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Land use change, ecosystem resilience and zoonotic spillover risk

Abstract

Habitat loss and modification have been pointed out as the main drivers of biodiversity loss. Such biodiversity decline have profound cascading effects on the abundance, composition and ecology of fauna and flora, affecting species interactions and affecting ecological function and services. These impacts can affect human health and well-being through changes in disease regulation services. Changes in biodiversity can mechanistically affect zoonotic disease spillover through several pathways including effects on the density, distribution, susceptibility of reservoir hosts, and interaction networks among different species. In addition, the order in which species go extinct or recover may also affect the structure of communities and, consequently, disease spillover risk. However, the relationship between functional diversity change and zoonotic spillover risk has still been little investigated, especially when considering host-pathogen networks and forest loss or forest restoration dynamics. The Brazilian Atlantic Forest is a biodiversity hotspot and also a hotspot for rodent diversity with the majority of these species being considered as pathogen's reservoir or hyper reservoir species making it a hotspot for future emerging infectious diseases. Besides, the Atlantic Forest presents highly dynamic forest cover, with thousands of hectares of deforestation and forest restoration every year and restoration pledges of millions of hectares. These conditions represents an ideal scenario for studying the effects of landscape changes on small mammal communities and its consequences for zoonotic disease spillover. We propose an integrative landscape ecology approach to develop a synthetic understanding of biodiversity function and spillover risk in a context of both forest loss and forest recovery. The goal of our project is to understand how the reorganization of biodiversity on a changing planet affects human health. To achieve this goal we defined two main objectives: 1) to evaluate the effects of landscape structure on small mammals' functional diversity (i.e., community composition and host-pathogens interaction network structure) and how these effects influence pathogen spillover risk along the Brazilian Atlantic Forest biome; and 2) to evaluate the effect of forest restoration on the recovery of small mammals' functional diversity and the reduction of spillover risk, and how the recovery of the disease regulation services are influenced by landscape structure. We will combine previously collected field data on small mammal communities and their host-pathogens interaction networks in fragmented landscapes to field sampling of restored landscapes in order to evaluate the changes in community composition, interaction networks and to estimate the disease spillover risk along different gradients of forest restoration and landscape structure. The results will help improve our knowledge on landscape disease ecology, helping to delineate conservation and restoration strategies that favor both biodiversity conservation and the improvement of disease control regulation. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
PRIST, PAULA RIBEIRO; DE ANDREAZZI, CECILIA SILIANSKY; VIDAL, MARIANA MORAIS; ZAMBRANA-TORRELIO, CARLOS; DASZAK, PETER; CARVALHO, RAQUEL L.; TAMBOSI, LEANDRO REVERBERI. Promoting landscapes with a low zoonotic disease risk through forest restoration: The need for comprehensive guidelines. JOURNAL OF APPLIED ECOLOGY, v. N/A, p. 12-pg., . (22/07381-9, 22/02174-5)

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