The next time you order that “wake up” cup of Joe or reach for a sweet treat, you may want to consider whether those coffee or cocoa beans were grown in the shade or open sun. Choosing the shade grown variety can offer huge benefits to tropical birds, their ecosystems and farmers says a new study by Cagan Şekercioğlu published in the Journal of Ornithology.
The University of Utah scientist looked at how tropical birds interact with agricultural habitats to better understand their ecology, the ecosystem services they provide, and conservation. His research specifically compared the types of birds that utilize primary growth forests, agroforests (where crops like coffee and cocoa are grown in the shade of native trees), and open farmland (where these same crops are grown in bright sun).
Şekercioğlu did meticulous work: He began by sorting a global database of more than 10,000 birds, cataloging them by their habitat choices. Next, he reviewed 40 previous studies that examined various bird communities. Ultimately, he narrowed his view to 6,093 tropical bird species, including migratory birds, categorizing them by their preferences for forest, agroforest, and open farms.