Eco-friendly shade-grown coffee buffers farmers against climate change
October 3, 2008
Shade-grown coffee plantations will be more resistant to climate change than conventional plantations, report researchers writing in the journal Bioscience. Shade grown coffee is already lauded for its environmental benefits including supporting high levels of biodiversity and requiring less fertilizers and pesticides.
The authors evaluated the role of canopy cover in protecting coffee plants from extreme weather events and the impacts of drought and heat waves, all of which are projected to increase with climate change. They conclude that “shaded coffee is ideal because it will buffer the system from climate change while protecting biodiversity.”
“These two trends—increasing agricultural intensification and the trend toward more frequent extreme-weather events—will work in concert to increase farmer vulnerability,” said lead author Brenda Lin of the University of Michigan. “We should take advantage of the services the ecosystems naturally provide, and use them to protect farmers’ livelihoods.”
The research was conducted in Southern Mexico where farmers rely on rainwater instead of irrigation.
Agricultural areas offer opportunities for conservation in deforested landscapes in the tropics, reports a study published in the April 2007 issue of the journal Conservation Biology by Stanford University biologists.