Coffee yields and soil nutrients under the shades of Inga sp. vs. multiple species in Chiapas, Mexico
The type of canopy structure that provides shade to shade-grown coffee may make a difference in production. While Mexican coffee producers have often sought to replace a natural diverse canopy with Inga latibracteata alone, the benefits of either method for yield and for ease of management have not been adequately studied.
Research goals & methods
This study evaluates the effects of Inga latibracteata as compared to diverse natural canopy cover on coffee yields and soil properties. The study was conducted in commercially managed coffee plots near Chiapas, Mexico. Shade-tree density and canopy structure, species richness, direct and diffuse light, coffee yields, SOM, pH, and levels of common soil nutrients were measured.
Conclusions & takeaways
Higher SOM and higher levels of N were found in the diverse canopy plots than with Inga alone. Coffee yields were not significantly different between the two forest types. Diverse canopy may be able to support greater bird diversity, potentially enabling coffee grown under these conditions to benefit from additional certifications. However, Inga alone produced fewer seedlings than the diverse canopy, causing a reduced need for weed clearing by farmers.
Coffee yields and soil nutrients under the shades of Inga sp. vs. multiple species in Chiapas, Mexico. Agroforestry Systems. 2002;54:215–224. doi:10.1023/a:1016013730154..
- El Colegio de la Frontera Sur Apartado Postal 63, Chiapas México
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