How Deforestation Increases the Risk of Pandemics

Diana Chaplin | April 29, 2020 | 2 min read

HOW DEFORESTATION INCREASES THE RISK OF PANDEMICS

It's not entirely clear what makes humans susceptible to some zoonotic diseases (ie. one that can pass directly from animals to humans) but we may want to consider ourselves fortunate that this doesn't happen more often.

In the case of Covid-19 and its origin in bats, scientists have learned that they have evolved with this virus and have developed strong immune systems to withstand a variety of viruses and bacteria that could be harmful to humans.

Deforestation and other forms of encroaching on wildlife habitats puts humans at greater risk of exposure to new or potentially harmful diseases. Wet markets, where many live animals are put in close contact with each other and humans further exacerbates our risks. But these are not simple issues, as people's livelihoods and survival necessities are often connected with the actions that put us at risk.

WHAT CAUSES PANDEMICS VIDEO

Part of a new ongoing series, the One Tree Planted show is a video podcast where we interview people with unique experiences or expertise related to sustainability. Through down-to-earth conversations we explore ways that humanity can better engage with the natural world.

You can subscribe to the podcast or watch on Youtube anytime.

In today's episode, we speak to Dr. Amy Vittor and discuss human land use, deforestation, and the risk of pandemics from viruses like Covid-19.

Dr. Amy Vittor's research examines the effects of land use on vector-borne diseases. She also attends on the infectious diseases service at the University of Florida Shands hospital. We asked Dr. Vittor about the difference between Zoonotic diseases and vector-borne diseases; how human land use, wet markets, and deforestation has caused an increased risk of infectious disease; and what we can do to prevent future diseases from becoming pandemics.

Enjoy the full interview with Dr. Vittor to better understand these challenges, and join us in finding the silver lining of what brings hope for a healthier future.

Want to help combat the effects of deforestation? Plant a tree with us today!

Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most

Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most

As the need for reforestation is global and ever-changing, we feature where trees are most needed now. This project is currently supporting AFR100, the African Forest Landscape Initiative. Learn more

With your help, we will:

  • Provide jobs to minimize poverty in local communities
  • Improve climate change resilience & mitigation
  • Restore forest cover to improve food security
  • Africa is home to the world's second-largest tropical rainforest. The Congo Basin is home to 60% of the continent's biodiversity. However, unfortunately, Africa is alarmingly at risk due to the current deforestation rate - which is 4 times the global deforestation rate. Not only does this threaten the livelihoods of its local communities, but it also affects the planet as a whole.
    Thanks to AFR100, Africa is on a mission to reverse these trends and restore 100 million hectares of land by 2030. This country-led effort will bring 100 million hectares of land in Africa into restoration by 2030. This initiative aims to accelerate restoration to enhance food security, increase climate change resilience and mitigation and combat rural poverty. This includes 32 participating countries in Africa, along with local communities, national governments, public and private sector partners, and international development programs.
  • Planting trees in Africa reaps multiple benefits! Notably, reforestation here will help to add nutrients to the soil and control erosion, minimize poverty within local communities through the creation of jobs, and improve food security by feeding impoverished families through the planting of fruit trees. Ultimately, added forest cover in this region will diminish pressure on remaining forests, allowing for biodiversity to flourish and ultimately helping with the global climate crisis.
  • A personalized tree certificate (see gallery) to say thanks for your donation. We'll also send you updates about this project, so you can track the impact your trees are having on the community and environment.
  • We will plant an array of indigenous tree species throughout Africa, such as Senegalia polyacantha, Faidherbia albida, Albizia adianthifolia, Persea americana, Calliandra calothyrsus, Macadamia spp., shea, and mahogany. Fruit trees will also be planted, which include mango, orange, tangerine, avocado, apple, guava, and Brazil nut.

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