The Ghosts of Development Past: Deforestation and Coca in Western Amazonia

For decades coca cultivation has been proposed as a cause of deforestation and attractor of migration to the forest frontier of western Amazonia. Evaluating the effects of coca cultivation has become a priority because averting deforestation has …

The Origins of Cocaine: Colonization and Failed Development in the Amazon Andes

The world drug problem and sustainable development

Illicit crop cultivation often occurs in forested areas and contributes to deforestation when it results in the clearing of woodland. Moreover, illicit crop cultivation frequently takes place in biodiversity hotspots hosting a large number of species …

Forests and Drugs: Coca-Driven Deforestation in Tropical Biodiversity Hotspots

Identifying drivers of deforestation in tropical biodiversity hotspots is critical to assess threats to particular ecosystems and species and proactively plan for conservation. We analyzed land cover change between 2002 and 2007 in the northern …

Illicit Crops and Armed Conflict as Constraints on Biodiversity Conservation in the Andes Region

Coca, once grown for local consumption in the Andes, is now produced for external markets, often in areas with armed conflict. Internationally financed eradication campaigns force traffickers and growers to constantly relocate, making drug-related activities a principal cause of forest loss. The impact on biodiversity is known only in general terms, and this article presents the first regional analysis to identify areas of special concern, using bird data as proxy. The aim of conserving all species may be significantly constrained in the Santa Marta and Perijá mountains, Darién, some parts of the Central Andes in Colombia, and between the middle Marañón and middle Huallaga valleys in Peru. Solutions to the problem must address the root causes: international drug markets, long-lasting armed conflict, and lack of alternative income for the rural poor.