Is palm oil likely to trigger the next pandemic?

Is palm oil likely to trigger the next pandemic?

For the first time, a study shows that even intensive monocultures, contributing to the loss of habitat and biodiversity, increase the risk of zoonoses and pandemics such as coronavirus

(Photo: Barcroft Media / Getty Images) the loss of habitat and biodiversity was a serious problem we knew, but it took a pandemic that brought the world to its knees to understand how serious it could be: animals, in order not to become extinct, move and take their viruses, often ever closer to human beings. Climate change and deforestation are believed to be the main culprits, but putting a stop to them may not be enough. Because, in reality, they are not the only causes. Underlining this is a new study, just published in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science, which for the first time connects reckless reforestation (especially palm oil plantations) with the frequency of disease outbreaks that could spread. to mankind on a global scale.

The study

Scientists have collected data on the rate of deforestation globally from the archives of the World Bank, the percentages of land devoted to palm cultivation oil from FAO and the frequencies of infectious disease outbreaks in the Gideon database. They developed statistical models to compare the relationship between forest cover and epidemic outbreaks and that between oil palm plantations and infectious diseases, over a period between 1990 and 2016.

The models showed a sharp increase in epidemic outbreaks (with a peak just before 2016) as both the rate of deforestation and monocultures for palm oil production increase. It seems that deforestation was the determining factor for 47 countries, while for 27 (including the United States and Europe) it would have been the reckless reforestation that favored monocultures.

“Our result - the researchers write - shows that oil palm plantations can also pose a threat to global health by promoting zoonotic and vector-borne diseases ".

Act now

To decrease the risk of future pandemics the authors they argue that action is needed now and leave some guidelines: stopping deforestation through international treaties governing forest management; promote further research on how forests and other ecosystems regulate the spread of disease; empower societies that profit from deforestation.

“We hope these findings help policymakers recognize that forests contribute to the health of the planet and people and that government bodies need to work to avoid afforestation and the agricultural conversion of prairies ".

Food - 1 hour ago

The future of meat is increasingly vegetable

adsJSCode ("nativeADV1", [[2,1]], "true", "1"); Medicine - 3 hours ago

Have we entered a pandemic era? An excerpt from Roberta Villa's book

adsJSCode ("nativeADV2", [[2,1]], "true", "2"); Medicine - 5 hours ago

Schools open or closed due to contagion? The real risk is standing still


Environment Animals Coronavirus Health globalData.fldTopic = "Environment, Animals, Coronavirus, Health"

You may also be interested in

This opera is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Powered by Blogger.