Biodiversity, sustainable certifications and climate change adaptation: Lessons from shade coffee systems in Mesoamerica
Periodo de realización: 2017/06/01 al 2017/01/01
Tipo: Memoria en extenso en libro
Lugar(es) de estudio: Tapachula, Chis., México, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica
Resumen: "The coffee sector has recently faced several crises starting with the international low coffee prices in 2001 followed by the recent infection by coffee leaf rust (Hemileia vastatrix) that affected producers all over Mesoamerica. The first crisis generated various certification schemes to help producers cope with the stressors and to get them into the sustainability production mainstream demanded by the market. The subsequent evaluation of the effectiveness of these certification schemes has been increasingly discussed and evaluated. Here we used a mixed methods approach conducted by an interdisciplinary team in Mesoamerica to assess the environmental outcomes related to adaptation and mitigation
practices observed among coffee farmers under sustainable certification schemes and traditional coffee farmers at similar geographic contexts. Although none of the farms where shade-certified, we emphasized the analysis on the shade system as a way to discriminate among biodiversity in shade trees, canopy closure and structural complexity among coffee plantations as a proxy to assess the capacity of the system to hold biodiversity in light of the global trend on reducing shade to increase productivity. We found that sustainable certifications could be an adaptation strategy by promoting the implementation of agricultural practices that help preserve the environment, under the concept of Ecosystembased
adaptation (Eba). In addition, it can help farmers increase their income. However, these benefits do not seem to be exclusive of the certification schemes as non-certified farmers have adopted similar agricultural practices as well. Although the intensification of coffee systems has been associated to biodiversity loss, the impact of the certification schemes on biodiversity is less clear when addressed only by measuring tree species, canopy closure and structural complexity. This can be explained by the limitations to attribute a particular practice to a certification scheme since traditional farmers tend to improvise or reproduce similar agricultural practices."