Rampant destruction of forests ‘will unleash more pandemics’
HIV spread from chimpanzees and gorillas that were slaughtered for bushmeat in west Africa. Photograph: agefotostock/Alamy
Researchers to tell UN that loss of biodiversity enables rapid spread of new diseases from animals to humans
Robin McKieSun 30 Aug 2020 16.03 AEST
Scientists are to warn world leaders that increasing numbers of deadly new pandemics will afflict the planet if levels of deforestation and biodiversity loss continue at their current catastrophic rates.
A UN summit on biodiversity, scheduled to be held in New York next month, will be told by conservationists and biologists there is now clear evidence of a strong link between environmental destruction and the increased emergence of deadly new diseases such as Covid-19.Cost of preventing next pandemic ‘equal to just 2% of Covid-19 economic damage’Read more
Rampant deforestation, uncontrolled expansion of farming and the building of mines in remote regions – as well as the exploitation of wild animals as sources of food, traditional medicines and exotic pets – are creating a “perfect storm” for the spillover of diseases from wildlife to people, delegates will be told.Advertisement
Almost a third of all emerging diseases have originated through the process of land use change, it is claimed. As a result, five or six new epidemics a year could soon affect Earth’s population.
“There are now a who