We examine the effect of forest loss around the time of birth on infant mortality and the early childhood health of children in rural Nigeria. We find that forest loss leads to an increase in neonatal mortality – one standard deviation of forest loss is associated with a 9-15% increase in the likelihood of death within the first month of life. The mechanism linking forest loss to infant death is maternal exposure to malaria when the child is in utero. Such exposure also results in worse birth outcomes, proxied by lower weight-for-age and height-for-age of surviving infants.

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