Urban freshwaters, biodiversity and human health and wellbeing: setting an interdisciplinary research agenda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Author(s)

  • Sahran Higgins
  • Felicity Thomas
  • Ben Goldsmith
  • Stephen Brooks
  • Christopher Hassall
  • Julian Harlow
  • Dave Stone
  • Sebastian Volker
  • Piran Crawfurd Limond White

Department/unit(s)

Publication details

JournalWIREs: Water
DateAccepted/In press - 8 Jan 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 6 Feb 2019
Issue number2
Volume6
Number of pages13
Early online date6/02/19
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The findings of a national workshop that explored the social and environmental impacts, challenges, and research opportunities associated with the role of urban freshwaters for improved public health are discussed. Bringing together the collective expertise of academics, practitioners, policy and user-
groups from urban aquatic ecology and human health backgrounds, this commentary develops a progressive agenda for future research by synthesising current understandings and knowledge of urban aquatic biodiversity relative to health-related ecosystem service outcomes, from a cross-sectoral and cross-disciplinary perspective. Key areas include (i) a need for greater interaction between sectors to maximise opportunities for collaboration and to promote the co-benefits (both environmental and health) associated with urban freshwater ecosystems; and (ii) the need for a unified understanding and operationalisation of the definition of aquatic biodiversity across sectors and disciplines, to improve our understanding of whether actual freshwater biodiversity or the perception of biodiversity is important for maximising gains in health. Methods of valuation relating to ecosystem services and resource allocation and investment in urban freshwaters are critical in ensuring that research addresses the pathways and contexts within which health and environmental benefits from blue space can be maximised.

Bibliographical note

© 2019 The Authors

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