[Slide text: Coffee, Communities, and Conservation: How your cup can make a difference

Amanda Rodewald, Garvin Professor and Director of Conservation Science 

Cornell University 

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Photo: Coffee plant] 

[Lisa] I’m waiting for my signal. Hi. Okay. Hi everybody, good evening. I’m Lisa Kopp, I’m the visitor experience manager here, and I’m so happy to see you all for our Monday night seminar. 

Hello to everyone who is live streaming with us as well. I have a couple quick announcements before we get into the introductions for tonight’s talk. 

Some of you may have noticed that our Monday night seminars have shifted in schedule to something a little bit more standard. From here on out we’re going to shoot to offer them the first Monday of every month, so you don’t have to sort of search through the calendar listings. You can just know, every first Monday of the month there’s going to be something really exciting coming out of the seminar. 

Um and next month’s seminar is actually going to be over on Cornell’s campus. It’s going to be a film screening at the Cornell Cinema of Sonic Sea, which is a really incredible film that features the bioacoustic research program’s Chris Clark. 

So that’ll be at seven o’clock on November seventh over on Cornell’s campus. It’s also free of charge. And then December third we will be tackling a pretty interesting topic when we have Pete Marra from the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center here to talk about his new book Cat Wars, so don’t miss that one. 

But tonight, first off, we have Amanda Rodewald, and Amanda is the Garvin Professor of Ornithology and Director of Conservation Science here at the Lab, and with the Department of Natural Resources. She has a bachelor’s in wildlife biology, a master’s in zoology, and a PhD in ecology from Penn State. 

She, prior to joining the Lab, she was with the, with Ohio State University with wildlife ecology in the School of Environment and Natural Resources. And right now she serves on the Science Advisory Board of the U.S. E.P.A., editorial boards of Issues in Ecology and Studies in Avian Biology, and she also regularly contributes to The Hill, which is a primary source for decision makers on Capitol Hill. 

Amanda’s research program aims to understand how human activities and global change influence animal communities, and then apply that understanding to conservation. Much of her current research focuses on socioecological dynamics and conservation in working landscapes in Latin America, which is what we’ll hear about tonight. 

And Amanda tightly integrates her research and outreach efforts to inform policy and management, as such regularly interacts with government agencies, conservation organizations, and private landowners. So welcome to Amanda. 

[Amanda] Great, thanks a lot, Lisa. Thank you. Lest, lest you think I was just lurking and hovering, I have the microphone on me. 


So I was told to get close. Um so thanks a lot for coming out tonight, it’s a real pleasure to be here and to share with you some of the work that my colleagues and I, and students from here and at Ohio State University have been working on. 

So we’ll be focusing on coffee, right, and for, I think for something that is such a huge part of the lives, and the daily life of many of us, most of us probably know surprisingly little about coffee. 

[Photos: Cup of coffee with coffee beans around it, and people sitting in a coffee shop] 

At least that was the case for me before I started trying to study it with my students. 

[Slide text: Originally from Africa, coffee now covers ~10 million ha worldwide; Image: Drawing of a coffee plant] 

So we’ll kind of take a tour through coffee, and we’ll start with the basics. This is a coffee plant that you’re looking at, and coffee was, it’s originally from Africa, it’s a small evergreen plant, and it now has come, it’s spread over the world to cover about 10 million hectares worldwide. 

[Slide text: Coffee is grown in many biodiversity hotspots; Image: Map of the world with Biodiversity Hot Spots, Coffee-growing Regions, and Cocoa-growing Regions highlighted] 

And if we look at the distribution of coffee you can see that it is grown in some of the biodiversity hotspots on the planet, so here in this figure the biodiversity hotspots are in orange, coffee in yellow. 

And so with that overlap we already know that the choices we make about how we grow coffee are going to have some pretty profound impacts on biodiversity.

[Slide text: Coffee was traditionally grown in the forest as a shaded crop; Photos: Forests with coffee plants growing underneath the trees] 

So historically coffee was grown as an understory plant under the forest canopy. And so it was actually grown in a way that was very compatible with conservation. 

[Photos: Green and red coffee berries, and a person picking the berries] 

If you haven’t seen coffee berries, these are some pictures. So the green ones are the unripe berries, the red are the ripe ones. And we can take a little bit of a tour from sort of where coffee starts on the bush 

[Photos: Child grinding coffee berries, ripe coffee berries, and beans with the outer pulp removed] 

and comes to your cup. So farmers or growers will pick those berries. And traditionally they would grind them up and remove that outer pulp, the fruit, in this sort of grinding machine. This was my daughter several years ago. And they, once they take off that pulp, they rinse the ber—or the the beans. 

[Photos: Coffee farm, coffee beans drying, and people raking coffee beans] 

And then they would put them out on these patios and let them dry. 

[Photos: Machines in a coffee processing plant] 

Now a lot of that’s been mechanized, um so often times farmers working in an area will have, belong to a cooperative that if they’re lucky will actually have, you know places where they can come and it’s an automated process, to remove the pulp, to dry the beans. 

[Photos: Coffee beans roasted different amounts and a man tasting coffee] 

And from there those beans will be sold to roasters, where a lot of the roasting practices, you know, those will determine to a large extent the taste 

[Photos: Mug of coffee and a scoop of roasted coffee beans with extra beans spilling out of a bag] 

that you experience in your cup. So it is a long chain from the bush all the way to your cup. But even though that seems, you know, in some ways maybe that it’s complicated 

[Photo: Man with a striped shirt and hat sitting in front of a mural] 

it doesn’t really capture fully all of the social and ecological dimensions that coffee has. So that’s what we’ll be talking about for the rest of the time. And so coffee is really an important cultural part of the lives of many people around the world. 

[Slide text: Enormous social impacts >25 million people directed depend upon coffee for a living, with 100 million additional people indirectly involved 

Most coffee is grown by small-holder farmers with <5 ha of land 

Meet the family behind the Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia] 

And it has huge social impacts where about 25 million people are estimated to directly depend upon coffee for their livelihoods, and about another hundred million are indirectly involved, you know somewhere along that value chain are involved. 

If we look around the world we know as well that most of the coffee that’s grown is grown by smallholder farmers, so only about five hectares of land. So maybe you know 12 acres or so are they working. 

[Slide text: Volatile Commodity Market for Coffee; Graph: Price per pound of coffee from 2009 to 2014, with highest prices from 2011 to 2012] 

I mean they’re often living really close to the edge because the coffee business is a really tough one. Part of the reason it’s difficult is because the market for coffee, at least in the commodity market, is incredibly volatile. So the price can change wildly among years. And so for a grower that’s even you know producing the same amount, or even improving their practices they might not be able to meet their expenses in any given year. 

[Slide text: Only 5-10% of retail price goes to the farmer. Corporate farms generally pay the least; Photos: Man picking coffee berries and large bags of coffee in a warehouse] 

And although sometimes we might feel that we’re spending a lot for coffee, especially if we’re not using, you know getting Maxwell House or Folgers, but buying more specialty coffee, um it’s important to recognize that only a small amount actually makes it back to the farmer. 

About five to ten percent of the price that we are paying. And the corporate farms tend to pay the least amount to the farmers. 

[Slide text: Labor intensive; Photos: Donkey carrying full saddle bags, men picking coffee berries, and men working a large machine to pick coffee berries] 

Coffee is also very difficult because it’s really labor-intensive. And so for many farms they’re still picking those beans by hand, and sorting out to the ripe and the unripe one. Um in some of the cases where you have sun coffee or more open growing conditions, and maybe a more lucrative farm they’re able to have machinery that helps that. But again most of it is really still being picked in these smallholder farms um by hand. 

[Slide text: Shift from rural to urban; Photo: Rural coffee farm] 

And so with that also means is that they need to have a steady source of labor. And so a lot of the demographic transitions we see, where people are moving from rural areas to the city, you know, in pursuit of better economic opportunities, um a better life. Um that shift means that there are fewer people available to really help pick that coffee. So that’s been making it difficult for many people to stay in business. 

And in fact what I had heard in some of the areas where I work in Colombia was that sometimes an older family, when their kids have gone off to the city, or and there isn’t enough help to pick those beans, they find they’re not able to to pick the berries anymore, and they just remove the coffee entirely and put cattle out. Because you don’t need the labor to maintain cattle. 

[Slide text: Pests & Disease; Photos: Coffee plants and berries with various diseases and cover of Coffee Pests, Diseases & Their Management] 

As if those challenges aren’t enough, coffee is also very vulnerable to many different kinds of pests and diseases. Two of the big ones that have impacted growers in Latin America are the rust, la roya, which has decimated many parts of, many parts of the coffee growing regions in Central America, and also the beetle on that one coffee bean, la broca, or the coffee bearer, or coffee borer beetle. 

And so these are really important and can, again really decimate the production from a farm in any given year. 

[Slide text: Climate change will reduce area where coffee can be grown. Suitability change by 2050. ~30% reduced suitable land for Arabica (Central America) ~20% reduced suitable land for Arabica (Andes) Ovalle-Rivera et al. (2015) Projected Shifts in Coffea arabica Suitability among Major Global Producing Regions Due to Climate Change. PLoS ONE 10(4): e0124155; Images: Maps of Central America and northern South America showing suitability change of land for coffee growth] 

And one of the threats that’s looming that many people are starting to think about a lot is climate change. So there have been a number of different projections of how the warming climate is going to affect coffee. So right now coffee, a lot of the coffee we drink, the Arabica coffee is grown at sort of mid-elevation, from maybe oftentimes five hundred or a thousand meters to maybe 2,000, 2,500 meters high. 

But now with climate change that range is of course shifting higher, and there are some estimates that we’re going to lose about, in Central America, about thirty percent of the land that now is suitable for, to grow Arabica, and in the Andes about twenty percent is going to be lost. 

Some of the estimates I’ve seen globally show that as much as you know seventy or eighty percent of the suitable coffee land could be lost. 

[Slide text: Implications for the coffee variety grown; Image: Café Imports family tree of coffee varieties] 

And so that has tremendous implications for the kind of coffee people are growing. So there are, this is a sort of coffee family tree. 

[Image: Same tree of coffee varieties with most of it labeled Arabica, and one branch labeled Robusta] 

And there are two big, I guess you know, types of coffee that we talk about. One is a Arabica, this is the coffee that we tend to think of the high quality coffee beans. The other is Robusta.

Robusta is, you know, some people have referred to it as that’s sort of the gas station coffee all right. It’s the one that if you’re buying Folgers or Maxwell House as well, it’s likely to be the Robusta. 

[Slide text: Arabica is better quality & price than Robusta, but more vulnerable to climate, pests, & disease; Photo: Baskets of different types of coffee beans] 

What we know is that a Arabica is a better quality overall, but and it’s also you get a better price because it is better quality, but the tradeoff is that it’s much more vulnerable to temperature, so changes in climate, to pests, and to other diseases. 

And so with all of these, sort of this whole constellation of different challenges that farmers faced 

[Slide text: Robusta is usually grown in full sun; Photos: Rows of coffee plants in full sun] 

there there’s a lot of pressure to start growing Robusta in some areas. And Robusta is a problem from an environmental standpoint because it’s grown in full sun. So these are showing Robusta plantations, sun coffee, and it’s grown like corn, right, in a monoculture. 

[Slide text: Most shade coffee farms in Latin America have converted to low shade systems; Photos: Sun coffee and shade coffee plants] 

And if we compare that to shade coffee, which is grown in an understory, you know, it’s immediately apparent that there’s a huge difference in terms of the kind of environment that it creates for any given species. So this has been a serious problem from a conservation perspective because if we look at Latin America most of the shade coffee farms have been converted to low shade systems. 

[Slide text: Trees vs. Yields?; Photos: Trees in a forest and a large pile of bags of coffee] 

And it, and so there is this tradeoff though that a lot of people are concerned about when these decisions are being made then about do you keep trees on the landscape and the tradeoff is that you my sacrifice some yield. 

[Slide text: Wide-reaching consequences; Photo: Bay-headed tanager perched on a plant] 

But we’ll talk about now is that it’s a lot more complicated than that, I think. It’s where the the consequences of converting to full sun coffee are pretty wide-reaching. And so we’ll go through some of those this evening. 

[Slide text: Ecosystem Services- What Nature provides us for free- Provisioning- Clean Water, Fish, Wood, Pollination, Regulating- Cool Temperatures, Control Flooding, Purify Water, Store Carbon, Clean Air, Cultural- Education, Recreation, Aesthetic, Stewardship, Habitat, Supporting- Biodiversity, Photosynthesis, Soil Formation, Food; Image: Ecosystem Services wheel showing these services and photos of each] 

So one of the big tradeoffs is in terms of ecosystem services. So I’m not sure if people have heard this term before, but it’s just referring to the the different kinds of benefits that we derive from ecosystems, things that we don’t have to pay for and things we don’t think about necessarily. 

[Slide text: Ecosystem services vary among different systems for growing coffee; Image: Chart showing different types of coffee growing systems and the levels of shade provided] 

In the case of coffee, these ecosystem services vary tremendously depending on how that coffee is grown. You know from this, the no sun, or no shade sun coffee all the way up to very rustic farms that are almost more like forests. 

[Slide text: Fruit & Fiber; Images: Various other fruit on trees including bananas, avocados, mango, and oranges] 

One of the big benefits that people get is the sort of provisioning service that they can grow other fruits and fiber within shade coffee. Oftentimes you’ll go into these shaded stands and there are many different types of fruits that are planted, and those are important because they can provide not only food that the family that are growing the coffee can eat or to be sold in the community, but they offer an alternate form of income should it be a bad year for growing coffee, right, a sort of backup. 

[Slide text: Trees reduce erosion & landslides; Photos: Landslides and rockslides] 

We also know that trees on the landscape are really important in terms of reducing soil erosion and also landslides. Um so a lot of these landscapes where coffee is grown in Latin America, the slopes are pretty steep. So when you remove those trees there’s nothing left to stabilize those mountain slopes. And so you know landslides are something that some studies have shown do occur much more frequently in landscapes that have been deforested. 

[Slide text: Shade requires fewer chemical inputs; Photos: Man spraying pesticide onto plants and bags of fertilizer] 

Shade is also important because it provides um or there’s less of a need for chemical inputs. That’s not to say that shade coffee is without use, some people do use chemicals. But because you have trees in the overstory and oftentimes they’re nitrogen-fixing trees there’s usually less need for fertilizers. 

And because there are birds and you know other insectivorous predators of um herbivores there is often times less need for pesticides as well. And with any monoculture you know as we know just from agricultural regions here, monocultures are always much more vulnerable to pests. 

[Slide text: Water Quality; Photo: A mostly dry stream bed from above] 

Water quality then is a another benefit of shade because when you have, again preventing the soil erosion, if you’re reducing chemical inputs, that’s of course going to be much better for the quality of water available to people in that region. 

[Slide text: Conserve forest habitat; Photo: Forested hillside] 

And of course anytime we’re protecting trees on the landscape, particularly in the case of the more rustic farms, that’s going to help conserve forest habitat. 

[Slide text: Landscape change; Forested hills with patches deforested] 

And that’s something that’s really important in a lot of these landscapes because they’ve undergone tremendous change 

[Photos: A frog, butterfly, and several flowers] 

and in some landscapes have been you know denuded to the point where you can’t support a lot of the species that normally occur there. So having shade coffee gives us more opportunity to maintain some of the biodiversity that’s native to that region. Whether it’s orchids or different plants or insects or amphibians 

[Photos: Various bird species] 

and of course one of the groups that we’re really interested in here tonight, birds, right. And these shade coffee plantations do indeed support impressive variety of birds. 

[Slide text: Pest Control; Photos: Birds on branches, including one eating an insect] 

This birds, as I mentioned are useful and some, from a farmer’s perspective there have been a few studies that have shown that birds offer important pest control services. So what they’ll do is they’ll actually you know cover up some of these coffee bushes where they’re excluding birds, and then they can compare the amount of damage to the leaves, the amount of coffee berries that are produced when birds are excluded to where the birds are allowed to take the insects off them. 

And they found that where you have birds allowed to you know eat the bugs from the berry bushes, from the coffee bushes, you actually have higher production and better production.

[Slide text: Coffee-growing landscapes provide important non-breeding habitat for migratory birds. Each point represents the centroid of the distribution of one species on one day with eBird data (n = 119 spp); Animation: Map of the Americas with dots moving throughout South America, Central America, and the United States, and into Canada over time] 

So we’ll focus now a bit more on migratory birds and the role that coffee plays in providing them habitat during the non-breeding season. So this is an animation that, especially if you’re you’re really engaged with the Lab you’ve probably seen this before. These are the, each dot you see is the centroid of the distribution, or the center of the distribution of a species based on eBird data and models built from those. 

And what you can see is for a lot of these species that are breeding in North America, they’re actually going down and spending the winter in Central and South America, and in regions that we know are important for coffee production. So there is this connectivity where if we care about birds that are breeding in North America we also need to care about what’s happening on their non-breeding grounds in Central, South America and the Caribbean. 

[Slide text: Full annual cycle conservation; Image: Cycle around the earth of Spring Migration Breeding Post-breeding Fall Migration Wintering and back to Spring Migration]

And this is what we call full annual cycle conservation, right. Where it’s not enough just to really focus on one part of the the full cycle that a bird makes over the year. 

[Slide text: Cerulean Warbler Setophaga cerulea 83% decline since 1966; Images: Graph showing decline, range map, and photo of cerulean warbler] 

For, I think cerulean warblers are a really excellent focal species to use as an example. They’re a migratory bird, they breed in the eastern U.S., they winter in South America in the northern Andes, and it’s a bird that’s received a tremendous amount of conservation attention because it’s been declining dramatically. About eighty-three percent of its population globally has been lost since the mid-‘60s. 

[Slide text: Wintering grounds- Cerulean warblers, like many migrants, are on wintering grounds for ~7 months of the year!!; Images: Map of South America showing wintering grounds and a banded cerulean warbler in hand] 

Although we think of ceruleans, I think oftentimes as kind of our birds. You know I think, I don’t know, there’s this natural tendency for any birds that are breeding up here, we see them as ours. But the reality is that most of these migrants are spending more time in the non-breeding season. You know more time in other places on the globe. So in the case of ceruleans they’re actually spending about seven months of the year in the Andes. 

So really they’re kind of their birds who are just coming here for a, for a summer vacation, you know to raise a family. 

[Slide text: Coffee-growing landscapes (~1,000 — 2,000 m; 3,000 — 6,000 ft); Photo: Coffee berries on a coffee plant] 

Ceruleans especially are common in coffee-growing landscapes. And particularly in the northern parts of the Andes. 

[Slide text: Cerulean Warbler Declines; Graph of Total Population Size by Year, with Approximately 1.4 million Ceruleans in 1970 to Approximately 0.4 million in 2000] 

And if we look at, I guess, well I’ll just step back a second. For a lot of birds that are declining that we know are using, are migratory and so they’re using multiple habitats around the year, it’s difficult to know really what’s driving those population declines. And we don’t really have the answer for cerulean warbler, like many species. 

But if we look at some, sort of what’s been happening in their winter habitat, and how that, the timing of changes in their winter habitat corresponds to some of the population declines we see, it’s suggestive that maybe this is the conversion of shade coffee to sun is important.

[Image: Same graph with Shade coffee in the 1960s before the population starts declining, then Conversion to sun coffee from 1965 on] 

So here we’re looking at the population declines in cerulean warblers, and in the 1960s and prior to that there was in Colombia and Venezuela and Ecuador and Peru, there was mostly shade coffee. But especially in Colombia the biggest part of their range we saw a massive conversion to sun coffee right at the time when ceruleans really started to decline a lot. 

We don’t know that that’s a big driver. Again there are other changes that are happening across the, its its entire global range. But it’s certainly suggested that coffee, the loss of shade coffee, could be a contributing factor. 

[Slide text: What are the key winter habitats for Ceruleans?; Images: Predictive Model Results of suitability of winter habitats on a map of northern South America and a photo of a landscape in the region] 

And that was further suggested when my former student Gabrielle Colorado and I went out across the northern Andes to try to identify some of the key habitats for cerulean warblers and other migrants. And so this was part of an effort that was in a multi-country working group to try to predict the best habitats for cerulean warblers. 

Here on this map you’re seeing where the areas we predicted that would be best for them. The red areas were the highest suitability, and so what we did is we went out to random places in that distribution and described what, if we found them there. 

[Photo: Landscape with Pasture, Shade coffee, Forest, and Sun coffee labeled in different areas] 

And a lot of times we’re working in things like pasture to show you here, shade coffee, sun coffee, primary forest, you know there’s a high interspersion of a lot of different kinds of habitats in many of these places. 

[Slide text: Disturbed forest habitats were heavily used, Colorado & Rodewald; 20 randomly-selected 1 km2 blocks w/10 survey points per block; Graph: Habitat type (Mature Forest, Secondary Forest, Shaded monoculture, Pastures with isolated trees, No trees) versus Individuals per hectare] 

And we found that disturbed forest habitats were very heavily used by cerulean warblers. And you can see here mature forests actually were were used less than secondary forest. 

Secondary forest is when it’s been cut over once and has regenerated, like many of the forest, most of the forest around here. Shaded monoculture is when there are trees grown in the overstory over coffee. And pastures with isolated trees, or what we call silvopasture. Those were all statistically equally used. There were no ceruleans in the areas without any trees. 

[Slide text: Density of migrants was greater in shade-coffee than primary forest, Based on 10 transects per habitat surveyed 7x/year for 2 years for 280 visits; analyzed with DISTANCE, 2006-2008. Bakermans et al. 2009.; Graph: American Redstart, Blackburnian Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, and Tennessee Warbler Density (#/ha) in Shade coffee and primary forest]

So that’s consistent too with what we found in Venezuela in previous work that we did, where we were looking at primary forests and shade coffee plantations. And this was with Mario Bakermans, another former student. And we found that even after you adjusted for differences in your ability to detect a bird in mature primary forest or in a coffee plantation, we still found that ceruleans and many other migrants were much more abundant within the shade coffee. 

And other people have reported the same sort of pattern as well. 

[Slide text: Shade coffee; Photos: Shade coffee plantations] 

So there does seem to be something to the shade coffee plantations being able to offer habitat for a lot of migrating birds. Another student of mine, Molly McDermott, was comparing shade coffee plantations 

[Slide text: Cardamom forest; Photo: Cardamom forest and jar of cardamom seed] 

with another common agroforestry crop, cardamom, that’s grown again in the understory. It’s a bit more of a wet forest, they’ll irrigate it sometimes as well. 

[Slide text: Silvopasture; Photos: Silvopasture with cattle] 

And we were comparing with silvopasture, which is increasingly popular in this area. 

[Graph: Cerulean Warbler and Canada Warbler number of birds per flock in cardamom forest, shade coffee, and silvopasture] 

And what she and I found was that cerulean warblers and another sensitive species Canada warbler as well as other migrants were most abundant in the the more wet cardamom shade forests, and also in shade coffee, but use the silvopasture much less. 

[Slide text: Migrants were most abundant in farms that had large trees, tall canopies, and were structurally complex; Photos: Forests with tall trees] 

As a whole we and others have found that migratory birds are most abundant when we have farms that are maintaining more structural complexity, and have tall canopies, and a few large trees scattered throughout. So not surprising, right. The more forest-like it is, the more likely a lot of these migrants were to use the habitats. 

[Slide text: Can birds survive and gain mass?; Photo: Bird in flight against a green background] 

But it’s one thing to just know that okay birds are there, they’re using the habitat. The question is really can they survive? And do they gain mass? Because there’s the possibility perhaps that maybe these coffee farms, maybe they look really good to birds, but they go there and it’s just a trap, where they might die or they can’t gain enough weight to to make it back north.

[Slide text: Fat is the currency of migration] 

And when it comes to migrants, fat is really the currency, right. They need that fat in order to migrate. 

[Slide text: Examine condition & survival via mist-netting; Photos: People at a mist-net in the forest with yellow circles showing the birds in the net] 

So to examine that what we did is we used mist-netting, where we could capture the birds. And it was really cool in Colombia. Up here I was always used to, in North America and a lot of places, you know, we’d have our aluminum poles or you know you need, you’re lugging those around. 

Well here in Colombia the field team would go out and cut some bamboo, and have these really tall nets that they would erect, you know when, and rig this system where you could pull up multiple nets. Just like you were pulling up a flag on a flagpole. And then we would wait for flocks to move through. 

And here in this picture those little dot, the yellow circles are showing all individual birds that were captured. So it’s nice, you could actually intercept an entire flock ,and then you just would lower the mist net down panel by panel and extract the birds.

[Photos: Measuring of mist-netted birds] 

And when we extracted them we would, we would put bands on them as well as color bands so we could individually identify every bird. We would look at their molt, at how big they were, you know taking measurements of their wing and their their mass as well. 

[Slide text: Body condition, + means that bird is heavier than expected for frame size, — means that bird is lighter than expected for frame size; Photos: Bird being weighed and bird being measured] 

And we would do this in part so we could calculate an estimate of body condition. So I’m going to show you a series of graphs in a minute, but just want to explain what you’ll be seeing. So the idea of a body condition index is sort of like our BMI index, right, body mass index. You know it’s adjusting for how how big we are, right. And so it gives you an idea of how fat or thin the bird is relative to its frame size. 

So on these graphs anything above that center line means that the bird is heavier than you’d expect for its frame size, and anything below means it’s lighter than you would expect. 

[Slide text: Body condition improved in shade coffee in Venezuela; Graph: Day of Season versus Body Condition Index, with general trend upward over the season; Photo: Cerulean warbler] 

So what we found with cerulean warblers is that over the course of a season in these Venezuelan shade coffee farms they were gaining mass, right. So they’re actually improving their body condition and by the time they were ready to depart in February had accumulated, you know, sufficient, well we don’t know if it’s sufficient, but at least were fatter than you’d expect for their frame size. 

[Slide text: Tennessee Warbler and American Redstart; Graphs: Day of Season versus Body Condition Index for each; Photos: Tennessee Warbler and American Redstart] 

For Tennessee warbler and American redstart it was the same sort of pattern where they were improving their condition over the course of that year. 

[Slide text: Warblers gained weight over the day in Colombian shade coffee farms; Graphs: Cerulean, Blackburnian, Tennessee, and Canada warbler BCI over the day] 

With Gabrielle and I also found similar findings in Colombia, both with seasonal weight gains, but there we were even able to look at over the course of a day, and so for cerulean warbler, Blackburnian, Tennessee, and Canada warbler they were all gaining weight even over the course of a day. 

And so that’s important because these birds you know they’re fasting over the night, and so in the morning they’re feeding you know heavily, and so they need to kind of make up what they’ve lost overnight. 

[Slide text: Most survived the winter; Photos: Amanda and two kids birdwatching, bird in hand, and two birds in trees] 

We also found that most of the birds were surviving the winter. So for, to calculate survival we had to rely on re-siting these birds. And so this is the sort of thing we’re looking for, you know looking for the individual combination of color bands. And we would re-site them at weekly intervals in order to determine if they were surviving. 

We also found that they were coming back year after year. There’s, there was one female that we had on a Venezuelan farm that she came back five years in a row to the same part of the farm. So for many of these wintering birds they show the same fidelity to their wintering sites as we sort of expect from their breeding sites as well. 

This was, that’s a, those are a picture of my kids. That was one of my son Owen who, he was an avid, he was not allowed to have like play toy guns at the time, but that was one of his wood gun collections. 


He had a huge collection of wood guns, and twigs, and sticks. Yeah. 

[Slide text: Migrants seem to do well in shade coffee; Photos: Warblers in shade coffee plantations] 

And, so overall a lot of our data were suggesting then, have or have suggested that migrants seemed to do really well in shade coffee. I mean this has been shown in other studies throughout the wintering grounds as well. 

[Slide text: Where do we go from here?; Photo: Cerulean warbler] 

So that’s great, right, but where do we really go in terms of conservation then? Right, because we’re in this situation where now we’ve established that you know shade coffee can actually be beneficial for these migrants, it’s an important habitat on their breeding grounds, I mean on their wintering grounds, it’s providing important ecosystem services, but yet we’re still losing so much shade coffee. 

[Slide text: How can we promote environmentally & bird-friendly coffee?; Image: Cartoon of carrot thinking “Psycho” and twig thinking “Wimp”] 

So really from a conservation perspective where we need to focus our efforts on is how we can incentivize growing bird-friendly or environmental, environmentally-friendly coffee. And we can use you know either carrots or sticks, right. I always like this cartoon right the carrot tells the stick like “psycho” and the stick is like to you know to the carrots says “wimp.” 

[Slide text: Certification Programs- Rainforest Alliance Certified, USDA Organic, Fair Trade Certified, Bird Friendly Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, UTZ Certified Good Inside, C.A.F.E. Practices] 

So the carrots that we use tend to be in the form of certification programs, right. So a certification program looks at how different production standards, and basically use, they use different criteria. And so as a consumer we are assured that certain standards were met, and we’re willing to pay a higher price for that. And there are a variety of different standards that are out there. I will talk about some of these. 

[Slide text: Why not just “shade grown”?; Photos: Shade Grown Ethiopian Trader Joe’s coffee and Shade Grown Mexico Starbucks coffee] 

But first, I guess, why not just buy shade grown? Right, we’ve seen that, and you might have noticed sometimes you’ll see shade grown coffee. Well the shade grown, it’s better even un, non-certified, you know shade grown would be better than Maxwell House and Folgers, right. It’s it’s something to be shade grown. 

[Photo: A forest] 

But if you’re really trying to, I guess incentivize very specific kinds of practices, it may not give you the sort of assurances that you want. Because shade grown could be something that looks like this, all right where you have a fair amount of trees in the landscape.

[Photo: Mostly coffee plants with some individual trees near the back] 

It could also be this kind of stand, lot fewer trees. 

[Photo: Coffee plants under banana trees] 

And it could even be this, where really the shade are banana trees, right. So you can imagine each of those shade grown stands is going to offer very different kinds of habitat to birds and other biodiversity. 

[Slide text: Shade-coffee systems vary widely; Images: Types of shade-coffee systems and various levels of shade each provides, and coffee berries on a plant] 

Right so we have this tremendous variation again in the kinds of shade systems that are out there. So that’s why it’s important to have particular certification programs 

[Slide text: Wide variation in areas emphasized by different certification programs; Graph: Percent of criteria of Coffee quality, Social, Economic, and Environmental for the certification programs Forest Stewardship Council, Fair Trade, Organic, UTZ Certified, Rainforest Alliance, C.A.F.E. (Starbucks), Nespresso AAA, and Bird Friendly] 

if we want very specific kinds of of habitat features out there on the landscape. So among the different kinds of certification programs there’s a lot of variation in the the kinds of criteria they use. In general we can group them by sort of whether their certification or their standards are related to the quality of the coffee, or social impacts that they’re making, economic sustainability, or environmental practices. 

And so if we look at these you’ll see there’s a lot of variation. And I’ll just point out at the bottom here, along the x-axis, those are the percent of criteria. So here this isn’t telling you which is more rigorous than another, it’s just telling you if they had you know a hundred different criteria the percentage that were related to the quality of the coffee, or you know the environment. 

So some of the ones you’ve probably heard of are things like Fair Trade, right that’s pretty popular now. And so you can see that for Fair Trade most of the criteria it uses are focused on the social standards. But it does have some related to the economic, sort of sustainability and record-keeping, and some related to environmental practices, namely though as related to human health and safety.

[Slide text: Fair trade principles focus on minimum prices, safe & healthy work conditions, no child labor, equal opportunity, accountability & transparency; Images: Fair Trade Certified logo and a family standing in a forest with a basket of coffee berries] 

And so fair trade principles, those tend to focus on minimum prices, stable prices for farmers, safe and healthy work conditions, you know not having child’s labor, having equal opportunity, accountability, transparency, you know all things that are important, but they’re not going to be related to environment as much. 

Across these, I won’t go through each of these different criteria, but from a bird perspective Bird Friendly coffee is by far the most rigorous. And so you can see that for their criteria most of them are related to the environment.

[Slide text: Bird Friendly Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center- Attribute, Smithsonian Bird Friendly- Canopy height >12m, Foliage cover >40%, Plant diversity >10 woody spp, Structural diversity High (quantitative metrics), Ground cover (leaf litter; herbs & forbs) present, Riparian buffers >5m – streams >10m – rivers, Organic USDA certified; Images: Bird Friendly logo and toucan in a forest] 

And so as an example for the Bird Friendly coffee they’re really trying to ensure that there is sufficient canopy height, you can see it has to be 12 meters high canopy, that there’s good foliage cover, there’s plant diversity and structural diversity. So you have kind of different layers of the forest, the understory, and mid-story and canopy layers. That there’s some ground cover, that there are buffers of vegetation before waterways so you’re not contaminating water, and also that it’s organic. 

So if you can, you know what I always, people oftentimes you know feel like well I can’t always buy Bird Friendly coffee, or it’s difficult to to purchase or it’s difficult to find. And my advice is always that well I mean anything we can do, or any choice we can make that’s a bit, that’s better and moving away from you know kind of the corporate sun coffee, not to keep picking on something like Folgers or Maxwell House, but those kind of brands. Any choice we can make is it is is giving some signal to the markets that we value other practices. 

If you can buy the best one for birds then do that, right, but I wouldn’t give up if you can’t if you can’t afford that or if you can’t find that and you’re out on a given day and can’t seem to find your Bird Friendly coffee. But if you’re really interested in committed to providing bird habitat um and supporting other biodiversity this would be the certification that you’d want to go for. 

[Slide text: Certification can be expensive & difficult; Photo: Forest with a “Rainforest Alliance Certified” sign] 

So one of the challenges though from growers’ perspective is that certification is, can be pretty difficult. And it can also be expensive. So it’s not something that’s really available to all farmers. Also they can be affected by their neighbors practice, you know. So sometimes it can be difficult if their neighbor’s spraying and there’s a lot of spray drift they may not be able to get certified themselves. 

[Slide text: Specialty Coffee Value Chains- Coffee Quality- Commodity ($), Premium ($$), Speciality ($$$), Boutique ($$$$), Production standards- Certifications- Fair Trade, Rainforest, Bird friendly ($$$); Images: Logos of Fair Trade, Rainforest, and Bird Friendly certified] 

So there are a number of people that are now looking into alternatives, and that are more related to the quality of coffee. So the ones, the certifications I’ve been talking about are those production standards, right. But coffee quality is, and there’s going to be a higher price that’s paid as you move up in quality of the coffee. 

They’re, from, sort of maybe in this room we might be more concerned about the environment. So the relationship between coffee quality and the environment is that coffee tends to be of better quality when it’s grown under shade and in healthy environmental conditions than when it’s grown you know in hot, dry conditions and the Robusta, right. 

So in general there is this relationship between the better the quality of the environment you’re growing the coffee in, the better the quality of the bean and the drink will be. 

[Slide text: Do Specialty Coffee Value Chains Improve Social & Environmental Sustainability for Smallholder Growers? Miguel Gomez, Juan Hernandez-Aguilera, Ximena Rueda; Chart: Circle with arrows around the edge connecting Family & Community, Economics, Environment, and Coffee quality] 

And so we’ve been working in Colombia, and this is a partnership with Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future and the Dyson School to try to understand how different specialty coffee value chains, so from the grower all the way to the roaster and the distributor, how those are related to different social and environmental outcomes. And so we’ve been looking at coffee quality, and the impacts of families and communities, to the environment and also to the economics. 

[Photo: A town in Colombia] 

And we’ve been working in two different regions in Colombia in Antioquia and in Cauca departments, and this is just an example of these small coffee towns that you’ll see. 

[Photos: People on coffee plantations and on a tour] 

And so for this project we go out, we work actually with students that are local to the area, university students who will work with us in the field. 

[Slide text: Socio-Economic & Production Data- Human, Physical, and Social Capital

Coffee varieties 





Value Chain; Photo: Students interviewing a farmer] 

We conduct a variety of socio-economic interviews where we’re talking with families about you know the different kinds of sort of capital that they’ve invested into their farm, the varieties they grow, their income, their how optimistic they’re feeling about the future, the different markets they’re able to participate in. 

[Slide text: Environmental conditions & habitat; Photos: Students in coffee fields] 

We also measure with the students the environmental conditions that are out there. The different kinds of habitat features out on the landscape. 

[Slide text: Biodiversity — bird surveys; Photos: Cerulean warbler, Canada warbler, and people conducting bird surveys] 

For biodiversity criteria really that’s where we look at birds. And birds are an excellent indicator of biodiversity in in many systems. 

[Slide text: Coffee Quality Data- Coffee quality score- Cupping, Coffee taster’s flavor wheel, Collaborator: Colleen Anunu, Director of Coffee of Gimme! Coffee; Images: Testing coffee quality (cupping) and coffee taster’s flavor wheel of different tastes and aromas] 

And then finally we have been working with Gimme! Coffee and the former director of coffee um would come down with us and actually do the sampling. So it was amazing because she would sample, sometimes she’d do eighty cuppings you know in one session to score them.

So with that I’ll say this is work that’s still, we’re just wrapping up. We finished the last field season in January so it’s coming to conclusion. So hopefully we’ll have some good recommendations following that. 

[Slide text: Conservation in working landscapes; Photo: A forested hill with some coffee plants] 

So I think you know the big, the big point to make about coffee, and actually really it’s between, it’s true for many different kinds of land use practices is that a lot of the conservation we need to do is in landscapes that are really important for communities. 

They’re working landscapes where people are depending upon that resource. And because of that we need to find solutions that are going to work 

[Photos: Various bird species] 

not only for birds and for biodiversity, but also are 

[Slide text: Support livelihoods; Images: Coffee berries in a basket, citrus and coffee plants, and logo of Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia] 

supporting livelihoods as well, right. Because it’s not enough to you know focus only on on the ecological components. You know unless we can find strategies where people can meet their needs in those landscapes we’re not ever going to find a workable solution. 

[Slide text: Ecosystem services; Photo: Village surrounded by green mountains with mixed land use] 

We also need to be attentive to the ecosystem services that are being provided and how we can ensure that those continue. And in the case of these landscapes and with coffee, I mean we’re looking at not only the local ecosystem services that are provided, things like avoiding you know landslides for the communities that are working those landscapes, but even things that are wide-reaching like storing carbon in terms of offsetting that we need to do globally.

[Slide text: Birds as agents of change?; Photo: Handmade models of birds labeled with their scientific names and local Spanish names] 

And so birds might be able to actually be great agents of change in this sense. This is a picture that I took down in Sunny Café, which is a part of the Federation of Coffee Growers in Colombia. And this was produced, these were little tiny models that children made who were growing up on coffee farms. So they had a tremendous affection for the birds that were in their farms, and quite a lot a lot of knowledge about them as well. 

And people are both you know down on the farms, and certainly up here as consumers, you know people are passionate about birds. And so I think it gives a very sort of tangible reason for many people to make I guess statements with what they’re purchasing in terms of coffee.

[Slide text: Coffee imports; Image: Map of the world showing how much coffee is imported by country, with United States as the largest importer] 

And certainly our our choices can make a big difference. In the U.S. we’re the largest importer of coffee. So if we decide that you know we wanna shift and purchase more shade coffee that’s going to send a really strong signal to markets that this is something we value.

[Photos: “World’s Best Coffee” and “The Best Coffee in Town” signs from coffee shops] 

Right, so we’re in a position where we can actually you know try to define in a much broader, holistic way, you know what is really the best coffee. I love seeing all these different pictures, “best coffee in town.” I don’t know I tend to think that there’s a negative correlation 


between whoever proclaims themselves as the best coffee and what they’re actually is, but I don’t know. 

[Photos: A cup of coffee, various birds, a frog, a man dumping coffee berries into a basket, children waving, coffee berries on a plant, and logos of Bird Friendly and Fair Trade] 

Yeah so in the in the case of coffee I think this is a is a really good example of where what we want to see happen to protect the birds and to protect biodiversity is also the same thing that we want to see happen from social reasons, and also from you know the broader environmental and ecosystem service range, reasons. 

[Slide text: Upcoming article in Living Bird– Coffee. Birds. People.; Photos: Birds, coffee plants, and people drinking coffee] 

So I’ll give a plug to an upcoming issue we have of Living Bird. So we’re having, this will actually be featured, if you’re Lab members, if you get Living Bird. Um there is a story within the next couple of weeks that will be coming out that features some of the work that we’ve been doing um in coffee. And there will also be some video segments as well. 

So I encourage you to take a look at this if you want to learn more about this. And as well there will be, there are a lot of links and information about different kinds of certification if you want to learn more. But there’s also a tremendous amount on the web that you can find out. 

[Slide text: Thank you- Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, USFWS-NMBCA, NRWF, NCASI, Ohio Division of Wildlife, Ohio State University, Cleveland MetroParks Zoo, Ohio Ornithological Society, Explorer’s Club, La Mucuy Bird Observatory, generous donors (Falck, Schumann, & Adelson families), and Lab members, & the many students, assistants, and collaborators who contributed; Photo: Mountain landscape at sunset] 

So with that, thank you again for coming out. And just want to, yeah, encourage you to learn more about the issue, and do what you can to have your choice of which coffee you purchase have have a positive impact on on the planet. So okay, thanks a lot. 



[Audience question] 

[Amanda] So the question is about, well a comment saying that Starbucks was high in the criteria on the graph I showed, right, and is that good? And I’ll just, so just to remember that the criteria are showing the percent of criteria, but doesn’t necessarily mean how rigorous they are in a particular area. 

So with Starbucks most of their criteria are dealing right now with the economics and the coffee quality. So those two. And they have some other standards, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re strong you know, they’re good for birds. So that’s the one thing you’ll want to look more closely. So those, what that graph shows is again what they’re, what they’re focusing on in terms of the kinds of certification or the kinds of criteria they’re promoting. But you want to, if you care about it you also want to look closely to see specifically the features that they’re they’re trying to ensure. 


[Audience question] 

[Amanda] Right, so the question was um with Fair Trade coffee does more money go to the growers? So with that they’re ensuring that there’s there’s a minimum price and that there’s more stability year to year to year. It doesn’t necessarily mean that Fair Trade coffee is going to offer a better price than even some specialty coffee to the farmer. So that can vary, but it’s, it does ensure that they’re not, they’re going to be buffered from some of the volatility in the commodity market. And they’ll, and that they’ll be working in safer conditions. 

So it’s something, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best price for the grower. So that that is a product of a number of things. Sometimes even there’s a lot of relationships now called like direct trade relationships, where different buyers or roasters actually travel down into the you know and work very closely with particular farms and families. And in many of those cases they’ve you know these are long-term relationships that have been developed, and so they’ll want to offer fair prices, you know good prices as well. So it can, it can vary. But that’s that’s sort of ensuring at least some basic level of income. 

Yes. Yeah? 

[Audience question] 

[Amanda] Right, so the question was you know how can you, right, how do you find out what kind of coffee you’re buying you know when you go to a restaurant? And in some cases it’s going to be pretty difficult, right. If you just go to a regular restaurant they may not know. I mean certainly you can ask, so we can always ask. 

And if there are some particular chains you go to regularly you can look up online to see what they’re growing. These days a lot of the coffee shops will actually write, have information like right on the on their labels that this was direct trade or it’s shade-grown or it’s certified by Rainforest Alliance or Bird Friendly. 

Like here you can buy Bird Friendly coffee, you’ll actually see the certification labels on it. But in terms of yeah just your regular restaurants there I think asking, you know making people aware, and and perhaps trying to communicate that I would value this, I would I you know this is something I support. 

But right now most of the time your opportunity to purchase some of the more environmentally-friendly varieties will be by looking at labels that you’re buying when you buy your coffee online you know or in in stores. 

[Audience question] 

[Amanda] Right, yeah so the co. Right, so the comments are just about that right you know basically there are in terms of coffee quality, right sort of the you know it’s all in the individual, right. But I will say one thing to keep in mind is that sometimes the coffee, the taste of the coffee, might be just about the level of roasting. Right, whether it’s light, medium, or dark roast too, and not necessarily because of the certification. So with some of the strong coffees. Yeah let’s go to take someone over here right now, okay. 

[Audience question] 

[Amanda] Yeah, it so that question was and suggestion was that that organic coffee, it looked that organic coffee is pretty good for birds as well, and so is it if you can’t find Bird Friendly coffee is it good to buy organic? And yeah that’s a good point. So organic is one step, you know there’s a, it’s, there’s a whole continuum right from sort of having coffee grown kind of how we do grow corn or something and a lot of chemicals on it, to where it’s grown in a very forested area. Organic means that no chemicals were used, so that’s definitely better than having coffee where a lot of chemicals are used. That’s better for the birds. 

Organic might have trees or it might not have as many trees, a lot of times you’ll have, you will have some trees, but you it’s hard to really know. All right so I would say if you if that’s your only choice between organic and non-organic, you know like uncertified non-organic, then yeah I think that is. That’s that’s sending a signal right to the markets and to people who are growing coffee that this is something I value right. And so that would be better than doing nothing, definitely. 

[Audience] One of my friends who drinks Bird Friendly coffee all the time just orders it online. She doesn’t have any problem finding it because she gets Birds & Beans online. If people are really committed that’s what they could do. 

[Amanda] Right, good. Thank you. 

[Audience] Not go looking in all the stores. 

[Amanda] Right, good. And the point was that she had a friend who who purchases her Bird Friendly coffee online, and it’s very easy. And so you don’t have to necessarily look in stores, and that’s absolutely true. And so with some planning ahead you can do that. 

And in fact I know some distributors like with Birds & Beans are even encouraging people to have sort of coffee clubs, where people can all chip in and you know work together to buy big batches of coffee that, from that’s Bird Friendly certified as well. Yeah, Pete. 

[Pete] I felt a caffeine headache coming on when you showed that climate map. But I’m wondering is the mechanism of climate change going to be to magnify the rust and the coffee borer and other pests and pathogens that are impacting coffee or it is more of a growing regions sort of a crunch? 

[Amanda] So the question was about what is, in terms of those projections where with climate change we’re losing some of the areas that are suitable for coffee, what is the mechanism? Is that that it’s going to be more vulnerable to pests or is something else? 

And and for that I don’t think they entirely know, but it’s partly based on changes right in precipitation and temperature. Because coffee is very sensitive to the temperature it’s grown at. There are, so there are some studies that suggest that when the plants are stressed as you’d expect they’re more vulnerable to different diseases and pests as well. 

So I think it’s a combination of a lot of those right, and right now I think some countries they’re actually looking at shifting to like chocolate, cacao production. And some areas as coffee’s, they’re getting warmer and too warm to grow the the coffee, they’re kind of getting into other crops that can, are better at lower elevation. Yeah.

Yeah, Fitz. 

[Audience question] 

[Amanda] Right, so the question was about you know how do we really move the needle on making like Bird Friendly coffee mainstream effectively with these large corporations? And I’ll just say too it is true that these a lot of, I was asking the head of Rainforest Alliance, their science and certification, was saying that a lot of the big shift and and who’s enrolling in Rainforest Alliance that often comes from top down right, that companies, the buyer says that’s it I’m only buying Rainforest Alliance, and so that so all of their growers shift into that. 

In terms of why the rationale for why Starbucks and other companies aren’t converting, I’m not sure. I don’t know, Pete I don’t want to put you on the spot, have you talked to those guys? I so let me just allow, let me just explain who you are. So Pete Marra’s in the audience, and he’s the director of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, which runs the Bird Friendly coffee program. So I’m just going to have you speak into this there, yes so uh, yeah.

[Pete] So we are in a constant effort to try to get that exact thing to happen. So I attend regular meetings, well not anymore with Starbucks, but with Peet’s and with a variety of these large coffee growers, or coffee companies. 

And it’s a, there are a variety of answers to that question, everything from ranging to they don’t want to share their brand, they want to maintain the Starbucks brand, they want everything to be internal. Even though they do now share a coffee with Conservation International, but it is a very weak, very weak certification. To it costs too much, so if it costs one or two cents more per pound they cannot justify it because they don’t want to push that on to the consumer. So our coffee costs a little bit more and it’s always going to be a niche market. 

That being said we just recently got into Nordstrom’s. I was out meeting with Nordstrom’s in Seattle recently, and Nordstrom’s runs in all their high-end stores they actually have a really wonderful a coffee shop, and they are going to start selling our coffee in their programs. We got Peet’s to sell one of our brands of coffee on a limited basis. Our hope is to get them to sell the coffee.

[Amanda] And what convinces them? 

[Pete] You know, that we can then, try to convince them that there’s a niche for it. And Nordstrom’s happens to be a very environmentally conscious organization. So if they have a ingrown commitment to doing or having a social conscience and environmental conscience it’s easier to justify to them, because our coffee is considered the gold standard of those coffees. So we continue to push for getting that sort of thing to happen. 

That being said, we can’t even, at the Smithsonian, at the National Zoo we get them to sell the coffee. But I can’t get Natural History to sell our coffee, I can’t get the castle to sell our coffee.


Because it costs a lot of money, and it’s very, when you start looking in the details, I don’t want to bore you with all the details, but there’s a contract with Sodexo the food service company, and it’s a 10-year contract. And you know you can’t get a company like Sodexo or any of these other hundred or so foods, food service companies that supply coffees for either groups like Starbucks or my goal is to also go to big corporations that sell coffee with, internally. They have these big long contracts and you can’t get them to switch coffees that easily. It’s never as easy as it seems.

[Amanda] Thank you. No, that was great, thanks. I think so all right here first. 

[Audience question] 

[Amanda] So the question was does all coffee require some chemical inputs? And so some people are able to grow coffee without those chemical inputs, or they’re only using natural fertilizers like manure or things like that as needed. So some can actually be grown without chemicals. In some places it might be difficult, but it can be done, yeah. Good question. 

And I think over here, and this should probably be our last question but I’m happy to stay afterwards and chat with people. Yeah. 

[Audience] First is a quick question. With the picture that had the clay figurines of the birds were the names underneath it their scientific name? Because they sound like child’s names which was really fun. 

[Amanda] So the question was on the picture of the bird models was it, were those scientific names? Those were actually local names for the for the birds. Yeah. 

[Audience] And the second question is for the process of making Bird Friendly coffee, is the cost associated with it that is expensive one that would, do, would the cost to make that happen diminish with popular demand as do most things, or is a generally expensive process? 

[Amanda] So the other question, and with that the process question probably that Pete would have to answer. So specifically for Bird Friendly coffee, what is the the cost to farmers, would that be in order to enroll or for certification, would that be able to be reduced as it became became more popular? So kind of is it a function of scale where the costs are reduced? And I don’t know, Pete, in terms of the visiting with certifications do you know is it a scale issue? 

So no. Yeah. So why don’t, and maybe yeah we can. 

[Pete] There’s no additional cost when processing.

[Amanda] Okay. And there’s yeah, so it’s just one, it, so the there’s no processing fees, so it’s just more of a fee to have someone come out and check the certification. 

[Pete] It’s three hundred dollars every two years.

[Amanda] Three hundred dollars every two years. I’m repeating things for those who are live streaming. I’m just that tedious to speak with 


right have a one-on-one with me it will kill you. All right so um okay. So with that thanks again for your questions and for coming out tonight and really appreciate it. So have a good evening.


End of transcript

Amanda Rodewald, Garvin Professor of Ornithology and Director of Conservation Science at the Cornell Lab discusses how shade-coffee and other agroforestry practices can support bird conservation, healthy ecosystems, and human communities in Latin America. She explains that when coffee is grown under trees, a greater variety of products end up being produced (e.g., coffee, fruits, firewood, lumber, and medicines), and at the same time, the intact forest cover supports biodiversity, and reduces erosion and chemical use compared to other intensive agricultural systems. Neotropical Migratory birds rely heavily upon shade-coffee farms.