The concept of one-health aims at taking into account the interdependencies between the health condition of animals and humans in their environment. Considering the interdependencies between the different domains of the living world (from ecosystems to human) makes it possible to renew the analysis of the sustainability of agro-food systems.
Some ways of feeding us lead to deforestation that can increase the risk of zoonoses (viruses transmissible to humans) by bringing wildlife and livestock into contact. Agricultural practices (pesticides, plowing) impact soil health by modifying its organic matter content, as well as fauna (earthworms) and micro-organisms (bacteria). The health of crop plants depends on the health of the soil. Those of livestock (resistance to disease) depends on the farming conditions. Ultimately, human health is affected by the environment, the composition of food (pesticide residues) and the nature of the food consumed (ratio between plant and animal proteins, degree of food processing). To underline the fact that the health conditions of these different domains of the living world are largely interdependent, we used an enlarged definition of “one health”.
Agroecology, based on a higher plant and animal biodiversity, helps initiating virtuous circles for the health of several areas of the living. An example is the importance of pulses for the health of agroecosystems and humans: (i) their insertion in cropping systems reduces the need for synthetic nitrogen fertilizers and therefore greenhouse gas emissions, and improves soil fertility; (ii) their nutrients contribute to better health conditions for animals (richness in alfalfa omega-3) and humans (richness in polyphenols, proteins, fibres).
References to explore
Duru M, Benoit M, Donnars C, Ryschawy J, D. B. 2017. Quelle place pour l’élevage, les prairies et les produits animaux dans les transitions agricoles et alimentaires ? Fourrages, 232(0), 281–296.
Duru M., Magrini M.B. 2016. Consommer des produits dont les animaux ont été alimentés à l’herbe est-il suffisant pour équilibrer notre alimentation en acides gras poly-insaturés ?. Fourrages, 228, 301-312.
Duru M. 2017. Les omégas 3 et 6, un enjeu de santé publique : quels rôles de l’agriculture, de l’élevage et de l’agroalimentaire ? Revue Sesame, Inra Mission Agrobiosciences.
Duru M., Magrini M.B. 2017. Composition en acides gras poly-insaturés de notre assiette et utilisation des matières premières agricoles en France : une amélioration lente, mais insuffisante. OCL, Volume 24, Number 2, March–April 2017. DOI.