WHAT IS SHADE GROWN COFFEE?
Traditionally, coffee was grown commercially under other trees that provided shade. Indeed, in its natural wild state, coffee much prefers shade in the heat of the tropics.
However, since the 1970s, new sun-tolerant coffee plants have been developed with the aim to yield higher production rates to produce larger yields through higher-density, open planting over huge areas of land.
Unfortunately, this cultivation practice of open planting is completely unsustainable, destroys the land through overexposure to the sun, and has a negative impact on the environment that is not talked enough about.
- As a result of environmental degradation, the concept of Shade Grown Coffee, a return to traditional coffee farming, was born. A canopy of assorted types of shade trees is created to cultivate shade-grown coffee, which incorporates principles of natural ecology to promote natural ecological relationships.
- Indeed, recent research points to a direct correlation between the structural complexity of a coffee plantation and the number of species found. In short, Shade Grown Coffee increases biodiversity. It’s a no-brainer really and similar to what we see with other monocultures that destroy biodiversity.
- The forest-like structure of shade coffee farms provides habitat for a great number of migratory and resident birds, reptiles, ants, butterflies, bats, plants, and other organisms. Actually, of all agricultural land uses, shade-grown coffee supports the highest diversity of migratory birds, native flora, and fauna.