Researchers from Stanford University and Florida University found strong evidence that deforestation increases malaria transmission, while high malaria incidence simultaneously reduces forest clearing. To reach that conclusion, they analysed a geospatial dataset encompassing 795 municipalities across the Amazon basin between 2003 and 2015.
A 10% increase in deforestation results in a 3.3% increase in the number of malaria cases, according to the study published by PNAS. Scientists also found that a 1% increase in malaria incidence leads to a 1.4% decrease in forest area cleared. This result probably reflects the negative effect of malaria on people's ability to perform activities such as cutting trees, say the researchers.