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The natural relation between biodiversity and human health

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11 February 2014, 2pm: Free
at the James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen AB15 8QH
for scientists, students and other interested parties
Hans Keune

Dr Hans Keune of the Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO), Belgium will give this seminar entitled "The natural relation between biodiversity and human healthat the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen. It will be broadcast live to the Dundee site.


The relationship between the natural environment and human health has been of interest to scientists and thinkers since classical period; Aristotle and Epicurus both pondered the appearance of disease in polluted environments and the importance of immersive experiences in nature for overall well-being.

Appreciation and understanding of these connections waned in the recent past, with approaches to science and medicine that promote compartmentalized rather than integrated disciplines.

However, since the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the links between the environment and human health and well-being have become increasingly important in international science and policy.


Hans Keune is a Political Scientist working at The Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO) and the Belgian Biodiversity Platform. He is also affiliated to naXys (Namur Centre for Complex Systems), Health and Environment and Faculty of Applied Economics, University of Antwerp. He works on critical complexity, inter- and transdisciplinarity, action research, decision support methods; environment and health, ecosystem services, biodiversity and public health; experience both in Belgian projects and EU-projects.

Until recently his expertise was mainly related to his work for the Centre of Expertise for Environment and Health in which he has been involved from the start in 2002 as principal investigator of the social scientific research unit of the centre. He was involved in two EU projects during that period: the Trustnet-in-action and the HENVINET.

From October 2010 he joined INBO and started working for the Belgian Biodiversity Platform, working mainly on ecosystem services research (as co-ordinator of the Belgium Ecosystem Services Community of Practice) and critical aspects of ecological and social complexity and the relation between biodiversity and public health (as co-ordinator of the Belgium Community of Practice on Biodiversity and Public Health).

At the Ecosystem Services Partnership he coordinates the working group on Ecosystem Services and Public and the Regional chapter Europe, including Russia and Turkey. He is involved in several Belgian projects on ecosystem services and in several EU projects: the Spiral-project concerning biodiversity related science – policy, the ecosystem services project Openness and CITI-SENSE on citizen involvement in monitoring environmental health quality of life in cities.

The seminar is being hosted by Dr Liz Dinnie and Dr Mags Currie.

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.