Navigation Links
Green coffee-growing practices buffer climate-change impacts
Date:9/30/2008

ANN ARBOR, Mich.---Chalk up another environmental benefit for shade-grown Latin American coffee: University of Michigan researchers say the technique will provide a buffer against the ravages of climate change in the coming decades.

Over the last three decades, many Latin American coffee farmers have abandoned traditional shade-growing techniques, in which the plants are grown beneath a diverse canopy of trees. In an effort to increase production, much of the acreage has been converted to "sun coffee," which involves thinning or removing the canopy.

Shade-grown farms boost biodiversity by providing a haven for birds and other animals. They also require far less synthetic fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides than sun-coffee plantations.

In the October edition of the journal BioScience, three U-M researchers say shade-growing also shields coffee plants during extreme weather events, such as droughts and severe storms. Climate models predict that extreme weather events will become increasingly common in the coming decades, as the levels of heat-trapping carbon dioxide gas continue to mount.

The U-M scientists warn Latin American farmers of the risks tied to "coffee-intensification programs"---a package of technologies that includes the thinning of canopies and the use of high-yield coffee strains that grow best in direct sunlight---and urge them to consider the greener alternative: shade-grown coffee.

"This is a warning against the continuation of this trend toward more intensive systems," said Ivette Perfecto of the U-M School of Natural Resources and Environment, one of the authors. "Shaded coffee is ideal because it will buffer the system from climate change while protecting biodiversity."

Perfecto has studied biodiversity in Latin American coffee plantations for 20 years. The lead author of the BioScience paper is Brenda Lin, whose 2006 U-M doctoral dissertation examined microclimate variability under different shade conditions at Mexican coffee plantations.

Lin is currently a Science and Technology Policy Fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C. The other author of the BioScience paper is John Vandermeer of the U-M Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

The livelihoods of more than 100 million people worldwide are tied to coffee production. In Latin America, most coffee farms lack irrigation---relying solely on rainwater---which makes them especially vulnerable to drought and heat waves.

Shade trees help dampen the effects of drought and heat waves by maintaining a cool, moist microclimate beneath the canopy. The optimal temperature range for growing common Arabica coffee is 64 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Shade trees also act as windbreaks during storms and help reduce runoff and erosion.

Lin's work in southern Mexico showed that shady farms have greater water availability than sunny farms, due in part to lower evaporation rates from the coffee plants and soils. More shade also reduced peak temperatures between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when southern Mexican coffee plants experience the greatest heat stress.

"These two trends---increasing agricultural intensification and the trend toward more frequent extreme-weather events---will work in concert to increase farmer vulnerability," Lin said. "We should take advantage of the services the ecosystems naturally provide, and use them to protect farmers' livelihoods."


'/>"/>

Contact: Jim Erickson
ericksn@umich.edu
734-647-1842
University of Michigan
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Green tea boosts production of detox enzymes, rendering cancerous chemicals harmless
2. New study shows greenback cutthroat trout involved in recovery effort misidentified
3. American Chemical Society calls green chemistry bill a smart step
4. Salmon garnish points the way to green electronics
5. Using green chemistry to deliver cutting-edge drugs
6. Green skies: Engineers work may reduce jet travels role in global warming
7. A greenhouse in order to study the impact of climate change on plants
8. Green leather is in this season
9. Study involving more than 100 scientists provides new insights on green algae
10. Green alga genome project catalogs carbon capture machinery
11. Green algae -- the nexus of plant/animal ancestry
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:9/14/2019)... ... 2019 , ... Catalent, the leading global provider of advanced ... health products, today announced that professor David Schaffer has been appointed to the ... advisory role on the gene therapy industry, as Catalent has moved into gene ...
(Date:9/11/2019)... ... September 10, 2019 , ... Newly ... is an unusual collaboration that offers a beautiful and thought-provoking journey through five ... sometimes Srinivasan painted to Whittaker’s poems and other times, Whittaker wrote to Srinivasan’s ...
(Date:8/31/2019)... ... August 30, 2019 , ... Today ... essentials. Natalist empowers consumers in the preconception period with doctor-approved products and resources, ... each month that are trying to get pregnant. , Natalist is built on ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:9/17/2019)... ... September 17, 2019 , ... Tucker, a Labrador retriever, ... four months old, Tucker was limping and lame on his right hip and elbow. ... and it was called “the worst case the vet had seen.” He was prescribed ...
(Date:9/17/2019)... (PRWEB) , ... September 16, 2019 , ... ... Nationwide via CNBC on Saturday, September 21st @11:00am ET. Check local listings for ... Pte. Ltd. (Credo Biomedical), a molecular diagnostic company from Singapore dedicated to ...
(Date:9/11/2019)... ... September 10, 2019 , ... An upcoming ... the latest developments in genome sequencing analysis. Check your local listings for more ... at Rivermap Research & Consulting and will explore its revolutionary pathogenic DNA analysis ...
(Date:9/8/2019)... , ... September 05, 2019 , ... ... Blaine Fitzgerald, former Vice President of Finance for Shopify, has been named Chief ... and healthcare venture capitalist Joel Finlayson as strategic advisors. Additionally, Spartan has hired ...
Breaking Biology Technology: