Several recent initiatives such as Planetary Health, EcoHealth and One Health claim that human health depends on flourishing natural ecosystems. However, little has been said about the operational and implementation challenges of health-oriented conservation actions on the ground. We contend that ecological–epidemiological research must be complemented by a form of implementation science that examines: (i) the links between specific conservation actions and the resulting ecological changes, and (ii) how this ecological change impacts human health and well-being, when human behaviours are considered. Drawing on the policy evaluation tradition in public economics, first, we present three examples of recent social science research on conservation interventions that affect human health. These examples are from low- and middle-income countries in the tropics and subtropics. Second, drawing on these examples, we present three propositions related to impact evaluation and non-market valuation that can help guide future multidisciplinary research on conservation and human health. Research guided by these propositions will allow stakeholders to determine how ecosystem-mediated strategies for health promotion compare with more conventional biomedical prevention and treatment strategies for safeguarding health.