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TD NEREUS 06-2023

Forest Protection and Human Health: The Case of Malaria in the Brazilian Amazon

Luiza Karpavicius and Ariaster Chimeli


Ecosystem degradation and contact with wildlife is often linked to infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and malaria, a major cause of death and incapacitation worldwide. This paper investigates a quasi-experiment involving two forest protection policies for the Brazilian Amazon region and their consequences to malaria incidence. The first inadvertently increased forest degradation in part of the Amazon, whereas the second curbed deforestation in the entire region. Using actual malaria case data distributed across space and over 17 years, we estimate the causal link between deforestation and malaria. The results imply that effective forest protection reduced malaria incidence by over 50%.


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