Research: Bat diversity in different types of shade coffee

by JulieCraves on July 10, 2006

Garcia Estrada, C., A. Damon, C. Sanchez Hernandez, L. Soto Pinto, and G. Ibarra Nunez.  2006.  Bat diversity in montane rainforest and shaded coffee under different management practices in southeastern Chiapas, Mexico.  Biological Conservation 132:351-361.

Southeastern Chiapas is Mexico's primary coffee-producing region.  Very little of the original montane rainforest remains.  Originally, coffee was grown under polyshade, or trees of various species found in the original forest.  Incentives have resulted in many farms using Inga trees for shade; these are native, hardy, fast-growing, deep-rooted, and fix nitrogen (however, production is not increased with Inga, there tend to be more weeds and soil erosion, so replacing forest with Inga doesn't offer many advantages).

This study looked at the diversity of bat species in shade coffee farms that use polyshade; or monoshade (Inga or Inga and bananas) with high, low, or no chemical inputs.  While unaltered montane rainforest had the highest number of species (37), all the others had 23-27 species.  Species composition was different, though, with more fruit and nectar eating bats found in farms with high chemical inputs, which had fewer insect-eating bats.  Application of pesticides decreases insect diversity for these species, especially insect families important to rare bat species. 

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Revised on February 8, 2013

Posted in Birds and other biodiversity,Research on coffee growing

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