Agrobiodiversity conservation and shade coffee smallholder livelihoods in Central America

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Taylor & Francis (Routledge)


We used households as the primary unit of analysis to synthesize agrobiodiversity research in small-scale coffee farms and cooperatives of Nicaragua and El Salvador. Surveys, focus groups, and plant inventories were used to analyze agrobiodiversity and its contribution to livelihoods. Households managed high levels of agrobiodiversity, including 100 shade tree and epiphyte species, food crops, and medicinals. Small farms contained higher levels of agrobiodiversity than larger, collectively managed cooperatives. Households benefited from agrobiodiversity through consumption and sales. To better support agrobiodiversity conservation, our analysis calls for a hybrid approach integrating bottom-up initiatives with the resources from top-down projects.