Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Coffee polycultures minimise carbon footprint (#journal)

Carbon footprints and carbon stocks reveal climate-friendly coffee production

Two aspects of the climate impact of coffee production were studied: the standing carbon stocks in the production systems and the product carbon footprint. We collected data from 116 coffee farms in five Latin American countries for four coffee production systems: (1) traditional polycultures, (2) commercial polycultures, (3) shaded monocultures, and (4) unshaded monocultures.  Polycultures were found to have a lower mean carbon footprint and much higher carbon stocks in the vegetation than monocultures. Several other strategies were identified to reduce climate impacts of coffee production, including diversification with trees, use of their wood to substitute for fossil fuel and building materials, targeted use of fertilizer, and use of ecological processing instead of the traditional fully washed process.

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