Indigenous territories are considered important for conservation, but little is known about their role in maintaining human health. Here we quantified the potential human health and economic benefits of protecting these territories in the Brazilian Amazon, by using cardiovascular and respiratory diseases cases, pollutant and forest cover data. Between 2010 and 2019, 1.68 tons of Particulate Matter of small size (PM2.5) were released every year, with negative effects for human health. A lower number of infections was also found in municipalities with more forested areas, and with a low level of fragmentation, which probably is related to the potential capacity of the Amazon Forest to absorb PM2.5 (26,376.66 tons year−1, 27% of this absorption capacity in Indigenous territories). Our estimates indicate that by protecting Amazon Indigenous territories, over 15 million of respiratory and cardiovascular cases could be avoided every year, with ~$2 billion USD being saved only in health costs. © 2023, The Author(s).
Communications Earth and Environment
Priest, Paula R.; Sangermano, Florencia; Bailey, Allison; Bugni, Victoria; Villalobos-Segura, María del Carmen; Pimiento-Quiroga, Nataly; Daszak, Peter; and Zambrana-Torrelio, Carlos, "Protecting Brazilian Amazon Indigenous territories reduces atmospheric particulates and avoids associated health impacts and costs" (2023). Geography. 938.
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