MEXICO COULD BE CONSIDERED ONE OF THE WORLDS RESERVOIRS OF HIGH QUALITY COFFEE
Photography: Carlos Avendaño, Finca Caffé Pecora 19º09, Veracruz
SUN COFFEE PLANTATIONS
Sun coffee plantations have no trees and present a greater density of coffee plants. These plantations function through stressing the coffee with exposure to the sun, putting the plant under pressure to produce more fruit. Large quantities of fertilizers, herbicides and/or pesticides are used in order that these plants under stress and high production do not become diseased, succumb to pests or die.
In this type of coffee plantation structure, it is common to plant trees of only one species to provide shade to the coffee plants, although one or more individuals of different species can be found. A high density of coffee plants can be found in this cultivation type.
These plantations have a vegetation structure comprising trees that are not very tall, with a large quantity of young fruit, timber and introduced shade trees. This produces rich forests with a great variety of trees, including introduced species that are not from the region.
Simple polycultures are very similar to diverse polycultures but are simpler in terms of their diverse of tree species.
Diverse polycultures with many tree species.
These are shade coffee plantations in which little work has been done or where the agricultural practices have had little ecological impact. In this plantation type, the intention of the producer is to provide shade for the coffee plants without obtaining any other type of use from the trees. These rustic structures can appear like a “mature” forest, i.e., with tall trees carrying many epiphytes on the trunks, substantial shading and up to four levels of height observed in the tree crowns.
Shade coffee plantations, in addition to providing a wide variety of products for the sustenance of the producers, constitute a very important crop for biodiversity conservation.
In a study called Biocafé, conducted in central Veracruz by Inecol in 2005, it was found that some had the capacity to conserve up to 84% of the biodiversity of the forest!
Moreover, the biodiversity found differed considerably among the plantations, i.e., each was relatively unique.
If we lose the coffee cultivation, we also lose that biodiversity!
Pronatura Veracruz has certified more than 6 thousand hectares of coffee plantations as Private Conservation Areas thanks to the more than 400 landowners interested in conserving the biodiversity of the plantations.
They are ecologically balanced systems, since the wooded plantations depend less on fertilizers and agrochemicals.
They provide marvelous mountain coffee plantation landscapes that we can enjoy on our trips to work or for pleasure.
Water is another fundamental element related to coffee production in Mexico. In a study of hydrological balance conducted in Veracruz, it was found that the zones of greatest hydrological recharge are found in the coffee production zones.
The coffee plantations are without doubt the guardians of the main hydrological regions in Mexico: the combined total length of the perennial and intermittent rivers that pass through the production zones is 23,129 km, equivalent to two times the diameter of the Earth.
Primer Concurso Nacional de Fotografía Cafetalera HUGO HERNANDEZ