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Rare birds at risk as narco-gangs move into forests to evade capture – report

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Guardian or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: Cocaine consumption is threatening rare tropical birds as narco-traffickers move into remote forests in Central America, causing significant "narco-driven" deforestation
• A study published in Nature Sustainability reveals that two-thirds of key habitats for threatened birds in the region are at risk

🔭 The context: US drug policies over the past 40 years have inadvertently driven traffickers into biodiverse forests, where they create infrastructure and launder money through cattle pastures
• This displacement affects Indigenous populations and vulnerable species, with significant habitat destruction observed in Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The encroachment and deforestation caused by drug trafficking pose severe risks to both biodiversity and Indigenous communities
• Over half of Central America’s bird populations have declined since 1970, and essential habitats are being destroyed at alarming rates

⏭️ What's next: Researchers recommend strengthening local economies, resolving land tenure issues, and enhancing forest monitoring to combat narco-trafficking
• Empowering Indigenous groups to reclaim territorial control and govern resources is also crucial to mitigating environmental and social impacts

💬 One quote: “That displacement is causing them to go into forests that tend to have the greatest conservation value and are disproportionately occupied by Indigenous peoples." — Amanda Rodewald, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

📈 One stat: Up to 30% of the annual deforestation in Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala is attributed to cocaine trafficking alone

Click for more news covering the latest on biodiversity

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