Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 69, Issue 3, pp 175–182 | Cite as

Abandonement of coffee agroforests increases insect abundance and diversity

  • Anne Richter
  • Alexandra-Maria Klein
  • Teja Tscharntke
  • Jason M. Tylianakis
Original Paper


Shade coffee including many tree species is known to support generally high biodiversity. Due to low coffee prices on the world market, many farmers have abandoned their farms, thereby creating a new ecosystem type, which has attracted increasing interest for biodiversity conservation. Here we used pyrethrum knockdown samples to compare the arthropod community on coffee plants of six traditionally managed coffee agroforests with those of six abandoned coffee agroforests in coastal Ecuador. We investigated eight randomly selected coffee shrubs per site, six of them inside and two at the edge. All arthropods were identified to orders and beetles to morphospecies. We additionally sampled the vegetation to test for vegetation-mediated effects on the arthropod community. The number of arthropod individuals was higher in abandoned than managed coffee, driven by the abundance of Arachnida, Blattaria, and Heteroptera, and higher in the edge than in the centre of the abandoned agroforests. Higher arthropod abundance appeared to be closely related to arthropod diversity, as shown for beetles (r = 0.79, n = 96). Contrary to expectations, predator-prey ratios in managed agroforests was as high as in the abandoned ones. In conclusion, abandonment of coffee agroforests greatly encourages arthropod communities, in particular in the habitat edges, and therefore, should be considered in landscape management for conservation.


Coffea arabica Ecuador Edge effect Insects Predator-prey ratios Beetles Coleoptera 


  1. Adis JW, Paarmann W, da Fonseca CRV, Rafael JA (1997) Knockdown efficiency of natural pyrethrum and survival rate of living arthropods obtained by canopy fogging in Central Amazonia. In: Stork NE, Didham RK, Adis JW (eds.) Canopy arthropods. Chapmann and Hall, London, UK, pp67–83Google Scholar
  2. Armbrecht I, Perfecto I (2003) Litter-twig dwelling ant species richness and predation potential within forest fragments and neighboring coffee plantations of contrasting habitat quality in Mexico. Agric Ecosyst Environ 97:107–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Harmon JP, Hladilek EE, Hinton JL, Stodola TJ, Andow DA (2003) Herbivore response to vegetational diversity: spatial interaction of resources and natural enemies. Popul Ecol 45:75–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Johnson MD (2000) Effects of shade tree Species and crop structure on the winter arthropod and bird communities in a Jamaican shade coffee plantation. Biotropica 32(1):133–145Google Scholar
  5. Juliao GR, Amaral MEC, Fernandes GW, Oliveira EG (2004) Edge effect and species-area relationships in the gall-forming insect fauna of natural forest patches in the Brazilian Pantanal. Biodivers Conserv 13:2055–2066CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Klein A-M, Steffan- Dewenter I, Tscharntke T (2002) Predator-Prey ratios on cacoa along a landuse-gradient in Indonesia. Biodivers Convers 11:683–693CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Klein A-M, Steffan-Dewenter I, Tscharntke T (2006) Rainforest promotes trophic interactions and diversity of trap-nesting Hymenoptera in adjacent agroforestry. J Anim Ecol (in press)Google Scholar
  8. Korneffel P, Tenbrock C, Uchatius W (2002) Kaffee ist ihr Schicksal. Die Zeit 49:19–20Google Scholar
  9. Landis DA, Wratten SD, Gurr GM, (2000) Habitat management to conserve natural enemies of arthropod pests in agriculture. Ann Rev Entomol 45:175–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Lawrence JF, Hastings AM, Dallwitz MJ, Paine TA, Zurcher EJ (1999) Software Beetles of the world: a key and information system for families and subfamilies. CD-ROM, Version 1.0 for MS-Windows. CSIRO Publishing, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  11. Lozada T, de Koning GHJ, Marché R, Klein A-M, Tscharntke T Importance of secondary forests and agroforestry systems for tree diversity and recovery in a fragmented tropical landscape (in review) Google Scholar
  12. Milton SJ (2003) Emerging ecosystems- a washing-stone for ecologists, economics and sociologists?. S Afr J Sci 99:404–406Google Scholar
  13. Moguel P, Toledo VM (1999) Biodiversity conservation in traditional coffee systems of Mexico. Conserv Biol 13:11–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Myers N, Mittermeier RA, Mittermeier CG, da Fonseca GAB, Kent J (2000) Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Nature 403:853–858PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Perfecto I (1995) Biodiversity and the transformation of a tropical agroecosystem: ants in coffe plantations. Ecol Appl 5:1084–1097CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Perfecto I (1996) Shade coffee: a disappearing refuge for biodiversity. Bioscience 48(8):598–608CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Perfecto I, Mas A, Dietsch T, Vandermeer J (2003) Conservation of biodiversity in coffee agroecosystems: a tri-taxa comparison in southern Mexico. Biodivers Conserv 12:1239–1252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Philpott SM, Greenberg R, Bichier P, Perfecto I (2004) Impacts of major predators on tropical agroforest arthropods: comparison within and across taxa. Oecologia 140:140–149PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ricketts TH (2001) The matrix matters: effective isolation in fragmented landscapes. Am Nat 158:87–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ricketts TH (2004) Tropical forest fragments enhance pollinator activity in nearby coffee crops. Conserv Biol 18:1262–1271CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ries L, Fletcher RJ, Battin J, Sisk TD (2004) Ecological responses to habitat edges: mechanisms, models, and variability explained. Ann Rev Ecol Evol Syst 35:491–522CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Root RB (1973) Organization of a plant-arthropod association in simple and diverse habitats–fauna of collards (Brassica-Oleracea). Ecol Monogr 43:95–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Schulze CH, Waltert M, Kessler PJA, Pitopang R, Shahabuddin, Veddeler D, Mühlenberg M, Gradstein R, Leuschner C, Steffan-Dewenter I, Tscharntke T (2004) Biodiversity indicator groups of tropical land-use systems: camparing plants, birds, and insects. Ecol Appl 14:1321–1333Google Scholar
  24. Shahabuddin, Schulze CH, Tscharntke T (2005) Changes of dung beetle communities from rainforest towards agroforestry systems and annual cultures in Sulawesi (Indonesia). Biodivers Conserv 14:863–877CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Tovar-Sànchez E, Cano-Santana Z, Oyama K, (2003) Canopy arthropod communities on Mexican oaks at sites with different disturbance regimes. Biol Convers 115:79–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Tscharntke T, Steffan-Dewenter I, Kruess A, Thies C (2002) Characteristics of insect populations on habitat fragments: A mini Review. Ecol Res 17:229–239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Tylianakis JM, Didham R, Wratten SD (2004) Improved fitness of aphid parasitoids receiving resource subsidies. Ecology 85:658–666Google Scholar
  28. Tylianakis JM, Klein AM, Tscharntke T (2005) Spatiotemporal variation in the effects of a tropical habitat gradient on Hymenoptera diversity. Ecology 86:3296–3302Google Scholar
  29. Wagner T (1996) Zusammensetzung der baumbewohnenden Arthropodenfauna in Wäldern Zentralafrikas; mit Anmerkungen zur Nebelmethode und zum Morphotypen-Verfahren. Mitteilungen interantionaler entomologischer Verein 21(1):25–42Google Scholar
  30. Weibull AC, Östmann Ö (2003) Species composition in agroecosystems: the effect of landscape, habitat, and farm management. Basic Appl Ecol 4:349–361CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne Richter
    • 1
  • Alexandra-Maria Klein
    • 1
  • Teja Tscharntke
    • 1
  • Jason M. Tylianakis
    • 1
  1. 1.AgroecologyUniversity of GöttingenGöttingenGermany

Personalised recommendations