Skip to content


Your cart is empty

Article: Shade Grown Coffee Increases C02 Carbon Sequestration

Shade Grown Coffee Increases C02 Carbon Sequestration

How does shade grown coffee help with C02 carbon removal from the atmosphere?

Shade grown coffee is an  environmentally responsible method of coffee production, and through growing coffee in the shade, can contribute to a far more sustainably produced cup of coffee  that benefits the environment and the coffee drinker..

Since the early 1970s, sun grown coffee has been the most common and conventional method of growing coffee and large sections of forests have been cleared to grow coffee plants. You can find more about Sun Grown Coffee here

Although this sun grown technique maximizes the yield, it comes at a high environmental cost, as fewer trees absorb carbon dioxide and there are many other downsides including soil erosion, soil leaching, and overuse of pesticides and fertilisers. 

On the flip side, shade grown coffee is grown in the shade of trees and, unlike conventional sun grown coffee, shade grown coffee significantly increases CO2 carbon sequestration.

As you probably know, carbon sequestration is the method by which carbon dioxide is removed from plants and stored in oceans, trees and soil.

Coffee farms cultivated in the shade are essential to carbon sequestration because they serve as carbon sinks since the shade tree canopy and organic matter in the soil captures far more carbon and prevents it from going back out into the atmosphere.

Research has demonstrated that coffee farms growing under shade can effectively store large amounts of carbon, which makes them useful partners in the fight against global warming.

In addition, shade-grown coffee is covered by trees that absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during photosynthesis in their biomass.

The dense foliage of shade trees also blocks sunlight and delays the breakdown of organic matter in the soil and lowers the coffee plantation's temperature and increases moisture levels.

Compared to coffee farms grown in the sun, this results in higher carbon levels stored in above-ground biomass and soil organic matter.

What are the benefits of Shade Grown Coffee?

1.    Shade Grown Coffee Reduces Deforestation and Habitat Preservation

Unlike traditional sun-grown coffee farms, which are usually built by clearing large areas of forests, shade-grown farms prioritize the preservation of existing forests.

Shade-grown coffee farms contribute to preserving vital wildlife habitats and preventing deforestation by preserving a varied canopy of native trees and, because they store a lot of carbon in their biomass and soil, intact forests are significant carbon reservoirs.

Shade-grown coffee helps to preserve the balance of ecosystems and indirectly contributes to carbon sequestration by preserving trees.

2.    Shade Grown Coffee Improves Soil Health and Nutrient Cycling

Since the soils of shade-grown coffee farms include organic matter from fallen leaves and other plant detritus, the soils are generally healthier.

In addition to improving soil health, this organic waste is a natural fertilizer that gives coffee plants the necessary nutrients because stable organic carbon molecules are formed and soil aggregation occurs, healthy soils are more equipped to trap carbon.

Shade trees also aid in the cycle of nutrients in the environment by fixing nitrogen from the atmosphere and transferring it to the soil through leaf litter and root exudates.

3.    Shade Grown Coffee Mitigates Agricultural Pollution

Unlike coffee grown in the sun, shade-grown agricultural methods frequently require fewer chemicals, such as fertilisers and insecticides, since they are almost always certified organic as well.

As a result, less greenhouse gas emissions are produced during the production and usage of fertilisers and agrichemicals.  

In  fact, shade-grown coffee plantations preserve water quality and aquatic ecosystems by reducing soil disturbance, preserving vegetative cover and preventing soil erosion and agricultural contaminants from running into neighbouring water bodies.

4.    Shade Grown Coffee Promotes Agroforestry & Sustainable Land Use

Coffee cultivated in the shade is usually planted in agroforestry systems, which inter crop coffee plants with other agricultural crops and shade trees so, because of the intricate ecological networks, agroforestry systems are naturally more adaptable to climate change and enhance biodiversity.

5.    Shade Grown Coffee Increases Biodiversity

Shade-grown coffee plantations are far richer in animal biodiversity including greater variety of insects, birds and small mammals. Indeed, many of the living forms supported by the intricate and interrelated ecosystem created by the various tree canopy and understory plants are vital to the well-being and productivity of the plantation.

For instance, migratory birds are known to find refuge and a consistent food supply on shade-grown coffee farms, which helps them on their arduous treks. By feeding on insect pests and aiding in the distribution of trees and other plant seeds, these birds improve the general well-being of the plantation. A comprehensive study stated that shade-grown coffee areas are healthy and beneficial habitats for birds and butterflies.

By adopting shade-grown coffee and supporting sustainable farming techniques, we can help remove carbon from the atmosphere and maintain a healthy ecosystem that supports life in all its forms and acknowledge its influence on biodiversity, soil health and ecosystem resilience for future generations.

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

All comments are moderated before being published.

Read more

It’s all about the soil… - Bird & Wild Coffee
bird friendly coffee

It’s all about the soil…

Bird & Wild recently donated coffee bags for goodie bags at various Soil Association events including their most recent Premiere of the inspiring documentary called “Six Inches of Soil”,which d...

Read more

Bird & Wild donates coffee to the Soil Association's Summer Gathering

News in brief: Bird & Wild was delighted to be able to donates coffee to the Soil Association's Summer Gathering in Bristol.  All attendees were given a bag of our Fairtrade Organic Bird Friend...

Read more