The upper canopy vegetation of
shade coffee farms provides plant matter, fruits, nectar, and habitats for
thriving insect communities. These in turn provide adequate winter
food for the health of migratory birds and strength for the return trip
home. The canopy also shields the ecosystem from sun, wind, and rain
and enables diverse life to flourish in the under story.
"Studies in Colombia
and Mexico found 97% fewer bird species in sun grown coffee than in
shade grown coffee."
The Rainforest Alliance
replacing shade grown coffee farms. At least one half of coffee
grown in the northern neotropics has already been converted to full
sun. The deforestation necessary to create a full sun plantation is
a serious spoiler of the natural environment. This type of
plantation requires massive amounts of pesticides, herbicides and
fertilizers to compensate for the increase in uncontrolled insects, the
need for weed control, and the rapid sun-induced plant growth which
necessitates increased nutrient intake by the coffee trees.