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High Demand for Avocados Fuels Mass Deforestation in Mexico

By Fredrica Syren, a.k.a. Green mom:

Last week I wrote a post about the health benefits of avocados, then someone pointed out that this popular food causes lots of problems for the environment. I have to admit that, at first, I had no clue what he was talking about — but it peaked my curiosity. I was saddened by what I found: a food I so highly recommend is indeed linked to problems.avocado

The high demand for avocados is making Mexican farmers in the Michoachan Mountain area, where the majority of avocados are produced, plant as many avocado trees as they can in order to take advantage of the high demand for avocados and make some money. Of course it’s understandable that the farmers are just trying to make a good living, but unfortunately it means huge numbers of pine and fir trees are being cut down in the already flourishing natural forest to make room for more avocado orchards. The result is that, since 2012, 1700 acres of land have been lost annually according to a report by Mexico’s National Institute for Forestry, Farming and Fisheries.MEXICO-AGRICULTURE-AVOCADO

Unfortunately, deforestation is not the only problem resulting from the increased avocado production. Because avocado orchards demand almost twice the amount of water as fairly dense forests, a lot less water will reach the demands of a mature avocado orchard. The bottom line is that less water reaches crystalline mountain streams on which the forests and animals depend.

butterflyFurthermore, Michoacán’s forests also house monarch butterflies during the winter. Nature is not the only entity affected: Green Peace Mexico warns that along with a high production of avocados comes lots of agricultural chemicals as well as lots of wood needed to pack and ship avocados. All of this will have a negative effect for anyone living in and around the Michoacán Mountain area.

Mexican authorities are doing their best and are increasingly cracking down on farmers. This will slow down deforestation but not fast enough. The problem is that avocado farming is a lucrative business because the high demand is driving prices way up. And this makes preventing farmers from destroying the forests difficult.

About Green Mom

Fredrica Syren, the author and founder of Green-Mom.com, was born in Sweden. Her mother was a classically trained chef who introduced her to many eclectic flavors and skills at a young age. Her mom’s passion for the outdoors and gardening planted the seed for her own love of nature and healthy eating. She received a degree in journalism and has worked as a print, Internet and broadcasting journalist for many years with big businesses within Europe and the United States. After her mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she with pre-cancer, Fredrica changed her career to become a full time yoga teacher and activist. A longtime world traveler, foodie and career woman, she was exposed to many facets of life, but nothing inspired her more than becoming a mom. After her first-born, Fredrica began a food blog focusing on local, seasonal, organic & vegetarian dishes. Years of food blogging developed into the cookbook Yummy in My Tummy, Healthy Cooking for the Whole Family. Upon the arrival of her second child, Fredrica founded Green-Mom.com. Her vision was to establish a site providing insight about gardening, home and personal care, baby & child, and of course food & nutrition. Green-Mom.com hosts many talented writers shedding light on ways to incorporate eco-friendly and nutritious practices for busy families. She is an advocate for organic, local and sustainable businesses. Fredrica hopes to inspire social change through her lifestyle, passion and business. Fredrica lives with her husband James Harker-Syren and their three children in San Diego, CA.

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