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Ecological and human dimensions of avocado expansion in México: Towards supply-chain sustainability


Avocados have become a global commodity, and environmental and socioeconomic impacts in the regions where avocados are grown have increased in tandem with production. In this article, we synthesize the current state of knowledge about the impacts of avocado production in Michoacán, México, the global center of avocado production. Environmental impacts on biodiversity, soil, and hydrological systems stem from deforestation and forest fragmentation that result from avocado expansion. The avocado industry has brought some economic benefits, namely increased employment and reductions in poverty and out-migration, but inequity in the region limits the positive socioeconomic impacts. We draw comparisons to other commodity studies and propose that lessons learned from such research could be utilized to make the avocado supply chain more sustainable. Ultimately, steps could be taken at all levels of the commodity chain to improve sustainability, including improved farming practices, policies protecting smallholders and local capital, and increased consumer awareness.

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The writing of this article was supported by funding from the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACyT/PDCPN2016/3053), the CONTEX program, which supports research collaboration between CONACyT and the University of Texas system, and the E.D. Farmer International Fellowship at UT Austin Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies.

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Denvir, A., Arima, E.Y., González-Rodríguez, A. et al. Ecological and human dimensions of avocado expansion in México: Towards supply-chain sustainability. Ambio 51, 152–166 (2022).

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  • Avocado
  • Commodity chains
  • Deforestation
  • Socioecological systems
  • Sustainability