Study links malaria to deforestation in the Amazon

first_imgDeforestation, Diseases, Environment, Forests, Habitat Degradation, Infectious Wildlife Disease, Insects, Invertebrates, Logging, Malaria, Mosquitoes, Rainforests, Research, Trees, Tropical Forests, Zoonotic Diseases Article published by Morgan Erickson-Davis Citation:Chaves, L. S. M., Conn, J. E., López, R. V. M., & Sallum, M. A. M. (2018). Abundance of impacted forest patches less than 5 km 2 is a key driver of the incidence of malaria in Amazonian Brazil. Scientific reports, 8(1), 7077.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. A study published recently adds evidence to the argument that deforestation aids the spread of malaria.Researchers compared deforestation patterns to malaria rates in nine states in the Brazilian Amazon. They found that places with the highest incidences of malaria were impacted forest patches between 0.1 and 5 square kilometers in size.The researchers write that these forest patches contain the shaded, watery, forest-edge habitat preferred by the mosquitos that transmit malaria.To keep malaria from becoming an even bigger threat, the authors call for better monitoring of mosquito populations, land planning, and income generation schemes for forest-dwelling communities. Scientists have long suspected a relationship between deforestation and some infectious diseases. For instance, the 2014 Ebola crisis has been linked to logging that may have put workers and their families in close contact with infected bats.For malaria – one of the leading causes of death in tropical regions – there has been some evidence that the mosquitos that transmit it (called “vectors”) breed more readily in places where forest has been cleared. Now, a study published recently in Nature’s open-access journal Scientific Reports, adds to the hypothesis that deforestation aids the spread of malaria in the Amazon.For their study, researchers at institutions in Brazil and the U.S. attempted to find patterns between deforestation and malaria infection in nine states in the Brazilian Amazon. They looked at patches of rainforest that had been deforested or degraded (collectively termed “impacted” in the study), breaking them down into different size categories. They then compared these deforestation patches to local rates of malaria infection recorded between 2009 and 2015.Charcoal is produced by slowly burning wood to remove its water content. The study states: “According to data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE)19, the inclusion of forestry products in the commercial exploitation of natural resources in 2015 represented an increase of approximately USD$ 1.5 billion in the gross value of Brazilian commodities. Commercial forest products included approximately 26 million tons of firewood, 12 million tons of logs and 331 thousand tons of wood charcoal.” Photo courtesy of Leonardo Suveges Moreira ChavesWhat they discovered surprised them – the places with the highest incidences of malaria were impacted forest patches comprising between 0.1 and 5 square kilometers, which were the mid-range of the patch sizes they looked at in their study. In other words, these medium-size deforested patches seem to be the sweet spot where forest extraction activities correlate to more malaria infections.The researchers think this may have something to do with habitat preferences of larval Nyssorhynchus darlingi mosquitoes, which are the primary malaria vectors in the regions they studied. They write that these mosquitos prefer laying their eggs in water at forest edges, but that they also need partial shade. A hallmark of deforestation is that it fragments a forest landscape, effectively creating more forest edges. And more forest edges mean more places for mosquitoes to breed.The researchers didn’t find statistically significant correlations between small areas (less than 0.1 square kilometers) of deforestation and malaria incidence, which they say is because there wasn’t enough human presence to aid mosquito reproduction.“Likely in this condition, vector proliferation, presence of a small human population and small number of domestic animals that could represent additional source of blood for mosquitoes, are not stable and in sufficient number to sustain a large [mosquito] population and malaria transmission,” lead author Leonardo Suveges Moreira Chaves told Mongabay. Chaves works in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Sao Paulo.The authors also write that forest fragmentation may help malaria-carrying mosquitoes spread to other areas after they metamorphose into adults.“Furthermore, the new landscape delineated by the pattern of deforestation and soil occupation may favor dispersal of Ny. darlingi by creating forested areas interspaced by deforested areas, which are linked by forest corridors along [small streams] and shaded dirt roads,” the researchers write.Logged rainforest in the Brazilian Amazon. Deforestation creates more forest edges, which are favorite breeding grounds for the mosquitos that transmit malaria. Photo courtesy of Leonardo Suveges Moreira ChavesAnother pattern the study uncovered, which affirms findings from previous studies, is that the number of malaria cases in the Amazon tended to shoot up in the dry season. The dry season also is when most logging takes places because, according to the researchers, rain makes it more difficult to access and work in forested areas.“The driest months were associated with the largest deforested and impacted areas and the greatest numbers of malaria cases,” the researchers write.In addition to helping create optimal nurseries for mosquito larvae, the researchers write that the act of deforestation can also introduce malaria to new places as loggers travel from one forest to another.“It is not uncommon that the first forest invaders are carriers of [malaria] because of previous [exposure] in other areas where transmission is endemic,” Chaves said.As malaria rates continue to rise in the Brazilian Amazon, Chaves and his colleagues write that measures must be taken to combat the disease and keep it from reaching “unsustainable levels.” They recommend enhanced monitoring and controlling of mosquito populations, improvement of land use planning, and better income generation for forest-dwelling communities so they don’t need to rely on logging to survive.If this isn’t done, Chaves says there will continue to be a “vicious cycle of deforestation, degradation, vector proliferation, extreme poverty and malaria as well as other vector-borne infectious diseases.” Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. 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I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. 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