Destruction Forests Essay

Destruction Forests Essay-47
The ecology of the viruses in deforested areas is different.

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But deforestation is having another worrisome effect: an increase in the spread of life-threatening diseases such as malaria and dengue fever.

For a host of ecological reasons, the loss of forest can act as an incubator for insect-borne and other infectious diseases that afflict humans.

Forests contain numerous pathogens that have been passed back and forth between mosquitoes and mammals for ages. A flood of sunlight pouring onto the once-shady forest floor, for example, increases water temperatures, which can aid mosquito breeding, explained Amy Vittor, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Florida.

Because they evolved together, these viruses often cause few or no symptoms in their hosts, providing “a protective effect from a homegrown infection,” says Richard Pollack of the T. She is an expert in the ecology of deforestation and malaria, which is where this dynamic is best understood.

Then, as humans worked on the new palm plantations, near the recently created forest edges, mosquitoes that thrived in this new habitat carried the disease from macaques to people. “In years when there is a lot of land clearance you get a spike in leptospirosis [a potentially fatal bacterial disease] cases, and in malaria and dengue,” says Peter Daszak, the president of Ecohealth Alliance, which is part of a global effort to understand and ameliorate these dynamics.

“Deforestation creates ideal habitat for some diseases.” The Borneo malaria study is the latest piece of a growing body of scientific evidence showing how cutting down large swaths of forests is a major factor in a serious human health problem — the outbreak of some of the world’s most serious infectious diseases that emerge from wildlife and insects in forests.

A growing body of scientific evidence shows that the felling of tropical forests creates optimal conditions for the spread of mosquito-borne scourges, including malaria and dengue.

Primates and other animals are also spreading disease from cleared forests to people.

They are deeply concerned that the next global pandemic could come out of the forest and spread quickly around the world, as was the case with SARS and Ebola, which both emerged from wild animals.

Mosquitoes are not the only carriers of pathogens from the wild to humans.

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