chapter  8
23 Pages

Coffee production and biodiversity conservation

ByIvette Perfecto, John Vandermeer, Angus Wright

This chapter discusses the case study on the coffee agroecosystem. The coffee agroecosystem is an example of how an agroecosystem can be constructed in different ways and how that construction indeed does affect biodiversity. The importance of this ecosystem for biodiversity conservation is threefold. First, it is an important habitat for biodiversity per se. Second, it is important as a high-quality matrix through which organisms can migrate from patch to patch of natural habitat. Third, it represents a matrix ecosystem in which it can be demonstrated that biodiversity has a potentially important function with regard to the normative goals of management. In the 1980s, a programme to intensify coffee production was launched in most of the northern Latin American countries. The programme consisted of providing incentives to coffee farmers to ‘intensify’ coffee production by incorporating new varieties of coffee that could grow well without shade trees, thus increasing yield on a per area basis.