People aren't the only ones stimulated by coffee.
A new study finds coffee pulp, a byproduct of coffee production, can be used to accelerate tropical forest growth on post-agricultural land.
Researchers from the University of Hawaii spread a 0.5-meter layer of coffee pulp on a 35 x 40-meter area on post‐agricultural land in southern Costa Rica, with an adjacent similar-sized control plot as a control. In just two years, from 2018-2020, the land layered with coffee pulp had more than 80 percent canopy with trees over 4 meters tall, compared to 20 percent in a nearby control area, and much smaller tree growth.
The findings, "Coffee pulp accelerates early tropical forest succession on old fields," were published March 28 in the British Ecological Society's journal, Ecological Solutions and Evidence, by Dr. Rebecca Cole and Rakan A. Zahawi, authors of the research.
In addition to the increase in the forest canopy, researchers also found nutrient levels, including carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorous, iron and magnesium
were significantly elevated in the coffee pulp area compared to the control. Grass cover also was nearly eliminated in the coffee pulp treatment, whereas more than 80 remained in the control treatment.
"While using a nutrient‐rich waste product like coffee pulp in the restoration of tropical forests is an attractive prospect, much work remains to be done to assess its viability," the researchers noted. Notwithstanding, the single‐site case study provides encouraging news for forest recovery efforts.
Research funding was provided by the March Conservation Fund. More information on the study can be found on the British Ecological Society's journal website.
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