Ecoregions or bio-districts are evolving all around Europe. Each bio-district is marked by lifestyle, nutrition, human relations, nature. Various actors are involved for shared purposes: the improvement of life quality, the employment of local population and the reduction of population’s decrease in rural areas, the employment increase of young people and women, and of the quality of agri-food productions and of local livestock premises.
Bio-districts are very suitable for research aimed at determining physical and mental health and wellbeing and sustainability in people and communities. However, we need to know how to measure effects on health and well-being in people who are already healthy. To date, most of the studies performed have been using biomarkers for disease risk, e.g. cholesterol levels, blood pressure, weight gain etc., while we aim at measuring health effects, e.g. resilience to disease, immune response etc.
Ecoregions in Europe and around the world are calling for more research about the health effects of the transitions these ecoregions are undertaking and are eager to start collecting data to monitor health status in these regions. Furthermore, the ecoregions are repeatedly inviting the scientific communities to perform more research in these areas. However, we need experts from different research areas to come together and discuss, suggest and gain consensus about which indicators/biomarkers would be best suited for both monitoring and exploring effects on health and resilience rather than disease risk.
Biomarkers are a topic of intensive research and new biomarkers are evolving fast. Their use and the interpretation of data needs careful and informed knowledge, therefore it is necessary to bring together scientists from a wide range of fields in order to establish a catalogue of suitable biomarkers and other indicators useful for different fields of research.