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Conservation issue: Plantations

In this episode we'll learn:

  • Major conservation problems with planations
  • Cash crops of major concern
  • Where does your food really come from?



Part of the 'Biodiversity of Mexico' trip was to drive into rural areas of the countryside in an attempt to look for unique flora and fauna. When we did, we encountered something shocking. In those areas of tropical rainforest that we visited in Veracruz, we found large plantations of banana and other economic goods. While the area still looked green, it was not native forest, but instead a mono-culture of some food plant.

Our mission at Explore Biodiversity is to seek out unique areas of diversity, and this was an easy one. Agricultural lands decreased biological diversity and hence, our ability to document new organisms. It provided no home for howler monkeys, forest orchids, or rare jaguars. People do need to survive none the less. What is the key?

Clay Trauernicht was one member of our crew that was working in the small town of Los Tuxtlas to help them support sustainable harvesting of forest products. Instead of clear-cutting the forest, they have found that some plants grow better in areas of the forest that are not cut. While we were visiting clay and looking at his field site, we came across the howler monkeys. On the way back, two species of snake! It was amazing to see even the diversity of forest trees sustained. If more people began using a method like this, the world would be a better place.

Text by Rob Nelson

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