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Project seeks to prove that coffee growers benefit from bird conservation
- The initiative is driven by CATIE with financial support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
December 19, 2019. In order to promote the importance of wild bird conservation and demonstrate the benefits coffee producers receive from the presence of these individuals on their farms, CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center) in coordination with the University of Vermont, implements the project Conserving Neotropical Migratory Birds through the Management of Ecosystem Services in Coffee Farms.
Alejandra Martínez-Salinas, project coordinator, explained that wild birds not only generate ecosystem services, such as pest control, but can also generate additional income through bird watching or avitourism.
She also commented that conserving the habitat of Neotropical migratory birds is fundamental for the survival of these populations and that coffee production systems, depending on their management, can provide refuge and the necessary food resources for them.
"Migratory birds stay in Central America seven to eight months a year, during the northern winter period, a period during which they require quality habitat that allows them to survive and prepare for the reproductive season," Martínez-Salinas said.
The project began in late 2018 and works specifically in the Central Volcanic Biological Corridor of Talamanca (CBVCT), in Costa Rica, where conservation actions can benefit more than 300 species of birds, including migrants and Neotropical residents.
Martínez-Salinas commented that the project focuses its efforts on coffee farms because different studies have shown that wild birds contribute to the removal of the coffee berry borer, one of the most damaging pests affecting this crop.
In addition, the project will also evaluate the contribution of pollinator communities (introduced and native bees) to coffee production.
"The joint evaluation of the ecosystem services of pest control and pollination will allow us to demonstrate the importance of these species for coffee production, as well as give recommendations to maintain or improve the habitat that allows the survival of these populations and the maintenance of the benefits they provide," said Martínez-Salinas.
During 2018, the project advanced in the identification of different coffee farms distributed along the CBVCT. To date, more than 46 farms have been visited and more than 30 interviews have been conducted with coffee producers. In these interviews, producers are discussed about the agronomic management they implement and the knowledge they have about the importance of birds and bees for coffee production is evaluated.
The project will work with coffee farms with different types of shade (diverse shade, simplified shade and full sun) and with two agronomic management intensities (high and low intensity based on the number and frequency of practices carried out over a year).
The initiative will last two years and is financially supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) through the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act. In addition, it has important counterparts from CATIE, through the Central American Program for Integrated Management of Coffee Rust (PROCAGICA) and the Adaptation based on Ecosystems for Small Producers in Central America, known as CASCADA.
Project Coordinator Conserving Neotropical Migratory Birds through the Management of Ecosystem Services in Coffee Farms
Agriculture, Livestock and Agroforestry Program
Karla Salazar Leiva
Information and Communication Technology