Pandemics and the human-wildlife interface in Asia: Land use change as a driver of zoonotic viral outbreaks. Environmental Research Letters

Goldstein, Jenny E.; Budiman, I.; Canny, Anna; Dwipartidrisa, Deborah


Pandemics have occurred with increasing frequency over the past century as global travel enables rapid cross-continental transmission of viral zoonoses such as coronaviruses and influenzas. Yet the prevalence of global pandemics is also attributable to an increase in the number of these infectious diseases originating in wildlife or domesticated animals in Asia that jump to human hosts. Through a review of scholarly literature, this article argues that three interrelated land use phenomena—biodiversity loss, urbanization, agricultural expansion and intensification—in southern China and Southeast Asia have enabled past viral zoonotic 'spillover' events from animals to humans and make future pandemics more likely. Furthermore, much recent scholarly literature on zoonotic disease adopts the One Health framework, which highlights interdependency between viruses, animals, ecosystems, and human health. As such, we review and critique the salience of the One Health framework for research on zoonotic disease in Asia. We suggest that to better understand land use changes enabling zoonotic disease emergence, future health-environment research could incorporate qualitative, cross-scalar political-economic and political ecological dynamics within which human-wildlife relations are embedded.