AboutZoos, Since 2008


Shade cof­fee plan­ta­tion sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture or not?

pub­lished 23 Decem­ber 2010 | mod­i­fied 30 Octo­ber 2010

Small-​scale study in west­ern Jamaica sug­gests that shade cof­fee plan­ta­tion can act as a buffer area between frag­mented habi­tats for insects. Habi­tat loss and habi­tat frag­men­ta­tion are lead­ing causes for bio­di­ver­sity loss on a global scale, and more specif­i­cally in trop­i­cal regions. Com­par­ing moth diver­sity and abun­dance between for­est edges and crop inte­ri­ors on a shade cof­fee plan­ta­tion in Jamaica, a researcher from the Hum­boldt State Uni­ver­sity in Cal­i­for­nia looked at the effect of these patches of veg­e­ta­tion on moth dis­per­sion between frag­mented suit­able habitats.

Shade coffe plan­ta­tions are an exam­ple of sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture which pro­tects neotrop­i­cal migra­tory birds. The effect on moth dis­per­sion sug­gests oth­er­wise con­sid­er­ing inver­te­brate species, as those cof­fee plan­ta­tions do not allow for moths to migrate from one habi­tat to another via such a plan­ta­tion. It appeared that moth pop­u­la­tion size was more or less the same on both sides of a cof­fee plan­ta­tion, but the diver­sity was com­pletely dif­fer­ent, with very low over­lap. A first, but not final, con­clu­sion was that cof­fee habi­tat may act as a buffer between less dis­turbed for­est and more dis­turbed human altered areas, but that some species may be restricted to cer­tain habi­tats. As always fur­ther research is deemed necessary.

(Source: BioOne, autumn 2010)

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