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1 May 2000 Cacao Cultivation and the Conservation of Biological Diversity
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Abstract
Cacao (Theobroma cacao) is a crop of the humid lowland tropics produced largely by small-scale producers and often on farms with a canopy of shade trees. Where a diverse shaded canopy is used, cacao farms support higher levels of biological diversity than most other tropical crops. A host of viral and fungal diseases, loss of soil fertility, and numerous socioeconomic problems facing producers, often makes cacao production locally unsustainable. Continued clearing of new lands threatens biodiversity. Moreover, new frontiers for cacao expansion are rapidly disappearing. Such problems can be addressed by increasing the long-term productivity of existing cacao farms and restoring abandoned lands. Improved shade management offers guidance along this path. Institutions involved with cocoa should establish collaborations with groups concerned with development, environmental protection, and most importantly producers themselves to pursue a program of research, extension and policy initiatives focused on the ecologically and economically sustainable cacao production on farms with a diverse shade canopy.
Robert A. Rice and Russell Greenberg "Cacao Cultivation and the Conservation of Biological Diversity," AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment 29(3), (1 May 2000). https://doi.org/10.1579/0044-7447-29.3.167
Received: 25 May 1999; Accepted: 1 January 2000; Published: 1 May 2000
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