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United Nations Office on Drugs and


Crime
U NOD C Ev ery where

Environmental impact of coca cultivation and cocaine production


in the amazon region of Peru
Sections
ABSTRACT
Introduction
Coca and deforestation
Coca and soil erosion
Crop cultivation and water contamination
Basic cocaine paste and water contamination
Ecosystems and genetic resources
Conclusion

Details
Author:M.DOUROJEANNI
Pages:37to53
CreationDate:1992/01/01

Environmental impact of coca cultivation and cocaine production in


the amazon region of Peru *
M. DOUROJEANNI Professor, The National Agrarian University, Lima, Peru, and Chief of the
Environmental Protection Division, Inter-American Development Bank, Washington, D.C., United States of
America
ABSTRACT

Littleornothinghasbeenwrittenabouttheenvironmentalconsequencesofthecultivationofcocaandthe
productionofbasiccocainepaste.Nevertheless,thereismuchevidencethatbothactivitieshaveasevere
andirreparableimpactontheecosystemsinwhichtheyarecarriedout.Thischapterdescribesthe
situationinthePeruvianAmazon,discussestheconsequencesoftheseactivities,andrecommends
measurestoimprovecurrentconditions.

Introduction
ThegenusErythroxyloncontainscloseto250species,some200ofwhicharenativetothetropical
americas.However,onlytwoSouthAmericanspeciesaccountforallofthecultivatedcocaplants:E.coca
LamandE.novogranatense(Morris).Eachofthesespecieshastwovarieties:E.cocavar.coca,andE.
cocavar.iapduE.novogranatensevar.novogranatenseandE.novogranatensevar.truxillense[47].The
varietycocaiscultivatedintheUpperJungleofPeruthevarietyipadu(epadu)iscultivatedinBraziland,
toalesserextent,intheLowerJungleofPeru(Loreto).ThecocacropgrownalongthePeruviancoastisE.
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novogranatensevar.truxillense.In1964,thisvarietycovered160hectaresalongthecoastand650
hectaresinthesierra[13].TheothervarietyofE.novogranatenseiscultivatedinColombia.Before
Plowman'sclarifyingremarks[[45],[46]and[47]]therewassomeconfusionaboutthesevarieties,
andthisisreflectedintheworksofBues[[8]and[9]]andothers.Duringthelasttwodecades,
Machado[[28],[29],[30]and[31]]andFerreyraandTovar[24]havecarriedoutseveralbotanical
studiesonthegenusErythroxyloninPeru.Machado[29]identifiedfourcultivarsofE.coca.Inthesections
thatfollow,referencewillbemadeonlytothetwovarietiesofE.coca,especiallytoE.cocavar.coca,
whichwillbereferredtohenceforthascoca.
*This paper was first published by the Centro de Informacin y Educatin para la Prevencion del Abuso de Drogas
(CEDRO) in Frederico R. Len and Ramiro Castro de la Mata, eds., "Pasta bisica de cocaina: un estudio
multidisciplinario" ('Basic cocaine paste: a multidisciplinary study") (Lima, CEDRO, 1989). UNDCP wishes to
thank CEDRO for permission to reprint the article. It is the standard policy of the Bulletin on Narcotics to
publish only original works, but an exception was made in this case, as the paper is an authoritative and
detailed account of a region facing critical problems.

Inordertoevaluatetheecologicalimpactofcoca,somefamiliaritywiththeextensionandlocationofthe
cocafieldsisrequired.Unfortunately,besidessomeevidentfacts,availableinformationisscarceand
confusing.Whatisobviousisthatcocacultivationismanytimesgreaterthanofficialstatisticsshow,and
thatitisnowconcentratedinthedepartmentsofHuinucoandSanMartin,ratherthaninCuzco,which
waspreviouslythelargestcocaproducingregion.
In1964,thecropcovered16,360hectares,ofwhich9,230werelocatedinLaConvenci6nValleyinCuzco.
FollowinginimportancewasHunuco,with4,000hectares,LaLibertad,with940hectares,andAyacucho,
with850hectares[13].SanMartinwasnotincludedinthestatisticsatthetime.In1960,Cuzco
produced59percentofallcocainPeru[18].ThisdistributionwassimilartothatdescribedbyBuesin
1911[8]andwhichheandotherauthorsconfirmedin1935[38].However,someauthorswerealready
pointingoutthatthedepartmentofHunucohadbetterecologicalconditionsforcocacultivationthandid
Cuzco,andthatthecocaleafproducedtherewasofbetterqualitybecauseofitshigheralkaloidcontent
[38and57].
Untilaround1965,officialstatisticsoncocaproductioncoincidedwithreality.Afterwards,adivergence
developedthathascontinuedtogrowtoalmostcomicproportions.Nevertheless,in1979,theseofficial
statisticsdidrevealthedecreasingroleofCuzcoincocaproduction.Atthattime,only7,877hectareswere
plantedtococa,whileHunucohad5,320hectaresandSanMartin1,137hectares.In1979,ENACO
reportedonly17,916hectaresintheentirecountry[25].MalettaandMakhloufreported19,330hectares
ofcocain1981,basedonofficialestimates.
Thedistortionintheofficialinformationbecameevidentwhenothergovernmentdocuments[23]pointed
totheexistenceof12,000hectaresofcocajustintheareaoftheUpperHuallagaSpecialProject.Inthe
early1980s,AramburuandBedoya[3]reportedapproximately30,000hectaresofcocainHuallaga,two
thirdsofwhichwasplantedintheprojectarea.AccordingtotheFDN/USAIDstudy[23],theprincipal
cocaproducingareaswereTingoMara,UchizaandAucayacu.
Therefore,accordingtoofficialdatafromUnitedStatessources,theremighthavebeen150,000hectares
ofcocaplantedinPeru,70,000hectaresofwhichwerelocatedinthedepartmentsofHunucoandSan
Martin.Rumrrill[52]referredtoa1980reportofthePeruvianSenatethatrecognizedtheexistenceof
50,000hectaresofillegalcocacultivationinthecountry.Cortazar[15]indicatedthattherewere100,000
hectaresplantedtococainSanMartin(TocacheandUchiza).However,thedirectorsoftheFrentede
DefensadelosInteresesdelPueblodeTocachereportedin1986thattherewere195,000hectaresplanted
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tothiscropinUpperHuallaga[52].Marcelo[34]reportedestimates(fromunrevealedsources)of
40,500hectaresintheprovinceofLeoncioPrado(Monz6n,TingoMara,Aucayacu,LaMorado)andof
33,000hectaresintheprovincesofTocacheandMariscalCaceres.However,Marcelostatedthatthese
estimateswerelow,andoffered160,000asamorerealisticestimateoftheextensionofcocafieldsinthe
threeprovinces.Toaddtotheconfusionintheavailableliterature,theMinistryoftheInteriordeclaredin
1987that380,000hectaresofcocaexisted[13],althoughtheMinisterlaterrectifiedthisinformation.
Fromtheinformationmentionedabove,whichcertainlydoesnotincludealltheliteratureonthissubject,it
ishighlyprobablethatatleast150,000hectaresandpossiblyasmuchas380,000hectaresofcocaexistin
thecountry.Themostprobableestimateismorethan200,000hectares.Thisfigurecoincideswiththe
resultsofasurfaceareaevaluationoflegalandillegalcocaproduction.Thelack(orconcealment)of
preciseinformationissurprisingforsuchanimportanttopic,evenmoresobecauseobtainingitis
technicallysimple,giventheavailabilityofsophisticatedremotesensingequipment.
Ifarealisticestimateisabout200,000hectares,thismeansthattheillegalcultivationofcocaisalmost10
timesgreaterthanisthelegal,andthatitisbyfarthemostwidelygrowncropinthePeruvianAmazon
region.AccordingtoofficialstatisticscompiledbyMalettaandMakhlouf[32],intheearly1980sthere
were160,000hectaresofcorn,62,700hectaresofbanana,and44,500hectaresofriceplantedinthe
PeruvianAmazon.Whiletheauthorofthepresentworkbelievesthesefiguresaretoolow[201,thepre
eminentroleofcocaisobvious.Malettaandothers[42]reportedtheexistenceinthejungleof666,668
cultivatedhectares,dividedasfollows:permanentcrops(223,976hectares)transitorycrops(270,219
hectares)pasture(172,243hectares)andreforestedland(230hectares).Illegalcocaproduction
representscloseto30percentofthecultivatedlandandisequivalentto80percentofpermanentlegal
cropsintheregion.

CocaAndDeforestation
Thefirstandmostobviousimpactofsuchwidespreadcocacultivationisthedeforestationofseveral
hundredthousandsofhectares,mostofwhicharelocatedinareasunfitforagriculture.Thedeforested
areasinclude:landcurrentlyplantedtococa(morethan200,000hectares)landusedbythecoca
producersforsubsistencefarming,wheretheyplantmanioc,bananas,cornandothercropslandthatis
abandonedaftersoilbecomesinfertilelanddeforestedbythepeasantswholeavetheareasdominatedby
drugtraffickersandterroristslanddeforestedbythecocaproducerswhoaredispersedasaresultof
politicalviolenceandlandonwhichlandingstrips(ofwhichmorethan100existatanyonetime),
laboratoriesandcampsitesarebuilt.BasedondetailedstudiesoflanduseinUpperHuallaga,suchas
thosebyAramburuandBedoya[3],Aramburu[2]andBedoya[6]and[7],amongothers,itcanbe
safetyassumedthatintheAmazonregion,deforestationresultingdirectlyandindirectlyfromcoca
cultivationhasreachedcloseto700,000hectaressincetheearly1970s,whencocaproductionincreased
significantly.
Ifthisfigureisaccurate,thencocaaloneisresponsiblefor10percentofthetotalaccumulated
deforestationinthetwentiethcenturyinthePeruvianAmazon.Totaldeforestationintheregioniscurrently
estimatedatsome7millionhectares,accordingtoMalleux[33],Dance[16]andDourojeanni[20]and[
21].Sincethe1970s,cocaproductionhasplayedanincreasinglysignificantroleinlanddeforestation.
Deforestation,especiallyinprotectedlandsandthoseappropriateforforests,hassevereenvironmental
repercussions,including:thelossofsoilthroughinsidiousorviolenterosionextinctionofgenetic
resourcesalterationofthehydrologicsystemincreasedfloodingreductioninhydropowerpotential
difficultiesinwatertransportreductioninhydrobiologicalpotentialandlackofwood,timber,foodetc.
Thealmostmandatoryburningofthedebrisleftbydeforestationbringswithitotherproblems,suchasair
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pollution,topsoildeteriorationandthelossofsoilnutrients.
Earlyauthors[38]and[57]whodescribedtheagronomicaspectsofcocahadalreadyrecognizedthatthe
landspreferredforcultivationwerepreciselythosethathadbeenrecentlydeforested.Thispreferencewas
duetothegreaternaturalfertilityofdeforestedlandanditsabsenceofundergrowth,amongother
reasons.

CocaAndSoilErosion
Initsfirstpublishedreport,theAgriculturalExperimentStationofTingoMaria[43]stated:"Althoughthe
methodofcocacultivationhasdisastrouseffectsonthesoil,comparabletothoseithasonhumans,
cultivationisquiteextensivebecausecocaisthepermanentcropthatprovidesthemosteconomicbenefits
intheregion".Foratleastfourdecades,then,theimpactofcocacultivationonthesoilhasbeen
recognized.Morerecently,Tosi[56],Rios[49]and[50],Penaherrera[41]andSanchez[53],among
others,voicedsimilarconcerns.
Thehighlyerosivecharacterofcocaisduetotheecologicalzonesinwhichitisplanted,andcurrent
cultivationpractices.CocaiscultivatedinzonesthatTosi[56]describesashumid,subtropicalforestand
extremelyhumidsubtropicalforest,amongothers,locatedbetween700and2,000metresabovesealevel.
ThesezonescorrespondtotheareaknownastheUpperJungle,althoughcocaalsoisfrequentlygrownin
theconditionsofthehigherelevationjungles("cejadeselva").Theoptimalaltitudeforcultivationis
between1,000and1,200metresabovesealevel,whereplantshaveahighercocainecontent[35],and
whererainfalllevelsvarybetween1,000and4,200millimetresannually,withaveragesfarexceeding
2,000millimetres.Roughterrainandsteepslopesdominatethisregion.Steepslopesarepreferredby
growersbecausetheyprovidegooddrainage[35]and[57].Currently,cocaisfounduptothePadre
AbadForest,locateddeepinthesubtropicalrainforest.Thisforesthasanannualrainfallof6,000
millimetres.Ecologically,cocaislocatedinsomeofthecountry'smostfragilezones,severalofwhich
containtheleastarablelandsinthecountrybecauseoftheirhighlevelsoferosion.
Cocacultivationpracticesalsoencourageerosion.Preferredsoilsinclude:thosecomposedofsandyclay,
withgooddrainagesoillocatedonslopesofatleast45,alsotofacilitatedrainageandthoserecently
slashedandburned,inotherwords,strippedofallprotectivevegetation[8],[9],[19],[35],[37]
and[57].Inaddition,cultivationrequiresintensiveweedingandtillage,whicharedoneafterevery
harvest,orthreetosixtimesayear.Weedingisperformedbyclimbingtheslope,clearingthevegetation
withashovelorpickaxesandthendraggingthecutplants,alongwithpartoftheloosesoil,downthe
slope[9],[17],[36],[38]and[57].Insomecases,thetop15centimetresofsoilisremoved[38].
Itisinthiswaythatthesoilinthecocafieldsbecomesstrippedfromtheimpactofrain.Theerodedsoil
quicklyturnsintofurrowsanddeepditches.Althoughcocaiscultivatedinwells,thehittingupcancelsout
theantierosiveeffectsofthewells.
Anothercauseoferosion,whichcombineswiththatdescribedabove,isthefrequencyoftheharveststhat
areactuallynothingmorethanadefoliationthatfurtherexposesthesoiltoraindropsandtoaeolian
erosionduringthedryseason.Normally,therearefourharvestsannually(seepreviouslycitedauthors).
ThenumberoffactorsthatcombinetomakecocathemostenvironmentallydangerouscropinPeruistruly
astounding.Asummaryofthesefactorsisshownintable1.

Table1.Summaryofthecharacteristicsofcocacultivationthatcontributeto
erosivity
Factororcharacteristic

Implication

Ecologically,themostfragileregionofthe
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Ecosystems:highaltitudejungle('"cejadeselva")andUpperJungle

jungle

Altitude:.7002,000metres.abovesealevel

Highlyerosivesoils

Topographyveryrough

Highlyerosivesoils

Rainfall:1,0004,000millimetresperyearx=2,000millimetresper
year

Morerain,moreerosivity

Plantingon45slopes

Withgreaterslopes,higherosivity

Preferenceforsandyclaysoils

Moreerosiononslopescontainingclaysoils

Recentlydeforestedsoilsandburnedvegetation

Burningfavourserosion

Plantingwithoutterraces,inshallowwellsandinthedirectionofthe
slope

Favourserosion

Soilscrapingtoeliminateundergrowth,4to6timesayear

Directimpactofrainandnoobstaclesto
erosion

Defoliation(harvest),4to6timesayear

Directimpactofrain

Eliminationofundergrowthanddefoliationsimultaneously

Combinationofpreviousfactors

Abandonmentofpracticeofusingshadetrees

Directimpactofrain

Removaloftopsoilwith

Loosesoil,easilyeroded

Sources:Seetext.
Additionalinformationonthissubjectdescribesdifferencesincurrentandpastpractices.Severalauthors[
19],[38]and[57]havestatedthatcocawascultivatedindeepwells,inwhichtheplantlets(eithersown
ortransplanted)wereplacedinsoilthatdidnotreachthelevelofthewell.Forexample,inHunuco,wells
measured25centimetreswide,by30centimetreslong,by80centimetresdeep.Thesewerelocatedin
rowsthatfollowedthelineofthesteepestslope,with60centimetresbetweenwellsand1.0metre
betweenrows,inordertofacilitatescrapingandweedingandtokeepthewellsfromfillingwithsoilincase
ofheavyrains[57].Priortothecocaplanting,anothercropwasplanted,usuallymanioc,butsometimes
cassavaorcorn,forthepurposeofprovidingshadeforthecocaduringthefirstmonthsofgrowth[9],[
35],[38]and[57].Thispractice,whichcontinuestoday,alsoreducedinitialerosion.Additionally,it
seemsthatcocawasusuallyplantedbeneaththeshadeoftheblackwhitepacae(Ingaspp.),whichwere
plantedinquincunx[35]35and[57].Thismethodwaslaterusedforplantingcoffeetrees.
Traditionally,inLaConvenci6nValleyandalongthecoastandotherlocations,cocawasfrequentlyplanted
onflatlandandevenirrigated[9]9and[38].ThereismuchevidencethatinpreHispanictimes,coca
wascultivatedinwellconstructedstoneterraces.Thiswasarelativelycommonpracticeuntilthebeginning
ofthetwentiethcentury,asDelaGuerra[18]andPez[38],amongothers,havepointedout.Pez
reportedthatsteps,terraces,or"tacamas"wereconstructedmeasuring40centimetreswideby80
centimetreshigh,followingtheslope.Thesameauthorpointsoutthatthispracticealsooccurredin
Bolivia.Recentverbalandwrittendata[55]confirmedthattheseterracesarestillfoundinBoliviaandin
Sandia,insouthernPeru,andthattheoldestcocafieldsofMonzn,inHunuco,stillshowsignsofthis
practice.Theuseofterraces,deepwells,cropsassociatedwiththeinitialphaseofgrowth,andshade
trees,demonstratethatintimespastthereexistedknowledgeoftheerosivecharacterofthecocacrop
andthatmeasuresweretakentoavoiderosion.
Theunscrupulousmodernmethodsofcocaplantingearncocatheepithet'.theAttilaoftropicalagriculture'
[49].Noothercropexiststhatprovokessuchwidespreaderosions.Toinsidiouserosions,estimatedat
leastat300tonnesperhectareperyear[50],areaddedviolenterosiveprocessesthatculminatein
catastrophes.RockandmudslidesintheUpperJunglehavecausedthousandsofdeaths.Theworstof
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thesecatastrophesoccurredintheChontayacuRivervalleyinJanuary1982,andhasbeendescribedby
Penaherrera[41].Thesephenomenaalsodestroythemostfertilelandanddiverseinfrastructurethey
blocktransportroutes,causingenormouslossesinperishableproducts,andtheycauseseverewater
contamination.

CropCultivationAndWaterContamination
Thecocaplantcompeteswithundergrowthfornutrientsandissubjecttoseveralplaguesanddiseases,
whichmayrequirebiocidestocontrol.Inaddition,likeanyothercrop,cocamayneedfertilization.The
applicationofbiocides(inthiscaseherbicides,pesticidesorfungicides)isalwaysharmfultothe
environment,whethertoagreaterorlesserdegree.Theapplicationoffertilizersalsohasanegative
impactontheenvironment.Inthecaseofcoca,thesesubstancesareusedexcessivelybecauseofthehigh
profitabilityofthecropsandfarmerignoranceoftheproblemsassociatedwiththeiruse.
Whiletraditionalcultivationpracticescallfortheuseoftoolstoremoveundergrowth,modernfarmersuse
herbicidestoperformthistask.Someofthecommerciallypreparedherbicidescontainchlorophen
oxiacete,whichcauseseffectssimilartothoseoftheagentorangeherbicideusedduringtheVietNam
conflict.ThelethaleffectsofchlorophenoxiacetebecameevidentrecentlyinBrazil,whenahugenumberof
fishdiedintheMatoGrossoswampland[39].
Cocahasphytosanitaryproblemsbeginningintheinitialgrowthstages,whenitisattackedbymole
crickets(Gryllotalpaspp.),crickets(Gryllusspp.),beetlelarvae(Ancistrosomaandothers),andfungi
(Rhizoctonia,Fusarium,Pythium).Inlaterdevelopmentalstages,thecropisaffectedbyfoliagedevouring
insectssuchasleafcuttingants(Attacephalotes,A.sexdens,Acromyrmexhispidus),leafworms(Pieris,
Elorianoyesi,Eucleodoracocae)andredspiders(Tetranychus),andbydiversehomopterousinsectsthat
sucktheplantsap(Aspidiotus,Lecanium,Lepidosaphes,Coccushesperidum,Pseudococcus,Saissetia
coffeae,Tachardiellagemmifera).Plantstalksmaybeattackedbylarvaeofcerambycides
(Trachyderes).Thereisabundantliteratureontheseproblems,whichhavelongbeenconsideredserious[[
1],[4],[5],[9],[18],[38],[44],[58]and59.Plaguesofleafcaterpillars,especiallyEloria
noyes,arealsoprevalent,particularlyinHunuco.Theseplagueswerepreviouslycontrolledbyapplying
arsenates,whichprovedquitedangerousforanyoneaccustomedtochewingcocaleaves.Thecocafoliage
isalsoaffectedbyfungusdiseasessuchas"witch'sbroom"andStibellaflavida,Uredoerythroxili,and
Hypochnusrubrocinctus[9],[11],[18]and[57].
Asfarasthisauthorisinformed,mostoftheagrotoxinsandfertilizersusedinUpperHuallagaareapplied
inthecocafields.Farmerstrytoobtainlargeryieldsbyapplyingthesesubstancesinsuchlargequantities
astoreachthevisiblelimitsofphytotoxicity.ThecommercialagrochemicalsknownasTiodan,Malation,
SevidanandTamaronarecommonlyusedbutthereareothers.Alsousedarefoliarfertilizersandsynthetic
radiclefertilizersavailablenationally.Allofthesesubstancesreachthesoilandendupintherivers,where
theyaffectmarinelifetoadegreeasyetunknown.Thesubstancesthatarenotwashedawayremainon
thefoliagethatisusedinthepreparationofbasicpaste.

BasicCocainePasteAndWaterContamination
Theimpactontheenvironmentofthepreparationofbasiccocainepasteisincomparablygreaterthanthat
ofagrochemicals.Duringtheprocess,air,soilandwaterarecontaminated.Smokepollutestheairwhen
thecocaleavesaredriedinwoodburningstoves,thewoodforwhichisobtainedfromthefewforeststhat
remain.AccordingtoRos[49],theabsurdityinthisisthatfarmersthrowouttheashresiduefromthe
stovesandthenpurchasecommercialfertilizers.
Soilerosion,whichwashestonnesofsedimentintotherivers,isanimportantsourceofcontaminationwith
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severerepercussionsformarinelife.Butmostofthecontaminationofthesoilandespeciallythewateris
producedduringtheprocessingoftheleavestoextractalkaloids.AccordingtoVila[57],in1935,
sulphuricacid,carbide,andkerosenewereused.Siegel[54]reportsthatinColombia,alcohol,benzene,
andsulphuricacidareusedinaprocessthatiscompletedwiththeadditionofsodiumcarbonateto
precipitatetheraworbasecocaine.AccordingtoMarcelo[34],theprocedurefollowedinUpperHuallaga
involvestwosteps,whichhereferstoasmacerationandcleansing/pressing.Macerationisperformed
using18litresofkerosene,10litresofsulphuricacid,5kilogramsofquicklime,Ikilogramofcarbide,and
5kilogramsoftoiletpaperforevery120kilogramsofcocaleaf.Forthecleansingandpressing,processors
use11litresofacetoneand11litreoftoluolforeachkilogramofbasicpasteproduced.
Marcelo[34],usingtheaboveinformationandhisownestimatesofcocaleafproductionforbasiccocaine
pasteinUpperHuallaga,cameupwithaninterestingcalculationofthevolumeofcontaminantsdumpedin
thewatersoftheHuallagabasin.Onthebasisofanaverageproductionof2,400kilogramsperhectareper
yearofdriedleafandof160,000hectaresofcocain1986,Marcelocalculatedthattheproductionofpaste
thatyearwasapproximately6,400tonnes.Accordingtohiscalculations,thismeantthatin1986,57
millionlitresofkerosene,32millionlitresofsulphuricacid,16,000tonnesofquicklime,3,200tonnesof
carbide,16,000tonnesoftoiletpaper,6,400,000litresofacetoneandanequalamountoftoluenewere
dumpedintotherivers.EvenifMarcelo'scalculationisdisputed,thefiguresaresooverwhelmingthattheir
significancecannotbeignored.Whatisworse,severalsources,includingsometelevisionprogrammes,
revealthatmacerationisdoneinpoolsandstreamlets.The25July1987editionofthenewspaperEl
ComerciocontainedafrontpageinterviewwiththemayorofJuanju,whodenouncedthecontaminationof
theHuallagaRiverwithsulphuricacid,aceticacid,ammoniaandothersubstancesusedinthepreparation
ofbasicpaste.Thesesubstanceshadbeenconfiscatedbythepoliceinantidrugtraffickingoperations.
Theordertodumpthesesubstancesintherivercamefromajudicialauthority,revealingtheinhabitants'
profoundlackofawarenessoftherisksofcontamination.
Kerosene,althoughmoderatelytoxic,severelyaffectsthebiologyofwaterfloraandfauna,especiallyof
plankton.Inaddition,itreducestheoxygensupply.Sulphuricacidisextremelydangerous,asareallthe
othersubstancesthataredumped,suchascarbide,calciumcarbonate,acetoneandammonia.Noteven
thetoiletpaperisinnocuous.EnteringthroughtheupperpartoftheHuallagaBasin,itaffectsthefood
chaininthelowerpartsoftheBasinandbeyond.Manyunsuspectedcompoundsandrecombinationsof
thesesubstancesareconcentratedincertainmarineorganisms,andundoubtedlynowreachhumans.
Becauseofthedumpingofagrochemicals,fewerfishareavailable,manyfishareunfitforconsumption,
andthequalityofpotableandirrigationwaterhasbeenlowered.Fromthisinformation,itmaybeassumed
thatmanyofthegorgesandrivuletsoftheupperBasinhavealreadybeencompletelysterilized.Marcelo[
34]madenoteofthis,mentioningthatthekillingofsmallfish(Bryconamericus,Ancistrus,Pygidium)is
alreadyvisible,asisthatofthecrustaceans,amphibiansandevenoftheplantsalongtheriverbank.He
alsopointstotheunusualproliferationof"sorropa"algae(Cladophora).Althoughthesealgaeserveasfish
food,theiroverabundancecanlowertheavailabilityofoxygenforotherspecies.Thisisprobablya
consequenceoftheexcessiveapplicationoffertilizers.Forallofthesereasons,theproblemofwater
contaminationintheHuallagaBasindemandsurgentstudy.

EcosystemsAndGeneticResources
Thissubjectwasmentionedinthesectionondeforestation.Itshouldnowbepointedoutthattheregionof
Peruwherecocacultivationoccursistheareaofthegreatestgeneticdiversityinthecountry.Thehigher
altitudejungle("cejadeselva")andtheUpperJunglepossessahighgradeofendemisms,fruitsofthe
speciationprovokedbytheroughterrainandpeculiarclimaticcharacteristicsoftheregion.Mostofthe
approximately7millionhectaresthathavebeendeforestedduringthiscenturyinthePeruvianAmazon
correspondpreciselytothisregion[20].Cocacultivation,asshownabove,hasplayedanimportantrole
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inthisprocessofdeteriorationoftheenvironment,andthereforeintheextinctionofanincalculable
numberofspeciesofjunglefloraandfaunawhichhavebeenbrutallydeprivedoftheirnaturalecosystems.
Insomecases,theecosystemsofmarinefloraandfaunahavebeensoalteredthatmanycannolonger
supportlife.
Unfortunately,theproblemisnotlimitedtodeforestation.Thecocaproducingzonesarelandswithout
laws,whereeveryonedoeswhathecanandwantsto.Intheseareas,theexploitationoftheforests,game
andfishingiscompletelyanarchistic.Publicofficialshavenoaccesstothearea.Thefewprotectedareas
establishedtoconserverepresentativesamplesoftheecosystemanditsgeneticdiversityareunableto
developandaresometimesinvadedbythecocaproducersanddrugtraffickers.Themostpatheticcaseis
thatofTingoMariaNationalPark.By1972,mostoftheParkhadbeeninvadedbycocaproducers.Inthis
Park,DourojeanniandTovar[22]discoveredthatthe"guachara"(Steatorniscaripensis),aspeciesin
dangerofextinction,hadbeguntofeedoncocafruitsbecauselittleotherfoodwasavailable.Inasimilar
case,ElComercioof30August1985reportedtheexistenceof"cocainehoney",producedbythebeesof
theAltoChicamaRiverthatwerefeedingoffcocaflowers.Thereareincreasinglysevereproblemsinthe
lowerpartoftherecentlycreatedAbiseoNationalPark,inthedepartmentofSanMartn,andmanyother
protectedareasmaybeexperiencingsimilarproblems.ParticularattentionshouldbepaidtoManuNational
Park(MadredeDiosandCuzco)andYanachagaChemellen(Pasco)NationalPark.Table2liststhe
conservationunitsaffectedorliabletotoheaffectedbycocacultivation.

Table2.Conservationunitsandforestareasbelievedtobeunderactualorpotential
pressurefromcocaproducersanddrugtraffickers
size(thousand
hectares)

Unitsorareas

Nationaparks

Location

18

TingoMaria

Status

LeoncioPrado(Huinueo)

Completely
invaded

Abiseo

274 MatiscalCaceres(SanMartin)

Partiallyinvaded

Cutervo

2.5 Cutervo(Cajamarca)

Probablyinvaded

YanachagaChemillen

122 Oxapampa(Pasco)

Possibleinvasion

Manu
Conservationunitsin
progress

1533 Manu(MadredeDios)andPaucartambo(Cuzco)

Cutibireni
SiraSanCarlos
Nationalforests
VonHumboldt

Possibleinvasion

300 JuninandCuzco

Partiallyinvaded

1000 UcayaliandJunin

Possibleinvasion

645 CoronelPortillo(Ucayali)andPachitea(Huanuco)

Initialinvasion

BiaboCordilleraAzul

2084 MariscalCaceres(SanMartin)andCoronelPortillo
(Ucayali)

Possibleinvasion

Apurimac

2072 Satipo(Junin)andLaConvencion(Cuzco)

Initialinvasion

Sources:Diverse personal communications received and observations made by author.

Atleasttwonationalforestshavebeenpartiallyinvadedbycocaproducers:AlexanderVonHumboldtPark
(UcayaliandHunuco)andApurimacPark(JunnandCuzco).Theinvasionoftheformerresultedfromthe
constructionoftheVonHumboldtConstituci6nsectionoftheMarginalRoad.Otherparksalsohave
probablybeeninvaded,inparticulartheBiavoCordilleraAzulPark(SanMartnandLoreto).Police
operationsintheregionandtheconstructionbythegovernmentandthetimbercompaniesofnewroads
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dispersethecocaproducersthroughoutthePeruvianAmazon.Theirpresencealongthenewsectionsofthe
MarginalRoadismassiveandpointstotheneedformoreprudencewithsuchworksinthefuture.The
cocaplantisadaptingtoloweraltitudes,wherethealkaloidcontentofitsleaveswillbelower.Thisfactwill
onlyservetocontributetotheincreaseddeforestationoflargerareas.Cocafieldsareincreasinglybeing
plantedunderuntrimmed"montereal"trees,toavoiddetectionfromtheair.

Conclusion
Theobjectiveofthisworkhasbeentodemonstratethatcocacultivationandcocaineproductionhave
manyotherconsequencesinadditiontothosethateveryoneis,orisconsideredtobe,familiarwith.In
reality,theseactivitieshavesuchasevereimpactthattheydeserveimmediatestudy.Immediate
measuresshouldalsobetakentomitigatesomeofthenegativeconsequencesoftheseactivities.Some
possiblemeasuresmightinclude:limitingthesaleandcontrollingthetransportofsulphuricacidandother
chemicalproductsrequiredforthepreparationofbasicpastecarefullyplanningpoliceoperationstoavoid
thepossibilitythattheStatemightbecomeresponsibleforthedispersionofthecocaproducersanddrug
traffickersthroughouttheAmazonregiondeclaringamoratoriumontheconstructionofnewroadsinthe
jungle,whichmainlyservetoattractcocaproducers,therebyavoidingStatefinancingoftheexpansionof
illegalcultivationincreasingthesmallbudgetsofthenationalparksandotherprotectedareas,aswellas
thoseofthenationalforests,sothattheirdevelopmentwillbetheirdefenceagainstthecocaproducers
betterplanningoftheexploitationofforestlandssothatroadsbuilttheredonotcontributetothe
expansionofillegalcocacultivation.
Fromtheenvironmentalpointofview,cropsubstitutionishighlydesirableandconcretetechnicalproposals
forthispurposehavebeenmade[10],[12],[40]and[49].Thesubjecthasalsobeenaddressedin
Bolivia[51].Nevertheless,intheproposalsmadebytheseauthors,aswellasinthosedevelopedwitha
moreeconomicemphasis[26],attentiontotheforest,tourist,andgeneticresourcepotentialofthe
regionislacking.Despiteitstechnicalandeconomicviability,cropsubstitutionappearstobeanimpossible
optionwithoutthesupportofastrongandefficientState.Forreasonsthatwillnotbementionedhere,this
isalsotrueoferadication,whichintechnicaltermsatleastisarelativelysimpleprocedure.
TheabsurdityofthecurrentsituationinPeruisthat,ashasbeenshown,cocacanbewellcultivated,with
goodyieldsandwithoutproducingnaturaldisasters.Thetechnologyfortheseproductionmethodsexists,
andtheyhavebeenpracticedforcenturies,perhapsformorethanamillennium.Today,however,the
mythologicalcocahasbecomeasymbolofdestructionanddeath.

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