3 reasons deforestation in Borneo could cause the next global pandemic

We’re losing too much forest

Catastrophic rates of land clearing in recent decades have resulted in more than a third of the Earth’s forests converted for agricultural use. Climate change has compounded these losses, with rising sea levels threatening mangrove forests and massive seasonal fires wiping out large parts of the world.

New diseases are emerging because of this forest loss

Zoonotic viruses come from the interaction of humans with wild animals, who are the natural hosts of thousands of viruses. Only 1 percent of wildlife viruses are currently known to science, but if they remain locked away in balanced ecosystems, then this is not a problem for us humans. It is when landscapes are distrubed by human encroachment that zoonotic diseases emerge.

Outbreaks are becoming more frequent

Instances of emerging zoonotic diseases have quadrupled in the last half century, and we all know the famous ones — SARS, MERS, Ebola, HIV, avian flu and swine flu. Experts say that the acceleration of zoonotic diseases is caused by our accelerated disturbance of the habitats where these diseases live. It is only a matter of time before animal human disturbance shakes loose a new deadly disease.