Illegal Drug Trade in Latin America Hurting Precious Rainforests: Study

Illegal Drug Trade in Latin America Hurting Precious Rainforests: Study

A report published in journal Science this week reveals that illegal drug trade is resulting in deforestation in Central America at an increased rate than previously thought. The authors of the revelation say that there is an urgent need to take steps to save the rain forests.

Lead author Kendra McSweeny, a geographer from Ohio State University, says that rate of deforestation has increased by over four times from 2007 to 2011. As per a blog, forests in Eastern Nicaragua and Northern Guatemala are also vanishing at a faster rate.

McSweeney says, "We started seeing a pattern of deforestation at a pace that seemed unprecedented. We saw large areas of 100 to 500 hectares being cleared in a short amount of time". She added deforestation is a main problem in Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras, particularly in the lowlands of the Caribbean.

It is already known that drug growers are growing coca to make cocaine in field of the rain forests. But, now as reported by the scientists, the drug growers are even cutting down forests for the construction of roads and land strips so that they could easily distribution of their drugs.

For the sake of profits, drug traffickers even pay handsome amount to the officials in some cases so as to make them silent. By doing so, they can purchase land easily, clear of the trees grown in the area, cultivate their own plantations and ranches as fronts for drug money laundering.

Latin America is a famous place for drug traffickers because it is less densely populated and it becomes easier to smuggle drugs to the U. S. from where they are grown in South America.

To curb the above problem i. e. to save rain forests form getting depleted, the authors of the recently published article propose that a modification in U. S. drug policy is required that could perhaps involve legalizing illegal drugs.

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