In 2016 Greenpeace warned that the growing demand of avocados in the international markets was leading to large scale deforestation. Unfortunately Greenpeace were right, and deforestation kept growing.
Most of the country’s avocado is produced in the states of Michoacan, Jalisco and Mexico. In the past decade, the number of avocado orchards has multiplied (by tenfolds in the case of Jalisco). Global Forest Watch data shows that forest clearing to establish avocado plantations has pushed into the boundaries of the Monarch Butterfly santuary.
According to research released by Reforestamos Mexico, there are no records of government Land Use authorizations for avocado in Michoacan after 2003. In 2017, 96 percent of inspections resulted in the discovery of illegal avocado orchards and in most of those cases, no penalty was issued.
Furthermore, avocado trees consume four to five times more water than the native fir and pine trees, jeopardizing water availability for humans in communities nearby. Though avocado trees are still trees, they sequester much less carbon than native species. A native pine captures four times more carbon dioxide per hectare than an avocado tree.
The largest importar of avocados is the U.S., where per-capita consumption has quadrupled in the last 20 years, driving much of this demand. The U.S. is now the largest importer of Mexican avocados.