Infectious Disease Emergence and Economics of Altered Landscapes Program

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Infectious Disease Emergence and Economics of Altered Landscapes program is a three-year, $2 million initiative that investigates how changes to landscapes contribute to disease emergence.

Over 60 percent of emerging infectious diseases over the past six decades—from SARS to Ebola and HIV—have originated in animals, with nearly half linked to land use change, agricultural intensification or changes in food production. Land alterations accelerate the pace and diversity of human and animal contact, enabling pathogens to spill over from animal populations, a first spark in the chain of events that ignite global pandemics. Deforestation and forest degradation account for between 14 to 17 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to the entire global transportation sector. A key strategy in reducing the dual threats from diseases of pandemic potential and climate change is a robust evidence base that accurately captures the value of ecosystems.

In partnership with EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit organization focusing on local conservation and global health, this program applies data from the Kinabatangan basin in Sabah, Malaysia, and assigns value to an ecosystem’s infectious disease regulatory role. The work is expected to produce economically sound strategies to achieve reduced impact land use policy.

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Date 
Monday, September 15, 2014 - 6:00am

Last updated: September 15, 2014