Webinar | Protect Forests to Prevent Pandemics

Deforestation has been linked to 30 percent of outbreaks of new and emerging diseases like Zika, Ebola, and COVID-19, in addition to being major contributors to climate change and air quality problems that exacerbate the spread and impact of these diseases on human health. Many of the world’s largest corporates, financiers, and regulatory agencies have declared that 2020 will be the key year for global action to stop deforestation. As the world scrambles to respond to the impacts of COVID-19 it is more critical than ever that efforts to protect forests continue as part of the global response.

This webinar (April 2020) brought together experts who spoke to the link between deforestation and pandemics, the value of nature-based solutions in preventing future pandemics, and the role of private sector and regulatory agencies in driving ambitious action to protect forests.


Glenn Hurowitz
CEO @Mighty Earth
Glenn is an accomplished environmental campaigner whose efforts have helped re-shape the industries driving ecological destruction. Working with allies, he successfully secured strict No Deforestation policies from the world’s largest agribusinesses, including companies that cover 90 percent of the global palm oil trade and, more recently, two of the world’s largest soy traders.
Hannah Mowat
Campaigns Coordinator @Fern
Hannah Mowat has over 10 years experience campaigning for stronger energy, climate and forest policies in European NGOs, and has published numerous reports and articles on finance and land rights, carbon trading, biodiversity offsetting, LULUCF and negative emissions. She previously worked at Friends of the Earth and the Munden Project, and lives in Paris.
Amy Vittor
Assistant Professor of Medicine @University of Florida
Dr. Amy Vittor is an Assistant Professor at University of Florida’s Emerging Pathogens Institute where she studies the interface between vector-borne disease and land use. At present, she works on South American eastern equine encephalitis and land use in the Darien region of Panama, and attends on the infectious diseases service at Shands hospital where she currently sees COVID-19 patients. Amy conducted her doctorate on malaria and deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon, showing that a strong positive association exists between the abundance of malaria vectors and anthropogenic land use change.