Preferred ecosystem characteristics: Their food and health relevance to China's rapid urbanisation

Valerie Gibson, Yong Guan Zhu, Rubing Ge, Mark L. Wahlqvist

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    For most of its history, China has supported a growing population through food systems which have been mutually inclusive of people and their locality. This trajectory has required adequate ecosystem maintenance or humanised reformulation and a high degree of recyclable nutrient flow. The 'tipping point' in habitat sustainability has come with the size and demographic structure of China's population to one that is ageing, with modernisation of its infrastructure and increased expectations of better livelihoods, standards of living and health. In order to meet these expectations, China has embarked on rapid urbanisation for upwards of 300 million people over the next 15-20 years and to do so taking account of the environmental limitations. The process will radically change rural as well as urban China and the systems which connect them. Chief among these will be ecosystems in number and type along with the food and health systems integral to them. To minimise ecological damage and optimise the benefits to people and place, describing, monitoring and managing the process will be paramount. The present paper is a situational analysis of health as it may be ecologically favoured or disordered (Ecosystem Health Disorders) and of the food systems on which the environment and health depend. An effort is made to enumerate the current situation in China in a way that might enable the optimisation of humanised ecosystems.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)556-574
    Number of pages19
    JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    • Ecosystem health disorders
    • Food systems
    • Natural environment
    • Rural
    • Urbanisation

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