Land-Use Change and Infectious Diseases

Full Title

Understanding how land-use change impacts the dynamics of vector-borne and water borne infectious disease of humans and domestic livestock


Land-use change is rapidly converting forests and savannas into land whose primary focus is agriculture or production of other goods and services of direct benefit to the human economy. This significantly alters the interactions between the environment, disease vector species, and populations of humans and domestic livestock. The resulting changes in the infection dynamics of many vector- and water-borne disease systems lead to new opportunities for pathogen infections and only occasionally steer the dynamics towards pathogen reduction or eradication. In this Venture a team of natural and social scientists will bring together GIS data on land-use change with data on disease and vector distributions and host abundance in order to develop mathematical and heuristic models. The initial focus will be on malaria, schistosomiasis, cholera, Chagas disease and African trypanosomiasis. The team’s goal is to understand the impact of land use change on disease ecology to minimize disease risk and maximize direct and indirect economic benefits. The framework developed in this effort will ultimately be adaptable to examine the interactions between land use change and a broad variety of pathogens.

Project Type
Team Synthesis Project
Principal Investigators
Andrew Dobson, Princeton University
Nita Bharti, Pennsylvania State University
Matt Bonds, Harvard University
Marcella Alsan, Stanford University
Laura Bloomfield, Stanford University
Giulio de Leo, Stanford University
Maria Ana Diuk-Wasser, Yale University
Robert Ewers, Imperial College
Christina Faust, EEB, Princeton University
Tom Gillespie, Emory University
Nicole Gottdenker, University of Georgia
Petra Klepac, Cambridge University, UK
Michael Levy, University of Pennsylvania
Hamish McCallum, Griffith University
Calistus Ngonghala, Harvard Medical School
Mercedes Pascual, University of Chicago
Raina Plowright, Montana State University
Mauricio Santos Vega, University of Michigan
Claire Standley, AAAS Fellow, State Dept – Africa Desk, Washington
Andy Tatem, University of Florida