BIRD FRIENDLY COFFEE - SongBird info sheet


Birds and coffee, what is the relationship?

Healthy bird populations are a good indicator of eco-system health. Many of these poulations are currently in severe decline. We can all effect positive change by exercising our power of choice as consumers. The SongBird project promotes the practice of drinking ONLY shade grown coffee. Where to find it:

Cafe Etico (ethical coffee)- Co-Development Canada - 604-708-1495
codev@web.net

Canopy Bird Coffee - Saltspring Roasting Co. - 1-800-332-8858
http://www.saltspringroasting.com

Strait Coffee (Sechelt, B.C.) Allison Leduc - 604-885-9757

In addition, most certified organic coffees are shade-grown. Check with the retailer or the source for confirmation.

This article is from EarthVision Reports:
WASHINGTON, January 18, 1999 - Your morning cup of java could be contributing to the destruction of habitat for millions of birds, according to a report from Russell Greenberg, a scientist with the Smithsonian Institution. The Los Angeles Times reported that Greenberg spent several years documenting the effects that the coffee plantations are having on birds. The article said Greenberg studies migratory songbirds, which he says are becoming rarer - because of the coffee growers. He said the problem is a change in farming practices: coffee beans traditionally are grown in shade, under a canopy of trees that protects the plants and offers a sanctuary for more than 150 bird species. However, according to Greenberg, farmers have begun cutting the trees and using direct sunlight and chemicals to grow more beans at a faster pace. Greenberg said that since many of the original forests are gone, the trees are the only place left where the birds can hang out. The LA Times article said part of the reason for increasing production like this is that coffee companies racing to meet a rapidly-increasing demand in the United States. The article also said that when the trees are removed, the birds disappear - in some cases by as much as 97 percent.

Greenberg and his colleagues at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center are calling on Americans to save the birds by acting with their coffee mugs. According to the LA Times, the scientists are promoting "shade-grown'' coffee beans, grown on traditional plantations that are more friendly to fowl. However, the idea has not caught on with the larger national coffee chains or food retailers. The campaign is reminiscent of the dolphin-safe tuna campaign in recent years. If the same approach can work with coffee, the Smithsonian scientists hope it will have a major impact. According to the LA Times, it will probably work - the United States consumes one-third of the world's coffee and ranks coffee beans as its No. 3 import after oil and steel.
for more information look up the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Centre
.


SAVE TREES FOR MIGRATING SONGBIRDS
The Benefits of Shade Grown Coffee

Shade grown coffee benefits birds by preserving migratory bird habitats,
maintaining native tree canopy, supporting rainforest preservation,
cultivating necessary biodiversity, and protecting endangered bird species.
In the midst of a shrinking habitat, migratory birds have found sanctuary
in the forest environment of traditional shade grown coffee farms.
Biologists have found that shade coffee farms can support over 150 species
of birds. This is a far greater number than is found in other agricultural
habitats. In fact, it is exceeded only in the undisturbed tropical
rainforest. "Studies in Columbia and Mexico found 97% fewer bird species in
sun grown coffee than in shade grown coffee." (The Rainforest Alliance)

The spread of "full sun" coffee varieties has turned coffee farms into
serious despoilers of the natural environment. The new varieties require
massive amounts of pesticides and fertilizers to compensate for their lack
of resistance to disease and pests, and support their shorter harvest
cycle. "Shaded coffee farms are often the last refuge for migratory birds."
(The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center) The technification of coffee
growing (conversion to full sun plantations) is the result of the
relentless push of agribusiness to increase total crop output. Larger
landowners are able to convert, native tree canopies
are removed, and smaller farmers are often driven out by the costs of
chemical input and year around labor. Shade grown coffee benefits people by
preserving the ecology of our planet for future generations, creating
healthier farms for growers and their families, promoting organic farming
methods and reducing the need for pesticides and herbicides, producing long
term economic benefits for
coffee farmers, and nurturing migratory birds for the enjoyment of all.

(from Audubon House, U.S.A.)

 

 

 
 

HOME

BABYLON

THE DAWN CHORUS

THE LIVING CITY

THE NEST

THE SONGBIRD ORATORIO

SONGBIRD VIDEO