Cadernos de Saúde Pública
On-line version ISSN 1678-4464
FREITAS, Carlos Machado de et al. Ecosystem approaches and health in Latin America. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2007, vol.23, n.2, pp. 283-296. ISSN 1678-4464. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X2007000200004.
Important environmental changes that have become increasingly pronounced in the last two centuries and that are seriously affecting human health require the development of integrated and participatory scientific approaches that can result in proposals for institutional and public policy changes. The purpose of this article is to offer some elements that can contribute to a line of reflection based on studies with ecosystem approaches in the Latin America context. The authors begin with a brief description of current scientific literature in public health that links ecosystems and human health in Latin America; next, they describe and compare the two prevailing trends that form the basis for the theoretical and methodological debates on ecosystem approaches; they also review the empirical research in Latin America or concerning Latin American countries in which an ecosystem approach has been adopted. The results point to limited scientific output on the interface between ecosystems and human health; aspects involving public participation and implementation of institutional changes and public policies are still in a rather incipient stage.
Keywords : Ecosystem; Environmental Health; Public Health.