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What do rain forests have to do with coffee?
Gourmet coffee beans are produced at a high elevation in Asia, Latin America and Africa, which are also forestlands that are home to many species of wildlife that can be found no where else.
Since coffee started to become more popular after the 1970s, coffee growers have removed many shade trees and replaced them with high-yield full-sun varieties of coffee plant.
Full sun has lead to soil erosion, which requires fertilization and pesticides. It has also removed the natural habitat for wildlife that lived in the forests. Scientists say this is harming songbirds. It has also altered the migratory pattern of birds that travel through this region.
At least half the coffee in Latin America has been converted to full sun and this land is of no value to birds and other wildlife.
Organizations such as the Rainforest Alliance are working toward helping farmers stay in the shade coffee business through reforestation and getting the word out so that companies and consumers make decisions with the environment and sustainable development in mind. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is a partner company to the Rainforest Alliance. To purchase coffees that keep coffee farmers and their communities in mind, look for Green Mountain Fair Trade coffee and Organic coffee in whole beans, grinds and single cup K-Cups.