I had no idea this was a thing. Apparently, even our daily cup or two (or several) a day of coffee is helping to screw up the planet. Mass-produced coffee is produced in nice, highly productive rows of coffee plants, which sadly gives a habitat for a quarter of the number of species of birds as when coffee is grown in the shade of mature trees. So we need a bird-friendly coffee.
According to the RSPB:
Shade-grown means that the coffee grows more slowly, requires less water and the need to use any invasive fertilizers or pesticides. This in turn supports greater biodiversity and ensures that the forest in which it’s grown sustains a healthy ecosystem.
And according to Cornell University:
“Over recent decades, most of the shade coffee in Latin America has been converted to intensively managed row monocultures devoid of trees or other vegetation,” Amanda Rodewald, a co-author of the study who is the Garvin Professor and senior director of the Center for Avian Population Studies at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, said in a statement. “As a result, many birds cannot find suitable habitats and are left with poor prospects of surviving migration and successfully breeding.”
Today, most coffee sold is sun-grown under little or no shade because sun makes coffee bushes grow faster and produce more coffee. This loss of tropical forest biodiversity to a row monoculture harms resident rainforest birds along with their migratory cousins so they all are disappearing along with their rainforest homes. This simple connection between habitat loss, pesticides and fertilizer pollution to intensive coffee farming methods was the impetus for Smithsonian conservation scientists to create the strictest agricultural certification criteria for coffee: their Bird-Friendly certification requires that coffee is organic and that it meets strict requirements for both mature canopy cover and the type of forest in which the coffee is grown. Bird-Friendly coffees are guaranteed to support bird habitat, in addition to fair and stable prices for coffee producers, healthy environments for local communities, and equal access to markets for Bird-Friendly coffee producers.
So there you have it. By having that supermarket, mass produced coffee, you’re helping destroy the planet. Good work! I’ve just bought 1.2kg of their coffee. Sorry, Tesco.
Bird and wild coffee: https://birdandwild.co.uk/collections/all-products