Protecting Brazilian Amazon Indigenous territories reduces atmospheric particulates and avoids associated health impacts and costs

Prist, Paula R.
Sangermano, Florencia
Bailey, Allison
Bugni, Victoria
Villalobos-Segura, María del Carmen
Pimiento-Quiroga, Nataly
Daszak, Peter
Zambrana-Torrelio, Carlos
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Springer Nature
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.
© The Author(s) 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit The Version of Scholarly Record of this Article is published in Nature Communications Earth & Environments, 2023, available online at: . Keywords: ecosystems services; environmental economics.
Prist, P.R., Sangermano, F., Bailey, A. et al. Protecting Brazilian Amazon Indigenous territories reduces atmospheric particulates and avoids associated health impacts and costs. Commun Earth Environ 4, 34 (2023).