|Wednesday What's New: Growing Coffee Greener is Better|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Wednesday, 24 August 2011|
Throughout Latin America, a return to traditional, more sustainable coffee growing techniques is good news for both the consumer and the environment. For centuries, coffee, and understory shrub, was grown under the shade of canopy trees. Over the last thirty years the canopy was thinned or removed entirely in the quest to increase coffee bean yields, leading to an increase in pesticide and fertilizer use as well as erosion and increased surface water runoff.
In a report in the October 2008 issue of BioScience, several University of Michigan researchers have stated that the “greener alternative”, growing coffee under shade trees, shields coffee plants during extreme weather events, such as droughts and severe storms, which are expected to increase as global warming progresses. It also increases biodiversity because the canopy provides habitat for birds and other wildlife.
Latin American coffee plantations lack irrigation system and the shade provided by the canopy layer helps maintain the perfect microclimate for coffee, which prefers it cool, moist with optimal temperatures ranging from 64 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Article source: Green Coffee-growing Practices Buffer Climate-change Impacts