75% coffee retained through agroforestry
Combining coffee farming with trees that provide shade, cooling and protection from extreme rainfall while still allowing sufficient light to pass through, could significantly increase the resilience of the coffee production system against these changing circumstances. In his thesis, PhD candidate Lucas de Carvalho Gomes states that model calculations show that 60% of the current acreage used for coffee production in the Zona de Mata (Brazil) will be lost by 2050.
However, the adoption of agroforestry systems with 50% shade cover can reduce the mean temperatures and maintain 75 % of the area suitable for coffee production in 2050. This improvement of the microclimate applies in particular to fields located at an altitude of 600 to 800 metres. The tree species Aegiphila sellowiana, Inga spp., Sena macranthera and Persea americana (avocado) are among the tree species suited to provide shade.
Scientific publication and PhD
Lucas de Carvalho Gomes research results are to be published in the June edition of Science Direct and are already available online: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167880920300438.
The doi link for the paper is: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2020.106858
De Carvalho Gomes defended his thesis on Tuesday, 26 May. ‘These results show that we must reconsider the current model of coffee production. Agroforestry in coffee fields has many advantages, but also requires agro-ecological expertise by farmers and scientists’, says co-supervisor Felix Bianchi, associate professor at the Plant Sciences Department of WUR.