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Deforestation is leading to more infectious diseases in humans

Cutting down millions of trees and interrupting wildlife has resulted in emerging infectious diseases in humans and zoonotic diseases in the past few decades. Humans are rising the risk of disease pandemics like COVID-19 by reducing biodiversity by cutting down forests and building more infrastructure. Although some animals are becoming extinct, those that survive and prosper — such as rats and bats — are more likely to harbor potentially dangerous pathogens that can spread infectious diseases in humans.

Most attempts to stop the spread of new diseases concentrate on vaccine production, early detection, and containment, but this is like treating the symptoms without addressing the root cause. Scientists in Brazil have discovered that deforestation raises the risk of malaria outbreaks. Forest clearing has been shown to favor the mosquito Anopheles, which is a vector for a variety of diseases in Southeast Asia, according to studies. The outbreak of Ebola in West Africa and the re-emergence of arthropod-borne leishmaniasis have both been linked to the loss of primary forests.

Extreme Tree-planting can put local human populations at risk if it focuses too narrowly on a limited number of species, as is often the case in commercial forests. Diseases are filtered and blocked by a variety of predators and ecosystems in a stable, biodiverse forest. Specialist species die off when this is replaced by a palm oil plantation, soy fields, or eucalyptus blocks, leaving generalists like rats and mosquitoes to flourish and spread pathogens through human and non-human ecosystems. As a consequence, normal disease control is lost.

We should look for ways to change human behavior and tackle infectious diseases in a way that benefits biodiversity while also lowering health risks. Scientists and politicians must approach the rural frontier from a more holistic perspective, addressing public health, the atmosphere, and long-term sustainability all at the same time. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, many scientists and conservationists have stressed the importance of limiting the wildlife trade, which is estimated to be worth US$20 billion annually in China, where the first coronavirus infections were discovered. Trade between China and the United States has been temporarily halted. On the other hand, believes that the industry is just one piece of a larger puzzle that includes hunting, livestock, land use, and ecology, and other activities.

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