Anthropology

Harvested to make ecstasy, Cambodia’s trees are felled one by one

The pulse of dance-club music plays like a jungle beat, as thumping bass notes flirt with flashing lights, liquor and ecstasy of the pharmaceutical kind. Miles and miles away, a little-known multi-billion dollar battle is playing out in the remote wilderness of Cambodia

There is a growing, and perhaps just as deadly, price being paid by the local environment. Trees containing the viscous, fragrant, safrole oil are felled during the manufacturing process. Their oil-rich roots are mechanically shredded and boiled in large cauldrons. The resulting mixture is then distilled over fires that require enormous quantities of firewood to fuel them. Safrole oil manufacturing is a big business, and as a result, severe deforestation and erosion scar the mountainous areas around the factories.

Original Article (PRI):
Harvested to make Ecstasy, Cambodia’s trees are felled one by one
Artwork Fair Use: Ramos Keith

Caves all the way down

The whole fungus: civil

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