Upper Amazon Conservancy director Chris Fagan and Professor David Salisbury of the University of Richmond, a member of UAC’s advisory board, recently co-authored a study, published this month in GeoJournal, on the advancing coca frontier in Peru’s Amazon region and its mounting socio-economic and conservation impacts. Peru is now believed to be the world’s largest exporter of coca, the plant used in the production of cocaine. Large-scale coca cultivation is penetrating once remote and isolated areas of the Purús, followed by traffickers who access the backcountry by the same river trails and forest roads used by illegal loggers. The roads and access pave the way for further environmental destruction, settlement and illegal activity, and threaten the sanctity of tribal reserves inhabited by some of the last voluntarily-isolated indigenous tribes on the planet. While coca has for centuries been used by local indigenous peoples for medicinal and theraputic purposes, international pressure from drug traffickers, who have recently entered the area, is mounting and plantations are becoming larger and more widespread, particularly along the region’s waterways. The study incorporated GIS work, aerial monitoring and field research, leading Fagan and Salisbury to the conclusion that despite the region’s relative remoteness, coca production is already having serious socio-economic and conservation impacts.