Evidence of time-lag in the provision of ecosystem services by tropical regenerating forests to coffee yields

Environmental Research Letters

By Adrian David González-Chaves, Luísa Mafalda Carvalheiro, Pedro Ribeiro Piffer, Francisco d'Albertas, Teresa Cristina Giannini, Blande Felipe Viana, Jean Paul Metzger in articles

January 9, 2023


January 9, 2023


12:00 AM




Restoration of native tropical forests is crucial for protecting biodiversity and ecosystem functions, such as carbon stock capacity. However, little is known about the contribution of early stages of forest regeneration to crop productivity through the enhancement of ecosystem services, such as crop pollination and pest control. Using data from 610 municipalities along the Brazilian Atlantic Forest (30 m spatial resolution), we evaluated if young regenerating forests (YRFs) (less than 20 years old) are positively associated with coffee yield and whether such a relationship depends on the amount of preserved forest in the surroundings of the coffee fields. We found that regenerating forest alone was not associated with variations in coffee yields. However, the presence of YRF (within a 500 m buffer) was positively related to higher coffee yields when the amount of preserved forest in a 2 km buffer is above a 20% threshold cover. These results further reinforce that regional coffee yields are influenced by changes in biodiversity-mediated ecosystem services, which are explained by the amount of mature forest in the surrounding of coffee fields. We argue that while regenerating fragments may contribute to increased connectivity between remnants of forest fragments and crop fields in landscapes with a minimum amount of forest (20%), older preserved forests (more than 20 years) are essential for sustaining pollinator and pest enemy’s populations. These results highlight the potential time lag of at least 20 years of regenerating forests’ in contributing to the provision of ecosystem services that affect coffee yields (e.g. pollination and pest control). We emphasize the need to implement public policies that promote ecosystem restoration and ensure the permanence of these new forests over time.

Posted on:
January 9, 2023
2 minute read, 276 words
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