On March 21, we celebrate the International Day of Forests, of course, pondering on the contribution of our farmers to afforestation and keeping our planet’s lungs functioning.
The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 March the International Day of Forests in 2012 to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests. Countries are encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns not only on this date but especially on it.
We can’t afford to lose world forests
When we drink a glass of water, write in a notebook, take medicine for a fever or build a house, we do not always make the connection with forests. And yet, these and many other aspects of our lives are linked to forests in one way or another. Forest sustainable management and their use of resources are key to combating climate change, and to contributing to the prosperity and well-being of current and future generations.
Forests also play a crucial role in poverty alleviation and in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Yet despite all of these priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits, global deforestation continues at an alarming rate.
The theme of the International Day of Forests for 2021 is “Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being.” The restoration and sustainable management of forests help address the climate-change and biodiversity crises. It also produces goods and services for sustainable development, fostering an economic activity that creates jobs and improves lives.
This year’s theme fits into the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030), a call for the protection and revival of ecosystems around the world.
How does specialty coffee help forest restoration?
As we have already shared with you, the specialty coffee world is a small micro cosmos which is a model of perfect farming. We believe it is perfect not because there are no problems in it or because there is no need for steps towards improvement but because specialty coffee farmers implement various sustainable practices to produce coffee. Or, all of their decisions and actions are beneficial for nature and society, e.g. their local community.
And as you already know, the largest part of specialty coffee is shade-grown or coffee plants grow in the shade of other plants and trees. This achieves two goals. First, the local natural habitat is preserved. Second, farmers can depend on more than one source of income for themselves and for their workers.
Environmentally responsible coffee farmers and certificates
Perhaps some of you remember our article on the two important certificates that encourage respon s ible farming, UTZ andRainforest Alliance. Now, our partner farms, which officially maintain such certificates, such as Brazil Alianca, are joined by Fazenda Recreio. Yes, it is this Brazilian farm that brought us our newest great South American coffee and about which we have already told you! You have already tasted this coffee and read all about Fazenda Recreio, haven’t you?
However, to be a responsible farmer, one doesn’t necessarily need a certificate
All our partner farms have placed the preservation of the environment among their main goals. In Finca La Aurora which gave us our latest Best of Panama finalist, Panama Ironman Geisha IV #11 2020, for example, every year they replant native species of the high land tropical forest. And not only that! They also actively back efforts to protect wild life and forest in the neighboring national park.
How about your favorite Ethiopian coffees?
More than 50% of the Ethiopian coffee is garden coffee. About 25% is semi-forest. Between 15 and 20% is wild coffee. The remaining 10% come from farms with their own plantations. What this statistics concludes, is that the largest quantity of Ethiopian coffee is grown in completely natural conditions, in harmony with nature and is mainly shade-grown. Farmers who manage to grow specialty coffee, sell it to processing stations in their respective regions. But most of those producers can grow only very limited quantity and cannot afford any certificates. Moreover, from the processing stations, their coffee goes to the tiny number of coffee farms.