john simpson

Cocaine to Blame for Rain Forest Loss, Study Says

Blog Post created by john simpson on Feb 22, 2011

National Geographic (Washington D.C.: monthly  circulation 8 million)
"Cocaine to Blame for Rain Forest Loss, Study  Says"
February 18, 2011



Cocaine is destroying lives and tearing homes apart—and not simply  because of drug use. Farming coca, the plant used to make cocaine, has been  linked to rising deforestation rates in Colombian rain forests, a new study  says. What's more, ecologist Liliana M. Dávalos and colleagues have for the  first time quantified indirect deforestation tied to coca farming, such as  clearing land for growing food crops near coca plantations. "In southern  Colombia we found geographically that there is just more probability of losing  the forest close to [coca cultivation]," said Dávalos, of the State University  of New York in Stony Brook. "And the more coca around you, the more forest  you're likely to lose—the sheer amount of coca in the vicinity has an effect."  The new study, published January 11 in the journal Environmental Science  & Technology, charted the pace of Colombian deforestation from 2002  to 2007 using satellite land-cover maps created specifically to monitor illicit  crop growth.