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Wildlife & Ecosystems

Costa Rican Coffee from Community to Cup

Earthwatch research led to more environmentally friendly coffee-growing practices in Costa Rica.

Previously Funded Expedition

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The facts

Why the research is important

Why the research is important

It will be important to manage farmland correctly to produce the best conditions for farmers while also producing the best possible coffee.

Earthwatch volunteers worked to help farmers face climate change with sustainable growing practices.

Most Costa Rican farms are small, and they are located at different altitudes, with different weather and ground slope conditions. We expect that all of the areas where farms are located will see warmer temperatures as a consequence of climate change, and it will be important to manage farmland correctly to produce the best conditions for farmers while also producing the best possible coffee.

Coffee plant, Costa Rica

Earthwatch volunteers contributed to research into better farming practices to benefit coffee growers.

With farmers in the Tarrazú region, volunteers worked to improve soil quality, increase and diversify the shade tree canopy and ground cover, reduce dependence on agrochemicals, and maintain or increase the coffee’s cup quality (characteristics like flavor, body, and fragrance). Earthwatchers also studied the fungal diseases of coffee plants, which are among the most serious threats to coffee production. To control this threat, farmers had relied on fungicides and the pruning of shade trees to reduce the humidity within the shade canopy. These practices are unsustainable, so Earthwatch worked to develop a better understanding of the fungal diseases to find better solutions to the problem, which is likely to increase with climate change.

About the research area

San Marcos de Tarrazu, Costa Rica, Central America & The Caribbean

Daily life in the field

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The Scientists

MEET THE LEAD SCIENTIST

Sebastián Castro
Tanzi
Graduate Student, University of Vermont

ABOUT Sebastián Castro Tanzi

Mr. Tanzi has scientific interests that include studying the biogeochemistry and agroecology of plant nutrient management practices in agroecosystems, with a special focus in reducing environmental and ecological risk. I am also interested in further exploring how biological diversity is linked to ecological processes and ecosystem services in agriculture lands.

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Accommodations and Food

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