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  1. Imai N, White MT, Ghani AC, Drakeley CJ
    PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 2014 Jul;8(7):e2978.
    PMID: 25058400 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0002978
    INTRODUCTION: Plasmodium knowlesi is now recognised as a leading cause of malaria in Malaysia. As humans come into increasing contact with the reservoir host (long-tailed macaques) as a consequence of deforestation, assessing the potential for a shift from zoonotic to sustained P. knowlesi transmission between humans is critical.

    METHODS: A multi-host, multi-site transmission model was developed, taking into account the three areas (forest, farm, and village) where transmission is thought to occur. Latin hypercube sampling of model parameters was used to identify parameter sets consistent with possible prevalence in macaques and humans inferred from observed data. We then explore the consequences of increasing human-macaque contact in the farm, the likely impact of rapid treatment, and the use of long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs) in preventing wider spread of this emerging infection.

    RESULTS: Identified model parameters were consistent with transmission being sustained by the macaques with spill over infections into the human population and with high overall basic reproduction numbers (up to 2267). The extent to which macaques forage in the farms had a non-linear relationship with human infection prevalence, the highest prevalence occurring when macaques forage in the farms but return frequently to the forest where they experience higher contact with vectors and hence sustain transmission. Only one of 1,046 parameter sets was consistent with sustained human-to-human transmission in the absence of macaques, although with a low human reproduction number (R(0H) = 1.04). Simulations showed LLINs and rapid treatment provide personal protection to humans with maximal estimated reductions in human prevalence of 42% and 95%, respectively.

    CONCLUSION: This model simulates conditions where P. knowlesi transmission may occur and the potential impact of control measures. Predictions suggest that conventional control measures are sufficient at reducing the risk of infection in humans, but they must be actively implemented if P. knowlesi is to be controlled.

  2. Imai N, Furukawa T, Tsujino R, Kitamura S, Yumoto T
    PLoS ONE, 2018;13(5):e0197391.
    PMID: 29763452 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0197391
    While many tropical countries are experiencing rapid deforestation, some have experienced forest transition (FT) from net deforestation to net reforestation. Numerous studies have identified causative factors of FT, among which forest scarcity has been considered as a prerequisite for FT. In fact, in SE Asia, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam, which experienced FT since 1990, exhibited a lower remaining forest area (30±8%) than the other five countries (68±6%, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, and Myanmar) where forest loss continues. In this study, we examined 1) the factors associated with forest scarcity, 2) the proximate and/or underlying factors that have driven forest area change, and 3) whether causative factors changed across FT phases (from deforestation to net forest gain) during 1980-2010 in the eight SE Asian countries. We used production of wood, food, and export-oriented food commodities as proximate causes and demographic, social, economic and environmental factors, as well as land-use efficiency, and wood and food trade as underlying causes that affect forest area change. Remaining forest area in 1990 was negatively correlated with population density and potential land area of lowland forests, while positively correlated with per capita wood production. This implies that countries rich in accessible and productive forests, and higher population pressures are the ones that have experienced forest scarcity, and eventually FT. Food production and agricultural input were negatively and positively correlated, respectively, with forest area change during 1980-2009. This indicates that more food production drives deforestation, but higher efficiency of agriculture is correlated with forest gain. We also found a U-shaped response of forest area change to social openness, suggesting that forest gain can be achieved in both open and closed countries, but deforestation might be accelerated in countries undergoing societal transition. These results indicate the importance of environmental, agricultural and social variables on forest area dynamics, and have important implications for predicting future tropical forest change.
  3. Imai N, Samejima H, Langner A, Ong RC, Kita S, Titin J, et al.
    PLoS ONE, 2009;4(12):e8267.
    PMID: 20011516 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008267
    Sustainable forest management (SFM), which has been recently introduced to tropical natural production forests, is beneficial in maintaining timber resources, but information about the co-benefits for biodiversity conservation and carbon sequestration is currently lacking.
  4. Slik JW, Arroyo-Rodríguez V, Aiba S, Alvarez-Loayza P, Alves LF, Ashton P, et al.
    Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 2015 Jun 16;112(24):7472-7.
    PMID: 26034279 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1423147112
    The high species richness of tropical forests has long been recognized, yet there remains substantial uncertainty regarding the actual number of tropical tree species. Using a pantropical tree inventory database from closed canopy forests, consisting of 657,630 trees belonging to 11,371 species, we use a fitted value of Fisher's alpha and an approximate pantropical stem total to estimate the minimum number of tropical forest tree species to fall between ∼ 40,000 and ∼ 53,000, i.e., at the high end of previous estimates. Contrary to common assumption, the Indo-Pacific region was found to be as species-rich as the Neotropics, with both regions having a minimum of ∼ 19,000-25,000 tree species. Continental Africa is relatively depauperate with a minimum of ∼ 4,500-6,000 tree species. Very few species are shared among the African, American, and the Indo-Pacific regions. We provide a methodological framework for estimating species richness in trees that may help refine species richness estimates of tree-dependent taxa.
  5. Slik JWF, Franklin J, Arroyo-Rodríguez V, Field R, Aguilar S, Aguirre N, et al.
    Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 2018 02 20;115(8):1837-1842.
    PMID: 29432167 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1714977115
    Knowledge about the biogeographic affinities of the world's tropical forests helps to better understand regional differences in forest structure, diversity, composition, and dynamics. Such understanding will enable anticipation of region-specific responses to global environmental change. Modern phylogenies, in combination with broad coverage of species inventory data, now allow for global biogeographic analyses that take species evolutionary distance into account. Here we present a classification of the world's tropical forests based on their phylogenetic similarity. We identify five principal floristic regions and their floristic relationships: (i) Indo-Pacific, (ii) Subtropical, (iii) African, (iv) American, and (v) Dry forests. Our results do not support the traditional neo- versus paleotropical forest division but instead separate the combined American and African forests from their Indo-Pacific counterparts. We also find indications for the existence of a global dry forest region, with representatives in America, Africa, Madagascar, and India. Additionally, a northern-hemisphere Subtropical forest region was identified with representatives in Asia and America, providing support for a link between Asian and American northern-hemisphere forests.
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