With an estimated 400 billion cups consumed annually, coffee beans are one of the most coveted agricultural commodities. Unfortunately, deforestation and loss of habitat are often associated with this market staple.
The BBC reports that some growers in El Salvador are using a method of cultivation which uses tall trees to provide shade. Up to 120 different tree species shade the coffee on a single plantation, Coffee shrubs are fertilized with organic compost made from husks that would otherwise be thrown into rivers. These techniques connect two prominent national parks via a green beltway, revitalize habitat, and decrease erosion. The article reports business owners were initially sceptical of the idea, but have since been won over with great enthusism. Co-op President Julio Antonio Martinez says:
I was one of the people that were against Rainforest Alliance because I didn’t like somebody coming into my house and telling me what to do, what to plant or what not to plant. But I realise now that they were giving me good advice. They were telling me plant trees so you will get water – without trees you don’t have rainfall, without rainfall you don’t have coffee.
Also reported on Worldchanging.