Researchers from the University of the Andes in Colombia used spot satellite imagery to map forest cover within the coffee production landscape. They compared Rainforest Alliance Certified and noncertified coffee farms, and analyzed forest-cover fragmentation. Since most farms in the region grow coffee under shade, forest cover was found to play an important role in the degree of connectivity in the landscape. (The study is only available in Spanish.)
German immigrants, the Keller family established their coffee farm in 1899. Just short of a century later, in 1997, it was the second coffee estate to become Rainforest Alliance Certified for complying with the comprehensive environmental and social standards established by the Sustainable Agriculture Network -- a coalition of conservation groups coordinated by the Rainforest Alliance. Today, Finca Santa Isabel is a model of sustainability.
More than twenty years ago Dieter Nottebohm and his wife Holly bought a verdant coffee farm nestled between two of Guatemala's tallest volcanoes. When word of the Rainforest Alliance's work with coffee farmers spread to the Nottebohms they were intrigued. Still, they knew that it would require a substantial commitment on their part -- one that they knew would be difficult to afford with coffee prices at such dismally low levels.