Modelling human-environment interaction under the risk of zoonosis

Looking beyond the current COVID19 pandemic, many commentators raise the concern that unabated human exploitation of natural environments, in particular rain forests, may well exacerbate the risk of future pandemics. This is due to the transmission of pathogens from animal to human populations, a phenomenon called Zoonosis. While biologists have developed a good understanding of the processes underlying zoonosis, little is known from a population economic perspective. Such knowledge is important, however, for understanding and shaping the long-term consequences of future economic development. To this end, we model the interplay between animals, humans, and the ecological system. Specifically, we enrich a predator-prey model to model the risk of zoonoses and the development of such epidemics and their consequences for the relationship between humans and the eco-system. Here, we nest within the predator-prey model (where humans prey upon the natural environment for the purpose of economic development) the well-known (by know) Susceptible-Infected-Recovered (SIR) dynamics on the human side. We then study the dynamics for different types of viruses (depending on whether they can be eradicated or become endemic) and different effects of industrialization.