Shade-Grown Coffee Protects Tree Biodiversity

shade grown coffee branch with beans photo

Photo via prince_tigereye

We know that shade-grown coffee is much easier on the environment than sunny coffee plantations. They require less fertilizer, prevent soil erosion, require fewer or zero pesticides, the list goes on. NPR's Science Friday has a cool podcast up about how shade-grown coffee farms also help with the upkeep of biodiversity of the areas, with a higher number of native tree species flourishing in the areas.From NPR's Science Friday:

Shade-grown coffee is sometimes called "bird friendly coffee," but a new paper in the journal Current Biology suggests that the plantations also help maintain the genetic diversity of native tree species.

According to Mongabay:

"Shade coffee farms allow birds and bats to move and disperse seeds throughout the coffee landscape, promoting plant gene flow," said Shalene Jha, a graduate student whose interests in insects led her to studying shade-grown coffee farms. "This is unlike most agricultural systems, which do not provide habitat for seed dispersers, and thus limit the distance plant seeds can move. By supporting important seed dispersal processes, shade coffee farms maintain plant population gene flow across fragmented habitats."

Looking at this positive aspect of shade grown coffee plantations, researchers note that once the plantation has reached the end of its production life, it has a jump start on quickly becoming reforested.

Yet another reason to be sure the next batch of coffee you buy is shade grown (and organic, and fair trade...)

Listen to the podcast over at NPR
More on Shade Grown Coffee:
You Need A Schtick To Sell Coffee These Days
Shade-Grown Coffee Ensures A Future Cup-a-Joe
Thank Your Lucky Bat for Shade-Grown Organic Coffee

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