How deforestation helps deadly viruses jump from animals to humans

Amy Y. Vittor, University of Florida; Gabriel Zorello Laporta, Faculdade de Medicina do ABC, and Maria Anice Mureb Sallum, Universidade de São Paulo The coronavirus pandemic, suspected of originating in bats and pangolins, has brought the risk of viruses that jump from wildlife to humans into stark focus. These leaps often happen at the edgesContinue reading “How deforestation helps deadly viruses jump from animals to humans”

Deforestation can raise local temperatures by up to 4.5℃ – and heat untouched areas 6km away

Sally Thompson, The University of Western Australia; Débora Corrêa, The University of Western Australia; John Duncan, The University of Western Australia, and Octavia Crompton, Duke University Forests directly cool the planet, like natural evaporative air conditioners. So what happens when you cut them down? In tropical countries such as Indonesia, Brazil and the Congo, rapidContinue reading “Deforestation can raise local temperatures by up to 4.5℃ – and heat untouched areas 6km away”

2021 Research: Outbreaks of vector-borne and zoonotic diseases are linked to changes in forest cover and palm oil global expansion

Deforestation is a major cause of biodiversity loss with a negative impact on human health. Outbreaks of vector-borne diseases such as COVID-19 are associated with increases in areas of palm oil plantations. A major 2021 study in Frontiers in Veterinary Science examined whether global scale loss and gain of forest cover and the rise ofContinue reading “2021 Research: Outbreaks of vector-borne and zoonotic diseases are linked to changes in forest cover and palm oil global expansion”

Africa’s rainforests are different. Why it matters that they’re protected

Martin Sullivan, University of Leeds; Oliver Phillips, University of Leeds, and Simon Lewis, UCL Around 2 million km² of Africa is covered by tropical rainforests. They are second only in extent to those in Amazonia, which cover around 6 million km². Rainforests are home to vast numbers of species. For example, the world’s tropical rainforestsContinue reading “Africa’s rainforests are different. Why it matters that they’re protected”

Climate Explained: what would happen if we cut down the Amazon rainforest?

Sebastian Leuzinger, Auckland University of Technology What would happen if we cut down the entire Amazon rainforest? Could it be replaced by an equal amount of reforestation elsewhere? Removing the entire Amazon rainforest would have myriad consequences, with the most obvious ones possibly not the worst. Most people will first think of the carbon currentlyContinue reading “Climate Explained: what would happen if we cut down the Amazon rainforest?”

How plywood started the destruction of Indonesia’s forests

Indonesia now has the has the fastest rate of deforestation in the world, driven largely by clearing for palm oil plantations. But the process began long ago, with one of the most common building materials: plywood. As far as commodities are concerned, it was plywood that defined the rainforests of Borneo in the 1970s andContinue reading “How plywood started the destruction of Indonesia’s forests”

Huge ecosystems could collapse in less than 50 years – new study

We know that ecosystems under stress can reach a point where they rapidly collapse into something very different. The clear water of a pristine lake can turn algae-green in a matter of months. In hot summers, a colourful coral reef can soon become bleached and virtually barren. And if a tropical forest has its canopyContinue reading “Huge ecosystems could collapse in less than 50 years – new study”

Video: Slowing deforestation is the key to preventing the next pandemic – but what does that cost?

Les Kaufman, Boston University In a recent journal article, a team of biologists, medical scientists, environmental scientists and conservationists proposed a number of measures to reduce the likelihood of future pandemics, many of which originate with wild animals such as bats. They argue that spending billions of dollars per year – a fraction of theContinue reading “Video: Slowing deforestation is the key to preventing the next pandemic – but what does that cost?”

The Coronavirus Crisis: How has Lockdown Impacted Nature?

I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a very strange year. Thanks to coronavirus, modern life as we know it has been put on hold. International borders have been shut, governments have ordered businesses to close their doors, and most families have been under lockdown. For anyone wondering where this infectious virusContinue reading “The Coronavirus Crisis: How has Lockdown Impacted Nature?”

Explainer: What is a tipping point, and why should we care?

Our ability to understand and act thoughtfully around this single concept could determine the fate of life on Earth. August 20, 2020 — Lately, you may have heard someone say that we have reached a “tipping point.” This year alone, with the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the sustained civil unrest sparkedContinue reading “Explainer: What is a tipping point, and why should we care?”

How forest loss has changed biodiversity across the globe over the last 150 years

Maria Dornelas, University of St Andrews; Gergana Daskalova, University of Edinburgh, and Isla Myers-Smith, University of Edinburgh The Earth’s forests have been changing ever since the first tree took root. For 360 million years, trees have grown and been felled through a dynamic mix of hurricanes, fires and natural regeneration. But with the dawn ofContinue reading “How forest loss has changed biodiversity across the globe over the last 150 years”

Deforestation on Indonesian island of Sulawesi destroys habitat of endemic primates

Jatna Supriatna, Universitas Indonesia Intensified illegal logging and expansions of palm oil plantations and farms have destroyed rain forests on Indonesia’s fourth-largest island, Sulawesi, threatening the biodiversity of a world-renowned laboratory of evolutionary biology. Sulawesi is part of a biodiversity hotspot – a region with at least 1,500 endemic plants, specifically those with developed tissues.Continue reading “Deforestation on Indonesian island of Sulawesi destroys habitat of endemic primates”