Towards Integration of Ecosystem and Human Health: A Novel Conceptual Framework to Operationalise Ecological Public Health and to Incorporate Distal and Proximal Effects of Climate Change

Monday, 15 December 2014
Stefan Reis1, Lora E Fleming2, Sheila Beck3, Melanie Austen4, George Morris5, Mathew White5, Timothy J Taylor5, Noreen Orr5, Nicholas J Osborne5 and Michael Depledge5, (1)Center for Ecology and Hydrology Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, (2)University of Exeter, Medical School, Exeter, EX4, United Kingdom, (3)NHS Health Scotland, Evidence for Action Division, Glasgow, United Kingdom, (4)Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Head of Science - Sea and Society, Plymouth, United Kingdom, (5)University of Exeter, Medical School, Exeter, United Kingdom
Conceptual models for problem framing in environmental (EIA) and health impact assessment (HIA) share similar concepts, but differ in their scientific or policy focus, methodologies and underlying causal chains, and the degree of complexity and scope. The Driver-Pressure-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) framework used by the European Environment Agency, the OECD and others and the Integrated Science for Society and the Environment (ISSE) frameworks are widely applied in policy appraisal and impact assessments. While DPSIR is applied across different policy domains, the ISSE framework is used in Ecosystem Services assessments. The modified Driver-Pressure-State-Exposure-Effect-Action (DPSEEA) model extends DPSIR by separating exposure from effect, adding context as a modifier of effect, and susceptibility to exposures due to socio-economic, demographic or other determinants. While continuously evolving, the application of conceptual frameworks in policy appraisals mainly occurs within established discipline boundaries. However, drivers and environmental states, as well as policy measures and actions, affect both human and ecosystem receptors. Furthermore, unintended consequences of policy actions are seldom constrained within discipline or policy silos. Thus, an integrated conceptual model is needed, accounting for the full causal chain affecting human and ecosystem health in any assessment. We propose a novel model integrating HIA methods and ecosystem services in an attempt to operationalise the emerging concept of “Ecological Public Health.” The conceptual approach of the ecosystem-enriched DPSEEA model (“eDPSEEA”) has stimulated wide-spread debates and feedback. We will present eDPSEEA as a stakeholder engagement process and a conceptual model, using illustrative case studies of climate change as a starting point, not a complete solution, for the integration of human and ecosystem health impact assessment as a key challenge in a rapidly changing world.

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