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GLIN==> Migratory Birds: Raise a Cup of Shade-Grown Coffee and Celebrate the NinthAnnual International Migratory Bird Day




----- Forwarded by Rich Greenwood/R3/FWS/DOI on 04/26/2001 07:58 AM -----

April 25, 2001
Chris Tollefson 202-208-5634

International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) 2001 highlights a fact that's easy
to swallow ? drinking shade-grown coffee helps protect habitat for
migratory birds. Hundreds of IMBD events held on or around the official
date of May 12 will celebrate the annual return of millions of birds from
wintering habitats in Latin America and emphasize that the continued
enjoyment of these birds depends upon our actions as consumers, homeowners,
and citizens.

Though it's not widely known, the way coffee is grown can have a direct
effect on many of the birds we see in our neighborhoods each spring.
Coffee farms or plantations that leave a canopy of shading trees
("shade-grown coffee") benefit migratory birds by providing habitat on
their wintering grounds in  Mexico, Central and South America, and the
Caribbean.  The Wilson's warbler, scarlet tanager, northern oriole, indigo
bunting, and wood thrush are among the dozens of migratory birds that spend
part of their lives in the U.S. and that winter in the coffee-growing
regions of Latin America.

"The concept of shade-grown coffee reinforces the central tenet behind
International Migratory Bird Day ? that each of us can make a difference.
What we pour into our cups every morning has an impact on many of the birds
we see in our backyard, and on hundreds of other species across the
hemisphere," said acting Service Director Marshall Jones. "I invite
everyone who cares about birds to make drinking shade-grown coffee a
priority, and to find out about other simple, inexpensive ways to benefit
birds and their habitat."

Jones noted that homeowners can also make a difference for bird
conservation by reducing and carefully monitoring the pesticides they apply
to lawns and shrubs, by planting trees and bushes that provide habitat and
natural food, by keeping cats indoors whenever possible, and by supporting
community land-use decisions that consider the needs of wildlife.  By
creating or preserving bird-friendly habitat in their backyards and
communities, citizens can make their own environment more livable and
benefit declining bird species.

Shade-grown coffee was chosen as the theme of the ninth annual IMBD event
because of its increasing prominence in conservation, birding, and
speciality coffee circles. On shade coffee farms, coffee is grown under
existing forest cover or under a canopy of trees planted by the farmer. The
canopy provides protection from storms, contributes to soil quality, and
provides habitat for birds. Studies have shown that coffee plantations that
are shaded by multiple tree species harbor a variety of birds second only
to that found in undisturbed forests.

The desire for higher yields led many Latin American producers in the 1970s
to clear forest land and plant dense groves of coffee trees that could grow
in full sunlight and were more disease-resistant. Although "sun coffee"
farms produce high yields, they require more chemical fertilizers,
pesticides, and herbicides.  They are also more vulnerable to drought and
soil erosion, and contribute to toxic runoff and soil acidification.

The loss of the shade canopy also proves devastating for the many species
of migratory birds that require layers of vegetation for shelter and
feeding.  Full-sun coffee plantations host a fraction of the bird species
found on nearby shade farms.

During the past 30 years, populations of dozens of neotropical migratory
birds and other landbirds have declined at rates exceeding 2 percent per
year (resulting in a net decline of 50 percent or more), due to habitat
loss, pesticide use, and other factors. These losses are not restricted to
just one or two groups; warblers, tanagers, sparrows, shorebirds, seabirds,
raptors, and wading birds all have been affected. Though no direct link has
been shown, loss of shade coffee farms may have contributed to decreases in
many of the species that winter in tropical forests.

IMBD is the hallmark event of Partners in Flight, an international
coalition created in 1990 that includes the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
other federal and state wildlife agencies, conservation groups, academic
institutions, corporations, and private citizens dedicated to reversing
these declines in migratory bird populations. In its nine years, IMBD has
grown to become the premier celebration of birds and their habitat in our
hemisphere.

IMBD celebrations will be held at hundreds of locations, including member
facilities of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, Federal public
lands such as National Wildlife Refuges, national parks and forests, city
and state parks, bird sanctuaries, and other nature reserves. Many of these
events can be found in a registry on the International Migratory Bird Day
web site at http://birds.fws.gov/imbd  Additional information on migratory
bird management issues, including shade-grown coffee, can be found via the
Service's home page at http://www.fws.gov.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency
responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and
plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American
people. The Service manages the 94-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge
System which encompasses more than 535 national wildlife refuges, thousands
of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 70
national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological
services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws,
administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations,
restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife
habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their
conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that
distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and
hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

                                  - FWS -

      For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
                 visit our home page at http://www.fws.gov



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