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I haven't done much research on deforestation but am wondering if anyone else has. Anyone aware of research done that indicates what percentage of important cacao regions have been lost in the last century and what regions are at most risk in the near future?

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I've only done a little bit. No numbers unfortunately. But there are two opinions on the topic that I've read....
The tropical forests are necessary to cacao because the trees need a lot of shade, and the interplanting of other species is vital towards the proliferation of cacao, especially the more delicate strains. Because of this, I would say that the areas that are at highest risk are those where criollo and trinidadio strains are grown; which also tend to be the same regions where rainforest can be found (or not found anymore, as the case may be), so Middle and South America, are my bets.. The beans grown in Africa are primarily the hardier forestero (forgive my spelling of the strains, I usually mangle them), which are much more sun tolerant and not as strongly affected by deforestation.

However, the growing demand for chocolate also creates a strong incentive to preserve tropical forests and rehabilitate land that might otherwise go to unproductive pasture for the cultivating cacao.



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