Deforestation In Mexico Driven By Illegal Avocado Farms

Agriculture Driving Global Deforestation

You might want to think twice about buying avocados the next time you’re at the grocery store. The delicious green fruit has become hugely popular in recent years, topping many a salad and burrito, not to mention its glorious transformation into guacamole, but unfortunately, the path avocados travel from Mexican groves to American mouths is not nearly as smooth as its texture.

Most avocados sold in the United States and Canada come from a region in western Mexico called Michoacán, that is responsible for 80 percent of avocados exported worldwide. Unfortunately, these avocados are a leading cause of deforestation in the country, according to an announcement made by the attorney general’s Office for Environmental Protection on Monday.

deforestation Mexico

Talia Coria, who heads the office’s division in Michoacán, said that nearly 50,000 acres of forest land are converted to agricultural uses each year in the state, and that between 30 and 40 percent of the annual forest loss is due to avocados, about 15,000 to 20,000 acres. (Previous deforestation, before avocados were so popular, happened at a much lower rate—around 1,700 acres per year between 2000 and 2010.)

Now that demand and prices of avocados are on the rise, however, growers are eager to do whatever they can to reap the benefits of avocado farming, even if it means destroying the lush forests that are so valuable to the region. 

Experts say a mature avocado orchard uses almost twice as much water as fairly dense forest, meaning less water reaches Michoacán’s legendary crystalline mountain streams on which trees and animals in the forests depend. Species like the monarch butterfly also rely on Michoacán forest as habitat, though Coria said there does not appear to have been damage to the monarch wintering grounds from avocado expansion yet.

monarch butterflies in Mexico forest

Unfortunately the state suffers from extreme poverty, and is notorious for its production of synthetic drugs. It is home to awful gang violence that led the Wall Street Journal in 2014 to suggest that avocados from the region are tainted, “blood avocados—the Mexican equivalent of the conflict diamonds that are sold from war-torn parts of Africa.”

Under these circumstances, it is difficult to imagine that environmental protection will take priority over survival in the minds of local farmers, but hopefully the attorney general’s announcement will generate greater concern and spur on important conversations.

rainforest conservation Latin America

Deforestation is responsible for about 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Deforestation also impairs the planet’s ability to absorb and store carbon dioxide. Agriculture, including beef, soy and palm oil, is the largest driver of deforestation around the world.

Deforestation News via http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/avocados-are-driving-deforestation-mexico.html

reforestation and climate change solution

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems. Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

Jaguars Gain Protection In Belize

Endangered Cat Losing Jungle Habitat

The future of the jaguar in Belize is looking brighter following the signing of a conservation agreement between the Government of Belize, the Environmental Research Institute of the University of Belize and the wild cat conservation organization Panthera.

It’s estimated that only about 15,000 jaguars remain in the wild today. As long as the forests of the Americas are cut for timber and agriculture, the jaguar remains threatened.

deforestation and jaguar conservation

The trio agreed to work together to implement science-based conservation initiatives that secure and connect jaguars and their habitats in Belize and beyond, facilitate land development that is both ecologically sustainable and economically profitable, and lesson human-jaguar conflict throughout the country.

The jaguar is the third-largest feline after the tiger and the lion, and the largest in the Western Hemisphere. Its decreasing population is primarily due to deforestation rates, human persecution and human-jaguar conflict, and is considered Near Threatened by the IUCN who now estimates it occupies just 46 per cent of its historic range.

Situated on the southern tip of Mexico and eastern border of Guatemala, Belize serves as an integral link connecting jaguars within these countries and all jaguar populations south of Belize.

Panthera CEO and jaguar scientist, Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, explained, “The signing of this historic agreement epitomizes conservation action & partnerships coming full circle.. This MOU now represents Panthera’s sixth jaguar conservation agreement with a Latin American government, and our team will continue to work, country by country, to build partnerships with all nations home to the jaguar, connecting and protecting the entire 18 nation mosaic that is the jaguar’s range.”

deforestation and climate change

The mighty jaguar once roamed from Argentina in South America all the way up to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Today, jaguars have been almost completely eliminated from the United States and are endangered throughout their range, which stretches down to Patagonia in South America. The jaguar makes its home in a wide-variety of habitats including deciduous forests, rain forests, swamps, pampas grasslands and mountain scrub areas.

Source: http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/jaguar-belize-321.html#cr

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, carbon capture, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems.

Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com