Nineteenth century Puerto Rico was one of the leading coffee origins. In the central region of the island, coffee production is still the main economic driver, employing over 20,000 workers. Coffee can be grown under varying levels of shade, from the traditional cultivation under a native tree canopy, to no shade at all. In the 1980s, the number of farms cultivating coffee under full sun outstripped those growing coffee under shade, resulting in the loss of habitat for a number of wildlife species. Since the early 2000s, shade-grown coffee production on the island has experienced a resurgence in growth, but how has this affected wildlife, pollinators and coffee yield?
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, this Science Cafe will explore the world of coffee production in Puerto Rico.
About our speaker
Sara Prado is a Peruvian-Iranian born in Montreal, Canada. She is a PhD Candidate in the department of Applied Ecology at NC State University, where she received her Master’s degree in entomology. Since 2012, she has worked in Puerto Rico, and is studying the effects of agricultural management practices on coffee production.
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This program is part of the speaker series for our featured exhibition, “RACE: Are We So Different?,” April 22–October 22, 2017.