Stopping the deforestation of rainforests and rainforests prevents viruses and other pathogens from getting close to 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. The images of wild animals entering urban areas have surprised, the songs of birds have emerged and the air has been cleaned. Some hope that these changes will 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, when looking back at previous epidemics, such as SARS, Ebola or Zika, all have jumped to humans from animals. And here deforestation is a crucial element. The more forest is cut down, the closer to humans the animals are forced to live.
This circumstance causes greater interaction between animals and humans. Obviously, it can be one of the causes of why diseases jump to people more easily. The approach is exposed in the publication of Scientific American. They remember that deforestation does not only bring humans closer to wildlife. Also, it leaves this much less margin.
And it is that animals lose territory. Their habitat is reduced and they have to live in a smaller space, with the consequent agglomeration. In this way, diseases are transmitted much more quickly also between them. And if before, in a wider environment, a virus was capable of infecting 15% of the population, in a smaller habitat this rate is bound to increase.
Hence, to prevent future pandemics, one of the actions to take 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 equal 7.4 million people.
Environmental Preservation as a Health Objective
We cannot know how we will get back to life after the pandemic. But in all probability, preventing such a catastrophe from happening again will be on the agenda of many countries. And for this, the preservation of wildlife environments is key.
There are many reasons for preserving forest environments, to which is added the objective of preventing pandemics. To monitor deforestation there are more and more tools, even drones have been used for it.