Shade-grown coffee protects coral reefs in Puerto Rico
Steps to address land-based pollution
Photo 1/4 : The impacts from land-based sources of pollution from activities like agriculture, deforestation, and coastal development are threats to coral reef ecosystems in Puerto Rico. (Slideshow photos courtesy of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.)
Coffee and coral conservation
Photo 2/4 : Coffee farmers in southwest Puerto Rico are working with scientists and resource managers to reduce agricultural runoff to nearby coral reefs by transitioning from sun-grown coffee to shade-grown coffee crops. Shade coffee farming practices--including planting native plant species-- protect water quality, provide higher yields, and reduce irrigation.
Transition from sun to shade
Photo 3/4 : Portions of southwest Puerto Rico receive over 100 inches of rainfall annually, making agricultural runoff a serious concern.The shade-grown coffee initiative addresses sediment and runoff issues by converting the bare hillsides required for sun-grown coffee crops to forested areas that support shade coffee.
Thirty-six coffee farms covering 1,800 acres are now participating in the initiative! It's a true ridge-to-reef effort that is resulting in more resilient reefs, more stable coasts, and profitable coffee farms.
The photo of the hillside in Guanica Bay, Puerto Rico on the left was taken in 2001 before the transition to a shade-grown coffee crops. The image on the right shows the same hillside in Guanica Bay five years after implementing shade coffee farming practices.
Seal of approval
Photo 4/4 : Keep an eye out for shade-grown coffees stamped with the seals you see above! Partners in the initiative include NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and local coffee farmers and NGOs.
The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program was established in 2000 by the Coral Reef Conservation Act. Headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, the program is part of NOAA's Office for Coastal Management.