Understanding the global impacts of climate and land-use change on animal-borne diseases

Dr David Redding1, Prof. Kate Jones1

1University College London, , United Kingdom

Human pathogens caught from animals, termed zoonoses, are a major cause of disease burden throughout the world. A disproportionate burden, however, is experienced in poor human communities located in the tropics due, in part, to high pathogen richness and limited healthcare and veterinary infrastructure. These areas of the world are also among the fastest changing, in respect to both land-use patterns and climatic conditions. Given our increasing understanding of how animals respond to these global drivers of change, we can now make quantitative predictions about how spatial patterns of human zoonotic disease cases will develop over the coming century. Using over 200 diseases and over 1000 host and vector species, we demonstrate that particular areas world are at risk of increasing numbers of severe disease cases, and that global levels of burden are strongly influenced by the precise patterns of greenhouse gas emissions, and the rate of conversion of natural to human habitats. Our global, cross-disease analysis combines ecological and epidemiological modelling approaches to make the first comprehensive prediction of future human health patterns in the light of ongoing global environmental change.


David Redding is an ecologist by training who works in a variety of fields. He is broadly interested in how global change effects human and wildlife communities, focusing on quantitative analyses of global data sets. He works specifically on human zoonotic diseases, alien invasive birds and human languages.

Species on the Move

An International Conference Series

The conference brings together scientists and natural resource managers working in the disciplines of global change, biogeography and evolution, and relevant in contexts of natural resource management, biodiversity management and conservation, and theoretical ecology.

Species responses to climate change is a rapidly evolving research field, however, much of our progress is being made in independent research areas: e.g. understanding the process vs responding to the implications, terrestrial vs marine ecosystems, global meta-analyses vs in depth species-specific approaches. This interdisciplinary conference develops connections between these parallel streams, and across temporal and spatial scales.

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