There were times when I thought we would have to give up on a couple, but we found them!
So now we have collected all the data for this pollination project.
The farmer owns this forest land and has set up a conservation easement to protect it. This is getting into an ecological debate that has resurfaced over the past couple of years known as land sparing/land sharing.
So does that count as providing a diverse shade canopy? For coffee farms, land sparing = separate areas for the coffee and then land "spared" for forest or habitat; land sharing = shaded coffee so that the land is "shared" for both agriculture and habitat.
The farm owner provides access to health care for the permanent workers and the migrant coffee pickers that come to the farm for a couple of months out of the year during the harvest. But not so fast…not everyone would consider it to be the highest tier of sustainability because of the shade tree management on the farm. There has been a lot of research, including my own, that shows that coffee grown under a diverse shade canopy can provide valuable habitat for local wildlife—but what constitutes a "diverse shade canopy"? The other tree is called poró () and is typically used on Costa Rican coffee farms because it provides nitrogen to the soil.
The last half of the sites were a bit treacherous…in some areas the vegetation around the coffee plants had grown waist high.
We used walking sticks to push the vegetation down and create a pathway on our search for the marked coffee plants—saying loudly "Go away, snakes!
The owners provide backpacks and school supplies for the children of the farm workers each year. This tree is really fast growing and it is pruned drastically within the farm.
Almost all the branches are cut off, so it is just the trunk of the tree left.