Ecosystem services by birds and bees to coffee in a changing climate: A review of coffee berry borer control and pollination

Chain-Guadarrama, A. et al., 2019. Agriculture, Ecosystems, and Environment

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Coffee is one of the most important tropical crops on earth, considering both its gross production value and the number of families that depend on it for their livelihoods. Coffee also grows within some of the world’s most biodiverse habitats, in areas predicted to experience severe climate change impacts. Like many other crops, coffee benefits from several ecosystem services (ES) that provide important inputs or conditions for production. Given coffee’s strong interactions with conservation, livelihoods, and climate change, it is important to understand the roles of biodiversity-regulated ES to coffee and how they are likely to change under future climates. Here we review the available literature on the provision of two essential and interacting ES that regulate coffee production: control of a beetle pest by birds and pollination by bees. Studies show that bird and bee communities provide pest control and pollination services that improve coffee quantity and quality, benefiting coffee farmers whose livelihoods depend on this crop. The literature also shows that a variety of plot, farm, and landscape management practices that support resources for bees and birds can enhance these ES. We also evaluate how these ES and their interactions may change under future climate change. Several studies have estimated likely climate impacts on coffee per se, but few have investigated climate vulnerability of pollination and pest control ES. Even less studies have quantified interactions between these ES. Although evidence is incomplete, managing coffee farms as diversified agroforestry systems could improve climate resilience of coffee cropping and communities of birds and bees, and therefore help farming families adapt to their changing environment. Based on our review, we identify six critical research priorities in this active area of study. Filling knowledge gaps would advance our understanding of interactions among landscapes, ES, and climate change, and would support climate adaptation for the millions of households whose livelihoods depend on coffee.

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