission routes, and ecological contexts. This project will apply inter- and trans- disciplinary studies to characterize the ecological and social impacts of transitions from one land-use type to another, including effects on wild and domestic hosts, their pathogens, and human-nature relations. The project focuses on the under-studied, highly biodiverse, and rapidly changing landscapes of the Andes-Amazon-Orinoco in Colombiaand Bolivia, and the Indigenous and local communities reliant on them. We will define the links between potential pathogen emergence and environmental transformation to better detect, predict and prevent future pandemic emergence associated with land use change, and strengthen the evidence base for integrating health into environmental conservation and development policies and Indigenous territorial management plans.
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