coffee plants growing with trees interspersed and in the distanceWriting for Mongabay, new member Liz Kimbrough (@lizkimbrough_) writes about new research that shows that while shade-grown coffee won’t support all bird life, set-asides of intact, non-agricultural forests by coffee plantations help preserve more species of birds, and likely other life too. The research was conducted in one of the most bird-rich areas of the world, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Columbia, which also happens to be home to many coffee plantations that use a variety of coffee-growing and environmental mitigation measures, making it an ideal natural laboratory. The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center plans to update its criteria for Smithsonian Bird Friendly Coffee based on these findings, so that java enthusiasts can enjoy their morning jolt secure in the knowledge that it’s not having a disproportionate impact on avian biodiversity, and providing more options to growers who want to have flexibility in certification. Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Northeast Region via Wikimedia Commons