NEW DELHI: Covid-19 pandemic triggered by animal-origin coronavirus brought to focus zoonotic diseases and now, a nature study finds that land-use change — conversion of natural habitats to agricultural or urban ecosystems — is widely recognised to influence the risk and emergence of zoonotic disease in humans.
‘Zoonotic host diversity increases in human-dominated ecosystems’ led by researchers from the University College London’s Centre for Biodiversity & Environment Research suggested that global changes in the mode and the intensity of land use are creating expanding hazardous interfaces between people, livestock and wildlife reservoirs of zoonotic disease.
The team analysed 6,801 ecological assemblages and 376 host species worldwide, controlling for research effort, and showed that land use has global and systematic effects on local zoonotic host communities.
“When we convert natural habitats to our uses, we inadvertently increase the probability of transmission of zoonotic infectious diseases, which are caused by pathogens that can jump from animals to humans,” said Rory Gibb, one of the authors. It has been suggested that habitat disturbance might cause predictable changes in the local diversity and taxonomic composition of potential reservoir hosts.