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Agriculture &Environment Bill Brieger | 26 Jun 2009 01:33 am

Deforestation, Agriculture and Malaria

While there have been some doubts that climate change will cause more malaria, there is little doubt expressed that deforestation is one of the major contributors to the malaria problem.  Actually a link is found between deforestation and malaria.

Yasuoka and Levins looked at anophelene ecology changes in relation to deforestation. They learned that, “Although niche width of anopheline species was not associated with density changes, sun preference was significantly associated with an increase in density. This study suggests the possibility of predicting potential impacts of future deforestation on vector density by using information on types of planned agricultural development and the ecology of local anopheline species.”

dscn4558sm.JPGTheir review of reports from across the malaria-endemic parts of the would found that although the mechanisms that link malaria and deforestation are complex, there were clearly examples of direct effects on some anopheline species either because of habitat changes or because of land use changes, particularly agriculture.

Vittor and colleagues have recently examined deforestation and malaria in the Peruvian Amazon.  Their study concluded that, “Multivariate analysis identified seasonality, algae, water body size, presence of human populations, and the amount of forest and secondary growth as significant determinants of A. darlingi presence. We conclude that deforestation and associated ecologic alterations are conducive to A. darlingi larval presence, and thereby increase malaria risk.”

Ultimately the elimination of malaria will require our links with broader development and environment partners.

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