Navigation Links
Another reason to drink a nice cup of shade-grown joe
Date:12/22/2008

A new study published in the December 23rd issue of Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, reveals another "eco-friendly" reason to select shade-grown coffee over beans that were grown in the sun: Shade coffee farms not only harbor a diverse array of birds and bats, but they also help to maintain the genetic diversity of native tree species.

"Shade coffee farms allow birds and bats to move and disperse seeds throughout the coffee landscape, promoting plant gene flow," said Shalene Jha of the University of Michigan. "This is unlike most agricultural systems, which do not provide habitat for seed dispersers, and thus limit the distance plant seeds can move. By supporting important seed dispersal processes, shade coffee farms maintain plant population gene flow across fragmented habitats."

Gene flow refers to the transfer of genes from one population to another by interbreeding. The maintenance of gene flow is an important conservation measure since fragmented populations are effectively smaller and therefore more susceptible to inbreeding and further declines or extinction.

Coffee is grown across millions of hectares of land within the world's richest centers of biodiversity, the researchers said. In tropical America, that coffee is traditionally grown under a diverse canopy of shade trees, which supports a broad spectrum of pollinators that increases coffee yield. Unlike sun coffee grown in monoculture, shade coffee also provides habitat to a wide array of other animals, including bats and migratory birds that aid farmers by picking off insects. Earlier studies had suggested that birds and other animals within shade coffee farms might have additional ecological benefits.

Now, the researchers have confirmed that notion through genetic analyses revealing recent colonization and extensive gene flow of native understory tree species in shade coffee farms of Chiapas, Mexico. The findings show that traditional coffee farms can maintain genetic connectivity with adjacent forest and serve as a focal point for forest regeneration.

Jha said they hope the discovery calls attention to the value of maintaining biodiverse agricultural systems more generally.

"More than 60% of the earth's surface is managed by humans as agriculture or pasture, and these landscapes provide us with a great opportunity to support native biodiversity," Jha said. "Many studies have shown that conserving native biodiversity in agricultural systems can actually benefit cropsby preventing pest outbreaks and providing native pollinator services. Our study shows that agricultural crops can also benefit native trees living across the landscape."

Buying shade-grown coffee is one way to support the conservation of biodiversity in agricultural landscapes at a global scale, she said. At the local level, Jha added, consumers can also support local farming practices that conserve native biodiversity, such as pesticide-free farming, polyculture farms, and urban gardening.


'/>"/>

Contact: Cathleen Genova
cgenova@cell.com
617-397-2802
Cell Press
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. One species entire genome discovered inside anothers
2. Same gene protects from 1 disease, opens door to another
3. Another type of nanotube, a how-to guide to making bamboo-structured carbon nanotubes
4. For good or ill Ireland gains another mammal species
5. Ocean acidification -- another undesired side effect of fossil fuel-burning
6. Viral recombination another way HIV fools the immune system
7. Arctic ice on the verge of another all-time low
8. Another fisheries commission throws the science overboard in tuna decision, WWF says
9. A wheat for all seasons -- and reasons
10. Simple reason helps males evolve more quickly
11. Study supports reason for concern in childhood and adolescent obesity
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/28/2016)... FRANCISCO and BANGALORE, India , ... of EdgeVerve Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: ... provider, today announced a global partnership that will ... way to use mobile banking and payment services. ... is a key innovation area for financial services, but it ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... April 15, 2016  A new partnership announced ... accurate underwriting decisions in a fraction of the ... priced and high-value life insurance policies to consumers ... With Force Diagnostics, rapid testing (A1C, Cotinine ... readings (blood pressure, weight, pulse, BMI, and activity ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... 2016  Genomics firm Nabsys has completed a financial ... Bready , M.D., who returned to the company in ... leadership team, including Chief Technology Officer, John Oliver ... Nurnberg and Vice President of Software and Informatics, ... Dr. Bready served as CEO of Nabsys from ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... NC (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... just published their findings on what they believe could be a new and ... of the new research. Click here to read it now. , ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... N.C. (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... commercial operations for Amgen, will join the faculty of the University of ... as adjunct professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at UNC Kenan-Flagler, with a focus ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016  Regular discussions on a ... take place between the two entities said Poloz. ... Ottawa , he pointed to the country,s ... the federal government. ... said, "Both institutions have common economic goals, why not sit ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Researchers at the Universita Politecnica delle Marche in Ancona combed medical journal ... Their findings are the subject of a new article on the Surviving Mesothelioma website. ... the blood, lung fluid or tissue of mesothelioma patients that can help point doctors ...
Breaking Biology Technology: