Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Coffee habitats being depleted

As reported by Reuters, during the early part of this decade, El Salvador lost thousands of acres of "coffee forest" at a time when world coffee prices were severely depressed:


"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.

The dramatic losses took place during a sustained period of record-low coffee prices which led many farmers to abandon their land, in some cases ceding it to encroaching urban expansion." (more)

5 comments:

mogul said...

I wonder what the environmentalists would have said when the first colonists from El Salvador depredated thousands of acres of virgin forests to sow coffee?

Miguel Lerdo said...

This sounds like propaganda for the Cafetaleros. There is no discussion of what this land is reverting to. Presumably, untouched forests would be environmentally preferable to coffee forests. Some of it is no doubt converting to housing developments, but people have to live somewhere – something was going to get cut down for housing.

Anonymous said...

The question is, what type of housing is being built? I see a huge problem with the vast majority of housing projects in urban areas (specially around the capital) being built specifically for those of the middle-upper class. There should be more low income housing if anything, as a way to remove people that live in high-risk areas. It would also be beneficial, if in this country people started building upward...

But since the major issue in this article is the loss of coffe forests, which many sustain that migrating birds and other fauna benefit from, if large number of said forests were to "revert" to wildlife, it could be good in the environmental perspective. On the other hand, since coffee is still the major cash crop, this could spell troubles for the national coffee business.

El-Visitador said...

"It would also be beneficial, if in this country people started building upward"

See "Law Courts, number of" ---Our government spends too much money and time on silly distractions such as IDESMU, CONCULTURA, MARN, Min Turismo, CEPA, CEL, CDC, and other "institutions" created because these are fashionable in other countries and serve to provide employment to friends and family. Consequence: there is "no money" for more Law Courts. Since the judicial system is so slow and unreliable, people avoid all of the legal headaches that come with living on vertical housing.

"housing projects in urban areas (specially around the capital) being built specifically for those of the middle-upper class"

Myth. See: Nejapa, el Jabalí, Colón, Apopa, Soyapango, Carretera de Oro, the interminable "La Cima I, II, II, IV, V... XIX..."

Then come back and tell me how many 10-year old and younger houses you counted there vs. how many you counted for our "enourmous, bulging, over-sized, growing" middle-class. If the difference is not 5 to 1 or more, I'll (virtually) eat this posting.

HODAD26 said...

Soy en acuerdo con Ud,
El-Visitador
ud sabe mucho de la realidad
Paz