Coffee and Conservation: The Ecology and Marketing of Bird Friendly Coffee




Rathmell, Laura

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Coffee is one of most valuable traded commodities in the world and a major source of foreign exchange earnings in many developed countries. Over the past 30 years, shade-grown coffee cultivation has become widely recognized as an important reservoir for biodiversity. Land use changes and rapid population growth are causing a global extinction crisis. Due to loss of habitat, one in eight bird species worldwide faces the threat of extinction, with the vast majority of threatened species inhabiting tropical forests. New consumption patterns have emerged with the growing importance of organic, Fair Trade, and shade-grown coffee. Shaded coffee plantations, specifically Bird Friendly certified ones, provide a refuge for biodiversity, particularly for migratory birds. They also offer numerous ecological and economic benefits. With an increasing awareness of the gravity of environmental and social problems, consumers are demanding more transparency and eco-friendly products, such as certified coffee. However, in a highly competitive coffee market where specialty coffee consists of only 8% of the total global coffee market, Bird Friendly coffee struggles to gain a substantial foothold in the coffee market. This paper seeks to answer the questions: What are the ecological and socioeconomic benefits to cultivating Bird Friendly coffee? Do Bird Friendly coffee farms actually help migratory birds and farmers? How is Bird Friendly coffee marketed? How should Bird Friendly coffee be marketed in order to increase awareness and demand?

First, I will examine and assess the ecological benefits and challenges of shade-grown coffee, with a focus on Bird Friendly coffee. Second, I will analyze whether Bird Friendly farms hurt or help farmers and recommend solutions for sustainable livelihoods. Lastly, I will provide suggestions on how to effectively market Bird Friendly coffee.


LCSH Subject Headings