Friday, May 1, 2009

a better defense of coffee and water

Coffea arabica is an understory shrub, but most people call it a tree.

How to protect a watershed: plant trees.

Coffee farms with diverse shade have biodiversity equal to native forests (sorry no citation). Coffee farms are tree farms. Hence they protect water sources. They also produce billions of tons of oxygen (they are plants, and again no citation).

How much water does wine protect?

How much water does beer protect?

It takes a little thinking, but coffee as an agroforestry system maintains or increases water tables. Coffee farms are [forests = shade trees + under story shrub (coffee) + quality wood species planted around the perimeter + birds (the only place I see bird diversity is on or near coffee farms in the DR) + other plants that don't effect coffee production (bromliads)]. Ask any hydrologist how to protect a spring in the mountains. Springs become rivers | rivers lead to lakes | you need water.

Even if the coffee is low quality robusta, at least it is a tree that is planted. I vote for a mono crop of trees over a mono crop of corn any day of the week.

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