Vietnam has quietly assumed a spot as the world’s third-largest coffee bean producer and exporter, behind Brazil and Columbia, but although success with the new crop has lifted many farmers out of poverty, it’s also taking a toll on the land. Forestland is being cleared for coffee production at such a quick pace that the government in Hanoi has issued new decrees to protect forests and keep erosion in check. In the Dak Lak province, which produces 60 percent of Vietnam’s coffee, forest cover has been reduced from 70 percent in 1975 to 15 percent today. Farming experts are also concerned about unsustainable farming practices, such as the widespread use of fertilizers so strong that they “burn” the soil, destroying nutrients future farmers will need.

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