If you’ve been drinking shade-grown coffee for ecological as well as epicurean reasons, pour yourself a congratulatory cup. A new University of Utah study finds that tropical agroforests, where crops are grown under trees rather than in clear-cut fields, are better overall for bird biodiversity than open farms. Keeping forests intact is obviously the best course of action, but when it comes to coffee and cocoa plantations, agroforests ensure that more birds have it made in the shade.
I’d encourage anyone who cares about birds and drinks coffee to drink sustainable coffees. Everyone who either birds or drinks coffee should follow Julie Crave’s incredible resource blog Coffee and Conservation. In fact you should do a feature on it Mike.
I totally agree with Clare. We need to support birds and biodiversity by supporting agriculture that does the same. In Costa Rica, one of the most impressive organic and sustainable farms that I have seen is the Finca Luna Nueva. For more than a decade, they have been demonstrating that you can run a successful agro and ecotourism business while protecting biodiversity at the same time. The place is filled with birds, harbors many uncommon species and is noticeably more diverse than other farms in the same area. Here is a link to a write up I did about the place last year:
Remember to buy “bird friendly” coffee certified by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center to be sure that the coffee is truly shade grown and supporting birds. I get mine from Birds and Beans, https://birdsandbeans.com/index.html . It’s a little more expensive but if we can fill up the gas tank to go on that next chase or fly off to some exotic land to see new birds then we can certainly buy coffee that saves the birds we love.