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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 27, 2024
  2. null (Ed.)
    The ecosystem services concept has emerged as a guiding principle in natural resource management over the past two decades, and an ecosystem services approach to management is currently mandated as a core element of United States National Forest planning. However, the concept of ecosystem services has been interpreted and operationalized in a variety of ways, leaving a pronounced knowledge gap regarding how it is understood and implemented in different contexts. To better understand the conceptualization and implementation of the concept within United States National Forests, semi-structured interviews with planners and managers of the Pacific Northwest Region were conducted at the region, forest, and ranger district levels, addressing the following topics: (1) how has the ecosystem services concept been perceived by managers and planners?; (2) what are the perceived key ecosystem services offered by National Forest lands?; (3) how has the concept been applied at multiple spatial scales?; and (4) what are perceived challenges or opportunities related to applying the concept in the National Forest context? Results indicate that although participants had a high level of understanding of the ecosystem services concept, there was not a clear, widely adopted approach to considering ecosystem services in management. Through qualitative analysis, three general perspectives arose: one employed the concept to fulfill regulatory requirements at the National Forest scale, a second engaged with ecosystem services to improve participatory planning at the project scale, and a third, business as usual perspective, considered ecosystem services as new language for describing longstanding National Forest priorities. These results draw attention to the challenges of implementing an ecosystem services-based approach in the United States National Forest context and the continued need for the development of management-relevant methods for describing and quantifying ecosystem services. 
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  3. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Background Water resources development promotes agricultural expansion and food security. But are these benefits offset by increased infectious disease risk? Dam construction on the Senegal River in 1986 was followed by agricultural expansion and increased transmission of human schistosomes. Yet the mechanisms linking these two processes at the individual and household levels remain unclear. We investigated the association between household land use and schistosome infection in children. Methods We analyzed cross-sectional household survey data ( n  = 655) collected in 16 rural villages in August 2016  across demographic, socio-economic and land use dimensions, which were matched to Schistosoma haematobium ( n  = 1232) and S. mansoni ( n  = 1222) infection data collected from school-aged children. Mixed effects regression determined the relationship between irrigated area and schistosome infection presence and intensity. Results Controlling for socio-economic and demographic risk factors, irrigated area cultivated by a household was associated with an increase in the presence of S. haematobium infection (odds ratio [ OR ] = 1.14; 95% confidence interval [95% CI ]: 1.03–1.28) but not S. mansoni infection ( OR  = 1.02; 95% CI : 0.93–1.11). Associations between infection intensity and irrigated area were positive but imprecise ( S. haematobium: rate ratio [ RR ] = 1.05; 95% CI : 0.98–1.13, S. mansoni : RR  = 1.09; 95% CI : 0.89–1.32). Conclusions Household engagement in irrigated agriculture increases individual risk of S. haematobium but not S. mansoni infection. Increased contact with irrigated landscapes likely drives exposure, with greater impacts on households relying on agricultural livelihoods. 
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  4. null (Ed.)
    Dams enable the production of food and renewable energy, making them a crucial tool for both economic development and climate change adaptation in low- and middle-income countries. However, dams may also disrupt traditional livelihood systems and increase the transmission of vector- and water-borne pathogens. These livelihood and health impacts diminish the benefits of dams to rural populations dependent on rivers, as hydrological and ecological alterations change flood regimes, reduce nutrient transport and lead to the loss of biodiversity. We propose four agricultural innovations for promoting equity, health, sustainable development, and climate resilience in dammed watersheds: (1) restoring migratory aquatic species, (2) removing submerged vegetation and transforming it into an agricultural resource, (3) restoring environmental flows and (4) integrating agriculture and aquaculture. As investment in dams accelerates in low- and middle-income countries, appropriately addressing their livelihood and health impacts can improve the sustainability of modern agriculture and economic development in a changing climate. 
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