Biodiversity in the Lyme-light: ecological restoration and tick-borne diseases in Europe

Clara Florentine Köhler*, Maya Louise Holding, Hein Sprong, Patrick A. Jansen, Helen J. Esser*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Biodiversity loss and the emergence of zoonotic diseases are two major global challenges. An urgent question is how ecosystems and wildlife communities can be restored whilst minimizing the risk of zoonotic diseases carried by wildlife. Here, we evaluate how current ambitions to restore Europe's natural ecosystems may affect the hazard of diseases vectored by the tick Ixodes ricinus at different scales. We find that effects of restoration efforts on tick abundance are relatively straightforward but that the interacting effects of vertebrate diversity and abundance on pathogen transmission are insufficiently known. Long-term integrated surveillance of wildlife communities, ticks, and their pathogens is needed to understand their interactions and to prevent nature restoration from increasing tick-borne disease (TBD) hazard.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-385
JournalTrends in Parasitology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • Ixodes ricinus
  • land-use change
  • Lyme borreliosis
  • nature conservation
  • rewilding
  • tick-borne encephalitis


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