Central American tropical forests are beginning to disappear at an alarming rate, threatening the livelihood of indigenous peoples there and endangering some of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in North America.
The culprit? Cocaine.
The problem is not the cultivation of the coca plant – which is processed into cocaine – that is causing this “narco-deforestation.” It results from people throughout the spectrum of the drug trade purchasing enormous amounts of land to launder their illegal profits, researchers say.
Results of the study, which was funded by the Open Society Foundations and supported by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, have just been published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
Read more at Oregon State University