Wednesday, May 17, 2006

El Salvador Isn't Waking Up And Smelling The Coffee

Estimations of 13 percent of El Salvador's so-called coffee forests were lost in the 1990s.

Tropical forests that house El Salvador's famed coffee plantations and provide habitat for migrating birds are being depleted at an alarming rate, scientists warned on Tuesday.

Between 2001 and 2004, the country lost 21,025 hectares of forest-covered coffee farms, Mario Acosta, president of El Salvador's Foundation for Coffee Research (Procafe), said. El Salvador last year planted around 161,000 hectares of coffee, the vast majority of it grown on wooded plantations.

With the greatest population density and smallest land size in Central America, El Salvador was long ago cleared of virtually all its native forest. Coffee farms, where bourbon variety coffee trees flourish under a thick shade canopy, provide 75 percent of El Salvador's remaining forest cover.
"Just in the period between 2001 and 2004, we lost 21,025 hectares with the accompanying environmental degradation, with the problems this means for watersheds and all the problems of unemployment in the countryside," Acosta told reporters at the opening of a regional conference on the role of the coffee industry in the environment.
El Salvador: Coffee, US Library of Congress
Coffee Could Save El Salvador's Wildlife
United States Agency For International Development: El Salvador

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