Illegal marijuana farms destroy the environment, study finds


The effect of large farms on the flora and fauna of this country is well documented. What is less understood is how illegal cannabis farms are changing wildlife. That is changing, however, thanks to further study of the area. The discoveries are not great.

As Reverse Nature journalist Tara Yarlagadda has heard firsthand that these kinds of farms are ruining the wildlife and habitat they call home.

“A large majority of [weed farms] in California are still illegal and unauthorized, ”explained Greta Wengert, co-author of a new scientific article on the subject, in Yarlagadda. “Any trespassing on public lands and on large swathes of private ranches and forests will always be illegal – and harmful to our environment. There is no immediate sign of slowing down.

As Wengert accurately observes, the number of weed farms is unlikely to drop anytime soon. With the booming market and the increasing legalization of pot for medicinal and recreational purposes, the outlook is bleak without smarter regulation. America’s wild lands, already threatened by a mind-numbing number of sources, now face yet another intrusion: drug cartel farmers spraying pesticides and destroying natural habitats.

(If you want to learn more about illegal cultivation operations, our own Katie MacBride reported on the pesticides used there, while she was on a mission to Playboy in 2019. Just read it; A nice story.)

Read on to learn more about this critical story and more in this edition of Daily Reverse.

This is an adapted version of the Daily Reverse newsletter from Tuesday, September 7, 2021. Subscribe for free and earn rewards for reading every day in your inbox.

This stock photo of a cannabis farm is so horrible I love it – editor.Dejan Marjanovic / E + / Getty Images

Injured cannabis farm relies on wildlife – Tara Yarlagadda spoke with scientists who have identified areas where illegal cannabis farms and three endangered animals are likely to overlap in California and Oregon:

Greta Wengert, executive director of the Integral Ecology Research Center, was surprised by two specific findings related to her team’s examination of illegal cannabis farms in California and Oregon.

  1. The significant overlap between sites of illegal cannabis cultivation and the range of animal habitats.
  2. How many unknown culture sites scientists were able to detect

“I thought we could find one, two, maybe a handful,” Wengert said. Reverse. “The number we found compared to the small number of miles of waterway we traveled during the ground check was alarming.”

Despite a seemingly puzzling fact, this finding supports that cannabis in Oregon and California is legal for medical and recreational use.

Read the full story.

More stories about wildlife:

Hurricane Ida, as seen by NASA Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana as the Perseverance rover searched for new sampling targets, and scientists got a new look inside a functioning brain this week. This is your scientific journal of the week for the card story editor Bryan lawver:

See the full gallery.

Previous week in the science galleries:

This Shang-Chi illustration, created for Reverse, by artist John Lee.John lee

New life in Shang-Chi A Generation of Asian American Voices on the Internet Prepared a Population for Marvel’s Shang-Chi. How will their efforts fare in the face of a pandemic? This is the latest entry in a three-part series by a senior screenwriter Eric Francisco on the rise, fall and rebirth of the Marvel Comics hero, whose film premiered last weekend:

With the release of Marvel’s first Asian superhero film, Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings, the Asian online community has the blockbuster event film that it has been blogging and tweeting for decades. But the difficulties of an ongoing pandemic make this same generation of voices wonder if manufacturing history is enough to survive him.

Read the full story.

Go further:

El Tololo Astronomical Observatory in Chile in the largest observatory in the southern hemisphere.Richard T. Nowitz / The Image Bank / Getty Images

A telescope spots a strange galaxy – Passing Rabie reports that astronomers have captured a stunning view of the Centaurus A galaxy, using a dark energy camera from a telescope in Chile:

Galaxies are scattered across the universe, each with a unique signature appearance telling about their past. And now we have a picture of a bright, shiny galaxy in action.

Astronomers have pointed a dark energy telescope at a large, well-known galaxy, capturing its eerie shape in great detail. Centaurus A has shone in a stunning new image, revealing the galaxy’s collision with its galactic counterpart millions of years ago.

Read the full story.

Go further:

Actress Evan Rachel Wood (seen here in Westworld) marks an anniversary today.HBO

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