Research: Birds in shade coffee favor plant diversity

by JulieCraves on March 8, 2007

Dietsch, T.V., I. Perfecto, and R. Greenberg. 2007. Avian foraging behavior in two different types of coffee agrosystem in Chiapas, Mexico.  Biotropica 39:232-240.
Other studies have documented that structural diversity is important in coffee farms — it is the complexity of multiple layers of vegetation in shade coffee systems that are so important and attractive to birds and other organisms. This study looked at Finca Irlanda in Chiapas, a 290 hectare shade coffee farm, during both summer and winter seasons. Forty of those hectares are being further restored by additional plantings of native plants in order to qualify for Smithsonian Bird-Friendly certification. At the time of the study, the structural diversity of the entire farm was similar, but the 40 ha under restoration had a wide variety of plants.

Eighty-eight bird species were observed, and more species were found foraging in the restoration plot than the rest of Finca Irlanda. The study revealed the importance of plant diversity in addition to structural diversity. These diverse plants provide varying resources throughout the year — from nectar to insects to fruit — that are critical to birds.

Rogers Family Company is Finca Irlanda’s roaster in the U.S., but I was unable to determine which one of their brands or coffees uses beans from this farm. One expects it would be used in the Audubon coffee line, but as noted in our review of the Audubon Breakfast Blend, there is no information on the origin of those coffees; specific information is lacking on most Rogers Family coffees. You can also buy Finca Irlanda coffee from Cafe Altura.

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Revised on May 31, 2016

Posted in Birds and other biodiversity,Research on coffee growing

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