Drug Market Leads to Destruction of Central American Forests

Geo Beats

by Geo Beats

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According to a new study from researchers at Ohio State University, the illegal drug industry in Central America, set up to provide for demand from the American market, is having a devastating effect on rain forests. Since authorities are targeting more traffickers in Mexico, the industry has shifted further south.


According to a new study from researchers at Ohio State University, the illegal drug industry in Central America, set up to provide for demand from the North American market, is having a devastating effect on rain forests.

Since authorities are targeting more traffickers in Mexico, the industry has shifted further south.

Forest clearing for new trade routes, logging and cattle farming, which are often fronts for drug money laundering, have led to four times more deforestation in the country of Honduras between the years 2007 to 2011, when cocaine distribution was also increasing in the area.

Kendra McSweeney, lead author of the study from Ohio State University said: “What we are seeing now is almost cancer-like growths of really rapid forest cover change … It is a different pattern that can only be explained by the presence of narco-traffickers.”

Government officials taking bribes and the lack of safety for conservationists in the area has allowed this trend to continue, and the authors of the study reportedly support drug legalization as a way of dealing with the root of the problem.