Picture/Poem Icon July 2002:              
suggested link

The Songbird

A website devoted to Songbirds
and the protection of their habitats
by helping people make sustainable
choices to preserve them

"One of the greatest threats to migratory
songbirds is the surge in aggressive
sun-grown coffee."

The North American Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina) has much to teach us. I go
almost every evening to a relatively large tract of undisturbed, continuous forest just so I
can hear them sing. On occasion, while working in nearby wetland habitats making photo-
graphs, I'll hear the miracle of two male Wood Thrushes singing back and forth in a kind
of avian duet. What is less obvious is that these wonderful musicians of the natural world
are also such strong long-distance athletes. Here, in Northwest Ohio, they find part
of their summer breeding ground. But come fall, they begin the trip south to Mexico
and Central America for the winter months, traveling an average distance of 2,200

If we were to pause a moment and listen to the Wood Thrushes, one of the stories they
might tell us is about the loss of living space or habitat because of changes in the pro-
duction of coffee. In a single phrase: traditional varieties of shade-grown coffee plants
are being replaced by sun-tolerant varieties on treeless farms.

In order to reverse this tendency, a number of environmental organizations—including
Conservation International, the Rainforest Alliance, the Smithsonian Migratory Bird
Center, the Songbird Foundation, Seattle Audubon and the National Wildlife Federation—
have published together a new set of guidelines entitled "Conservation Principles
for Coffee Production

The Conservation Principles outlines seven primary goals in sustainable coffee

(1) ecosystem and wildlife conservation
(2) soil conservation
(3) water conservation and protection
(4) energy conservation
(5) waste management
(6) pest and disease management
(7) sustainable livelihoods for farmers.

For those interested in this theme of songbirds, their habitat and sustainable
coffee production, I've brought together the small collection of links below:

Songbird Foundation

"The Songbird Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that
educates and motivates people to make sustainable choices to preserve
migratory songbirds. One of the greatest threats to migratory songbirds
is the surge in aggressive sun-grown coffee. In Latin America, coffee
has traditionally been grown under the canopy of the rain forest, and a
majority of the remaining regional rain forest is on coffee farms. Our
current campaign goals are focused on raising awareness among coffee
consumers, retailers, growers and distributors of the effect of sun-grown
coffee on the songbirds and the rain forest on which they depend for
essential habitat."

Don't miss these interesting pages within their site: Songbird Migration
and a special section devoted to the Wood Thrush (mentioned above,
with RealAudio recording).

The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center

"The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center is dedicated to fostering greater
understanding, appreciation, and protection of the grand phenomenon of
bird migration.

This website includes a special section on Songbirds and
Coffee Production

'Coffee: a daily habit that connects us with millions of farmers in exotic,
far-flung places. It comes from a shrub, Coffea arabica, native to the forest
understory of east Africa, and related to Gardenia bushes that many of know
from home gardening. Coffee ranks as one of the world's most heavily traded
commodities, and, whether guzzled straight, with milk and/or sugar, as expresso,
capuccino or latte, we do love our coffee.

[Don't miss the nice slide show.]

Picture/Poem Link Archive 2001/2002
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