When suddenly your travel plans are cancelled because of the coronavirus, you want to understand the why, how, where and when all this happened. So I spent some time to go through articles from Jonathan Watts “Habitat loss threatens all our future” The Guardian November 17th 2018, Katarina Zimmer “Deforestation tied to changes in disease dynamics” the Scientist. NY January 29th 2019, and more and I share with you my understanding and my opinion.
“As more and more forest is cleared around the world, scientists fear that the next deadly pandemic could emerge from what lives within them” (November 22, 2019 – Katarina Zimmer)
We are in 2020 and the world is confronting it. Scientists are convinced by facts that many infectious diseases emerging from deforestation have the power to devastate economies, and upset the daily lives of people around the world. We already know about the Lyme disease, the dengue, the yellow fever, malaria, all diseases linked to forest loss and transmitted by insects- vectors, but new diseases are emerging through the slash and burn of the tropical forests and originated in forest-dwelling animals.
The role of Forests is important to protect biodiversity and absorb carbon dioxide emissions and also protect human health by preventing the emergence of infectious diseases.
The best way to prevent the emergence of new diseases is to let the indigenous communities live in the land which belongs to them with the animals which are part of their daily lives, and do not create protected areas kicking them out.
It is the growing pace of habitat loss which is the source of growing vulnerability to pandemics, and cutting down forests and expanding roads, towns and industrial activities creates the pathways for animal microbes to adapt to the human body, according to scientists who face the critical mystery to solve the animal origin of the virus as microbes live harmlessly in animal bodies.
But animals alone are not to blame for the recent rise in outbreaks of deadly viruses throughout the world. Humans have a bigger role in contributing to this pandemic phenomenon as they have started entering the ecosystem of these animals as a consequence of deforestation.
Let’s not forget that only 15% of the world’s rainforests still remain intact while the rest has been converted into farmland for agriculture or even developed in order to accommodate the ever- increasing population.
Dr. Franca Sciuto
“It is pretty well established that deforestation can be a strong driver of infectious disease transmission”
A .Mac Donald – Earth Research Institute-
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