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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, April 17, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 76
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Percentage of shade-grown coffee dips despite its benefit to conservation
By The University of Texas at Austin news service

The proportion of land used to cultivate shade grown coffee, relative to the total land area of coffee cultivation, has fallen by nearly 20 percent globally since 1996, according to a new study by scientists from The University of Texas at Austin and five other institutions.

The study's authors say the global shift toward a more intensive style of coffee farming is probably having a negative effect on the environment, communities and individual farmers.

"The paradox is that there is greater public interest than ever in environmentally friendly coffee, but where coffee production is expanding across the globe, it tends to be very intensive," says Shalene Jha, assistant professor in The University of Texas at Austin's College of Natural Sciences and lead author of the study published Wednesday in the journal BioScience.

Traditional shade grown coffee is cultivated under a diverse canopy of native forest trees in dense to moderate shade. Though some of the forest understory is cleared for farming, a rich web of plant and animal life remains. As a result, shade grown coffee plantations provide corridors for migrating birds to move between forest fragments, attract and support economically valuable pollinators such as bees and bats, and provide ecosystem services such as filtering water and air, stabilizing soil during heavy rains, storing carbon and replenishing soil nutrients.

In this latest study, the researchers found that total global production of shade grown coffee has increased since 1996, but the area of land used for non shade coffee has increased at a much faster rate, resulting in shade grown coffee falling from 43 percent of total cultivated area to 24 percent.

"We were surprised that despite two decades of growth in public awareness of where coffee comes from and the different ways to manage it for biodiversity, shade grown coffee only seems to be grown in a few regions," says Jha. "The shifts aren't what we would expect based on what we see on the shelves in the U.S."

In the United States, the market for specialty coffee, which includes organic and shade grown varieties, has grown rapidly during the past decade. Across most U.S. distributors, sales of specialty coffee rose more than 75 percent by economic value from 2000 to 2008. In 2012, specialty coffees accounted for 37 percent of U.S. coffee sales by volume and nearly half by economic value, an estimated $30 billion to $32 billion.

The study also found that since 1990, the land area under coffee cultivation has contracted in Africa and expanded in Asia. Within Asia, Vietnam and Indonesia have had the largest increases in coffee production during that time. Most of the new production is done in an intensive style.

This more intensive style is characterized by clearing forests or pasture for cultivation, increasing the density of plantings and switching to a variety of coffee called Robusta that tolerates full sun. Robusta is a lower-quality coffee than the other major variety sold around the world, Arabica. The two strains are often blended to produce instant coffee.

Jha and colleagues say the shifting trends toward Asia and a more
coffee production
Click HERE for larger image
Percentage of the cultivated coffee area managed under different technology or shade levels. Diverse shade has a closed or nearly closed canopy (more than 40 percent cover), with 10 or more species of shade trees. Scant shade has a minimal but existing canopy (1 to 40 percent cover) and usually one or two species of shade trees (all with fewer than 10 species). Sun coffee has no shade or shade trees in the production area. Data are from the 2010 data set from the U.N. Food and Agricultural organization.


intensive style of farming are driven by a dramatic drop in global coffee prices in recent years. To remain profitable, some growers have moved, seeking lower land and labor costs and higher short-term yields.

But there are hidden costs to this more intensive style. Full sun coffee plantations often result in deforestation, loss of biodiversity and soil depletion while leaving communities more vulnerable to flooding and landslides.

"Intensive coffee production is not sustainable," says Jha. "You exhaust the soil and after a couple of decades, it can no longer grow coffee. On the other hand, the oldest coffee farms in the world have thrived for centuries because the forest replenishes the soil for them."

Because the up-front costs of getting certified to sell specialty coffees can be expensive, Jha and colleagues encourage government agencies, conservation groups and aid organizations to partner with farmers to develop strategies to get more farmers into shade grown coffee production.

Some of the data used in this study came from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and from interviews with coffee authorities, government agencies and private corporations.

Jha's co-authors are Christopher Bacon of the Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Santa Clara University, Stacy Philpott of the University of California, Santa Cruz, V. Ernesto Méndez  of the University of Vermont, Peter Läderach of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, Nicaragua and Robert Rice of the Migratory Bird Center at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.

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Real estate rentals
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Real estate for rent
Business
wanted
Real estate wanted

Real estate rental services (paid category)

See our listing of real estate brokers on the for-sale page.

Real estate for rent (paid category)

oranic farm
$800 plus utilities, 2-bedroom, 2-bath house, fully furnished, Internet included, cable TV available. Inside organic farm, safe and secure. In the country but close to town. Santa Barbara de Heredia, Email for more info and pictures. Long term, NO DOGS. organicfarmhouserental@gmail.com
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Rohrmoser/Pavas, 1-bedroom apartment, fully furnished, including kitchen utensils. Washer/dryer. Good security, private.
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Beautiful 2-bedroom 2-bathroom American-style apartments with an elevator to your front door in a secure building located in Gringo Gulch the American Section of downtown San José. Costa Rica. Located between the Hotel Del Rey, the Hotel Mona Lisa and the Sportsman's Lodge and The Zona Blue (AKA) Little Habana across the street from Harry's Poas Bar, and next to the Holiday Inn.
apartment view
 There are 15 restaurants and American- style bars on this block and four supermarkets within a few blocks. There are 5 casinos within 2 blocks and dozens of hotels around this apartment. Included in your rental price, fast Internet, the best they have in Costa Rica, cable TV with 80 stations, water, washer
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Apartments Lemur
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Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for your stay in this beautiful part of Costa Rica.
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Beautiful single studio apartment for rent in Guacima, Alajuela. 20 minutes from airport, San José or Alajuela and 30 minutes from Heredia. near Caldera highway, Route 27.  $500 a month. All services included (Internet, water, electricity, security). very private, very quiet, green areas. High resolution photos in Flickr HERE! Email: jlayne1933@aol.com or yo@nehemiascr.com
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100 houses

CARIARI AND LINDORA areas, nice garden apartments, furnished or not, ideal for small family, couple/singles. US $1,000 and up. Email  1000houses@ice.co.cr   Tel. 8383-6388.
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Villas Casa Loma has everything you are looking for.  Best vistas, climate, value.  Four unique homes in a secure private compound on a ridge near Alajuela overlooking the entire Central Valley.  Two are available fully furnished and equipped, each a complete home accommodating 4 persons in two bedrooms with ensuite baths.  Pool, rancho, mirador, other features.  Ask about part-month rates.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at gerrybuilt2000@yahoo.com.  See virtual tour of accommodations HERE!
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Los Arcos gated community 2 bedroom 2 bath apartment $500 monthly. aAso efficiency apartment $300 month. dogfood@carolina.rr.com 8841-1606
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Page 1 is HERE!    Page 2 is  HERE!    Page 3 is HERE! 
Page 5 is HERE!     
Page 6 is HERE!     The sports page is HERE!
Opinion is HERE!   Classifieds are HERE!  Plus useful links
Next
Page



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