Coca role in deforestation downplayed in studies


For years, U.S. and Andean-nation policymakers have viewed the production of coca for cocaine as a major driver of deforestation in such countries as Bolivia, Colombia and Peru. In addition to citing coca’s role in drug addiction and the growth of criminal organizations, they have blamed its growers for clearing prodigious amounts land to bring ever-more acreage under cultivation, speeding species loss and contributing to global warming. Two recent studies, however, do not count coca as a principal driver of deforestation in the biodiverse western Amazon regions of Bolivia, Colombia and Peru where cultivation of the crop occurs. The prime causes of land clearing, they argue, have been colonization and road building begun in the 1960s to expand legal agriculture into the Amazon... [Log in to read more]

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