According to researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, deforestation has a significant impact on malaria. They published their findings in the journal, Emerging Infectious Diseases.
The researchers found that a loss of just 4% of forest cover was associated with nearly 50% more cases of malaria.
“It appears that deforestation is one of the initial ecological factors that can trigger a malaria epidemic,” says Sarah Olson, the lead author of the new report and a postdoctoral fellow at the Nelson Institute, Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment.
It seems that clearing the rainforest trees leaves the perfect habitat for mosquitoes – open spaces, partially lit water pools.
The chart shows the increased amounts of total deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. Since 1988, over 145,000 square miles of forest have been cleared. Slide the slidebar below the chart to the left and right to see the accumulated deforestation from 1988 to 2009. The rate has slowed, but the amount is still astronomical.
In 2009 there were 306,000 reported cases of malaria in Brazil. The highest number of cases was in 1999 (637,470 cases). According to the research on deforestation and malaria cases, the effects of deforestation are seen 5-10 years after.