Face it: we live in an avocado-obsessed world complete with toasts, pastas, smoothies, and, of course, guacamole. And this increased spotlight on the seeded fruit has created a sky-high demand. Without thinking twice, we're shelling out the higher price per avo as if a shortage doesn't even exist.
According to the Associated Press, Mexican farmers in the mountainous Michoachán region are, understandably, trying to capitalize on the extra cash possibilities by planting as many avocado trees as they can at the expense of the area's already flourishing natural forest. They're cutting down pine and fir trees to make room for future avocado orchards, and it's already causing major problems. In a 2010 statement on the issue, a translated excerpt of which can be found below, Greenpeace Mexico foreshadowed some of the potential problems ahead.
"Beyond the displacement of forests and the effects on water retention, the high use of agricultural chemicals and the large volumes of wood needed to pack and ship avocados are other factors that could have negative effects on the area's environment and the well-being of its inhabitants."
Yikes! Maybe it's time to consider an alternative. Sweet potato, perhaps? Read on for five fast facts about deforestation as a result of avocado demand straight from the AP. Then, discover more about the trendy produce.
- Because of a shortage in Mexico, avocado prices rose nearly 24 cents between January and July 2016, making it a more desirable crop to farm.
- When compared to a forest, an avocado orchard uses twice as much water.
- Farmers have chopped sections of the pine forest that houses the Michoachán region's monarch butterfly reserve to make room for avocado plants.
- According to a 2012 report from Mexico's National Institute for Forestry, Farming and Fisheries Research, increased avocado production and exports in the Michoachán region caused 1,700 acres of land loss.
- Mexican authorities have started to intervene more, which is reportedly slowing down the deforestation rate.