Consumers can help protect wildlife habitat by choosing coffee featuring the green frog seal
Helping to protect mammals, birds, snakes, lizards and spiders can be as simple as enjoying your morning cup of coffee. A new study provides evidence that Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee farms can extend wildlife corridors when located adjacent to natural forestlands, providing habitat for a variety of wildlife including the threatened night monkey (Aotus lemurinus).
“Night monkeys are rarely spotted because they are nocturnal and dwell in trees,” explains Deanna Newsom, senior analyst for evaluation and research at the Rainforest Alliance. “By radio tagging a group of night monkeys in Colombia, we found that they spend almost as much time foraging for food on densely shaded coffee farms as they do in the rainforest.”
Shaded coffee farms resemble natural forest, with coffee plants growing under the shade of the canopy. The layered vegetation provides important habitat to an abundance of wildlife, including mammals and migratory birds. Using camera traps, researchers found 12 different species of mammals living on shaded certified and non-certified coffee farms, including honey bears (Potos flavus), olingos (Bassarycion gabbii) and white-nosed coati (Nasua nasua).
To earn the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal, farmers must meet a comprehensive set of standards that conserve the environment and promote the rights and well-being of workers, their families and communities. On Rainforest Alliance Certified farms, forests are protected, hunting is prohibited, set-aide areas that are off-limits to farming are a requirement and natural shade cover is built-up, making them ideal homes for wildlife.
“Since achieving Rainforest Alliance certification, we regularly see birds, mammals, lizards, snakes and spiders on our farm,” commented Ricardo Rodriguez Chaparro of La Maria, a Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee farm in Colombia. “We now educate our local community about how they too can help to conserve wildlife and native species.”
Consumers can vote with their dollars to reward farmers who are protecting wildlife and their habitat by looking for the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal when buying coffee. To find a list of coffees featuring the green frog seal, visit Shop the Frog.