Photo: Life on the edge of the Amazon rainforest

For settlers living on the edge of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest, life is difficult. With the blessing of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, logging, mining and cattle breeding continue. But scientists say that these activities are related to the emergence of infectious diseases. As people demolish forests, they not only accelerate global warming, but also greatly increase their risk of exposure to disease.

There are approximately 1.6 million viruses lurking in mammals and birds, some of which are fatal when they fly to humans. If it proves that the virus can spread from person to person, then the stakes will become catastrophic.

For people living in settlements in the northeastern Amazonian state—thousands of informal communities in the world’s largest tropical rainforest—continuous logging will endanger not only the future of their children, but the future of the entire planet.

Scientists say that more epidemics like COVID-19 are happening, and the next epidemic is likely to occur when people are invading the natural world and eliminating themselves and the habitat that existed long before the shovel cut the earth. Between the buffer zone.

A man feeds a leaf to a sloth hanging upside down on a branch

A staff member of the Manaus Wildlife Research Institute is feeding a sloth that needs to be tested for pathogens. Veterinarians and researchers of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation constantly track the virus in the Amazon jungle.

(Louis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)

A woman stands in front of a bunch of green bananas

A woman inspects bananas at the Rumo Certo market, an informal settlement in the tropical rainforest about 3 hours’ drive north of Manaus. The rapid development of the area has replaced rain forests with highways, settlements and farms. “Every six months, a new community is born here,” said one settler.

(Louis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)

A person stood near the cleared land, where a small fire was burning.

A settler cleared a piece of land near the edge of the Amazon rainforest in Maruaga. Scientists say that bringing more people into closer contact with wild animals in the jungle will increase the risk of deadly viruses in humans.

(Louis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)

The ball flies close to the football goal

The inhabitants of Tumbila, Brazil, play football as the sun goes down.

(Louis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)

Primate looking out of the cage

At a wildlife research facility in Manaus, Brazil, a primate looks out of its cage, where it will be tested for pathogens. Hosts like monkeys can carry many viruses without getting sick, and when these viruses enter humans, they can cause outbreaks.

(Louis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)

A worker tends to cage primates

At a wildlife research facility in Manaus, Brazil, a worker looks after primates in cages.

(Louis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)

The supplier delivers the items in the bucket to the ship

The supplier is preparing to board a large riverboat docked in the port of Manaus. There is no road to Manaus, a city of 2 million people in northwestern Brazil. People come here to travel mainly by boat and airplane. It is a free import and export trade zone and the commercial, cultural and transportation center of the Amazon region.

(Louis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)

A man is standing next to a boat with fish for sale

Fishermen sell their catch in the port of Manaus, Brazil.

(Louis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)

Light blue, dark blue and white wooden crosses fill the cemetery scene

A worker at the Parque Taruma Cemetery in Manaus looks after the graves of pandemic victims. Few places are as severely affected by COVID-19 as this city of 2 million people in the middle of the Amazon jungle. Officials had to flatten part of the tropical rainforest to make room for the dead.

(Louis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)

Ocelot in the cage

Ocelot from the Wildlife Research Institute in Manaus, Brazil. The animals will be tested for pathogens.

(Louis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)

Villagers burn brushes

A villager burns brushes in Tungbila to make room for new tourist accommodation. A group of woodcutters and their families established this community several generations ago.

(Louis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)

One person wading through the waterfall of the creek

A tourist waded into the waterfall along a small stream called Igarape Mutum near Maruaga. As the Amazon forest continues to be deforested, some communities are exploring the possibility of attracting more tourists to the jungle.

(Louis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)

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