Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Deforestation and emerging diseases  By Laura H. Kahn, MD, MPH, MPP 15 February 2011 In the late 1990s a deadly new disease emerged from the tropical forests of Malaysia, spread by fruit bats whose natural habitat had been destroyed by deforestation. The Malaysian government was unprepared for this new disease and subsequently bore high costs from the outbreak, including more than 100 human lives lost as well as an economically devastating collapse of its pig-farming industry. Eventually, the new scourge was identified and named: the Nipah virus. Forests play a well-known, important role in protecting biodiversity and absorbing carbon dioxide emissions. A less-recognized fact is that maintaining forests can also protect human health by helping prevent the emergence of infectious diseases. … … please read more by clicking on the attachment or link below.