Stopping the deforestation of rainforests and rainforests prevents viruses and other pathogens from approaching humans and would prevent pandemics. As a result of the paralysis of activity in cities and, in general, of human activity in many places, we have seen nature grow. They have surprised the images of wild animals entering urban areas, the songs of the birds have emerged and the air has been cleaned. Some expect these changes to have a form of continuity in time after the coronavirus. It is difficult to know yet, but more and more voices believe in the need for greater preservation of the environment, even with the aim of preventing future pandemics.
Not surprisingly, by looking back on previous epidemics, such as SARS, Ebola or Zika, they have all jumped on humans from animals. And here deforestation is a crucial element. The more portion of the forest that is cleared, the closer humans are forced to live.
This circumstance causes greater interaction between animals and humans. Obviously it may be one of the reasons why diseases jump to people more easily. The approach is set out in the Scientific American publication. They remember that deforestation not only brings humans closer to wildlife. In addition, it leaves this much less margin.
And is that animals lose territory. Their habitat is reduced and they have to live together in a smaller space, with the consequent agglomeration. In this way, diseases are transmitted much more quickly also among themselves. And if before, in a broader environment, a virus was capable of infecting 15% of the population, in a smaller habitat this rate is destined to increase.
Hence, to prevent future pandemics, one of the actions to be taken could be to reduce deforestation. Scientific American cites a 2019 study that estimated that a 10% increase in deforestation would lead to a 3.3% growth in malaria cases. In numbers, this would be equivalent to 7.4 million people.
Environmental preservation as a health objective
We cannot know how we will return to life after the pandemic. But in all probability, on the agenda of many countries will be to prevent such a catastrophe from happening again. And for this, the preservation of wildlife environments is key.
There are many reasons for preserving forest environments, in addition to the objective of preventing pandemics. To monitor deforestation there are more and more tools, even drones have been used for it.