Organic coffee production supports important insect biodiversity

Photo Credit: Rodrigo Flores

It is well known that organic farming practices increase important and beneficial biodiversity. A recent study published in the journal Biota Neotropica confirms this for a tropical cropping system: coffee. Both above and below ground insect populations were compared in conventional versus organic farms in Brazil, the second-largest coffee producing country in the world. The study showed that the diversity of soil insects, earthworms and above ground insects was significantly greater in organic coffee farms. In general, more diversity means that more functional roles are fulfilled, and a more functional farming system is achieved. Indeed, soil health indicators showed the chemical and biological soil properties were better in the organic study farms. Overall, this study adds to the growing body of literature that organic farming, even in tropical systems, increases important biodiversity.