Costa Rica Deforestation from Drug Trafficking has Minimal Impact

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    The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – Deforestation in Costa Rica from drug trafficking has not yet reached the levels of countries like Nicaragua, Guatemala or Honduras. However, there is a more significant history in regions such as the north or the Caribbean.

    A study by the American researcher Kendra Sweeny, called  “The Conservation Policy to Drugs: Narco-Deforestation”, constantly monitora criminal groups involved in drug trafficking who are cutting down the forests of Central America to develop their businesses. According to the report, the relationship between the movement of cocaine and lost forest cover has been increasing since 2004.

    “In the highlands of Talamanca, if marijuana is planted in places where it is already been used for agriculture and it is easier to spot. However, deforestation of this type is not as big a phenomenon in this country, as it is very hard to see here,” said an environmentalist, who declined to be identified.

    In previous years the presence of some illegal heliports which function as logistic facilities for drug organizations to move merchandise between South America and Central America have been reported. According to the study conducted by Sweeny, in 2005 the hectares cleared for drugs was50 square kilometers and increased to 150 km2 in 2011.

    The international investigation discovered in their study that owners of farms and lots in such areas prefer hand over control of the land to criminal groups in exchange for money.

    “When farmers, residents, oil palm growers, become involved in drug trafficking, they are emboldened, and significantly expand their activities,” Sweeny said in her analysis.

    In countries like Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras, some neighbors in local communities have noted that in recent years the problem has been aggravated by the presence of activities.

    “From about 2007, we started to see deforestation rates we had never seen there before, when we asked the locals why, they said drugs,” added the report.

    According to the researcher, police efforts are pushing traffickers to more remote areas.

    The Costa Rica News (TCRN)

    San Jose Costa Rica

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