The association of infectious diseases to the environment, and in particular land use, has long been known but has regained interest in the late 20th century in relation to global environmental change. We identify four major challenges, for which disease ecologists and land use scientists should collaborate further to understand how land systems affect health. First, the multifactorial determinants of the complex ecological systems of infectious diseases should be better acknowledged. Second, new challenges appear in urban areas in relation to their dynamics. Third, livestock raising, as a component of land systems, creates specific types of ecological interfaces. Fourth, tensions discussed in the land use community regarding conservation must account for issues related to the health of human, livestock and wildlife. We use those four illustrations to show how disease ecologists and land use scientists could tighten their collaboration.