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Oaxaca, Mexico

Blackman A.,Resources for the Future | AValos-Sartorio B.,Rainforest Alliance | Chow J.,The New School
Land Economics | Year: 2012

Little is known about land cover change in agroforestry systems, which often supply valuable ecological services.We use a spatial regression model to analyze clearing in El Salvador's shade coffee- growing regions during the 1990s. Our findings buttress previous research suggesting the relationship between proximity to markets and clearing in agroforestry systems is the opposite of that in natural forests. But this result, and several others, depends critically on the characteristics of the growing area, particularly the dominant cleared land use. These findings imply that policies aimed at retaining agroforestry need to be carefully targeted and tailored. (JEL O13, Q15). © 2012 by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. Source

Schroth G.,Rainforest Alliance | Jeusset A.,Museum National dHistoire Naturelle | Gomes A.S.,State University of Santa Cruz | Florence C.T.,Federal University of Bahia | And 3 more authors.
Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change | Year: 2016

There is increasing demand for agricultural commodities that are produced in a climate-friendly manner. At the same time, in many or most tropical countries there is need for intensification of agricultural production to increase yields and incomes, and this usually requires higher external inputs that may cause additional greenhouse gas emissions. Here we investigate if production methods that have a beneficial effect on the climate (are climate-friendly) are compatible with increased inputs and yields for traditional, shaded cocoa (Theobroma cacao) production systems (locally known as cabrucas) in southern Bahia, Brazil. We use two easily measurable and manageable dimensions of climate friendliness, namely the carbon (C) stocks in the large trees and the C footprint as related to on-farm agrochemical and fuel use. Through interviews and field inventories in 26 cabruca farms representing a range of production practices and intensities, we identify the combinations of management practices, yields, C stocks and C footprints typically found in the region. We find that yield levels up to the highest encountered yield of 585 kg ha−1, or twice the current regional average of 285 kg ha−1, are compatible with an aboveground C stock in the large shade trees (>30 cm diameter at breast height) of up to 65 Mg ha−1 and up to 55 % shade. Higher C stocks and shade levels are generally associated with yields below the regional average. Input-related C emissions increased non-linearly with increasing yield, but even the highest encountered yields were compatible with low (<0.25 kg CO2e kg−1 of cocoa) to medium (<0.5 kg CO2e kg−1 of cocoa) input-related emission levels. Cocoa yields responded positively to increased fertilizer applications, provided that other factors, including shade levels, were not limiting. Consequently, the highest input-related emissions (>1 kg CO2e kg−1 of cocoa) were related to large fertilizer applications that did not proportionately increase yields. We conclude that doubling the cocoa output from southern Bahia, where cabrucas are the predominant form of growing cocoa, is compatible with climate-friendly production practices, measured by local standards. We suggest that the presented methodology can be used to identify opportunities for climate-friendly intensification of tree crops more generally, thereby increasing the contribution of commodity production to global climate change mitigation. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Source

De Jesus Crespo R.,University of Georgia | Newsom D.,Rainforest Alliance | King E.G.,University of Georgia | Pringle C.,University of Georgia
Ecological Indicators | Year: 2016

Management of non-point source pollution is of great importance in the context of coffee agriculture, as this land use often coincides with headwater streams that influence water quality at the basin scale. Sustainability certification programs, such as the Rainforest Alliance (RA), provide management guidelines that promote non-point source pollution control in coffee. One of these practices is the maintenance of shade trees within farms, required by RA at a minimum of 40% shade tree cover. Here we assess the effectiveness of this practice in Tarrazú, a high elevation coffee growing region in Costa Rica. We monitored indicators of non-point source pollution in streams with both high and low shade tree cover. Streams with High Shade Tree Cover (HSTC, N = 5 subwatersheds) had 35-55% cover, approximating or exceeding the RA recommendation of at least 40%; and streams with Low Shade Tree Cover (LSTC, N = 5 subwatersheds), had 18-31% cover. We monitored the ten study streams during the dry (April & December), transition (July), and peak (October) rainfall seasons of 2013, and compared responses using t-tests. We found support for the effectiveness of shade tree cover in controlling non-point source pollution: HSTC streams had significantly (p = 0.042) lower mean annual turbidity and significantly (p = 0.004) lower turbidity during the transition season. HSTC streams also had significantly (p = 0.05) lower conductivity values during the transition period, although this trend was weaker through the year. Subwatersheds with HSTC streams were characterized by a higher percentage of RA-certified coffee than LSTC streams. Our study provides evidence of the benefits of RA shade tree cover criteria for managing water quality within high elevation tropical agro-ecosystems, especially if implemented at the watershed scale. These results contribute to our understanding of the role of agroforestry certification on tropical ecosystem conservation, and are the first account of the effectiveness of a specific coffee certification guideline on non-point source pollution control. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

Baca M.,International Center for Tropical Agriculture | Laderach P.,International Center for Tropical Agriculture | Haggar J.,University of Greenwich | Schroth G.,Rainforest Alliance | Ovalle O.,International Center for Tropical Agriculture
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

The Mesoamerican region is considered to be one of the areas in the world most vulnerable to climate change. We developed a framework for quantifying the vulnerability of the livelihoods of coffee growers in Mesoamerica at regional and local levels and identify adaptation strategies. Following the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concepts, vulnerability was defined as the combination of exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity. To quantify exposure, changes in the climatic suitability for coffee and other crops were predicted through niche modelling based on historical climate data and locations of coffee growing areas from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua. Future climate projections were generated from 19 Global Circulation Models. Focus groups were used to identify nine indicators of sensitivity and eleven indicators of adaptive capacity, which were evaluated through semi-structured interviews with 558 coffee producers. Exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity were then condensed into an index of vulnerability, and adaptation strategies were identified in participatory workshops. Models predict that all target countries will experience a decrease in climatic suitability for growing Arabica coffee, with highest suitability loss for El Salvador and lowest loss for Mexico. High vulnerability resulted from loss in climatic suitability for coffee production and high sensitivity through variability of yields and out-migration of the work force. This was combined with low adaptation capacity as evidenced by poor post harvest infrastructure and in some cases poor access to credit and low levels of social organization. Nevertheless, the specific contributors to vulnerability varied strongly among countries, municipalities and families making general trends difficult to identify. Flexible strategies for adaption are therefore needed. Families need the support of government and institutions specialized in impacts of climate change and strengthening of farmer organizations to enable the adjustment of adaptation strategies to local needs and conditions. © 2014 Baca et al. Source

Schroth G.,Rainforest Alliance | Laderach P.,International Center for Tropical Agriculture | Blackburn Cuero D.S.,International Center for Tropical Agriculture | Neilson J.,University of Sydney | Bunn C.,International Center for Tropical Agriculture
Regional Environmental Change | Year: 2015

Previous research has shown that the production of Arabica coffee (Coffea arabica), the main source of high-quality coffee, will be severely affected by climate change. Since large numbers of smallholder farmers in tropical mountain regions depend on this crop as their main source of income, the repercussions on farmer livelihoods could be substantial. Past studies of the issue have largely focused on Latin America, while the vulnerability of Southeast Asian coffee farmers to climate change has received very little attention. We present results of a modeling study of climate change impacts on Arabica coffee in Indonesia, one of the world’s largest coffee producers. Focusing on the country’s main Arabica production zones in Sumatra, Sulawesi, Flores, Bali and Java, we show that there are currently extensive areas with a suitable climate for Arabica coffee production outside the present production zones. Temperature increases are likely to combine with decreasing rainfall on some islands and increasing rainfall on others. These changes are projected to drastically reduce the total area of climatically suitable coffee-producing land across Indonesia by 2050. However, even then there will remain more land area with a suitable climate and topography for coffee cultivation outside protected areas available than is being used for coffee production now, although much of this area will not be in the same locations. This suggests that local production decline could at least partly be compensated by expansion into other areas. This may allow the country to maintain current production levels while those of other major producer countries decline. However, this forced adaptation process could become a major driver of deforestation in the highlands. We highlight the need for public and private policies to encourage the expansion of coffee farms into areas that will remain suitable over the medium term, that are not under legal protection, and that are already deforested so that coffee farming could make a positive contribution to landscape restoration. © 2014, The Author(s). Source

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