Washington, Oct 2 : Researchers from University of Michigan suggest that shade trees can protect coffee crops from ravages of climate change.
With the increase in coffee production in recent decades the crop has become more vulnerable to higher temperatures and changes in precipitation.
However, the new study led by Brenda B. Lin, Ivette Perfecto has revealed that shade trees could improve coffee crop's resistance to temperature and precipitation extremes triggered by climate changes.
The researchers also claimed that this procedure could be applicable to other economically important crops, including cocoa and tea.
In an effort to boost production, growers have increased their use of pesticides and relied less on shade trees, but the evidence suggests that these trends make the crop more susceptible to weather events. The benefits of shade trees appear greater in more marginal growing areas.
Lin and her colleagues urge further efforts to determine where a return to more traditional agroforestry techniques is likely to protect the livelihoods of farmers threatened by climate change.
The article is published in the October issue of BioScience.