Study finds that illegal cannabis farms endanger wildlife – PennLive

The use of these sites' pesticides as well as their destruction of the animals' habitat are negatively impacting already-endangered species. (photo by Jeff W. via Unsplash)
A new study has found that illegal cannabis farms threaten the wildlife of the area in which the plant is cultivated.
Focusing on sites discovered in California and southern Oregon, the study lists three main already-endangered species which this illicit weed farming negatively effects and the greater implications of how it may harm the environment as a whole.
Published on the Public Library of Science’s PLOS One website, the study was led by Greta Wengert of the Integral Ecology Research Center in California. Together with a band of colleagues, Wengert was able to build cultivation site distribution models of nearly 1,500 illegal cannabis farms and note their environmental impact by observing the growth likelihood of three select species: the Pacific fisher, the Humboldt marten, and the northern spotted owl.
What they found was that these creatures—all of which are listed under the Endangered Species Act—are put at great risk due to the farm’s destruction of their habitats as well as their use of pesticides.
“Trespass cannabis cultivation seems to have increased rapidly in the western United States in the past decade, although this may be due to increased awareness of the issue rather than actual increase in trespass cultivation,” reads the study’s conclusion. “The sheer scope of the problem and the large amount of both legal and banned pesticides associated with them raises serious concerns about human safety, environmental damage, degradation of public lands, and poisoning of wildlife.”
Science Daily highlights how the authors affirm that finding and cleaning up such contaminated sites should a high priority for both conservationists and land managers.
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