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Effects of management practices on coffee productivity and herbaceous species diversity in agroforestry systems in Costa Rica


Abstract and Figures

Agroforestry systems (AFS) have the potential to provide socioeconomic benefits and also environmental services such as biodiversity conservation. In agricultural ecosystems like AFS, plant productivity is largely dependent on the type and intensity of management. Management practices like fertilization, pruning, thinning, mulching, and certain associations between crops and shade tree species have a strong influence on plant productivity and therefore on crop yields; likewise management practices have an effect on the biodiversity that occurs in AFS. This chapter addresses the question of how to manage AFS to increase or maintain agricultural productivity while conserving biodiversity. We describe the effects of alternative management practices on coffee yield and on the herbaceous species richness of an experimental coffee AFS established in Turrialba, Costa Rica in 2000-2001. The AFS experimental design was an incomplete factorial design with three repetitions. It consisted of shaded coffee (Coffea arabica var caturra) plots with three native tree species alone and in combination: Terminalia amazonia, Erythrina poeppigiana, and Chloroleucon eurycyclum. The experimental design also included plots of non-shaded coffee monoculture. The agroforestry plots were managed with either organic or chemical nutrient inputs at two intensity levels. We quantified herbaceous plant diversity and recorded coffee productivity (bean yield) across all combinations of shade tree species and management practices. Our results indicated that: 1. Intermediate management intensity produces competitive coffee yields. 2. Organically managed plots have high herbaceous diversity and can be as productive as chemically managed plots. 3. Shaded coffee AFS can be almost as productive as non-shaded, monoculture coffee farming systems. These results suggest that it is feasible to manage these AFS for agricultural productivity while maintaining uniform soil cover and a significant number of herbaceous species.
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Pp. 115-132 In: Montagnini, F., Francesconi, W. and Rossi, E. (eds.). 2011. Agroforestry as a tool for
landscape restoration. Nova Science Publishers, New York. 201pp.
Chapter 9
Esteban Rossi
, Florencia Montagnini
Elias de Melo Virginio Filho
Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
195 Prospect St., New Haven, CT 06511, USA
Graduate School of Geography, Clark University
950 Main St., Worcester, MA 01610, USA
Tropical Agriculture Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE)
7170, Turrialba, Costa Rica
Agroforestry systems (AFS) have the potential to provide socio-
economic benefits and also environmental services such as biodiversity
conservation. In agricultural ecosystems like AFS, plant productivity is
largely dependent on the type and intensity of management. Management
practices like fertilization, pruning, thinning, mulching, and certain
associations between crops and shade tree species have a strong influence
on plant productivity and therefore on crop yields; likewise management
practices have an effect on the biodiversity that occurs in AFS. This
chapter addresses the question of how to manage AFS to increase or
maintain agricultural productivity while conserving biodiversity. We
describe the effects of alternative management practices on coffee yield
and on the herbaceous species richness of an experimental coffee AFS
established in Turrialba, Costa Rica in 2000-2001. The AFS experimental
design was an incomplete factorial design with three repetitions. It
consisted of shaded coffee (Coffea arabica var caturra) plots with three
native tree species alone and in combination: Terminalia amazonia,
Erythrina poeppigiana, and Chloroleucon eurycyclum. The experimental
Esteban Rossi, Florencia Montagnini and Elias de Melo Virginio Filho 2
design also included plots of non-shaded coffee monoculture. The
agroforestry plots were managed with either organic or chemical nutrient
inputs at two intensity levels. We quantified herbaceous plant diversity
and recorded coffee productivity (bean yield) across all combinations of
shade tree species and management practices. Our results indicated that:
1. Intermediate management intensity produces competitive coffee yields.
2. Organically managed plots have high herbaceous diversity and can be
as productive as chemically managed plots. 3. Shaded coffee AFS can be
almost as productive as non-shaded, monoculture coffee farming systems.
These results suggest that it is feasible to manage these AFS for
agricultural productivity while maintaining uniform soil cover and a
significant number of herbaceous species.
The conservation of biodiversity in transformed or degraded landscapes is
an active research area (Schroth et al. 2004). The effectiveness of alternative
strategies for the preservation of biodiversity is limited by our knowledge of
the mechanisms that maintain diversity and the linkages between diversity and
ecosystem processes (Tilman 2000). Numerous studies on temperate
grasslands, large-scale cross-country projects and controlled laboratory
experiments have shown that biodiversity can have strong effects on plant
productivity and on other ecosystem processes (Tilman et al. 1997; Hector et
al. 1999; Naeem et al. 2000; Loreau et al. 2001; Tilman et al. 2001). In
managed ecosystems biodiversity seems to be inversely related to management
intensity (De Fries et al. 2004). It is important to determine how biodiversity
loss in managed ecosystems will affect the flow of goods and services that
society derives from these ecosystems (Solé and Bascompte 2006).
Agroforestry systems (AFS) have the potential to be productive while
conserving a portion of the biodiversity that occurs in natural ecosystems
(Garrity 2004). Agroforestry can balance the tradeoffs between farmers’
economic needs, ecosystem services and biodiversity conservation (Steffan-
Dewenter et al. 2006). AFS provide a refuge for biodiversity, can supply other
environmental services, and are suitable for agro-ecological research (Ashton
and Montagnini 1999; Bhagwat et al. 2008; Perfecto et al. 1996).
Different management practices and shade tree species can have
contrasting effects on AFS productivity and on associated biodiversity (Nair
1993). In agroforestry experiments plant species diversity, species composition
and management practices can be manipulated or adjusted at a relatively low
Effects of Management Practices on Coffee… 3
cost (Nair 1993; Peeters et al. 2003). Such experiments can advance our
understanding of the effects of different management regimes on agricultural
productivity, biodiversity and other ecosystem processes in managed
ecosystems (Hooper et al. 2005; Perfecto et al. 2005).
Coffee, Coffea arabica L. (Rubiaceae) is a major crop and an important
income source for farmers in Central and South America. It is one of the
world’s most important agricultural commodities and provides economic
support for 20 to 25 million people (; Aguilar and Klocker
2000; Schroth et al. 2004). There are several advantages in growing coffee in
AFS in comparison with intensive monocultures. For example, it has been
shown that coffee AFS have higher nutrient retention than intensive systems
(Imbach et al. 1989). In addition, in coffee AFS shade improves coffee bean
quality (Muschler 2001). Coffee AFS also require less agrochemical inputs
(Young 2003) and can maintain soil fertility for longer periods of time (Siebert
Market fluctuations, price speculation, and unfair trade have recently led
many coffee farmers to develop new management practices, experiment with
organic inputs, or switch to other crops (Fernández and Muschler 1999,
Haggar et al. 2001). Rising environmental and health concerns have promoted
the interest in organic production systems and their environmental services
(Rice and Ward 1996). Organically grown coffee can be as productive as
conventional unshaded systems (Lyngbaek et al. 2001). To explore these
claims further, a research team at the Tropical Agriculture Research and
Higher Education Center (CATIE) of Costa Rica established an experiment in
2000-2001 to describe the effects of different management practices and shade
tree species on the productivity and sustainability of coffee AFS (Beer et al.
1998; Haggar et al. 2001; Haggar 2005). These AFS included different
management practices (with chemical and organic inputs) and three native
shade tree species.
The diversity of herbaceous species growing in the understory of an AFS
can serve as an indicator of the effects of different management practices on
plant diversity. Understory plants are directly influenced by management
practices including fertilization, weed control, mulching and shade. The
amount of light that reaches the understory, the availability of nutrients in the
upper layers of the soil and the physical structure of the soil also affect the
growth of understory plants.
This chapter describes the effects of management practices (chemical and
organic), at different intensity levels on understory herbaceous species
diversity and coffee productivity after six years of monitoring. We hypothesize
Esteban Rossi, Florencia Montagnini and Elias de Melo Virginio Filho 4
that it is possible to obtain competitive coffee bean yields while conserving
herbaceous species diversity.
Site Description
The study was conducted at an experimental coffee agroforestry system
located at the Tropical Agriculture Research and Higher Education Center
(CATIE) in Turrialba, Costa Rica (9°53´44´´ N; 83°40´7´´ W). The site is
located at 685 m above sea level, the rainfall averages 2600 mm/year with a
dry season of 1-2 months, and the average temperature is 21.8°C, with 88%
humidity and a solar incidence of 16.9 Mj/m² (Zuluaga Peláes 2004). The
coffee agroforestry system (AFS) is located at CATIE’S experimental and
commercial farm. The AFS is surrounded by sugar cane (Saccharum
officinarum L.) plantations, a few scattered native trees, and pasture lands. The
area had been planted with sugar cane for at least five years before the
establishment of the experiment.
The soils are Typic Endoaquults (Ultisols) derived from volcanic
alluvium. They are shallow, rocky and acidic (pH < 5.5), with high clay
content (clay > 50%). The soils had low to medium organic matter content at
the time of establishment of the experiment. The soil chemical properties were
consistent across the site. The most severe soil limitation was the poor
drainage; several ditches were built across the site to improve drainage. To
reduce acidity, calcium carbonate was applied between the coffee alleys
during the first two years.
Agroforestry System Design and Shade Tree Species
The Coffea arabica var Caturra AFS was established in 2000-2001. The
experiment had a total size of 9.2 hectares. Coffee planting density was 5000
coffee shrubs ha
; with 2 m between rows and 1 m between coffee shrubs,
which is the standard planting density for coffee in Costa Rica. The
experimental treatments were defined as the combination of shade type and
management practices. Treatments were comprised of combinations of three
management interventions: organic or chemical management, input intensity
(quantity of inputs per area), and shade tree species. Not all combinations were
Effects of Management Practices on Coffee… 5
tested, resulting in an experiment with 20 different treatments, each with three
replicates (Table 1).
Table 1. Coffee AFS: The experiment has an incomplete factorial design;
the combination of the shade type and the management practices
constitutes the treatment. There were 20 treatments with 3 replicates each
Shade tree species Management type Management intensity
High intensity Chemical inputs
Medium intensity
Medium intensity
Erythrina poeppigiana
Organic inputs
Low intensity
High intensity Chemical inputs
Medium intensity
Medium intensity
Terminalia amazonia
Organic inputs
Low intensity
Chemical inputs Medium intensity Chloroleucon eurycyclum
Organic inputs Medium intensity
Chemical inputs Medium intensity T. amazonia + C. eurycyclum
Organic inputs Medium intensity
Chemical inputs Medium intensity T. amazonia + E. poeppigiana
Organic inputs Medium intensity
High intensity Chemical inputs
Medium intensity
Medium intensity
C. eurycyclum + E. poeppigiana
Organic inputs
Low intensity
High intensity Full sun (no shade) Chemical inputs
Medium intensity
Three shade tree species were used in the AFS: Chloroleucon eurycyclum
Barneby and J.W. Grimes (Fabaceae) (this species is also reported in the
literature as Abarema idiopoda); Terminalia amazonia (J.F. Gmel.) Exell
(Combretaceae) and Erythrina poeppigiana (Walp.) O.F. Cook (Fabaceae). C.
eurycyclum is a slow-growing, nitrogen-fixing timber tree species; there is
little information on its productivity in AFS (Cordero et al. 2003). T. amazonia
is a fast-growing timber species. It is widely distributed and cultivated across
Latin America and is highly adaptable to numerous soil conditions (Montero
and Kanninen 2005; Montagnini et al. 2008; Piotto et al. 2010). E.
poeppigiana is a nitrogen-fixing species, commonly used in Costa Rica in
Esteban Rossi, Florencia Montagnini and Elias de Melo Virginio Filho 6
several types of AFS (Beer et al. 1998). Shade trees were planted in alternate
rows at 6 m x 4 m with an initial shade tree density of 417 trees ha
, and they
were thinned 4 years after planting. In 2008, when the present study was
conducted, the tree density had been reduced by 40%. E. poeppigiana trees
were pollarded according to conventional coffee AFS management practices to
add organic matter to the soil. C. eurycyclum and T. amazonia were pruned to
promote straight stem growth. No genetic selection or progeny tests have been
done with the selected tree species, therefore available planting materials
displayed high genetic variability (Galloway and Beer 1997).
Coffee Management Practices
Two different kinds of management practices were used in the coffee
AFS: chemical (also referred to as conventional) and organic (Lyngbaek et al.
2001). Conventional chemical management was based on agronomic
recommendations of the Costa Rica Coffee Institute, and included the use of
chemical fertilizers, fungicides and pesticides at two intensity levels: high (800
kg ha
of chemical input) and medium (400 kg ha
). These practices
are commonly used in unshaded coffee systems as well as in coffee AFS with
a single shade tree species (Sanchez-De León et al. 2006).
In plots with organic management chicken manure and organic matter
(coffee pulp) were used at two intensity levels: medium and low. The medium
intensity level consisted of 20 tons ha
of coffee pulp, 7.5 tons ha
chicken manure, 200 kg ha
of a potassium-magnesium-sulfate mixture
(KMAG), and 200 kg ha
of phosphate mineral. The low intensity level
consisted of 10 tons ha
of coffee pulp, chicken manure and phosphate
mineral (Sanchez-De León et al. 2006). Pests were controlled by removing
infected fruits and by selective pruning. A committee of local coffee farmers
and agronomists revised and approved the chosen management procedures.
These practices represent local knowledge and aim to become agronomically
and economically feasible alternatives for small farmers (Sanchez-De León et
al. 2006).
Understory Species Richness, Composition and Abundance
To estimate the understory plant diversity a detailed survey of herbaceous
vegetation in the AFS was conducted. Preliminary field observations and local
Effects of Management Practices on Coffee… 7
sources indicated that herbaceous species richness and cover were
homogeneous within treatments. In each treatment/plot a 4 m x 4 m subplot
was located randomly. Within each subplot all plant individuals were
identified and counted to estimate understory species richness and abundance.
The herbs were identified to species level with the aid of local and regional
floras, photographic databases, and online herbarium databases. When reliable
identification to the species level was not possible, the individuals were
classified as morpho-species. The herbaceous species that displayed colonial
growth form (asexual reproduction) and the grasses that could not be identified
as individuals were recorded by measuring the size of the covered area in
meters. The area of litter, bare soil and herbaceous cover in each 16m
were measured using a one meter square frame.
Coffee Productivity Evaluation
The coffee yield data were obtained from harvest records. For each
treatment plot, the weight of the total coffee berry harvest was recorded every
year. Total averages per treatment were obtained from the three replicates of
each treatment. Yield data were compared on a per-area and per-plant basis to
correct for potential differences in plot sizes. These measures were used to
compare the yield data across treatments.
Data Analysis
To describe the effects of management practices on coffee bean
productivity and on herbaceous species diversity in the AFS we used the
repeated measures ANOVA procedure with a general linear model in SAS. We
sought to compare differences in coffee yield across treatments, differences in
understory plant richness across treatments, and to determine how coffee bean
yields were changing in time. We used dynamic tables in Excel to compare
yields across treatments, years, management practices, and shade types.
Herbaceous Species Richness, Abundance and Soil Cover
Esteban Rossi, Florencia Montagnini and Elias de Melo Virginio Filho 8
Our results indicated that management practices had a strong effect on
herbaceous species richness. Herbaceous species richness was consistently
lower under high intensity chemical treatments regardless of shade tree species
(Figure 1).
Figure 1. Herb diversity and coffee productivity along the management intensification
gradient (data from 2007). Grey bars correspond to coffee yield and are arranged by
management practices (from low-intensity organic to high-intensity chemical) and by
shade type. The shade tree species are: Ta-Terminalia amazonia; Ce-Chloroleucon
eurycyclum; Ep-Erythrina poeppigiana; the four letters correspond to shade tree
species combinations and FS to full sun grown coffee. The dots correspond to the
mean herb species richness per three 16m
sub-plots for each treatment. The dots were
displayed in a continuous line to show how the relationship between herb species
richness with management practices.
The high intensity chemically managed plot (CH) with T. amazonia
presented the lowest herb richness (2 species-mean of three 16m
plots) of the
AFS. The full sun treatments (FS) also had low herbaceous species richness.
The herbaceous ground cover was consistently higher in organic treatments
(OL, OM) followed by CM treatments.
The plots managed with medium intensity (Chemical Medium-CM and
Organic Medium-OM) displayed the highest herbaceous species richness with
up to 18 species (mean of three 16m
plots) in CM and OM with both E.
poeppigiana and C. eurycyclum (Figure 1). The CM and OM treatments with
C. eurycyclum also had consistently high species richness values. Both CM
and OM treatments also had high variability in species richness.
Effects of Management Practices on Coffee… 9
Regarding the influence of shade tree species, treatments with C.
eurycyclum had the highest herbaceous species abundance, high herbaceous
species richness and a very small area of exposed soil (Table 2). The
treatments with both C. eurycyclum and E. poeppigiana had high or
intermediate values of herb and litter soil cover and also small areas of
exposed soil.
The treatments shaded with E. poeppigiana had high litter production. The
unshaded (FS) treatments had the highest total area of bare soil; almost no
herb species grew under the high intensity, full sun management practices.
Over 90% of the herbaceous species sampled were identified to species;
the Poaceae (grasses) and the Cyperaceae (sedges) were the most abundant
families in the coffee AFS. Grasses were highly abundant in FS treatments
(Table 3) and under conditions of FS and high chemical fertilization. The
abundance of Cyperaceae and the observations in the field confirmed that
limited drainage on this site favors water tolerant species in the Cyperaceae
and Caryophillaceae families. Seedlings and saplings of coffee, E.
poeppigiana and A. idiopoda were also abundant across plots. Borreria sp
(Rubiaceae), Drymaria sp (Caryophyllaceae) and especially Hydrocotile sp
(Apiaceae) provided uniform and, in some plots, extensive soil cover.
Coffee Yields
Overall, the high intensity chemical treatments (CH) displayed
considerable variation in productivity between treatments, shade type and
years. In 2007 the highest yield was recorded in full sun (FS) chemical high
input (CH) plots with yield over 13 Mg/ha.
Table 2. Coffee AFS soil cover: herb richness (S), herb abundance and % area by cover types. Mean and +/- square
error of the mean (SEM) from three 16m
plots per treatment
Shade tree
species Management Mean richness
Species richness
Mean abundance
(indiv/ plot)
Plot herb
Plot litter
cover (%)
Bare soil
area (%)
Ce Med. Chem. 15 3.46 109.67 42.74 45.7 32.0 16.3
Ce Med. Organic 13 6 56 43.09 77.5 14.2 0.0
Ce + Ep High Chem. 4.7 0.58 72.33 108.89 9.4 56.3 31.3
Ce + Ep Low Organic 17.7 1.53 71.33 57.87 68.0 20.7 5.9
Ce + Ep Med. Chem. 17.3 2.31 46.33 1.53 39.3 37.3 14.6
Ce + Ep Med. Organic 12.7 1.15 25.33 4.04 79.2 7.3 1.1
Ce + Ta Med. Chem. 15 1.73 34.17 2.57 11.6 55.2 32.1
Ce + Ta Med. Organic 13 2 29.67 15.31 77.7 17.1 1.6
Ep High Chem. 8 3.24 70.25 11.21 11.4 88.2 0.0
Ep Low Organic 9.7 5.51 22.67 17.62 60.2 35.4 0.0
Ep Med. Chem. 8.7 5.13 37 23.64 16.3 76.1 3.1
Ep Med. Organic 11 1 32.67 17.39 51.7 37.9 0.0
Ep + Ta Med. Chem. 13 2.65 49.33 7.09 14.1 65.4 13.1
Ep + Ta Med. Organic 8.3 1.15 21.33 13.65 71.9 12.5 7.9
Ta High Chem. 2.3 1.53 85.67 39.37 2.3 92.7 2.1
Ta Low Organic 13 3 53.33 20.82 85.3 10.9 3.6
Ta Med. Chem. 9.7 2.08 48.33 41.53 17.2 66.5 15.8
Ta Med. Organic 10.7 3.79 30.67 5.77 80.8 9.4 0.0
FS High Chem. 6.7 1.86 52.67 33.95 17.8 49.6 28.8
FS Med. Chem. 10.3 6.03 21 16.52 52.1 25.0 15.6
Table 3. Most common species and number of occurrences in the 4 x 4 m sampling plots
Family Species Occurrences Taxonomic summary
Caryophyllaceae Drymaria cordata 30
Number of plant families recorded in the
experiment: 27
Poaceae Paspalum conjugatum 30
Number of herb genera recorded in the
experiment: 50
Rubiaceae Coffea arabica (saplings) 30 Total Number of herb species: 58
Apiaceae Spananthe paniculata 27
Poaceae Digitatia sanguinalis 27 Most abundant herb families
Poaceae Paspalum conjugatum 27 Cyperaceae (sedges): 8 species
Apiaceae Hydrocotyle umbellata 26 Poaceae (grasses): 6 species
Rubiaceae Borreria laevis 26
Cyperaceae Cyperus tenuis 24 Most common genus: Cyperus
Euphorbiaceae Phyllantus niruri 24
Cyperaceae Cyperus luzulae 23
Cyperaceae Cyperus tenuis 23
Leg-Mimosaceae Mimosa pudica 22
Cyperaceae Dichromena ciliata 21
Leg-Fabaceae Erythrina poeppigiana (saplings) 21
Asteraceae Pseudoelephantopus spicatus 20
Esteban Rossi, Florencia Montagnini and Virginio Filho Elias de Melo 12
Figure 2. Coffee AFS mean bean yields for 2006. The bars show the yield per plots
arranged by management practices (low intensity organic to high intensity chemical)
and by shade type. The line corresponds to the 2006 mean coffee bean yield across all
Plots with E. poeppigiana and the combinations of E. poeppigiana and
Chloroleucon eurycyclum produced the highest yields after the full sun CH
treatment (Figure 1-3). Plots shaded with the timber tree Terminalia amazonia
tended to have lower coffee yields with the exception of one OM plot.
In contrast, at intermediate management levels (CM, OM) the yields
displayed less variation between years and shade types (Figure 1-3). The
comparison between chemical medium and organic medium treatments
showed that at intermediate management levels the total yields were very
similar, regardless of shade tree species, or input type. Furthermore, in 2007,
with the exception of full sun CM treatments, medium organic treatments had
the highest total yield. The low intensity organic treatments (OL) had the
lowest coffee yields.
Because coffee presents a biannual fruiting pattern we show the results of
the last two years on record, 2006-2007 (Figures 1-2); this biannual pattern is a
physiological trait of the coffee shrub and is largely independent of the site
conditions. The year 2007 was a high yield year (Figure 1) and 2006 was a low
yield year (Figure 2). Our ANOVA showed a very strong effect of time on
productivity (Table 4), this effect was probably caused by the year-to-year
evolution of the AFS and the gradual increase in yields as the coffee shrubs
matured (Figure 3). We also observed a small positive effect of understory
Effects of Management Practices on Coffee… 13
diversity on coffee yield (Table 4). These yield data indicate that the AFS
productivity has been increasing gradually over the last 6 years and that there
is a significant effect of management on productivity as can be seen in Figures
1 and 2.
Figure 3. Historical mean yields of the coffee AFS grouped by management practices
for 2002-2007. Organic treatments (black thick lines) display smaller inter-year
oscillations than chemical treatments.
Table 4. Time, management and herb richness effects on coffee yield
Source of variation Pr > F
Time <.0001
time * management <.0001
time * herb richness 0.0020
time * herb richness * management 0.0044
time * block 0.9299
Chemically managed plots at high and medium intensity levels were
highly productive by the second harvest (2003) and displayed considerable
variation in inter-year yield. Interestingly, in organically managed plots mean
yield increased slowly (with low productivity in 2002 and 2003) but displayed
Esteban Rossi, Florencia Montagnini and Elias de Melo Virginio Filho 14
smaller inter-year variation. In the years 2004 and 2006 organic treatments
were as productive, or in some cases, more productive than chemical
treatments (Figure 3).
The productivity of the system in 2006 indicates that in low yield years,
the CM plots tend to perform poorly, especially the full sun plots (mean yield
for the full sun CH was 4.2 Mg/ha in 2006 and 13.5 Mg/ha in 2007). In
contrast, organically managed plots have higher yields than chemically
managed plots during low yield years; in 2006 medium intensity organic
treatments were significantly more productive than medium intensity chemical
(CM) plots (Figure 3). Also the year-to-year yield variability was higher for
CH than for the CM plots (Figure 3).
Impact of Management Intensity on Coffee Yield and on
Herbaceous Species Diversity
In general, understory herbaceous species diversity was positively
correlated with coffee yield, the only exceptions were the intensive treatments
– especially the unshaded, high intensity chemically managed treatments. This
suggests that coffee productivity and herbaceous species richness can be
maintained simultaneously in coffee AFS, especially at intermediate levels of
management intensity.
Also, it could be argued that biodiversity can have a small positive effect
on productivity, as shown by Figures 1-2. Given that some management
practices like the pollarding of E. poeppigiana tended to have negative impacts
on herbaceous growth it is interesting that a small biodiversity effect could still
be detected.
It is possible that in these AFS herbaceous diversity influences coffee
productivity in an indirect manner: for example, herbaceous cover could be
contributing to erosion control, addition of organic matter to the soil, and
enhanced nutrient cycling (Altieri 1999; Smith et al. 2008; Vandermeer 1989).
Other studies have reported that as management intensity increases,
biodiversity tends to decrease (DeFries et al. 2004). Our results indicated that a
sharp decline in herbaceous species richness was associated with chemically
intensive management practices, while medium intensity treatments (CM and
OM) produced similar coffee yields; therefore medium-intensity management
Effects of Management Practices on Coffee… 15
practices may represent a reasonable balance between coffee productivity and
biodiversity conservation for farmers in Costa Rica.
Our data indicated that as in other agricultural systems in the region the
Poaceae (grasses) were very abundant (Table 3). While some species of
Poaceae can benefit commercial crops and livestock, most grass species are
considered undesirable in coffee AFS. In the full sun AFS treatments,
controlling undesirable grasses commonly required the use of chemical
herbicides; while in shaded plots undesirable species were less frequent
(Romero, pers. com).
Whether the optimal management practices for coffee AFS should be
totally organic, chemical or a mixture of the two would depend on the
availability and use of organic and chemical inputs, the management
objectives and the preferences of the land manager. It is likely that as organic
technologies advance, the quality of organic inputs will improve. In some
tropical regions small farmers can easily produce their own high quality
organic inputs. Improved organic technology has the potential to increase the
profitability of these agroforestry systems. For example, in the Turrialba area
of Costa Rica, organic coffee farmers receive higher prices for their coffee
than conventional farmers. This price premium constitutes an incentive for
improved management practices but sometimes is not enough to cover
certification and other costs associated with organic production (Muschler
Influence of Shade Tree Species
We observed that the shade tree species C. eurycyclum apparently had a
positive effect on herb species richness and on coffee productivity. Its
relatively open canopy allows some light to reach the understory, making it a
potentially desirable tree species for AFS (Figure 4); also, preliminary
observations suggest that C. eurycyclum has root nodules and therefore could
be actively fixing nitrogen. However, the C. eurycyclum in the AFS had poor
form and shape and probably lacked quality for saw timber. Local farmers
reported that the high density of the wood made pruning difficult.
Chloroleucon eurycyclum is a promising shade tree species, however more
research and genetic selection is needed to obtain more benefits from its
association with coffee in AFS.
Esteban Rossi, Florencia Montagnini and Elias de Melo Virginio Filho 16
Figure 4. Coffee agroforestry system shaded with Chloroleucon euryclyclum.
The treatments with Erythrina poeppigiana confirmed the benefits of the
use of this well-known shade tree species in Costa Rica (Beer et al. 1998).
Although the treatments shaded with E. poeppigiana were productive, the
herbaceous species richness under E. poeppigiana was low, probably because
the abundant tree mulch suppressed the herbs in the understory. In combined
plots with E. poeppigiana and C. eurycyclum the overall herb richness was
much higher than in the treatments with E. poeppigiana shade alone (Figure
The treatments shaded with Terminalia amazonia (Figure 6) presented
low herbaceous species richness and intermediate coffee yields. This species
of relatively valuable timber could probably be managed for timber and shade
in combination with other species. Overall, the combination of shade tree
species probably provides farmers with more benefits: C. eurycyclum provides
intermediate shade and organic matter to the soil, T. amazonia produces
straight, high quality timber and E. poeppigiana produces mulch and can be
pruned easily to adjust light conditions to the needs of the coffee shrubs
(Figure 7).
Effects of Management Practices on Coffee… 17
Figure 5. Coffee agroforestry system with pruned Erythrina poeppigiana.
Figure 6. Coffee agroforestry system shaded with Terminalia amazonia.
Esteban Rossi, Florencia Montagnini and Elias de Melo Virginio Filho 18
Figure 7. Coffee agroforestry system with Erythrina poeppigiana and in the back
Chloroleucon eurycyclum.
Long Term Sustainability of Coffee AFS
The full sun CH treatments had highly variable yields from year to year
and had very low herbaceous species richness. These unshaded CH treatments
can also have high erosion rates depending on the slope and soil type (Rice
1991). Often, due to the costs of chemical inputs these intensive systems are
not suitable for small farmers.
The coffee yield year to year records suggest that the AFS is maturing and
that yields are increasing with time. The organic treatments seem to be slowly
attaining productivity levels similar to those of chemical treatments. In
addition, coffee yields were less variable year to year in the organic than in the
conventional system.
This could indicate that organic treatments can have positive effects on the
nutrient cycles in these AFS. As the system matures and soil processes
continue, bean yields and biodiversity can increase and year to year variations
can decrease. Overall, these trends suggest that these coffee AFS can be more
sustainable than intensive coffee monocultures.
Effects of Management Practices on Coffee… 19
This study shows that coffee AFS can be managed for competitive coffee
yields while maintaining herbaceous species diversity. Our data showed that
low intensity management tended to produce poor yields, while high intensity
management has low diversity and can be expensive. Thus, an optimal
agroforestry management strategy for coffee productivity and biodiversity can
probably be attained using organic inputs at intermediate intensity and
complementing them with chemical inputs if needed. The data also
demonstrated that as the organic AFS mature they become more productive
and probably more resilient.
The comparisons of different shade tree species confirmed the benefits of
Erythrina poeppigiana in coffee AFS. Chloroleucon eurycyclum had positive
impacts on diversity and coffee productivity and could be successfully
combined with other species to provide shade in AFS.
The adaptability of the timber species Terminalia amazonia makes it a
useful tree species for coffee AFS. Terminalia amazonia benefits can probably
be maximized if it is planted in combination with other shade tree species that
can contribute with nitrogen fixation such as C. eurycyclum and E.
This management strategy, combination of timber and nitrogen fixing
species in organic coffee AFS can be easily transferred to farmers in Costa
Rica and other countries in Central America.
This is especially relevant in regions where farmers have poor access to
chemical inputs and can benefit by selling organically produced coffee. In
addition, the organic systems can promote restoration and conservation of
This study was supported by the Tropical Resources Institute of the Yale
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... Cases from Pará, Brazil, Copán, Honduras, and the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán valley in central Mexico demonstrate the use of homegardens in these regions to serve as "banks" for ancient and potential future crop species. They also serve as (Griffith 2000) Successional AFS Improved soil fertility; bees attracted for pollination Preservation of indigenous system using distinct phases: Milpa (cultivated maize field), arbusto (shrub with planting), and acahual (fallow shrub), then return to Selva Alta (high forest); readily harvestable crops; honey bees Chiapas, Mexico (Diemont et al. 2006;Diemont et al. 2011) (continued) (Mas and Dietsch 2003;Teodoro et al. 2011;Rossi et al. 2011;Chait 2015). ...
... In Chiapas, Mexico, Costa Rica, and elsewhere in the Neotropics, several studies have found an inverse relationship between the diversity of certain species and the intensity of the management of the coffee AFS (Table 4.1). In experimental coffee AFS at CATIE, 1 Costa Rica, intermediate management intensity produced competitive coffee yields, and organically managed plots had high herbaceous diversity and were as productive as chemically managed plots, suggesting that AFS can balance agricultural productivity while maintaining a significant number of herbaceous species (Rossi et al. 2011). ...
... By compensating farmers for the extra labor required to produce certified organic, biodiversity friendly products, certification can bridge the gap between financial and biodiversity benefits. Organic AFS are also more biodiversity friendly since the lack of pesticide and herbicide use favors both plant and animal diversity Rossi et al. 2011). Several commodities grown as perennial crops in AFS such as coffee, cacao, yerba mate, guayusa, and açaí have been able to achieve price surpluses that can serve as an incentive for the farmer to turn to certified organic or biodiversity friendly products Rocha et al. 2017). ...
Given their ability to harmonize productivity with environmental functions, agroforestry systems (AFS) are an important strategy for conservation within human managed landscapes. AFS are heterogeneous in their design, management, and species composition, with consequences for their restoration, conservation, and productivity functions. AFS can function as biodiversity islands or can be incorporated into existing biodiversity islands as buffer zones because they can be integrated into already productive landscapes. This chapter provides an overview of the various ecological, social, and economic benefits of the main types of AFS systems and their applications as and within biodiversity islands. It also discusses the use of incentives to support and promote AFS in order to safeguard the contributions they provide to landscape biodiversity and rural communities.KeywordsBuffer zonesCertificationConnectivityMarketsOrganic farmingPayments for ecosystem services (PES)
... Most research monitoring the contribution of AFS to conservation of biodiversity compare indicators species' abundance and richness among AFS and other land uses prevalent in the region of study (Bhagwat et al. 2008;Redondo Brenes and Montagnini 2010;Teodoro et al. 2011). In addition, several studies focus on influence of agricultural practices on biodiversity, comparing plots with different management intensities of AFS (example, for coffee, Mas and Dietsch 2003;Rossi et al. 2011). ...
... Coffee AFS illustrate well how AFS can reach a compromise between productivity and the provision of environmental services such as biodiversity. Rossi et al. (2011) examined diversity of plants in the understory of coffee AFS and coffee monocultures in Costa Rica, where coffee was managed in a range of systems from medium-organic to high inputs of chemical fertilizers. ...
... However, intermediate management intensity produced competitive coffee yields, and organically managed plots had high herbaceous diversity and were as productive as chemically managed plots. The results suggested that it is feasible to manage these AFS for agricultural productivity while maintaining uniform soil cover and a significant number of herbaceous species (Rossi et al. 2011). ...
Biodiversity islands can contribute to protect biodiversity in human-dominated landscapes. Agroforestry systems (AFS), as they can harmonize productivity with environmental functions, can be part of biodiversity islands, especially in the buffer zones of protected areas. AFS are heterogeneous in their design and management, with consequences for their restoration and conservation functions. This chapter discusses the role of AFS on restoration and conservation of biodiversity at the ecosystem and landscape levels, with emphasis on tropical Latin America and examples from other regions.
... AFS can restore habitat heterogeneity, compared with the homogeneity found on monocrop cultivated land. Common issues associated with monoculture systems relating to soil erosion, loss of organic matter, nutrient cycling and nitrogen leaching can often be solved when AFS are put into play (FAO, 2021;Palma et al., 2007;Rossi et al., 2011). ...
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Continuous pesticide usage has negative impacts on people and ecosystems associated with coffee farms. Alternative plant protection strategies can be implemented, which are sustainable for both the environment and the coffee farmer. In this review, New Genomic Techniques (NGTs) such as RNAi (RNA interference, using Spray‐Induced Gene Silencing – SIGS) are presented as a possible novel strategy to manage Coffea arabica pests and diseases. Exploitation of the coffee agroforestry system (AFS) is presented as another strategy, offering both plant protection and ecosystem restoration functions. Interactions within a coffee‐AFS were found to both hinder and bolster the development of some coffee pests and diseases. Biological control represents a third strategy which has been examined to‐date to combat important coffee pests and diseases (i.e., American leaf spot, black coffee twig borer, coffee berry borer, coffee berry disease, coffee leaf miner, coffee leaf rust, coffee wilt disease and green coffee scale). The astute use of RNAi; AFS and/or biological control have the potential to provide alternatives to conventional pesticides for future sustainable coffee production. However, these approaches must be compatible with the coffee farmers’ local needs, accessibility and bolstered through nationwide support by advisory services and coffee authorities.
... These trait syndromes have an established role in litter decay rates and nutrient cycling (Bakker et al., 2011). During interviews, farmers identified these particular species as beneficial ground cover and sources of green manure, supporting previous work linking leaf traits and function in agroecosystems in Latin America (Rossi et al., 2011) and the Caribbean (Damour et al., 2014). In contrast, but as expected, grasses and sedges such as Brachiaria platyphylla ...
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Smallholder farms that transition to organic and biodiverse production are increasingly recognized as strongholds of agrobiodiversity, with emerging work identifying important outcomes such as enhancing crop portfolios, mitigating extreme climate events and contributing to farmer well‐being. Yet the emergent herbaceous communities in these organic systems remain understudied, with the functional diversity and management of this stratum relatively unknown. This study identifies the taxonomic and functional diversity of the herbaceous community in organic coffee agroforestry systems, and describes the extent of this diversity with farm, and farmer, attributes. We measured leaf‐level functional traits (e.g. specific leaf area) of the herbaceous community to derive functional diversity indices and collected localized environmental conditions on 15 organic coffee farms in Central Valley, Costa Rica. We also conducted semi‐structured interviews with nine farmers to construct mental models on herbaceous community management using a cognitive mapping approach. In total, 38 species from 20 taxonomic families were present in these organic coffee systems. The herbaceous communities were functionally diverse; however, functional evenness increased with canopy openness, suggesting that farms adopting agroforestry tend to have a more functionally diverse herbaceous stratum. Farmer perception of plant traits in the herbaceous community was differentiated into competitive (weeds) or neutral/positive effects. These perceptions aligned with well‐established functional trait trade‐offs. The mental models representing farmer decision‐making processes were highly variable, with a nearly 30% increase in cognitive map density from the simplest map to the most complex; this complexity in mental models was a key explanatory variable in the level of functional diversity of the herbaceous community. Organic management practices that support agroforestry practices also, in turn, promote a functionally diverse herbaceous stratum. We show that functional trait syndromes in these herbaceous communities in agroforestry systems are linked with farmer perceptions of traits, and that highly interconnected farm decision‐making is related to greater functional diversity in the herbaceous community. Understanding pathways of farmer decision‐making on managing this herbaceous community can appropriately situate on‐farm practice and policy for the transition to organic production, and inform emerging agri‐environmental programs.
... En particular, se confirmó que parcelas orgánicas presentan una alta diversidad herbácea. Lo anterior demuestra que es posible reducir y/o eliminar el uso de herbicidas al mismo tiempo que se logra buena rentabilidad del cultivo (Rossi et al. 2011). ...
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La caficultura sostenible requiere de diversos conocimientos asociados a la producción de café. Uno de los temas más importantes en el ámbito de la producción, y con impactos importantes en la calidad del medioambiente, del producto y de la salud de las personas involucradas es el manejo de las hierbas asociadas al cultivo. Pese a ello muchas veces en el marco de la Buenas Prácticas Agrícolas en la producción de café hay vacíos importantes de información al respecto. Un mal manejo de las hierbas que compiten con las plantas tiene también una relación directa con la baja en la producción de café. Se debe considerar que las estrategias de manejo deben ser lo suficientemente eficientes ya que de lo contrario pueden representar costos altos principalmente en prácticas mecánicas y químicas y un impacto negativo al ambiente. Rainforest Alliance en su tarea de promover la caficultura sostenible creó este guía para que productores y técnicos puedan acceder a información muy puntual y práctica logrando hacer un manejo integral de las hierbas en sus cafetales, el cual sea amigable con el ambiente y sostenible en el tiempo. La guía es una útil herramienta para tomar mejores decisiones sobre el control integrado de la cobertura de los suelos en los cafetales. Esta guía está dividida en tres capítulos que describen teóricamente la presencia de las hierbas en los cafetales, los controles requeridos y el manejo integral que debe dársele. Lo anterior ha sido extraído de una extensa y profunda investigación documental realizada en una primera etapa por el CATIE y ACERES, la cual fue coordinada por UTZ Certified. Para la segunda edición, coordinada por Rainforest Alliance, se agregaron ajustes y actualizaciones de conocimientos recientes. Paralelo a este documento, se elaboró una Guía Ilustrativa, cuyo objetivo es facilitar la identificación visual y caracterización de algunas de las principales hierbas encontradas en cafetales, las cuales incluyen sus nombres comunes y científicos, información relevante sobre lo que significa su presencia en el suelo y el tipo de cobertura según el impacto en el cafetal.
... The conservation of herbaceous plant diversity can be complementary to the management of tree or animal populations in tropical forests as well. For example, sustainable agroforestry systems can provide habitat for epiphytes and understory herbs (e.g., Rossi et al. 2011), which in turn can support diverse faunal communities and provide ecosystem services (e.g., Cruz-Angón and Greenberg 2005). ...
Full-text available
Studies conducted in forests have resulted in much of the ecological theory we build upon today. However, our basic understanding of forest ecology comes almost exclusively from the study of trees, even though they represent only a small fraction of the plant diversity present in forests. In recent decades there has been an increasing number of studies of forest herbs, broadening our understanding of plant community ecology in forest ecosystems. Here we highlight ten recent studies examining patterns and drivers of, as well as threats to, herbaceous plant diversity in forests. We first examine local, regional, and global patterns of herbaceous diversity in forests and how such patterns differ for woody versus herbaceous species. We then focus on ecological mechanisms that contribute to forest herb diversity, including the role of abiotic and biotic interactions. We end by discussing some major anthropogenic impacts on forest herb diversity, identifying where herbs are particularly susceptible or particularly resilient to current and predicted changes in comparison to trees. The studies we feature demonstrate that patterns and drivers of diversity often differ between woody and herbaceous plant communities. To facilitate cross-site comparisons, there is great need for more standardized survey methods for herbaceous plants, for simultaneous measurements of multiple plant growth forms, and for incorporating herbs into long-term forest monitoring networks. In addition, the selected studies reveal how land-use history, overabundant herbivores, invasive species, and climate change are all impacting forest herb communities. Some common characteristics of herbaceous plants, such as limited dispersal and small stature, may make forest herb communities more susceptible to these anthropogenic impacts, while others (e.g., resprouting ability, clonal reproduction) may make them more resilient compared to forest trees. More research is needed from both plant ecologists and applied forest practitioners to predict how herbaceous forest diversity will change in the future.
... These differ according to the tree species intercropped with coffee, VOLUME 9, 2021 their number, and coffee management. The experiment was conducted at the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) [24], [25], in the canton of Turrialba, province of Cartago, Costa Rica. The variety of coffee planted is Caturra of the species Coffea arabica. ...
Full-text available
Crop pests are among the greatest threats to food security, generating broad economic, social, and environmental impacts. These pests interact with their hosts and the environment through complex pathways and it is increasingly common to find professionals from different areas gathering into projects that attempt to deal with that complexity. We propose a framework called FramePests guiding steps and activities for crop pest modeling and forecasting. From theoretical references about carrying out mappings and systematic reviews of the literature, the framework proposes a series of steps leading to a state of science as knowledge base for modeling tasks. Then, two data-based modeling solutions are proposed with comparisons of model outputs and performances. The application of the proposed framework was demonstrated for Coffee Leaf Rust modeling, for which we obtained a data-based model built using a gradient boosting algorithm (XGBoost) with Mean Absolute Error of 7.19% and a knowledge-based model represented by a hierarchical multi-criteria decision structure with an accuracy of 56.03%. A complementary study for our case study allowed to explore how elements of a data-based model can improve a knowledge-based model, improving its accuracy by 7.07%. and showed that knowledge-based modeling can be an alternative to the data-based modeling when the available dataset has around 60 instances. Data-based models tend to have better performance, but their replicability is conditioned by the diversity in the dataset used. Knowledge-based models may be simpler but allow expert supervision and these models are not usually tied to specific sites.
... CLRI is one of the studied variables. This trial was carried out in the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) (Rossi et al., 2011) at coordinates 9°53′ 44″ North and 83°38′ 07″ West. Detailed information has been continuously collected, which makes it a unique experiment in the area. ...
The climate dataset was processed to generate four data subsets corresponding to four time windows: 3, 4, 7, and 14 consecutive days. We use the concept of time windows to generate consecutive subperiods of each climate variable within the main period of 14 days before the date of prediction. (DP). This process generates new attributes corresponding to each variable. The number of periods depends on the size of the window e.g., the window of 4 consecutive days generates 11 new sub-periods for each climatic variable. The index that characterizes it indicates the days covered by the window e.g., tMin11-8 corresponds to the minimum temperature between days 11 and 8 before DP. We called the generated subsets 3D, 4D, 7D, 14D. Each subset had 439 instances, and the dimension depended on window size: 14D had 13 variables (8 related to climate), 7D had 69 features (64 related to climate), 4D had 93 features (88 related to climate), and 3D had 101 features (96 related to climate). The target variable was predicted Coffee Leaf Rust Incidence (pCLRI), and the predictors were the rest of the experiment variables: current CLRI (cCLRI), shade, host growth (hGrowt), management (mgmt) and climatic variables: maximum (tMax) and minimum (tMin) air temperature, average (tAvg) air temperature calculated over the day, average (hAvg) and minimum (hMin) relative humidity, daily precipitation (pre). The data in the files did not contain null data. The thermal amplitude (tAmp), which represents the difference between the maximum and minimum temperatures, and the characterization of each day as a rainy day or not (precipitation greater or equal to 1 mm) (rDay)
... Moreover, net income from organic coffee production systems was similar to conventional production systems (when excluding the cost of certification), even when the former had a 22% lower yield than their counterparts, mainly due to the premium price paid to organic farmers which compensated the lower yields (Lyngbaek et al., 2001). Similarly, Rossi et al. (2011) evaluated the effect of management practices on coffee productivity in a long-term experiment in sub-optimal growing conditions and found that intermediate management intensity produces competitive coffee yields overtime. ...
Full-text available
The suitability and profitability of coffee cultivation in Central America are at risk due to pest and disease outbreaks, price fluctuations and climate change. Proper shading is claimed to be one of the most promising practices to seek sustainability and better adapt coffee cultivation to climate change in marginal areas. This study recorded and compared coffee cherry yields over a ten-year period from shaded coffee (N-fixing-trees and timber trees) agroforestry systems under different management regimes (conventional vs. organic) in a suboptimal site. Significant differences in production were detected between conventional inputs vs. combination of organic inputs and shade types in some years of the evaluation period. Full-sun cultivation under intensive management was the most productive system for coffee yields, followed by shaded systems under timber trees. Interestingly, and regardless of management systems (intensive conventional or intensive organic) the worst combinations in terms of coffee yield were shaded systems under leguminous species (Inga laurina (Sw.) Willd. + Simarouba glauca DC.). Across all experimental plots, the timber species Simarouba glauca and Tabebuia rosea (Bertol.) DC. grew well, reaching a mean annual increment in diameter of 2.5-3.3 cm/year (age 12 years). Average gross revenues were higher in full-sun and timber-shaded agroforestry systems. Overall, intensive management regimes were the most expensive cultivation system to run but also the best in terms of coffee yield performance.
In Costa Rica there are three management systems for coffee production: The oldest is traditional shade grown coffee used by small landholders, where yield is sacrificed for low maintenance and high sustainability. Control of the system is bottom-up, that is endosomatic by the species in the system; Sun grown coffee is favored by corporations. Control is top-down, that is exosomatic by the chemicals applied to the system. There is a tradeoff in sustainability for high yield; Organic coffee combines sustainability with economic yield through feedback. Control is both top-down and bottom-up.
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As ecosystems become less diverse as a consequence of land conversion and intensifi cation, there is a shared concern over the functioning of these sys-tems and their ability to provide a continuous fl ow of ser vices to human societies (Ehrlich and Wilson 1991). The ecological consequences of biodi-versity loss on ecosystem functioning have been investigated for more than a de cade, but only recently has interest developed around the consequences of agricultural biodiversity loss on the functions of agroecosystems. Agri-cultural intensifi cation has led to a widespread decline in agricultural biodiversity mea sured across many different levels, from a reduction in the number of crop and livestock varieties, to decreasing soil community di-versity, to the local extinction of a number of natural enemy species. Each time species go locally extinct, energy, and nutrient pathways are lost with consequent alteration of ecosystem effi ciency and of the ability of communities to respond to environmental fl uctuations. Monocultural agroecosystems typically display low resilience to perturbations such as drought, fl ooding, pest outbreaks, and invasive species and to uncertain-ties related to market fl uctuations. Large inputs of energy are then needed in the form of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and irrigation. Multifunctional and sustainable agriculture, where production is achieved with respect for ecosystem functions and pro cesses and with reduced im-pacts to other systems, is expected to produce a whole array of ecosystem ser vices besides edible and fi ber biomass production, such as soil erosion control, carbon sequestration, nutrient cycling, wildlife refugia, and sources of spiritual and cultural enjoyment.
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Coffee management systems are diverse and can have significant impacts on soil biota. Earthworms are important members of the soil biotic community and may enhance soil fertility in agricul-tural soils. The impact of coffee management on earthworms and other factors related to productivity are not well known. Our main objective was to determine the impact of coffee management on earthworm popu-lations, microbial biomass, and coffee production in Turrialba, Costa Rica. Three experimental coffee (Coffea arabica 'Caturra') management systems were studied: full sun, shade with Erythrina poepiggiana and shade with Terminalia amazonia. Within these systems there were three sub-treatments with different levels of inputs: high conventional or medium conventional sub-treatments with chemical fertilizer, herbicide and fungicide additions, and organic inputs in the shade systems. We found the earthworms Pontoscolex core-thrurus and Metaphire californica in shade treatments, but M. californica was absent from sun systems and Terminalia high conventional systems. Mean earthworm density was lowest in the sun high conventional treatment (63 ind. m −2), higher in medium conventional treatments (from 108 ind. m −2 to 225 ind. m −2), and highest in Terminalia organic systems (334 ind. m −2). In 2003, coffee production was highest in sun high conventional treatments (17.6 Mg ha −1), but in 2004 it was highest in the Terminalia organic treatments (9.2 Mg ha −1). Microbial biomass was not different among treatments, but was correlated with total earthworm density and biomass. Results indicate that shade organic management favors high earthworm density and biomass and that coffee yields under organic management can equal those of conventional systems.
Can physics be an appropriate framework for the understanding of ecological science? Most ecologists would probably agree that there is little relation between the complexity of natural ecosystems and the simplicity of any example derived from Newtonian physics. Though ecologists have long been interested in concepts originally developed by statistical physicists and later applied to explain everything from why stock markets crash to why rivers develop particular branching patterns, applying such concepts to ecosystems has remained a challenge. Self-Organization in Complex Ecosystems is the first book to clearly synthesize what we have learned about the usefulness of tools from statistical physics in ecology. Ricard Solé and Jordi Bascompte provide a comprehensive introduction to complex systems theory, and ask: do universal laws shape the structure of ecosystems, at least at some scales? They offer the most compelling array of theoretical evidence to date of the potential of nonlinear ecological interactions to generate nonrandom, self-organized patterns at all levels. Tackling classic ecological questions--from population dynamics to biodiversity to macroevolution--the book's novel presentation of theories and data shows the power of statistical physics and complexity in ecology. Self-Organization in Complex Ecosystems will be a staple resource for years to come for ecologists interested in complex systems theory as well as mathematicians and physicists interested in ecology.
The Costa Rican economy has been and remains largely dependent on exporting agricultural commodities for the generation of foreign exchange. In worldwide trade, coffee is the most important agricultural commodity and is second only to petroleum among all commodities traded. Because of its enormous role in the economy of producing nations and, in fact, the global economy, the sustainability of coffee production is of great concern. New aspects of the sustainability of coffee production have received considerable attention in recent years. This chapter adds to the existing literature by examining the long-term sustainability of coffee production both economically and environmentally. It examines various growing methods in order to understand the degree to which each does or does not contribute to environmental impacts. By using an historical review, this chapter analyzes the role of coffee for the development of political, social, and economic structures, as well as identifies the importance of the global economy on a country dependent on agricultural commodities for economic stability. A biophysical approach is used to determine production as a function of inputs and resource quality. The possibilities and limits of alternatives to traditional coffee production are a particularly important aspect in the discussion of sustainability as the extremely competitive market can generate consequences beyond the limits of traditional economic analysis.
Conversion of land to grow crops, raise animals, obtain timber, and build cities is one of the foundations of human civilization. While land use provides these essential ecosystem goods, it alters a range of other ecosystem functions, such as the provisioning of freshwater, regulation of climate and biogeochemical cycles, and maintenance of soil fertility. It also alters habitat for biological diversity. Balancing the inherent trade-offs between satisfying immediate human needs and maintaining other ecosystem functions requires quantitative knowledge about ecosystem responses to land use. These responses vary according to the type of land-use change and the ecological setting, and have local, short-term as well as global, long-term effects. Land-use decisions ultimately weigh the need to satisfy human demands and the unintended ecosystem responses based on societal values, but ecological knowledge can provide a basis for assessing the trade-offs.
Preface. I: Introduction. 1. The History of Agroforestry. 2. Definition and Concepts of Agroforestry. II: Agroforestry Systems and Practices. 3. Classification of Agroforestry Systems. 4. Distribution of Agroforestry Systems in the Tropics. 5. Shifting Cultivation and Improved Fallows. 6. Taungya. 7. Homegardens. 8. Plantation Crop Combinations. 9. Alley Cropping. 10. Other Agroforestry Systems and Practices. III: Agroforestry Species. 11. General Principles of Plant Productivity. 12. Agroforestry Species: the Multipurpose Trees. 13. Component Interactions. IV: Soil Productivity and Protection. 14. Tropical Soils. 15. Effects of Trees on Soils. 16. Nutrient Cycling and Soil Organic Matter. 17. Nitrogen Fixation. 18. Soil Conservation. V: Design and Evaluation of Agroforestry Systems. 19. The Diagnosis and Design (D&D) Methodology. 20. Field Experiments in Agroforestry. 21. On-Farm Research. 22. Economic Considerations. 23. Sociocultural Considerations. 24. Evaluation of Agroforestry Systems. 25. Agroforestry in the Temperate Zone. Glossary. SI Units and Conversion Factors. List of Acronyms and Abbreviations. Subject Index.
The agroforestry program of the AMISCONDE Initiative was implemented in 13 buffer zone communities of La Amistad Biosphere Reserve. This program introduced citrus (Citrus spp.) and promoted the widespread inclusion of poró (Erythrina poeppigiana) shade trees, ground story vegetation, and soil conservation techniques to the local cultivation of coffee (Coffea arabica var caturra). This program sought long-term socioeconomic and ecological health in these buffer zone communities through conservation and development projects such as coffee agroforestry systems. This paper examines the ecological and socioeconomic benefits of two introduced coffee agroforestry systems: coffee-poró and coffee-citrus. The project has decreased agrochemical inputs, integrated multi-strata vegetation, and implemented soil conservation techniques such as vetiver grass, cover crops, terraces, water channeling, and shade trees in an effort to sustainably manage coffee production on the steep buffer zone slopes. The agroforestry project of the AMISCONDE Initiative has likely improved the production of coffee ecologically and economically. However, new specialty markets should be explored to increase economic and ecological gains. Organic and fair trade coffee niche markets are suggested as alternatives for meeting the long-term AMISCONDE objectives of community development and conservation.