Nica Richards
Deputy online news editor
7 minute read
8 May 2020
3:03 pm

The link between deforestation and pandemics

Nica Richards

The more people and wild animals interact, either due to illegal activities, urbanisation or live animal markets and the illegal wildlife trade, the more likely it is that diseases will move from hosts to vectors to human beings.

A pine forest is clearcut save for a small island of trees

Human beings have spent thousands of years building a dysfunctional relationship with nature, working against an unstoppable force which is now slowly destroying both. Although deforestation does not directly cause all disease outbreaks, it definitely has an impact on the emergence and re-emergence of sicknesses capable of reaching pandemic proportions. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) executive director Inger Andersen warns that Covid-19 is not a silver lining for the environment. Despite reports that the air is cleaner and wildlife is returning to quiet urban streets, Andersen has lamented that for there to be any significant difference in carbon dioxide levels,...