Evaluating the effect of shade trees on provision of ecosystem services in intensively managed coffee plantations

Meylan Louise, Gary Christian, Allinne Clémentine, Ortiz Jorge, Jackson Louise, Rapidel Bruno. 2017. Evaluating the effect of shade trees on provision of ecosystem services in intensively managed coffee plantations. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 245 : pp. 32-42.

Journal article ; Article de recherche ; Article de revue à facteur d'impact
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Quartile : Outlier, Sujet : AGRICULTURE, MULTIDISCIPLINARY / Quartile : Q1, Sujet : ECOLOGY / Quartile : Q1, Sujet : ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES

Abstract : Intensively managed cropping systems with emphasis on productivity of the main crop can benefit from additional ecosystem services brought by integration of trees in the system − but potential drawbacks must also be accounted for. In an on-farm study, we used a variety of plant, soil and water- related variables to assess the effect of Erythrina spp. and Musa spp. on the provision of ecosystem services in productive, high-quality Coffea arabica plantations in Costa Rica. We found 1) no significant effect of shade trees on coffee production overall; 2) evidence that shade trees do affect flowering and subsequent cherry development, with effects strongly dependent on climate and annual variations in coffee plant physiology; 3) Erythrina shade trees significantly increased soil litter and relative infiltration rate of water in the soil, both linked to soil conservation and decrease in erosion; 4) even in highly fertilized environments, Erythrina trees do fix N which was taken up by adjacent coffee plants. The lack of significant negative effect of shade trees on overall coffee yield and the observation of the provision of other useful services was not unexpected, because of 1) the low density of shade trees in the study site (100–350 trees/ha pruned twice a year on average) and 2) the sensitivity of coffee yields to other interacting effects such as climate, pests and diseases and physiological variations in the plant. Pending further long-term research into the factors affecting coffee yield, we find shade trees provide sufficient ecosystem services to justify their integration in even intensively managed plantations. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés Agrovoc : Arbre d'ombrage, Erythrina, Fertilité du sol, Theobroma cacao, Coffea arabica, Fixation de l'azote, services écosystémiques, Litière forestière, Matière organique du sol, adaptation aux changements climatiques, Transport des substances nutritives, Cycle hydrologique, Résistance à la sécheresse, Résistance aux maladies, Floraison

Mots-clés géographiques Agrovoc : Costa Rica

Classification Agris : K10 - Forestry production
F08 - Cropping patterns and systems
P35 - Soil fertility
P33 - Soil chemistry and physics

Champ stratégique Cirad : Axe 1 (2014-2018) - Agriculture écologiquement intensive

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Meylan Louise, CATIE (CRI)
  • Gary Christian, INRA (FRA)
  • Allinne Clémentine, CIRAD-PERSYST-UMR SYSTEM (CRI)
  • Ortiz Jorge, CoopeLlanoBonito (CRI)
  • Jackson Louise, UC (USA)
  • Rapidel Bruno, CIRAD-DG-Direction générale/Service d'appui auprès des unités de recherche et des services (FRA) ORCID: 0000-0003-0288-5650

Source : Cirad-Agritrop (

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