Tropical biologist Christian Samper believes that we can prevent future pandemics only by better protecting pristine ecosystems. Almost three quarters of all viral diseases affecting humans are of animal origin. Therefore, in order to prevent future pandemics, it is imperative to be aware of the many points of contact between humans and animals.
“It is imperative that applicable laws, regulations and international agreements governing animal trade and markets are rigorously enforced, but that alone is not enough. If we want to prevent pandemics like Covid-19 in the future, we need a new paradigm. We need to strengthen monitoring mechanisms and reduce deforestation, ”notes Christian Samper.
When the speed of deforestation in a certain area increases and people settle there, new interactions between people and animals arise. As a result, the likelihood that people will come into contact with different types of animals increases dramatically. Therefore, it is important to protect largely intact ecosystems such as forests and other habitats. This will not only contribute to the conservation of nature, but will also ensure fewer contacts between humans and animals and thus reduce the likelihood of transmission of pathogens with pandemic potential.
Maintaining intact forests is important to prevent the transmission of pathogens at the interface between humans and animals and to reduce the likelihood of a pandemic. Science is also providing us with growing evidence that mature forests sequester CO2 very quickly and thus contribute to the fight against climate change
By preserving nature, we also improve the quality of life of the local population and will be able to better deal with security and migration issues. This will help create more stable communities and eliminate the need for migration, reduce political conflicts and the number of refugees heading to Europe and other countries.