Wake Up and Smell the Biodiversity
El Salvador hopes to protect its wildlife and boost its income by charging a 5 percent premium for “biodiversity-friendly” coffee grown in the shade of native plants. While many other Central and South American countries switched in the 1970s to the pesticide-dependent method of growing coffee in direct sunlight, El Salvador stuck to the more sustainable tradition of growing coffee in the shade of larger plants, providing havens for birds, insects, and smaller flora. Scientists at the UK’s Natural History Museum have found some 400 species of birds that thrive on shade-grown coffee farms in El Salvador.
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