In a recent article, the Washington Post discussed how the growth of the chocolate industry in Western Africa is leading to rapid deforestation.

In a 2015 study, an Ohio State University anthropologist and his colleagues documented how illegal cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast threaten not only the trees, but the endangered primates that live in them.

 “The world’s demand for chocolate has been very hard on the endangered primates of Ivory Coast,” said W. Scott McGraw, co-author of the study and professor of anthropology at The Ohio State University.

 “There are parks in Ivory Coast with no forests and no primates, but a sea of cocoa plants.”

 The study (available here) appears in the March 2015 issue of the journal Tropical Conservation Science. A summary of the study is available here.

 But in a new study, also published in Tropical Conservation Science (available here) McGraw and some of the same colleagues show how foot patrol teams consisting of local villagers, law enforcement personnel – and the study authors themselves – led to significant declines in illegal activities threatening these forest reserves.

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Contact: Scott McGraw, mcgraw.43@osu.edu

Written by Jeff Grabmeier, 614-292-8457; Grabmeier.1@osu.edu