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Coffee, Climate and Biodiversity: Understanding the Carbon Stocks of the Shade Coffee Production System of India

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In the light of climate change, the ecosystem services of traditionally maintained shaded Arabica coffee farms become prominent largely for increasing carbon removal. The most important function of the shade-grown coffee agroforestry system is the reduction of the concentration of Carbon in the atmosphere. It is estimated that one-hectare shade-grown coffee farm with large forest trees can sequester 70-80 tonnes of carbon per hectare, which is more or less equivalent to the carbon stored in an equal area of forest. A full sun –grown or open coffee in one hectare can only store less than 10 tonnes of carbon. “Monsooned Malabar Arabica Coffee is a specialty coffee of India, sourced from shade coffee plantation and has geographical indication (GI) protection. Shade grown coffee also serves as a refuge for biodiversity and its diverse and complex structure has a high potential to retain biodiversity in the changing climate scenarios. In this context, this paper discusses the nexus of coffee, climate and biodiversity and its implications with Wayanad, Kerala, India as a case study. This paper emphasizes the need for promoting sustainable production and consumption of coffee as a carbon neutral brand and promotion of shade grown, biodiversity rich and climate resilient coffee can emerge as a highly valued commodity in the world coffee market. Attempts at revival of the shade grown coffee system amongst the small growers with appropriate steps in marketing the coffee as a specialty product (carbon neutral and grown in bio-diverse environment) are discussed.
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Citation: Anil Kumar, .N.P., Saleem Khan, A.I.K. and Balakrishnan, V. (2018). Coffee,
climate and biodiversity: Understanding the carbon stocks of the shade coffee production
system of India. In. Leal Filho, W., Barbir J and Preziosi, R. (Eds.).
Handbook of Climate Change and Biodiversity. Climate Change Management, Springer,
Berlin. pp.113-134.
Coffee, Climate and Biodiversity:
Understanding the Carbon Stocks
of the Shade Coffee Production System
of India
Nadesa Panicker Anil Kumar, Amsad Ibrahim Khan Saleem Khan
and Vaniyan Balakrishnan
Abstract In the light of climate change, the ecosystem services of traditionally
maintained shaded Arabica coffee farms become prominent largely for increasing
carbon removal. The most important function of the shade-grown coffee agroforestry
system is the reduction of the concentration of Carbon in the atmosphere. It is esti-
mated that one-hectare shade-grown coffee farm with large forest trees can sequester
70–80 tonnes of carbon per hectare, which is more or less equivalent to the carbon
stored in an equal area of forest. A full sun–grown or open coffee in one hectare can
only store less than 10 tonnes of carbon. “Monsooned Malabar Arabica Coffee is a
specialty coffee of India, sourced from shade coffee plantation and has geographical
indication (GI) protection. Shade grown coffee also serves as a refuge for biodiver-
sity and its diverse and complex structure has a high potential to retain biodiversity
in the changing climate scenarios. In this context, this paper discusses the nexus of
coffee, climate and biodiversity and its implications with Wayanad, Kerala, India as
a case study. This paper emphasizes the need for promoting sustainable production
and consumption of coffee as a carbon neutral brand and promotion of shade grown,
biodiversity rich and climate resilient coffee can emerge as a highly valued com-
N. P. Anil Kumar (B)·A. I. K. Saleem Khan
M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, 3rd Cross Street, Taramani Institutional Area,
Chennai 600 113, India
e-mail: anil@mssrf.res.in; anilmaruthur@gmail.com
A. I. K. Saleem Khan
e-mail: saleemkhan@mssrf.res.in; asaleemkhan.cc@gmail.com
V. Balakrishnan
M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Puthurvayal P.O, Wayanad, Kalpetta,
Kerala 673577, India
e-mail: balakrishnan@mssrf.res.in
© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019
W. Leal Filho et al. (eds.), Handbook of Climate Change and Biodiversity,
Climate Change Management, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-98681-4_7
113
114 N. P. Anil Kumar et al.
modity in the world coffee market. Attempts at revival of the shade grown coffee
system amongst the small growers with appropriate steps in marketing the coffee
as a specialty product (carbon neutral and grown in bio-diverse environment) are
discussed.
Introduction
The Paris agreement on climate change strengthens the global response to the threat
of achanging climate by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below
2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase
even further to 1.5 °C (UNFCCC 2017). Therefore, keeping global temperature
below the estimated level by reducing GHG in the atmosphere is essential. Removing
atmospheric carbon and storing it in the terrestrial biosphere is one of the options,
which have been proposed to compensate GHG emissions (Albrecht and Kandji
2003). The importance of agroforestry systems as carbon sinks has recently been
recognized due to the need of climate change mitigation (Soto-Pinto et al. 2010).
It is also considered as an option aimed at reducing emissions of greenhouse gases
in the United Nations based REDD + (reducing emissions from deforestation and
forest degradation, conserving and enhancing forest carbon stocks, and sustainably
managing forests) program for tropical developing regions (Atangana et al. 2014;
Tumwebaze and Byakagaba 2016). It has the potential to sequester atmospheric
carbon in trees and soil while maintaining sustainable productivity (Oelbermann
et al. 2004). It can mitigate GHG emissions, conserve biodiversity and generate
income (Hager 2012). Given that the most significant increases in carbon storage
on land can be achieved by moving from low-biomass, land-use systems to tree-
based systems, the practice of agroforestry presents a viable option for forest-based
mitigation (Polzot 2004).
Coffee agroforestry has emerged as a promising land use system for sequestering
carbon and contributing to climate change mitigation (Dossa et al. 2008; Soto-Pinto
et al. 2010; Schmitt-Harsh et al. 2012). Given enhanced carbon sequestration that
occurs with tree planting and the practice of agroforestry farming, shade grown
coffee systems have been recognized as viable afforestation and reforestation (A&R)
strategies under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol
(IPCC 2000; UNFCCC 2006; Schmitt-Harsh et al. 2012). Compared to non- shaded
or partially shaded plantations, shade-grown coffee stores significant amounts of
carbon in both the aboveground woody biomass of shade trees and the litter layer
and soil organic matter. These pools contribute to GHG emission reductions and the
alleviation of GHG accumulation in the atmosphere (Polzot 2004). On the other hand,
coffee is cultivated under a canopy of shade trees, a practice that ensures the longevity
of the farm, supports biodiversity, and provides communities with a broad array of
ecosystem services (Jha et al. 2011). Coffea arabica is grown under the shade of trees,
which moderate the microclimate for the benefit of the crop (Van Kanten and Vaast
2006; Siles et al. 2010; Hergoualch et al. 2012). Moderately shaded Coffea arabica
Coffee, Climate and Biodiversity: Understanding the Carbon … 115
coffee plants have photosynthetic rates three times higher than coffee leaves under
full sun and planting Coffea arabica under shade is the most important for both
quality improvement and maintaining sustainable production (Alemu and Dufera
2017). Recent studies in traditional shaded coffee plantations have demonstrated
this agroecosystem’s potential as a refuge for biodiversity (Perfecto et al. 1996;
Moguel and Toledo 1999; Perfecto et al. 2003). Shade grown coffee plantation has
diverse, complex structure and that has a high potential to retain biodiversity in the
changing climate scenarios. However, researches in coffee systems have allowed
for an improved understanding of habitat management and biodiversity, a closer
examination of the relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem services (Jha
et al. 2014), and a greater understanding of the linkage between climate change and
biodiversity. Thus, densely shaded coffee agroforests besides demonstrable carbon
benefits, it also provides a number of other ecosystem services and functions (e.g. soil
conservation, water regulation) similar to natural forest ecosystems (Schmitt-Harsh
et al. 2012). Shaded coffee provides a viable business case to coffee smallholders and
supports biodiversity and ecosystem services. Besides the direct benefits to small-
scale coffee farmers, further opportunities to increase the attractiveness of shaded
plantations may lie in ecosystem services related to shade trees (Jezeer and Verweij
2015). While the ecological and socioeconomic costs and benefits associated with
shade coffee are clear, many modern management schemes abandon shade practices
and also there are many challenges in bridging sustainable coffee management with
livelihood security (Jha et al. 2011). Importantly, biodiversity declines within coffee
systems are of particular concern, given that ecosystem services such as pollination,
pest control, erosion control, watershed management, and carbon sequestration are
worth billions annually and are largely a function of biodiversity levels (Wardle et al.
2011; Jha et al. 2014).
Thus, the rationale behind this paper is to develop a holistic understanding of a
comprehensive approach to study carbon benefits, conserve biodiversity, and sustain
ecosystem services of the shade-grown coffee system in the face of climate change.
The objective of this paper is to discuss that the shade-grown coffee has a high poten-
tial for carbon storage, studying its carbon profile and promoting their application as
a significant climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies to conserve biodi-
versity and to sustain ecosystem services in the Indian context. It is also to highlight
the value of Shade Coffee System in the conservation of quite a good number of
threatened tree species of Western Ghats (a global biodiversity hotspot), which are in
use as the source of products such as timber, fruits, nuts, resins and gums or barks. In
this paper, we have taken Wayanad District of Kerala in India as a case study and we
outlined the shade-grown coffee through the lens of climate change and biodiversity.
We have also discussed the difference between traditional shade and modern open
system and highlighted the nexus of carbon stock of coffee production system and
biodiversity. Importantly, we emphasized the need for promoting sustainable pro-
duction and consumption as a carbon neutral coffee brand and accentuate that shade
grown, biodiversity rich and climate resilient coffee can emerge as a highly valued
commodity in the world coffee market.
116 N. P. Anil Kumar et al.
Coffee, Climate, and Biodiversity of Wayanad, Kerala
Wayanad is a highland region with altitudes ranging from 700 to 2100 m above sea-
level and a district in the southern state of Kerala in India that enjoys a unique local
climate and culture (Fig. 1). Major climate trends observed in Wayanad include rising
minimum temperatures, weakening in the early phase of the south-west monsoon
precipitation; the increasing polarization of daily rainfall and more frequent heavy
rainfall days (Srinath and Kumar 2012). Thus, it has a hot and humid climate, with
aminimum temperature ranging from 14 to 20 °C, maximum 25–32 °C. Because
of abundant sun and rainfall (2000–3000 mm per year, spread out over 10 months),
this is ahighly fertile land (Fransen 2009). The topography of Wayanad described
is responsible for a unique climate in Wayanad that is quite distinct from the climate
of neighboring regions. It is responsible for a strong gradient in rainfall within the
district as well. The primary rainfall season of the region is during the south-west
monsoon period (Kumar and Srinath 2011).
Fig. 1 Map of the study area—Wayanad, Kerala, India
Coffee, Climate and Biodiversity: Understanding the Carbon … 117
Wayanad is declared as one of the 18 true agro biodiversity hotspots in the world
(Joy 2004). Wayanad-Silent Valley region in the Western Ghats is a global biodi-
versity hotspot. This region is climate vulnerable in terms of scores of factors like
(i) higher variation in rainfall, (ii) chances of flash floods and prolonged droughts,
(iii) increased occurrences of forest fire, (iv) landslide, (v) unscientific land use
pattern, (vi) erosion of biodiversity, (vii) concentration of tribal communities and
landless people, (viii) lower ranking in the human development index and higher
social deprivation and environmentally fragile landscapes, and (ix) high percentage
of the population of small holder farmers who rely on rain-fed agriculture.
Today it is home to a complex agro-forestry economy where major plantation
crops such as coffee, pepper and tea along with crops such as rice and banana, along
with a host of others are grown intensively at multiple times in the year. Wayanad is
also home to a large tribal population (17.43% of the total population as per Census
2001) who are socio-economically worse off compared to the general populace.
Apart from the general climate-dependent nature of the economy, the small size of
land-holdings of most farmers in Wayanad and the largest tribal population renders
the people and the livelihoods of Wayanad highly vulnerable to climate change and
variability (Srinath and Kumar 2012).
Coffee is one of the important plantation crops of India, which is cultivated mainly
in the hill tracts of South India especially in Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu. The
other important States of India in which coffee is grown on a limited scale are
Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Assam, Andaman and Nicobar Islands,
and Madhya Pradesh (Joy 2004). Kerala is the second largest producer of coffee in
India. It produces 23% of the total coffee output in the country. Wayanad produces
90% of the total coffee output in the State (Joy 2004). Of the territory of Wayanad,
54% is agriculture land, 37% is forest. The main product is coffee and it occupies
110,000 ha, 58% of the total agricultural land in the district. 80% of total coffee in
Kerala are from Wayanad (Fransen 2009). The district is rich in agrobiodiversity
though on-farm erosion of genetic diversity of crops, breeds and strains are reported
high in the region (Kumar et al. 2010,2015).
The wild biodiversity of Wayanad is also very rich both in terms of species, genera,
families, and high percentage of endemism (MSSRF 2016). The area of Wayanad falls
entirely within the Western Ghats of India, which was one of the eighteen biodiversity
hot spots proposed originally by Myers (Myers et al. 2000; Santhoshkumar and
Ichikawa 2010). The forests here are globally important as they house endemic
flora and fauna, which include 229 species of plants, 31 species of mammals, 15
species of birds, 52 species of amphibians. Among these, 55 species are critically
endangered, 148 species are endangered and 129 species are vulnerable as per IUCN
classification. Moreover, a number of cultivated food plants have their wild relatives
in these forests. Among spices, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and curcuma
have their wild relatives largely in these wet evergreen forests (Santhoshkumar and
Ichikawa 2010).
118 N. P. Anil Kumar et al.
Coffee Cultivation: Traditional Shade and Modern Open
System
Coffee cultivation provides livelihoods for a large number of people live in the
biodiversity-rich mountainous states of India like Wayanad, Kerala. Coffee (Coffea
arabica (de Jessieu) Linn) was introduced in India about 400 years ago in the Baba
Budan hills in the Western Ghats, which presently a global biodiversity hotspot.
India’s wild coffee species are C. bengalensis, C. travancorensis, C. wightiana,
C.khasiana and C.jenkinsii. Amongst these species the first three were convention-
ally placed under the genus Psilanthus, but of late all being treated as species of the
genus Coffea.Coffea robusta L(C. canephora Pierre ex A froehner) and the vari-
eties like Cauvery, S.795, and Sln 9 which perform well in a broad range of shade
(30–60%) are becoming the preferred choices in the major coffee grown regions of
India. Figure 2a and b represents shade coffee farms and open or partially shaded
coffee farm in Wayanad District of Kerala, India. Though Coffee is considered as
one of the major agricultural commodities that drive deforestation, the traditional
farming methods of the small coffee growers in India were on the contrary to this
belief. Since 1840 the British popularized coffee cultivation on a plantation mode
in selectively cleared evergreen and moist-evergreen forest slopes of the medium
elevation mountains, mainly in the south west and eastern region of India, in three
states Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Now Coffee plantations being spread in the
north eastern hill regions of the country too. Till early part of 1990s “Arabica coffee”
dominated the coffee plantation. The dominance of Arabica has been falling down
for the last 20–25 years with the preference over the Robusta variety-a sturdy, high
yielding and sun-loving species. Now, nearly 80% of the Coffee plantations in Kar-
nataka and Kerala dominated by the Robusta variety. Another variety that is grown
in the region, but not for commercial purpose is Liberian Coffee (Coffee liberica).
Presently, three different kinds of structural designs for growing coffee (Arabica
and Robusta coffee) have been seen, such as (i) substantially shaded ones (purely
Arabica) integrated with large forest trees, which are mainly for growing black pep-
per, and ground cover of ginger, clove and turmeric. This practice is mostly followed
by the small scale farmers as an income security strategy by having multiple crops
(ii) medium shaded farms (both Arabica and Robusta) with predominantly jack trees
or the exotic silver oak trees integrated with pepper and ginger, or turmeric as ground
crops; and (iii) un-shaded or open mono crop farms with only Robusta. The predom-
inant trend amongst the big planters of the region, is maintaining Robusta mono-crop
coffee farms in view of getting the maximum production from the target crop. The
research and development (R&D) system of the country gives more focus on only
increasing the total production and productivity of the coffee. Thus, this system of
production of coffee is getting popularized, and it is destructive to biodiversity and
many of the beneficial ecosystem services (Kumar 2017).
Coffee, Climate and Biodiversity: Understanding the Carbon … 119
Fig. 2 a Shade coffee farms, Wayanad, Kerala, India. bOpen or partially shaded Coffee Farm,
Wayanad, Kerala, India
120 N. P. Anil Kumar et al.
Shade Grown Coffee System Is Akin to Tropical Forest
Coffee is shade tolerant and traditionally grown under shade trees in complex agro-
forestry systems, thereby providing a refuge for biodiversity and sustaining other
ecosystem services. Shade grown coffee is increasingly promoted as a promising
approach to deal with the twin challenges of biodiversity conservation and local
development. Biodiversity benefits associated with shaded coffee practices are well
researched and it is clear that these systems hold considerable potential to con-
serve biodiversity (Bhagwat et al. 2008; Jezeer and Verweij 2015). The shade grown
coffee forestry system has many features and functions of a tropical forest ecosys-
tem. For example, many such farms are ground water recharging catchments and
playing a key role in the maintenance of the local hydrological systems (Kumar
2017). Habitat on shade-grown coffee farms outshone sun-grown coffee farms with
increased numbers and species of birds as well as an improved bird habitat, soil
protection/erosion control, carbon sequestration, natural pest control and improved
pollination. While sun-grown systems can have higher yields, the shaded farms easily
outperform them in sustainability measurements with the trees providing an array of
ecological services that offer both direct and indirect “income/payback” to farmers
and the environment (Rice 2010). Shaded coffee provides a viable business case to
coffee smallholders. Besides the direct benefits to small-scale coffee farmers, shade
trees provide a sustainable and financially viable strategy to cope with climate and
payments for ecosystem service (e.g. carbon sequestration) can increase farmer s’
incomes (Jezeer and Verweji 2015).
Some large shaded coffee farms in Wayanad district of Kerala were identified with
85 different forest tree species (Table 1), the frog species diversity is also immensely
rich in shade coffee farms, which include 10 rare and threatened frog species (Ground
Frog (1sp) Bush Frog (6 spp) and tree frog (3 spp). Out of this 9 species, six are
recently described new species (Refer Box. 1). Figure 3showcases some of the frog
diversity identified from the shade coffee farms of Wayanad, Kerala. Pseudophilatus
wayanadensis is a mid-elevation species inhabiting leaf litter and shrubs and com-
monly seen in the coffee plantations. Males are found calling from the top of the
coffee plants at an average heigt of 1.5 m the ground. Eggs laid in the soil under leaf
litter (Jerdon 1854; Biju et al. 2010); Raorchestes anili is a mid-elevation species
inhabiting thick bushes, preferring shady canopy areas of coffee plantation. Vocalis-
ing males with their distinct metallic “ting-ting-ting” calls are found during late may
to early October on the foliage up to 3 m and eggs are laid in the soil under leaf litter
(Biju and Bossuyt 2006; Biju et al. 2010); Raorchestes akroparallagii is a low-mid
elevation species having a wide distribution in the Western Ghats. Males are found
calling from bushes at a height of 1–2 m from the ground. Various color morphs
ranging brown to yellow colors are observed within this species (Biju and Bossuyt
2009; Biju et al. 2010). Details of information about other frog species are presented
in the Box. 1. Furthermore, over 80 bird species, more than in an equivalent area of
open coffee land, and exceeded only by primary tropical forest also reported from
this “semi-forest” plantation type. The shades coffee forestry system with reference
Coffee, Climate and Biodiversity: Understanding the Carbon … 121
Table 1 List of tree species found in shade coffee plantations of Wayanad
Sl. No Botanical name Local name
1. Holigarna arnottiana Cheru
2. Holigarna grahamii Cheru
3. Mangifera indica Moochi
4. Spondias pinnata Kattu Ambazham
5. Cananga odorata Langilangi
6. Polyalthia coffeoides Nedunar
7. Alstonia scholaris Ezhilam Pala
8. Tabernaemontana alternifolia Kundala Pala
9. Wrightia arborea Mylam Pala
10. Caryota urens Aanapana
11. Vernonia arborea Karana
12. Oroxylum indicum Palakapayyani
13. Spathodea campanulata Thaneerkaimaram
14. Stereospermum colais Pathiri
15. Lophopetalum wightianum Venkkotta
16. Garcinia gummi-gutta Kodampuli
17. Terminalia bellirica Thanni
18. Terminalia paniculata Maruthu
19. Dillenia bracteata Kattupunna
20. Vateria indica Payin
21. Elaeocarpus serratus Kara
22. Elaeocarpus tuberculatus Mukkanni
23. Antidesma montanum Putharaval
24. Aporosa cardiosperma Vet t i
25. Croton tiglium Neervala Maram
26. Glochidion ellipticum Njanjetti
27. Macaranga peltata Vatta
28. Mallotus philippensis Sindooram
29. Phyllanthus emblica Nelli
30. Bischofia javanica. Neeli
31. Acrocarpus fraxinifolius Nari Venga
32. Cassia fistula Kanikkonna
33. Adenanthera pavonina Manchadi
34. Albizia amara Nenmen ivaka
35. Albizia lebbeck Vak a
36. Butea monosperma Plasu
(continued)
122 N. P. Anil Kumar et al.
Table 1 (continued)
Sl. No Botanical name Local name
37. Dalbergia latifolia. Veeti
38. Flacourtia montana. Chalir Pazham
39. Hydnocarpus pentandra Marotti
40. Scolopia crenata Mullukara
41. Nothapodytes nimmoniana Peenari
42. Actinodaphne malabarica Malavirinji
43. Cinnamomum malabatrum Karuppa
44. Cinnamomum wightii Kattukaruva
45. Litsea coriacea Vettithali
46. Litsea wightiana Pattuthali
47. Persea macrantha Kulirmavu
48. Careya arborea Pezhu
49. Magnolia champaca Chembakam
50. Kydia calycina Vellachadachi
51. Aglaia barberi Kara Akil
52. Aphanamixis polystachya Chemmaram
53. Chukrasia tabularis Chuvanna Akil
54. Melia dubia Kattuveppu
55. Toona ciliata Vembu
56. Artocarpus gomezianus Pulichakka
57. Artocarpus heterophyllus Plavu
58. Artocarpus hirsutus Anjili
59. Ficus drupacea Kallal
60. Ficus exasperata Paarakam
61. Ficus hispida Paarakam Valuthu
62. Ficus racemosa Atthi
63. Myristica beddomei Kattu Jathi
64. Psidium guajava Pera
65. Syzygium caryophyllatum Njara
66. Syzygium cumini Njaval
67. Chionanthus mala-elengi Kalledala
68. Olea dioica Edala
69. Carallia brachiata Venkana
70. Prunus ceylanica Nai kambagam
71. Pavetta indica var. tomentosa Pavetta
72. Acronychia pedunculata Muttanari
73. Melicope lunu-ankenda Kambili
(continued)
Coffee, Climate and Biodiversity: Understanding the Carbon … 123
Table 1 (continued)
Sl. No Botanical name Local name
74. Meliosma pinnata Kalavi
75. Chrysophyllum roxburghii Athappala
76. Pterospermum diversifolium Pambaram
77. Sterculia guttata Potta-kavalam
78. Symplocos cochinchinensis Pachotti
79. Grewia serrulata Kotti maram
80. Grewia tiliifolia Chadachi
81. Celtis tetrandra Karukkuyyan
82. Celtis timorensis Bhoonari
83. Clerodendrum infortunatum. Peruku
84. Gmelina arborea Kumbil, Kumizhu
85. Vitex altissima Myila, Myilu
to earthworms, termites, and ants show the soil of such farms are amazing diverse.
(Tables 2,3and 4). The traditional integrated coffee farms of the small and marginal
farmers are rich in forest tree species and spices like black pepper (of many vari-
eties and species), which are growing on the wild trees. The wild pepper species
seen are Piper argyrophyllum Miq. Piper attenuatum Ham., Piper hymenophyllum
Miq and Piper wightii Miq., An endemic wild cinnamon, Cinnamomum malabatrum
(Burm. f.) Blume; wild turmeric like Curcuma neilgherrensis Wight, Curcuma pseu-
domontana Graham, Curcuma raktakanta Mangaly & Sabu, and wild ginger such
as Zingiber capitatum Roxb.,var. elatum (Roxb.) Baker, Zingiber zerumbet (L.) J.E.
Smith, are the species that can common in a shade coffee farm in the district.
Farmers cultivate spices like black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, ginger
and turmeric as the intercrops of the coffee farm. The farms, especially the small
farms also are integrated with the cultivation of areca nut, and species, like ginger
and turmeric (Kumar 2017). Wayanad is a globally renowned region for its exclusive
peculiarity and uniqueness in harboring an enormous assemblage of diverse spice
crops, among which Wayanadan pepper has got place of pride in international
market, because of its unique quality. The district’s coffee farms once harbored a
wide range of endemic pepper varieties which grew luxuriantly, yielded well and
fairly paid the farmers. There are 25 odd pepper varieties being cultivated in the
district, mostly as the intercrop of coffee farms (Table 5). Over the last 150 years
this method of cultivation has been evolved into a sustainable, disease and pest free
coffee agro-forestry system (CAS).
124 N. P. Anil Kumar et al.
Box. 1 The frog diversity identified from shade Coffee Farms of Wayanad,
Kerala, India
1. Pseudophilatus wayanadensis is a mid-elevation species inhabiting leaf litter
and shrubs and commonly seen in the coffee plantations. Males are found calling
from the top of the coffee plants at an average height of 1.5 m the ground. Eggs
laid in the soil under leaf litter (Jerdon 1854; Biju et al. 2010).
2. Raorchestes anili is a mid elevation species inhabiting thick bushes, preferring
shady canopy areas of coffee plantation. Vocalising males with their distinct
metallic “ting-ting-ting” calls are found during late May to early October on
the foliage up to 3 m and eggs are laid in the soil under leaf litter (Biju and
Bossuyt 2006; Biju et al. 2010).
3. Raorchestes akroparallagii is a low-mid elevation species having a wide distri-
bution in the Western Ghats. Males are found calling from bushes at a height of
1–2 m from the ground. Various colour morphs ranging brown to yellow colours
are observed within this species (Biju and Bossuyt 2009; Biju et al. 2010).
4. Raorchestes glandulosus is a high elevation species distributed above 800 m
above sea level. Males are found calling at a height of 3–4 m from the coffee
plantations (Jerdon 1854; Biju et al. 2010).
5. Raorchestes ponmudi is a widely distributed species commonly found in the
coffee plantations. Males are observed calling from the leaves and branches of
coffee plants and small trees up to 3 m in height. During the winter, several
individuals can be found hibernating in tree holes (Biju and Bossuyt 2005a;
Biju et al. 2010).
6. Raorchestes nerostagona is a tree dwelling species found in the coffee plan-
tations of Wayanad. The cryptic lichen like colour pattern, provides excellent
camoflage from predators. Generally they found on the ground during the non
breeding season. However, during breeding season, males climbing to the upper
canopy of tall trees to advertise their presence (Biju and Bossuyt 2005b; Biju
et al. 2010).
7. Racophorus malabaricus is a rain forest adopted canopy species commonly
seen in the coffee plantations. Build foam nest in water tanks of the coffee
plantations (Jerdon 1870).
8. Racophorus laterralis is a mid-elevation species breed in the water tanks of
coffee plantations (Boulenger 1883).
9. Polypedates pseudocruciger is a low and mid-elevation species found in
the wooded areas. Found abundantly in the coffee plantations (Daniels and
Ravichandran 1995).
10. Uperdon triangularis is seen in the leaf litter of coffee plantations and evergreen
patches of Western Ghats (Günther 1876).
Coffee, Climate and Biodiversity: Understanding the Carbon … 125
Pseudophilatus wayanadensis Raorchestes anili
Raorchestes akroparallagii Raorchestes glandulosus
Raorchestes ponmudi Raorchestes nerostagona
Racophorus malabaricus Racophorus laterralis
Polypedates pseudocruciger Uperdon triangularis
Fig. 3 Some of the frog species found in shade coffee plantations in Wayand, Kerala, India. Pho-
tographs credits Dr. Anil Sachariya
126 N. P. Anil Kumar et al.
Know the Nexus of Carbon Stock of Coffee Production
System and Biodiversity
Wayanad and the adjoining coffee grown areas experience a shift towards mono crop
and high input farming. There are wide spread deliberate attempts for growing coffee
completely exposed to sun with high input agro-chemicals for getting the maximum
crop productivity, and income. This change in farm practices and intensified use of
farm inputs becomes a big sustainability issue, particularly in the context of biodiver-
sity loss and the consequent climate vulnerabilities. The region is also experiencing
unprecedented and irreversible climate variations like weakening in the early phase
of the south-west monsoon precipitation, increasing polarisation of daily rainfall,
more frequent heavy rainfall days and rising minimum temperature. The challenges
associated with climate variations result in staggering poverty, especially amongst
the resource poor tribe communities like Paniya, Adiya and Kattunaikka in Wayanad.
It is also a fact that the indirect benefit that enjoyed by people of the region in the
form of increased removal of carbon through integrated coffee cultivation also has
now getting diminished.
In the light of climate change mitigation, carbon (C) storage in both living biomass
and in the soil is a key ecosystem service provided by forests and agroforests (Bonan
2008; Miles and Kapos 2008; Beenhouwer et al. 2016). In particular, the ecosys-
tem services of traditionally maintained, shaded Arabica and Robusta coffee farms
become very prominent largely for increasing carbon removal. The most important
function of the shade grown traditional coffee agroforestry system is the reduction
of the concentration of Carbon in the atmosphere. It is estimated that one hectare
shade-grown coffee farm with large forest trees can sequester 70–80 tonnes ofcarbon
per hectare, which is more or less equivalent to the carbon stored in an equal area
of forest. A fully sun–grown or open coffee in one hectare can only store less than
10 tonnes of carbon (Noponen et al. 2012). A study in the adjacent Coorg region
reported the soil organic carbon sequestration potential of the shaded coffee sys-
tem averaged 3.43 t/ha and microbial organic carbon content 831.76 mg/g compared
to 1.84 t/ha and 669.46 mg/g respectively that of the partially shaded system with
exotic silver oak trees (Kumar 2017). One of the major challenges at the interface of
climate change and ecosystem science is to identify points of convergence between
C storage and biodiversity conservation (Phelps et al. 2012). In general, a higher
C storage potential is assumed to co-occur with biodiversity conservation (Venter
2014; Beenhouwer et al. 2016). Two recent studies found a correlation when soil C
storage was included. Woody plant species richness was associated with higher total
C (aboveground and soil) storage in a recent study of Costa Rican coffee agroforestry
systems by Hager (2012) and Saha et al. (2009) found a positive correlation between
soil organic C and plant diversity in home gardens of India (Richards and Mendez
2013).
Coffee, Climate and Biodiversity: Understanding the Carbon … 127
Table 2 Earthworm diversity
recorded from shade coffee
farms
Family Name
Glossoscolecidae Pontoscolex corethrurus
Almidae Glyphidr ilus annandalei
Glyphidrilus achencoili
Megascole cidae Megascolex konkanensis
Megascolex trarancorensis
Oniligastridae Drawida pellucida
Drawida travancorensis
Drawida g hatensis
Eudrilidae Eudrilus eugeniae
Table 3 Termites diversity
recorded from coffee farms Sub family Name
Macrotermitinae Odontotermes anamallensis
Odontotermes yadevi
Microtermes unicolor
Apicotermitinae Speculitermes chadaensis
Nasutitermitinae Nasutitermes matangensis
Grallatotermes niger
Termitinae Dicuspiditermes incola
Pseudocapritermes nr
fletcheri
Table 4 Ants diversity in the
coffee farms Sub family Name
Formicinae Polyrhachis rastellata
Oecophylla smaragdina
Myrmecinae Tetramorium smithi
Solenopsis geminata
Myrmycaria brunnea
Paratrechina longicornis
Ponerinae Diacamma indicum
Odontomachus haematoges
Leptogenys minchinii
Bothroponera rufipes
Pseudomyrmecinae Tetraponera rufonigra
Dolichoderinae Tapinoma melanocephalum
Tapinoma sessile
128 N. P. Anil Kumar et al.
Table 5 Traditional pepper varieties cultivated in Wayanad, Kerala, India
Sl.
No
Local Name Description
1. Aimpiriyan High yielding, Performance excellent in higher elevations, good in
quality, less weight, easy to harvest
2. Arkalamunda Moderate and regular bearer, medium in quality, easy to harvest
3. Balankotta Cultivar with large droopy leaves, moderate and irregular bearer
medium in quality
4. Chengannurkodi Moderate yielder, medium in quality
5. Cheryakanikadan Popular in north Kerala, moderate and early bearing variety
6. Jeerakamundy Cultivar with small leaves, and short spikes
7. Kalluvally Promising North Kerala cultivar, good yielder, medium in quality
with high dry recovery, drought tolerant
8. Karimunda Most popular cultivar suitable most of the black pepper growing
areas, high yielder and medium in quality
9. Kottanadan High yielding cultivar, medium in quality, drought tolerant variety
10. Kuthiravally A cultivar with long spikes, high yield and good quality
11. Narayakodi Moderate yielder with medium quality
12. Neelamundi Good yielder, medium quality, tolerant to phytophthora infection
13. Nedumchola A cultivar with small leaves and short spikes, moderate yielder
15. Valiyakaniyakadan A cultivar with larger leaves, medium in yield and quality
16. Vellanamban Relatively moderate yielder and medium in qualitycharecterised by
the white colour to the young shoot tip
17. Chumalakody Medium ovate leaves, short spikes, medium yield and quality
18. Karimkotta Large leaves, short spikes, regular bearer and good yielder
19. Cherukodi Narrow leaves, dark green, short spikes, bearing in alternate years,
high quality
20. Uthirankotta Predominantly female, disease resistant, High weight, poor yielder
21. Kariyilamundi Short spikes, small fruits, poor yielder
22. Wayanadan Large leaves and fruits, high yielder and good quality, alternate
bearer
23. Karimundi More spikes, more weight, small berry
24. Arakkalamundi Suitable to hilly areas
25. Muttiyarmundi Moderate yield
Promoting Coffee Value Chain as a Carbon Neutral Brand
India exports almost eighty percent of the coffee produced in the country and sup-
plies about 5% of the total coffee production in the world. Italy (mostly the Robusta
coffee) and Russia (both Robusta and Arabica) are the top two buyers of Indian cof-
fee, followed by Belgium, Spain, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, France, Japan and
Coffee, Climate and Biodiversity: Understanding the Carbon … 129
USA. “Monsooned Malabar Arabica Coffee “is a specialty coffee of India, sourced
from shade coffee plantation and has GI protection. This coffee is produced from
the harvested cherries that are exposed to rain and winds of the monsoon for about
3–4 months to make the pH balance of the seeds neutral. But, this practice has been
almost disappeared or restricted to only with some elite planters. There is a huge
potential to create an impact on farmers’ income by making shade coffee farming a
profitable venture and free from climate change risks (Kumar 2017). Because agro
forests are human-managed systems, this may present an opportunity for farmers
to manage such systems for greater C sequestration. However, this would require
a re-examination of mechanisms to support or reward shade coffee farmers (Davis
and Mendez 2011; Richards and Mendez 2013). For example, small-scale farmers
have generally been excluded from REDD, Clean Development Mechanism (CDM),
and other PES schemes for C sequestration because of the expense involved in man-
aging multiple small farms and the lower per-hectare mitigation benefits relative
to afforestation and reforestation projects (Wunder and Borner 2012; Richards and
Mendez 2013). Therefore, the promotion of shade grown, biodiversity-rich and cli-
mate resilient Coffee can emerge as a highly valued commodity in the world coffee
market. Revival of the shade grown coffee system amongst the small growers with
appropriate steps in marketing the coffee as a speciality product (carbon neutral and
grown in bio-diverse environment) can improve the farm income and enhance the
coffee agro-ecosystem services.
Conclusion
Agroforestry systems have been recognized for their potential to sequester large
amounts of C (Noponen et al. 2013). Agro ecosystems have the potential to act as
carbon sinks and carbon storage pools while contributing to increased farm produc-
tion, environmental conservation and poverty alleviation (Pandey 2002; Manjunatha
et al. 2016). On the other hand, agroforestry systems have substantial potential to
conserve native biodiversity and provide ecosystem services. In particular, agro-
forestry systems have the potential to conserve native tree diversity and sequester
carbon for climate change mitigation (Richards and Mendez 2013). Coffee farms as
agroforestry may contribute to GHG mitigation and biodiversity conservation in a
synergistic manner which has implications for the effective allocation of resources
for conservation and climate change mitigation strategies in the agricultural sector
(Hager 2012). It is possible to produce high quality coffee without destructing bio-
diversity or contributing negatively to some of the critical ecosystem services. One
of the important steps to make the shade Coffee Agro-forestry System globally vis-
ible is acreation of scientifically valid evidences on the biodiversity and ecosystem
services, and the emission- mitigation potential of this system. Evidence from such
study will also help to promote eco-tourism in the coffee production areas. There are
no serious studies in India that analyzed the carbon emission in the entire value chain
of Indian Coffee production, processing, transporting and consumption system. The
130 N. P. Anil Kumar et al.
need for atrans-disciplinary approach inclusive of the private industries in under-
standing the entire life cycle of the coffee production system is urgent for developing
coffee production system and the value chain as a carbon neutral brand. Also, there
is a need to work upon “consumption awareness” which can positively impact on
sustainable production of coffee. Since management practices such as shade use and
reforestation influence both climate vulnerability and carbon stocks in coffee, there
may be synergies between climate change adaptation and mitigation that could make
it advantageous to jointly pursue both objectives (Rahn et al. 2013). Importantly,
there is aneed for policy incentives that encourage the planting and maintenance of
shade trees in coffee plantations for the benefit of carbon sequestration (Tumwebaze
and Byakagaba 2016). Accordingly, biodiversity of agro-ecosystems have impor-
tant consequences for long-term carbon storage, and thus warrants incorporation
into the design, implementation, and regulatory framework of mitigation initiatives
(Diaz et al. 2009). There have been significant efforts to develop robust methods to
account for the benefits, if any, of sequestration and temporary storage and release
of biogenic carbon. However, there is still no overall consensus on the most appro-
priate ways of considering and quantifying it (Brandão et al. 2013). Thus, this paper
emphasizes that the sustainably grown coffee helps to increase climate resilience,
contributes to carbon mitigation, conserves biodiversity and stabilizes ecosystems
while also helping farmers stabilize and improve their income and livelihood (Stifung
2017).
Limitations
Although this paper was thoughtfully prepared and reached its aim, there were some
limitations. Some of the limitations of the paper includes that (1) this paper has
only outlined the conceptual nexus of coffee, climate and biodiversity, however,
more investigations are warranted to establish the strong scientific approach to make
connections among the three; (2) this paper has made an attempt to deepen the
understanding on carbon stocks of the shade coffee production system of India,
nonetheless a strategic methodological approach is required to assess the carbon
stocks of the shade coffee production system of India; (3) lack of availability of
carbon stock information at the local level of the shade coffee farms in India is one
of the important limitations of this paper to present any quantifiable information of
the carbon stocks of the shade coffee production system.
Acknowledgements The authors are grateful to Dr. V. Selavam, Executive Director, MSSRF for
his enduring support. We are indeed thankful to all the staffs and management of MSSRF Chennai,
Tamil Nadu and MSSRF CABC, Wayanad, Kerala for their encouragement and support. We place
the record of appreciations to Ms. Punitha and Mr. Nagraj of GIS Unit, MSSRF for their GIS
support. We thank Dr. Anil Sachariya for sharing with us those lively pictures of frog diversity that
he photographed from the coffee plantations. Thanks are due to our colleagues Mr. Salim Pichan,
Mr. Joseph John, Mr. M. K. Nanda Kumar, Ms. C. S. Dhanya and Mr. T. A. Raveendran for their
brilliant assistance to us in collecting necessary field data. We thank the Minister and Department
Coffee, Climate and Biodiversity: Understanding the Carbon … 131
of Finance, Minister and Department of Environment and Climate Change, Government of Kerala
who mooted and supported the idea of realizing “Carbon Neutral Wayanad” in persuading us to
investigate the importance of shade coffee farms in carbon removal of Wayanad district, Kerala,
India.
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