Unfortunately there is a great environmental impact from traditional coffee growth around the world. The plants on which coffee beans grow, naturally flourish in shaded areas. However, as a crop grown in thick forest is harder to tend and harvest, most coffee beans now grown on hybrid plants that have developed to flourish in open sunlight.
As a result, large areas of forests have been cleared to make room for open fields in which mass amounts of sun loving coffee is grown. This has left natural pest deterrents, like birds and lizards without a habitat. This in turn leads to an increase in insects that ruin coffee plants. And what is the easy option to tackle this problem? The use of more pesticides. And without the natural fertiliser of these ecosystems (bird droppings, leaf litter, and natural decay) the use of chemical fertiliser increases.
When it rains, the lack of tree cover means there is increased water runoff. Soil washes away, and with it go natural nutrients, eventually eroding and degrading the soil so much that growth is almost impossible. The rainwater carries away not just the soil, but all of the chemicals it has been treated with, and both end up in local water supplies.
Most organic coffee is grown the natural way – within the shade of lush forests, providing a home for wild plants and animals, sustaining soil fertility, and keeping unique regional ecosystems alive. These forested farms also more resilient and better equipped to handle unusual weather patterns that are a result of climate change, making them a safer investment for farmers and their futures.