YOUR COFFEE, BEES, AND A TROPICAL RAIN FOREST

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Most of the food you eat and the drink you consume are dependent upon the valuable natural service offered by honey bees.  These little understood flying nectar lovers carry the pollen from one flower to the next so fruit are able to develop.  A seed is formed to support the survival of the next and future generations of plants.  You benefit by having a large selection of food and beverages to support your needs; like coffee.

 

The coffee bean is one of these very valuable economic products that is created through its mutually-beneficial relationship with a bee.  The bee benefits from the sweet nectar as a food source and the bean flowers thrive when pollen is transferred between flowers.

 

There is a third-party member involved in this intimate relationship.  A neighboring tropical rain forest offered its gifts to improve the results of the bee and flower fertilization dance in nature.  The Science magazine revealed a Costa Rican farmer’s success that was supported by the work of a World Wildlife Fund team of scientists.  This crew decided to look deep into the secrets of these special relationships.

 

In 2002, Taylor Ricketts team observed 111 bee species that were extremely fond of coffee flowers.  They took the study one step further by noticing the influence of the tropical rain forest that grew along the side of the farm.  They found some incredible results when they combined their findings with information on market prices of the time.

 

The value of the bee/coffee/rain forest community relationships provided this one plantation with an increase in financial revenue of $62,000 annually.  The coffee plants that grew near to the forests had 20% greater yields and 27% fewer deformed plants.

 

The diversity rich rain forest offered its gifts by providing different unique habitats for the diverse bee species to call home.  Each specie of bee had their own temperature, moisture, and predator relationships that impacted their survival and optimum performance.  Constant changes in environment conditions impacted changes in annual bee survival found within a bee specie.  Due to the many different bee habitats, bees had many different places to live.  There was a constant supply of bee services that were insured by the presence of the rain forest that catered to the diverse bee species.

 

As you enjoy your next cup of coffee, know that your brew is the result of many natural products and services offered through wildlife relationships.

 

Dr. Elizabeth Armstrong, the ‘Green Genie’, is a Speaker, Author, Blogger and Coach.  You may contact her at drlizarmstrong(at)gmail.com to schedule a chat.  Learn how you can tap into your share of $72 trillion annually of Nature’s Products and Services.

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