The forest is a natural protection against zoonotic diseases. Infections such as SARS-CoV2 can be transmitted from animals to humans.
20% of Spain’s surface is already desert, and it is estimated that before the end of this century Desertification will affect 80% of the territory.The rest of Europe is also greener Lost forest Due to fires and over-exploitation, the situation in Asia and Latin America is severe.
Young trees cannot clean the atmosphere
When forests disappear, the consequences of climate change will intensify, but there are other things. There is increasing evidence that zoonotic diseases are increasing in deforestation and areas where primitive tropical rain forests have been replaced by monocultures or wastelands dedicated to mining are more common.
Another study by the University of Montpellier and the University of Aix-Marseille in the frontier field of veterinary medicine made this recommendation. The two scientists analyzed more than 3880 zoonotic diseases between 1990 and 2016, in which pathogens spread from one species to another, and nearly 2,000 outbreaks of vector-borne diseases, such as ticks or mosquitoes.
The study covered different diseases and regions, but came to a common conclusion: In tropical areas, deforestation is rampant, and outbreaks in areas where forests have been replaced by plantations or mines have increased. On the contrary, outside the tropics, when impoverished tree species are reforested, that is, when plantations are established, the number of zoonotic diseases increases.
Unlike forests that are rich in species, predators exclude other species in forests, which do not exist in single farming. On the contrary, due to the lack of natural enemies, some species can spread on a large scale. These are usually rodents, which are known reservoirs of pathogens such as Hantavirus.
In monoculture, no predator keeps the virus-transmitting species away
In addition, in these single breeding areas, there are usually some small troughs where mosquitoes will reproduce uncontrollably. This is obvious in Brazil, for example, where malaria is more frequent in the frontiers of deforestation. In Southeast Asia, studies have shown that the mosquito Anopheles darlingi, which causes the spread of various diseases, is also more common in deforested areas.
A similar relationship has been observed in temperate latitudes: there are fewer species, and densely developed forests also favor less specialized animals and no predators. This is conducive to the spread of diseases, such as mouse transmission of Hantavirus or s transmission of Lyme disease.
Researchers are concerned about the continuing acceleration of deforestation in Brazil and Indonesia, and recommend using satellite imagery to further understand whether the observed links are indeed causal rather than just correlations, and to track the chronological order of their occurrence from deforestation to The emergence of disease.
Photo: Rini Sulaiman/Norwegian Embassy cifor.org