Though we may seldom realize it, our health is heavily dependent on biodiversity, which sustains
our food supply, is a source of nutrients and medicines, and support the provision of clean air
and fresh water, while also contributing to economic development, cultural and spiritual

Fast Facts

•        Palittaxel, used in treating breast, ovarian, and other cancers comes from the Paci c Yew
tree (taxus brevifolia).

•        Each year at least three million children under the age of five die due to environment-
related diseases.

•        Schistosomiasis, a parastic disease affecting over 200 million people annually, is carried
by freshwater snails. Over fishing may reduce populations of snail predators, resulting in a
greater risk of humas schistosomiasis. Deforestation in the tropics tends to favor snails that
carry schistosomiasis and mosquitoes that carry malaria.

•        A third of the worlds hundred largest cities rely on forest protected areas for a substantial
proportion of their drinking water supply(Running Pure: The importance of forest protected
areas to drinking water, 2003 by Nigel Dudley and Sue stilton (Eds). A research report for the
World Bank/ WWF Alliance for Forest Conservation and Sustainable Use.)

•        Nature can contribute to disease prevention as it has positive effects on blood pressure,
cholesterol, outlook on life and stress reduction (Healthy Parks Healthy People , The Health
Benefits of Contact with Nature in Park Context, 2008 by School of Health and Social
Development, Faculty of health, Medicine, Nursing and Behavioral Sciences, Deakin University,
Melbourne, Austrailia.
Health and Biodiversity