Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Environmental Program

First Advisor

Kit Anderson, Ph.D

Second Advisor

Ernesto Mendez, Ph.D

Third Advisor

Keith Morris, Ph.D

Keywords

Coffee, Permaculture, Hemileia vastatrix, Ecologically-Regenerative, Shade-Grown, Coffee Management System, Climate Change Adaptation

Abstract

Coffee is an important crop to both producers and consumers. Unfortunately, the current epidemic of the Hemileia vastatrix or Coffee Leaf Rust, has been devastating coffee farms throughout Latin America. A highly argued explanation for the recent outbreak of the disease has been placed on the transition of coffee farms from traditional shaded systems to sun-grown monocultures, allowing for faster and easier spread of the disease. Climate change also encourages increased incidence of pests and diseases while stressing the growing conditions for coffee. Farmers, for a myriad of economic and ecological reasons, have practiced alternative methods for coffee management systems such as, shade grown, organic, bird-friendly, and fair trade management. Permaculture is another alternative practice that promotes holistic agricultural systems that are ecologically regenerative, economically viable, and socially just. This thesis project uses permaculture theory and practice to redesign a coffee management system for a 1.5ha plot located in Palmira, Boquete, Panama. The goals of the final design are to mitigate and contain the effects of coffee leaf rust. Strategies incorporated in the design include, an increase of shade trees and vegetative windbreaks; intercropping systems; vermicompost; the addition of a hostel; water and soil management technologies and understanding; and the use of farmer input.

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