Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Coffee Cultivation Good For Diversity In Agrarian Settlements But Not In Forests

Date:
March 1, 2009
Source:
Vetenskapsrådet (The Swedish Research Council)
Summary:
Coffee shrubs, both in themselves and because they are most often cultivated in the shade of large trees, can have a positive impact on plant and animal diversity in those parts of the landscape that are deforested and dominated by agriculture. What constitutes a dilemma for consumers wishing to shop ecologically is that when coffee is grown in a forest, which is also common, the impact on diversity is negative.

Coffee shrubs, both in themselves and because they are most often cultivated in the shade of large trees, can have a positive impact on plant and animal diversity in those parts of the landscape that are deforested and dominated by agriculture.  What constitutes a dilemma for consumers wishing to shop ecologically is that when coffee is grown in a forest, which is also common, the impact on diversity is negative.

This is shown by researchers at the Department of Botany, Stockholm University, in Sweden, who recently published two articles about the role of coffee cultivation in conserving plants and animals in Ethiopia, the original home of coffee.

Coffee is one of the most important trading commodities, consumed by people around the world.  Each year seven million tons of coffee is produced in 50 countries.  Coffee originally grew in Ethiopia, where it still grows wild in the ever-shrinking forested areas that remain.

Researchers Kristoffer Hylander and Aaron Gove at the Department of Botany, Stockholm University, working with colleagues in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, recently published new findings about the role of coffee for the preservation of biodiversity in Ethiopia in two of the world’s leading journals for conservation biology, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment and Conservation Letters, based on a research project funded by SIDA, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

One of the studies shows that coffee shrubs cultivated in gardens under individual large shade trees can be home to a great diversity of forest plants.  It is shown for the first time that the coffee bush itself is an important substrate for mosses and flowering plants.

“Coffee cultivation entails not only that growers preserve and nurture large trees in the cultivated landscape but also that coffee shrubs themselves house a diversity of plants.  Coffee cultivation in an agricultural landscape is thus a positive force for conserving biological diversity from a landscape perspective,” says Kristoffer Hylander.

The same conclusion regarding the role of coffee in the cultivation landscape is also drawn in the other study, which deals with the distribution of birds and above all forest birds in the landscape.  But, besides growing coffee under shade trees in a cultivated landscape, growers also harvest coffee from forests in the regions under study.

“In some places they harvest sparse growth of rather low-producing forest coffee, while in other places they thin out the forest and replace all other wild shrubs and small trees with coffee.  In contradistinction to the positive role of coffee as a creator of living environments in the open cultivated landscape, our research shows that the higher the density of coffee in the forest, the fewer species of forest birds can be found there,” says Kristoffer Hylander.

One might wonder whether the aggregate impact of coffee production is positive or negative for conserving wild plants and animals in the Ethiopian landscape.  Will increased interest in coffee be good for plant and animal diversity in Ethiopia by increasing the density of trees or will it impoverish the forest ecosystem through a gradual shift from forests to coffee plantations with shade trees?  Kristoffer Hylander is continuing his research on ecosystems in southwestern Ethiopia with an eye to understanding the impact of coffee systems on plant and animal diversity and the role of coffee in deforestation and forest conservation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Vetenskapsrådet (The Swedish Research Council). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Vetenskapsrådet (The Swedish Research Council). "Coffee Cultivation Good For Diversity In Agrarian Settlements But Not In Forests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090219095528.htm>.
Vetenskapsrådet (The Swedish Research Council). (2009, March 1). Coffee Cultivation Good For Diversity In Agrarian Settlements But Not In Forests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090219095528.htm
Vetenskapsrådet (The Swedish Research Council). "Coffee Cultivation Good For Diversity In Agrarian Settlements But Not In Forests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090219095528.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

AFP (July 29, 2014) — Coal mining is one of the major industries in Baluchistan but a lack of infrastructure and frequent accidents mean that the area has yet to hit its potential. Duration: 01:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) — The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) — AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) — A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins