Aug 14, 2018 | Updated: 01:42 PM EDT

Conservation Not Effective On Reducing Infectious Disease, Study Shows

Apr 25, 2017 06:08 AM EDT

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A recent study shows that conservation projects are not effective to humans if they are seeking diversity as a means to lessen the harms of infectious disease like malaria and measles. Conversation aims to protect the environment and encourage a diversity of fauna and flora that could be beneficial to humans.

According to UW Today, a publication of the University of Washington, a paper published last April 24 in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B has concluded that the diversity conservation projects are aiming does not improve human health. The study analyzed the relationship between infectious diseases and their environmental, demographic, and economic drivers in various countries for two decades.

The new study, which is published in The Royal Society Publishing, shows that increased biodiversity through conservation does not have a link with reduced levels of infectious diseases. In fact, the rate of people getting these diseases increased as areas become more diversified and more forested over time.

"We're not going to improve public health by pushing a single button. This study clearly shows that - at the country level - conservation is not a disease-control tool," Chelsea Wood, the lead author of the study said. She added that conservation projects should still push through but not as a tool to control infectious diseases.

The paper also concluded that increasing urbanization actually decreases infectious disease. This could be attributed to cities having medical care, clean water, and proper sanitation. However, Wood said that there could still be dangerous diseases that would be contacted highly in an urbanized area than in a conservation area.

Other co-authors of this study of health and conservation are Alex McInturff of the University of California, Berkeley; DoHyung Kim of the University of Maryland; and Kevin Lafferty of the U.S. Geological Survey. The research was funded by the Michigan Society of Fellows and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan with some agencies and authors' institution.

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