“The Shade Catalog” empowers agroforestry
Image by Tory Read
Indonesian coffee farmers and professionals interested in using agroforestry to support climate resilience have a new tool at their disposal: The Shade Catalog. Available in both English and Bahasa, the Catalog helps farmers select shade trees that are good for coffee, support and diversify household incomes and provide benefits to wildlife and ecosystem services. The Shade Catalog is available in a mobile-friendly online format and free download at shadecoffee.org.
The Shade Catalog was jointly produced by Conservation International, the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and World Coffee Research, with funding from The Starbucks Foundation. Its collaborative development involved the expertise of over two dozen agroforestry, tree biology, coffee industry experts and farmer groups.
“We hope to encourage farmers and industry decision-makers to implement agroforestry systems that sustain both people and the environment,” said Dr Ruth Bennett, research ecologist at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. “Coffee is a unique crop because it can be grown with trees, to benefit climate, biodiversity and farmers alike. This catalog is a starting point for similar work in coffee-growing regions around the world.”
Shade trees on coffee farms are an integral resource for farmers, wildlife and the coffee crop itself. But farmers and practitioners often lack information about the tree species found in coffee landscapes: do they have economic uses, like timber or food production? Do the trees compete or complement coffee production? Do they support biodiversity and wildlife?
“As the climate crisis worsens conditions for farmers around the globe, retaining and replanting trees in coffee landscapes will play an increasingly critical role for sustaining coffee agriculture and livelihoods,” said Raina Lang, senior director of Sustainable Coffee at Conservation International.
The Shade Catalog gathers existing data on trees found in coffee landscapes – from the species’ main attributes, uses and benefits to propagation and management tips – and makes it freely accessible to support whole-farm planning.
“Tools like The Shade Catalog are critical for supporting coffee agroforestry to help combat the effects of climate change and support income diversification strategies,” said Vern Long, CEO of World Coffee Research.
The Catalog’s first edition focuses on Indonesia, one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of coffee with nearly 2 million smallholder coffee farmers managing 1.2 million hectares of coffee land in one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet. Future editions of the Catalog will expand to cover other critical coffee producing countries, beginning with Peru in 2022.
The Catalog is intended to be a living document and will be updated as more information or research becomes available for the included tree species.