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)