Shade effect on coffee production at the northern Tzeltal zone of the state of Chiapas, Mexico
Shade-grown coffee has been a preferred method in the tropics largely due to its benefits for biodiversity. However, impacts on yield are not yet fully understood, nor are the potentials for multiple uses of canopy species.
Research goals & methods
This study reports on the effect of shade structure on coffee grain yield and assessing the potential uses of associated plant species. An on-farm research project was conducted in the municipality of Chilón, Chiapas, Mexico. Thirty-six 10x10m plots were established on local farms representing shade and altitude gradients, and representing coffee plant age classes from 2 to 15 years old.
Results showed that shade cover percentage and coffee shrub density had significant effects on yields. Coffee density had a significant effect on yields but shade tree density had no effect. Coffee cultivar, age of coffee stand, species richness, shade tree density, basal area, slope and aspect did not have significant effects on coffee yields.
Conclusions & takeaways
Shade tree cover had a positive effect between 23 and 38% shade cover and yield was then maintained up to 48%. Production may decrease under shade cover >50%. A total of 61 shade species were found, with an average density of 260 trees per hectare, the majority of them being indigenous species. Farmers reported usage of many of these species for food, construction materials, or firewood.
Shade effect on coffee production at the northern Tzeltal zone of the state of Chiapas, Mexico. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment. 2000;80:61–69. doi:10.1016/s0167-8809(00)00134-1..
- El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, San Cristobal, Chiapas, Mexico
- School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
- Jardin Botanico de la Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Circuito Exterior de Ciudad Universitaria, Mexico