Full-Sun Coffee Farms Hurting the Environment
The coffee industry continues to be less and less sustainable, despite the efforts of so many. As consumers drink more coffee, the situation gets worse.
The biggest problem are full-sun farms. These destroy forests, and hurt the environment in several ways. They disturb habitats of animals, they require more chemicals per plant to maintain them, hurt soil health, create erosion problems, and the loss of trees hurts the CO2 cycle even more.
In a new study published in BioScience, coffee farms are more hurtful than ever. In contrast, a well-run shade grown coffee farm makes a forest even healthier; almost like a rain forest. The worst offenders are Brasil and Vietnam, where 75% of coffee production is not grown under tree cover. These full-sun coffees are often the lower-quality Robusta variety, used in instant coffees and the big can 'store' coffees you see in the supermarket.
While the market for Shade Grown coffee has grown, the overall coffee market has grown faster at the low-end of the market.
In full sun farming, you do not have the benefits of insect-eating birds and bats, so you have to apply more insecticides. And you don't have the soil benefits from tree leaves composting so you have to apply more fertilizers. You also lose topsoil, you contaminate waterways with all the additional chemical use, and become more vulnerable to bad weather (which is rather ironic).
Some people believe that full-sun coffee does not taste as good either.
If you buy Organic coffee it can help; and Fair Trade helps the wage of farmers. But to really help protect biodiversity and the environment, you need to get Shade Grown Coffees. Some certifications include the Rainforest Alliance, and the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center:
By buying Shade Grown coffees, you are telling coffee companies that you care about the environment and about Biodiversity. If you have any questions please Contact Us; or comment below (open this article by clicking on the article main title, then you will see the comment area).
You can find out more about the various Coffee Certifications to choose the best way for you to support the causes that interest you.