Human Health

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    Deforestation and climate change are projected to increase heat stress risk in the Brazilian Amazon
    (Springer Nature, 2021-10-01) de Oliveira, Beatriz Fátima Alves; Bottino, Marcus J.; Nobre, Paulo; Nobre, Carlos A.
    Land use change and deforestation can influence local temperature and climate. Here we use a coupled ocean-atmosphere model to assess the impact of savannization of the Amazon Basin on the wet-bulb globe temperature heat stress index under two climate change scenarios (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5). We find that heat stress exposure due to deforestation was comparable to the effect of climate change under RCP8.5. Our findings suggest that heat stress index could exceed the human adaptation limit by 2100 under the combined effects of Amazon savannization and climate change. Moreover, we find that risk of heat stress exposure was highest in Northern Brazil and among the most socially vulnerable. We suggest that by 2100, savannization of the Amazon will lead to more than 11 million people will be exposed heat stress that poses an extreme risk to human health under a high emission scenario.
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    Protecting Brazilian Amazon Indigenous territories reduces atmospheric particulates and avoids associated health impacts and costs
    (Springer Nature, 2023-04-06) Prist, Paula R.; Sangermano, Florencia; Bailey, Allison; Bugni, Victoria; Villalobos-Segura, María del Carmen; Pimiento-Quiroga, Nataly; Daszak, Peter; Zambrana-Torrelio, Carlos
    Indigenous territories are considered important for conservation, but little is known about their role in maintaining human health. Here we quantified the potential human health and economic benefits of protecting these territories in the Brazilian Amazon, by using cardiovascular and respiratory diseases cases, pollutant and forest cover data. Between 2010 and 2019, 1.68 tons of Particulate Matter of small size (PM2.5) were released every year, with negative effects for human health. A lower number of infections was also found in municipalities with more forested areas, and with a low level of fragmentation, which probably is related to the potential capacity of the Amazon Forest to absorb PM2.5 (26,376.66 tons year−1, 27% of this absorption capacity in Indigenous territories). Our estimates indicate that by protecting Amazon Indigenous territories, over 15 million of respiratory and cardiovascular cases could be avoided every year, with ~$2 billion USD being saved only in health costs.