Coffee shrubs, both in themselves and because they are most often cultivated in the shade of large trees, can have a positive impact on plant and animal diversity in those parts of the landscape that are deforested and dominated by agriculture. What constitutes a dilemma for consumers wishing to shop ecologically is that when coffee is grown in a forest, which is also common, the impact on diversity is negative.
This is shown by researchers at the Department of Botany, Stockholm University, in Sweden, who recently published two articles about the role of coffee cultivation in conserving plants and animals in Ethiopia, the original home of coffee.
Coffee is one of the most important trading commodities, consumed by people around the world. Each year seven million tons of coffee is produced in 50 countries. Coffee originally grew in Ethiopia, where it still grows wild in the ever-shrinking forested areas that remain.
Researchers Kristoffer Hylander and Aaron Gove at the Department of Botany, Stockholm University, working with colleagues in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, recently published new findings about the role of coffee for the preservation of biodiversity in Ethiopia in two of the world's leading journals for conservation biology, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment and Conservation Letters, based on a research project funded by SIDA, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.
One of the studies shows that coffee shrubs cultivated in gardens under individual large shade trees can be home to a great diversity of forest plants. It is shown for the first time that the coffee bush itself is an important substrate for mosses and flowering plants.
"Coffee cultivation entails not only that growers preserve and nurture large trees in the cultivated landscape but also that coffee shrubs themselves house a diversity of plants. Coffee cultivation in an agricultural landscape is thus a positiv
|Contact: Maria Sandqvist|
Swedish Research Council