Social Science Research Scholar, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment
Exploring scenarios for the food system-zoonotic risk interface.
The Lancet. Planetary health
2023; 7 (4): e329-e335
The unprecedented economic and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have shown the global necessity of mitigating the underlying drivers of zoonotic spillover events, which occur at the human-wildlife and domesticated animal interface. Spillover events are associated to varying degrees with high habitat fragmentation, biodiversity loss through land use change, high livestock densities, agricultural inputs, and wildlife hunting-all facets of food systems. As such, the structure and characteristics of food systems can be considered key determinants of modern pandemic risks. This means that emerging infectious diseases should be more explicitly addressed in the discourse of food systems to mitigate the likelihood and impacts of spillover events. Here, we adopt a scenario framework to highlight the many connections among food systems, zoonotic diseases, and sustainability. We identify two overarching dimensions: the extent of land use for food production and the agricultural practices employed that shape four archetypal food systems, each with a distinct risk profile with respect to zoonotic spillovers and differing dimensions of sustainability. Prophylactic measures to curb the emergence of zoonotic diseases are therefore closely linked to diets and food policies. Future research directions should explore more closely how they impact the risk of spillover events.
View details for DOI 10.1016/S2542-5196(23)00007-4
View details for PubMedID 37019573
Evaluating the benefits of ecosystem-based urban cooling using a dynamic "on-site" method.
The Science of the total environment
Ecosystem-based cooling helps residents cope with the urban heat-island problem. In order to improve the accuracy of traditional heat-island measurements based on comparisons between urban and rural areas, we use an "on-site" method developed with only urban data. The essence of this method is a regression analysis of the relationships among different types of green space and blue space, elevation, vegetation dynamics, and temperature. We then simulate the temperature pattern in a scenario where there is no built-up area (Scenario A), and then in another scenario where there are no ecological spaces (Scenario B). The gap between the actual temperature pattern and the simulated temperature pattern of Scenario A is considered the heat-island effect. Conversely, the gap between the actual temperature pattern and that of Scenario B is considered as the effect of ecosystem-based urban cooling. This method was tested using data from two megacities in China (each had a population of over 10 million people). For Beijing, the average heat-island effect was 4.87 °C and effect of the ecosystem cooling service was 9.07 °C. For Shenzhen, the respective values were 0.8 °C and 2.71 °C. The "on-site" (local small size sampling), "dynamic coefficient", and "no-positive-coefficient rule" are the three defining characteristics of this method. The application of this method to model ecosystem-based urban cooling can aid urban planning and management in improving the residential thermal environment.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.162908
View details for PubMedID 36948322
- Integrating ecosystem services supply and demand on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau using scarcity value assessment ECOLOGICAL INDICATORS 2023; 147
- Air pollution governance in China and India: Comparison and implications ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & POLICY 2023; 142: 112-120
- Trade-offs and synergies of forest ecosystem services from the perspective of plant functional traits: A systematic review ECOSYSTEM SERVICES 2022; 58
- Managing Urban Eco-Spaces for Sustainable Social Value: A Case Study of Mangrove Ecosystem Services in Shenzhen, China LAND 2022; 11 (11)
- Protecting biodiversity to support ecosystem services: An analysis of trade-offs and synergies in southwestern China JOURNAL OF APPLIED ECOLOGY 2022
- Emerging infectious diseases expose gaps in UN's SDG framework NATURE 2022; 607 (7917): 32
An ecosystem service perspective on urban nature, physical activity, and health.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
2021; 118 (22)
Nature underpins human well-being in critical ways, especially in health. Nature provides pollination of nutritious crops, purification of drinking water, protection from floods, and climate security, among other well-studied health benefits. A crucial, yet challenging, research frontier is clarifying how nature promotes physical activity for its many mental and physical health benefits, particularly in densely populated cities with scarce and dwindling access to nature. Here we frame this frontier by conceptually developing a spatial decision-support tool that shows where, how, and for whom urban nature promotes physical activity, to inform urban greening efforts and broader health assessments. We synthesize what is known, present a model framework, and detail the model steps and data needs that can yield generalizable spatial models and an effective tool for assessing the urban nature-physical activity relationship. Current knowledge supports an initial model that can distinguish broad trends and enrich urban planning, spatial policy, and public health decisions. New, iterative research and application will reveal the importance of different types of urban nature, the different subpopulations who will benefit from it, and nature's potential contribution to creating more equitable, green, livable cities with active inhabitants.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.2018472118
View details for PubMedID 33990458
The socioeconomic and environmental drivers of the COVID-19 pandemic: A review
2021; 50 (4): 822-833
In recent decades, there has been an intensification of the socioeconomic and environmental drivers of pandemics, including ecosystem conversion, meat consumption, urbanization, and connectivity among cities and countries. This paper reviews how these four systemic drivers help explain the dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic and other recent emerging infectious diseases, and the policies that can be adopted to mitigate their risks. Land-use change and meat consumption increase the likelihood of pathogen spillover from animals to people. The risk that such zoonotic outbreaks will then spread to become pandemics is magnified by growing urban populations and the networks of trade and travel within and among countries. Zoonotic spillover can be mitigated through habitat protection and restrictions on the wildlife trade. Containing infectious disease spread requires a high degree of coordination among institutions across geographic jurisdictions and economic sectors, all backed by international investment and cooperation.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s13280-020-01497-4
View details for Web of Science ID 000612554600002
View details for PubMedID 33507498
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7841383
- Valuing natural capital amidst rapid urbanization: assessing the gross ecosystem product (GEP) of China's 'Chang-Zhu-Tan' megacity ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH LETTERS 2020; 15 (12)
Urban sprawl and childhood obesity
2021; 22: e13091
Urban sprawl is thought to be a risk factor for childhood obesity primarily because the physical environment it creates discourages children's physical activity while encouraging their sedentary behavior. However, there has not been any review on the association between urban sprawl and childhood obesity. This study filled this research gap by comprehensively reviewing literature focusing on associations between urban sprawl and weight-related behaviors and outcomes among children and adolescents. Only two longitudinal and three cross-sectional studies conducted in two countries were identified. Sample sizes ranged from 2324 to 129 781. Four studies used weight status, and only one study used both behaviors and weight status as outcome variables. All positive, negative, and non-significant associations were reported. This review could not identify a clear association between urban sprawl and childhood obesity. More longitudinal studies are needed for in-depth analyses on this important topic in more regions, which would be important not only for public health guidelines but also for research, practice, and policies in urban planning.
View details for DOI 10.1111/obr.13091
View details for Web of Science ID 000559985400001
View details for PubMedID 32808474
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7988579
- The policy-driven peak and reduction of China's carbon emissions ADVANCES IN CLIMATE CHANGE RESEARCH 2020; 11 (2): 65–71
Coastal vulnerability to climate change in China's Bohai Economic Rim.
2020; 147: 106359
Climate change and human activities exert a wide range of stressors on urban coastal areas. Synthetical assessment of coastal vulnerability is crucial for effective interventions and long-term planning. However, there have been few studies based on integrative analyses of ecological and physical characteristics and socioeconomic conditions in urban coastal areas. This study developed a holistic framework for assessing coastal vulnerability from three dimensions - biophysical exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity - and applied it to the coast of Bohai Economic Rim, an extensive and important development zone in China. A composite vulnerability index (CVI) was developed for every 1 km2 segment of the total 5627 km coastline and the areas that most prone to coastal hazards were identified by mapping the distribution patterns of the CVIs in the present and under future climate change scenarios. The CVIs show a spatial heterogeneity, with higher values concentrated along the southwestern and northeastern coasts and lower values concentrated along the southern coasts. Currently, 20% of the coastlines with approximately 350,000 people are highly vulnerable to coastal hazards. With sea-level rises under the future scenarios of the year 2100, more coastlines will be highly vulnerable, and the amount of highly-threatened population was estimated to increase by 13-24%. Among the coastal cities, Dongying was categorized as having the highest vulnerability, mainly due to poor transportation and medical services and low GDP per capita, which contribute to low adaptive capacity. Our results can benefit decision-makers by highlighting prioritized areas and identifying the most important determinants of priority, facilitating location-specific interventions for climate-change adaptation and sustainable coastal management.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.envint.2020.106359
View details for PubMedID 33385922
Spatial Lifecourse Epidemiology Reporting Standards (ISLE-ReSt) statement
HEALTH & PLACE
2020; 61: 102243
Spatial lifecourse epidemiology is an interdisciplinary field that utilizes advanced spatial, location-based, and artificial intelligence technologies to investigate the long-term effects of environmental, behavioural, psychosocial, and biological factors on health-related states and events and the underlying mechanisms. With the growing number of studies reporting findings from this field and the critical need for public health and policy decisions to be based on the strongest science possible, transparency and clarity in reporting in spatial lifecourse epidemiologic studies is essential. A task force supported by the International Initiative on Spatial Lifecourse Epidemiology (ISLE) identified a need for guidance in this area and developed a Spatial Lifecourse Epidemiology Reporting Standards (ISLE-ReSt) Statement. The aim is to provide a checklist of recommendations to improve and make more consistent reporting of spatial lifecourse epidemiologic studies. The STrengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) Statement for cohort studies was identified as an appropriate starting point to provide initial items to consider for inclusion. Reporting standards for spatial data and methods were then integrated to form a single comprehensive checklist of reporting recommendations. The strength of our approach has been our international and multidisciplinary team of content experts and contributors who represent a wide range of relevant scientific conventions, and our adherence to international norms for the development of reporting guidelines. As spatial, location-based, and artificial intelligence technologies used in spatial lifecourse epidemiology continue to evolve at a rapid pace, it will be necessary to revisit and adapt the ISLE-ReSt at least every 2-3 years from its release.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.healthplace.2019.102243
View details for Web of Science ID 000549839200022
View details for PubMedID 32329723
Geographic clustering and region-specific determinants of obesity in the Netherlands
2020; 15 (1): 131-139
As a leading cause of morbidity and premature mortality, obesity has become a major global public health problem. It is therefore important to investigate the spatial variation of obesity prevalence and its associations with environmental and behavioral factors (e.g., food environment, physical activity), to optimize the targeting of scarce public health resources. In this study, the geographic clustering of obesity in the Netherlands was explored by analyzing the local spatial autocorrelation of municipal-level prevalence rates of adulthood obesity (aged ≥19 years) in 2016. The potential influential factors that may be associated with obesity prevalence were first selected from five categories of healthrelated factors through binary and Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator (LASSO) regressions. Geographically Weighted Regression (GWR) was then used to investigate the spatial variations of the associations between those selected factors and obesity prevalence. The results revealed marked geographic variations in obesity prevalence, with four clusters of high prevalence in the north, south, east, and west, and three clusters of low prevalence in the north and south of the Netherlands. Lack of sports participation, risk of anxiety, falling short of physical activity guidelines, and the number of restaurants around homes were found to be associated with obesity prevalence across municipalities. Our findings show that effective, region-specific strategies are needed to tackle the increasing obesity in the Netherlands.
View details for DOI 10.4081/gh.2020.839
View details for Web of Science ID 000567337900017
View details for PubMedID 32575968
Coordinating ecosystem service trade-offs to achieve win-win outcomes: A review of the approaches
JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES
2019; 82: 103-112
Ecosystem service (ES) trade-offs have been broadly recognized and studied over the past decade. However, how to coordinate the relationships among ES trade-offs to achieve win-win outcomes remains a considerable challenge for decision makers. Here, we summarize the current approaches applied to minimize ES trade-offs for win-wins and analyze the trade-offs among different ESs and their drivers. Based on a systematic review of the literature from 2005 to 2018, we identified 170 potentially relevant articles, 47 of which were selected for the review, recording 70 actual or potential trade-offs. Analysis of these case studies showed that trade-off pairs between provisioning services and regulating services/biodiversity accounted for 80% of total pairs. Furthermore, more than half of the ES trade-offs were driven by land use/land cover changes. Harvest and resource demand, natural resource management, and policy instruments were also among the main drivers. Four approaches to coordinate ES trade-offs were identified, including ecosystem, landscape-scale, multi-objective optimization, and policy intervention (and other) approaches. Based on the above, we recommend a rigorous understanding of the roles of different stakeholders, spatial scales of management, trade-off dynamics, and integrated implementation of diverse approaches to coordinate ES trade-offs in order to better achieve win-win outcomes.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jes.2019.02.030
View details for Web of Science ID 000468919800010
View details for PubMedID 31133255
Top 10 Research Priorities in Spatial Lifecourse Epidemiology
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH PERSPECTIVES
2019; 127 (7): 74501
The International Initiative on Spatial Lifecourse Epidemiology (ISLE) convened its first International Symposium on Lifecourse Epidemiology and Spatial Science at the Lorentz Center in Leiden, Netherlands, 16–20 July 2018. Its aim was to further an emerging transdisciplinary field: Spatial Lifecourse Epidemiology. This field draws from a broad perspective of scientific disciplines including lifecourse epidemiology, environmental epidemiology, community health, spatial science, health geography, biostatistics, spatial statistics, environmental science, climate change, exposure science, health economics, evidence-based public health, and landscape ecology. The participants, spanning 30 institutions in 10 countries, sought to identify the key issues and research priorities in spatial lifecourse epidemiology. The results published here are a synthesis of the top 10 list that emerged out of the discussion by a panel of leading experts, reflecting a set of grand challenges for spatial lifecourse epidemiology in the coming years. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP4868.
View details for DOI 10.1289/EHP4868
View details for Web of Science ID 000481576500011
View details for PubMedID 31271296
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6791465
Earth Observation: Investigating Noncommunicable Diseases from Space
ANNUAL REVIEW OF PUBLIC HEALTH, VOL 40
2019; 40: 85-104
The United Nations has called on all nations to take immediate actions to fight noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), which have become an increasingly significant burden to public health systems around the world. NCDs tend to be more common in developed countries but are also becoming of growing concern in low- and middle-income countries. Earth observation (EO) technologies have been used in many infectious disease studies but have been less commonly employed in NCD studies. This review discusses the roles that EO data and technologies can play in NCD research, including ( a) integrating natural and built environment factors into NCD research, ( b) explaining individual-environment interactions, ( c) scaling up local studies and interventions, ( d) providing repeated measurements for longitudinal studies including cohorts, and ( e) advancing methodologies in NCD research. Such extensions hold great potential for overcoming the challenges of inaccurate and infrequent measurements of environmental exposure at the level of both the individual and the population, which is of great importance to NCD research, practice, and policy.
View details for DOI 10.1146/annurev-publhealth-040218-043807
View details for Web of Science ID 000463474800007
View details for PubMedID 30633713
The live poultry trade and the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza: Regional differences between Europe, West Africa, and Southeast Asia
2018; 13 (12): e0208197
In the past two decades, avian influenzas have posed an increasing international threat to human and livestock health. In particular, highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 has spread across Asia, Africa, and Europe, leading to the deaths of millions of poultry and hundreds of people. The two main means of international spread are through migratory birds and the live poultry trade. We focus on the role played by the live poultry trade in the spread of H5N1 across three regions widely infected by the disease, which also correspond to three major trade blocs: the European Union (EU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Across all three regions, we found per-capita GDP (a proxy for modernization, general biosecurity, and value-at-risk) to be risk reducing. A more specific biosecurity measure-general surveillance-was also found to be mitigating at the all-regions level. However, there were important inter-regional differences. For the EU and ASEAN, intra-bloc live poultry imports were risk reducing while extra-bloc imports were risk increasing; for ECOWAS the reverse was true. This is likely due to the fact that while the EU and ASEAN have long-standing biosecurity standards and stringent enforcement (pursuant to the World Trade Organization's Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures), ECOWAS suffered from a lack of uniform standards and lax enforcement.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0208197
View details for Web of Science ID 000453779300028
View details for PubMedID 30566454
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6300203
- A holistic overview of the progress of China's low-carbon city pilots SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND SOCIETY 2018; 42: 289-300
- Inequality and the Biosphere ANNUAL REVIEW OF ENVIRONMENT AND RESOURCES, VOL 43 2018; 43: 61-83
- A review of China's climate governance: state, market and civil society CLIMATE POLICY 2018; 18 (5): 664-679
- The drivers of local environmental policy in China: An analysis of Shenzhen's environmental performance management system, 2007-2015 JOURNAL OF CLEANER PRODUCTION 2017; 165: 656-666
Conservation, development and the management of infectious disease: avian influenza in China, 2004-2012
PHILOSOPHICAL TRANSACTIONS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
2017; 372 (1722)
There is growing evidence that wildlife conservation measures have mixed effects on the emergence and spread of zoonotic disease. Wildlife conservation has been found to have both positive (dilution) and negative (contagion) effects. In the case of avian influenza H5N1 in China, the focus has been on negative effects. Lakes and wetlands attracting migrating waterfowl have been argued to be disease hotspots. We consider the implications of waterfowl conservation for H5N1 infections in both poultry and humans between 2004 and 2012. We model both environmental and economic risk factors. Environmental risk factors comprise the conditions that structure interaction between wild and domesticated birds. Economic risk factors comprise the cost of disease, biosecurity measures and disease risk mitigation. We find that H5N1 outbreaks in poultry populations are indeed sensitive to the existence of wild-domesticated bird mixing zones, but not in the way we would expect from the literature. We find that risk is decreasing in protected migratory bird habitat. Since the number of human cases is increasing in the number of poultry outbreaks, as expected, the implication is that the protection of wetlands important for migratory birds offers unexpected human health benefits.This article is part of the themed issue 'Conservation, biodiversity and infectious disease: scientific evidence and policy implications'.
View details for DOI 10.1098/rstb.2016.0126
View details for Web of Science ID 000399956400007
View details for PubMedID 28438915
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5413874
Economic growth, urbanization, globalization, and the risks of emerging infectious diseases in China: A review
2017; 46 (1): 18-29
Three interrelated world trends may be exacerbating emerging zoonotic risks: income growth, urbanization, and globalization. Income growth is associated with rising animal protein consumption in developing countries, which increases the conversion of wild lands to livestock production, and hence the probability of zoonotic emergence. Urbanization implies the greater concentration and connectedness of people, which increases the speed at which new infections are spread. Globalization-the closer integration of the world economy-has facilitated pathogen spread among countries through the growth of trade and travel. High-risk areas for the emergence and spread of infectious disease are where these three trends intersect with predisposing socioecological conditions including the presence of wild disease reservoirs, agricultural practices that increase contact between wildlife and livestock, and cultural practices that increase contact between humans, wildlife, and livestock. Such an intersection occurs in China, which has been a "cradle" of zoonoses from the Black Death to avian influenza and SARS. Disease management in China is thus critical to the mitigation of global zoonotic risks.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s13280-016-0809-2
View details for Web of Science ID 000392285300002
View details for PubMedID 27492678
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5226902
- China's post-coal growth NATURE GEOSCIENCE 2016; 9 (8): 564-566
- China's numerical management system for reducing national energy intensity ENERGY POLICY 2016; 94: 64-76
- Regional disparities and carbon "outsourcing": The political economy of China's energy policy ENERGY 2014; 66: 950-958
- Interpreting China's carbon flows PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 2013; 110 (28): 11221-11222
- China's carbon conundrum NATURE GEOSCIENCE 2013; 6 (7): 507-509
- The politics of climate change in China WILEY INTERDISCIPLINARY REVIEWS-CLIMATE CHANGE 2013; 4 (4): 301-313
- Pricing ecosystem resilience in frequent-fire ponderosa pine forests FOREST POLICY AND ECONOMICS 2013; 27: 8-12
- Investing in Natural Capital: Using Economic Incentives to Overcome Barriers to Forest Restoration RESTORATION ECOLOGY 2011; 19 (4): 441-445