How Pandemics and Infectious Diseases Are Linked to Ecological Disruption and Climate Change
= material and articles compiled and cited by Brian Davey :
Pathogens previously boxed into niches of ecological systems are now interacting with monocultural farming systems and human food chains
"Pathogens previously boxed into niches of ecological systems are now interacting with monocultural farming systems and human food chains. One study about vector born diseases explains how:
“Our study shows that industrial activities may be coupled with significant changes to human demographics that can potentially increase contact between pathogens, vectors and hosts, and produce a shift of parasites and susceptible populations between low and high disease endemic areas. Indeed, where vector-borne diseases and industrial activities intersect, large numbers of potentially immunologically naïve people may be exposed to infection and lack the knowledge and means to protect themselves from infection.” Robert T. Jones et. al. “The impact of industrial activities on vector-borne disease transmission” (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actatropica.2018.08.033?fbclid=IwAR3VLdIfRwEf8VaYdcFNdFeWM64Ie2TypUKxu0wuAO7Z03QthJXBq-dybBk)
Another study focuses on cross species viral infections between mammalian species including humans. According to this study
“Between 10,000 and 600,000 species of mammal virus are estimated to have the potential to spread in human populations, but the vast majority are currently circulating in wildlife, largely undescribed and undetected by disease outbreak surveillance. In addition, changing climate and land use drive geographic range shifts in wildlife, producing novel species assemblages and opportunities for viral sharing between previously isolated species. In some cases, this will inevitably facilitate spillover into humans—a possible mechanistic link between global environmental change and emerging zoonotic disease……Most projected viral sharing is driven by diverse hyperreservoirs (rodents and bats) and large-bodied predators (carnivores). Because of their unique dispersal capacity, bats account for the majority of novel viral sharing, and are likely to share viruses along evolutionary pathways that could facilitate future emergence in humans….. zoonoses.” Colin J Carlson et al “Climate change will drive novel cross-species viral transmission” (January 2020 ) (https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.01.24.918755)
Ecological disruption when forests are displaced by plantations
"we must look to the ecological disruption when forests are displaced by plantations:
“Palm oil plantations …make a great home for fruit bats or Pteropodidae……“Bats migrate to oil palm for food and shelter from the heat while the plantations’ wide trails permit easy movement between roosting and foraging sites.”
Several species of these fruit bats are documented “reservoirs” for Ebola, which could then be transmitted to plantation workers and locals in nearby villages….. intact native ecosystems usually contain pathogens like Ebola, but that clear cutting vast areas of forest can make the pathogen spread out of control……“clear-cutting Forested Guinea may have lowered the ecosystemic ‘temperature’ below which Ebola can be ‘sterilized’ and controlled.” (http://www.forestheroes.org/how-palm-oil-fruit-bats-and-deforestation-could-be-linked-to-ebola-epidemic/) 
Real estate markets of cities extending suburbia into the surrounding countryside and the increased Lyme disease spread by ticks
" the real estate markets of cities are extending suburbia into the surrounding countryside. This has consequences too – increased Lyme disease spread by ticks:
“Thanks to increasing urban and suburban sprawl, forests are being parceled into smaller pockets of vegetation, said Northeastern University Distinguished Professor of Biology Kim Lewis, who directs Northeastern’s Antimicrobial Discovery Center. Parks and backyards in the suburbs are now the perfect size to sustain mice, but not quite large enough to sustain foxes. That means mice can run rampant with no natural predators to keep their population at bay. And with mice, come ticks.
“The sprawling of suburbia is a fairly recent phenomenon,” Lewis said. “You get more hosts for the ticks, and of course, you get more ticks.” (https://news.northeastern.edu/2018/05/23/how-prevalent-is-lyme-disease-where-you-live-find-out-with-this-interactive-map/)
- David Quammen, , Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic,
"became interested in infectious diseases while researching Ebola and has been warning about the risk of pandemics ever since.
He told The Independent: “Our highly diverse ecosystems are filled with many species of wild animals, plants, fungi and bacteria. All of that biological diversity contains unique viruses.
“When we tear down tropical forests to build villages, timber and mining camps, kill or capture wild animals for food, we expose ourselves to those viruses.
“It’s like if you demolish an old barn then dust flies. When you demolish a tropical forest, viruses fly. Those moments of destruction represent opportunity for unfamiliar viruses to get into humans and take hold.” (https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/coronavirus-uk-pandemics-environmentalists-warning-a9413996.html?)
Planetary Health Alliance
- Dr Samuel Myers, principle research scientist at Harvard’s Department of Environmental Health and director of the Planetary Health Alliance, told The Independent: “Human incursions into wildlife habitat bring people into closer proximity with wildlife populations. “What we know is that other animals are an enormous reservoir of pathogens, many of which we haven’t yet been exposed to.”