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Time: 5:30 pm
Humboldt State alumnus and wildlife disease ecologist Mourad Gabriel will assess the threats to wildlife and the food chain posed by rodenticides and acutely toxic pesticides when he discusses the mounting risks of dismantled marijuana grows in a lecture entitled, "Silent Forests: How are Toxicants Associated with Marijuana Cultivation Impacting Wildlife on our Public and Tribal Lands?”
President and senior ecologist of the non-profit Integral Ecology Research Center in Blue Lake, Gabriel will share research of marijuana grow sites on public and tribal lands that documents the pervasiveness of anticoagulant rodenticides throughout the forests of California. The rodenticides are suspected of killing many animals.
Correspondingly, Gabriel will discuss the dire consequences of “much more acutely toxic pesticides” that are regularly found at dismantled marijuana cultivation sites. These include chemicals banned for use in the U.S., “and are likely having impacts throughout the food-web,” he warns.
Beyond the risk of toxicant exposure and poisoning, a host of other detrimental impacts is evident, according to Gabriel. “Riparian zones and upland forests are being clear-cut. Essential wildlife habitat is being lost to fires originating from grow sites. Animals, including endangered species, are being poached. Thousands of pounds of high-nitrogen fertilizer are being distributed throughout concentrated grow areas with probable detrimental ramifications on-site and downstream.”
Gabriel also will assess the fiscal price paid by society for the environmental damage the marijuana industry inflicts. The costs of research, monitoring and regulatory compliance have risen substantially, he says, because field personnel are now often compelled either to access remote sites in pairs rather than individually or to abandon completely research locales that are considered integral to wildlife conservation.
Currently completing his Ph.D. at UC Davis in Comparative Pathology, Gabriel earned his bachelor’s degree at HSU in 2000, his master’s in 2005. His Integral Ecology Research Center takes on HSU undergraduates as student interns each year.
Gabriel has authored several scientific manuscripts and book chapters focusing on infectious and non-infectious diseases affecting wildlife which are of conservation concern. He has presented and lectured at several universities, regional, national and international professional conferences and the Washington, D.C Office of National Drug Control Policy.
This lecture is the second public talk in a series hosted by the university’s new Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research.
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