Manmade destruction causing pandemics like COVID-19?

New Delhi (NVI): Pandemic diseases like Coronavirus, Ebola and Zika could be a result of manmade destruction of biodiversity, according to researchers.

“We invade tropical forests and other wild landscapes, which harbour so many species of animals and plants—and within those creatures, so many unknown viruses,” David Quammen, author of Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Pandemic told Scientific American publishers.

More than 80% of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects depend on forests, most biologically diverse ecosystems on land.

Around 1.6 billion people including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures depend on forests for their livelihoods, medicines, fuel, food and shelter.

Yet despite all of these priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits, global deforestation continues at an alarming rate.

According to United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), around 13 million hectares of forests are destroyed annually and this accounts for 12 to 20 per cent of the global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

The problem is highlighted as the world is gripped by the unprecedented challenge posed by coronavirus (COVID-19) on a day when it should be celebrating the International Day of Forests today.

The theme of this year’s Forests Day is ‘biodiversity’, which depicts a variety of wildlife and plants present in a certain ecosystem. Higher biodiversity denotes that an ecosystem has a higher variety of plants and animal.

In 2012, the United Nation General Assembly initially marked the International Day of Forests aiming to raise awareness of the importance of all types of forest habitat.