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The economic potential of fruit trees as shade in blue mountain coffee agroecosystems of the Yallahs River watershed, Jamaica W.I.

Davis, Herlitz, Rice, Robert, Rockwood, Larry, Wood, Thomas, Marra, Peter
Agroforestry systems 2019 v.93 no.2 pp. 581-589
Blighia sapida, Citrus, Mangifera indica, Musa, Persea americana, Syzygium samarangense, agricultural land, agroecosystems, agroforestry, altitude, ecosystem services, farm income, farmers, farms, fruit trees, fruits, grapefruits, habitats, livelihood, market access, marketing, rivers, roads, watersheds, Jamaica
Studies in coffee agroecosystems often focus on the conservation and environmental benefits of this managed novel habitat, but rarely examine the socioeconomic benefit of the shade tree products themselves to coffee farmers. An examination of Blue Mountain coffee farmers along an elevation gradient within the Yallahs River watershed saw several tree species emerge as important within the agroecosystems, accounting for approximately 10% of gross farm incomes. Of the 24 tropical, subtropical or temperate fruit trees reported by farmers, eight species (Mangifera indica, Blighia sapida, two Musa sp.—bananas and plantains, Syzygium samarangense, Persea Americana, and two Citrus sp.—oranges and grapefruits), contributing US$100 or greater, accounted for more than 90% of reported fruit incomes. Our results reveal that farmers, on average, could make an additional US$443.23 and US$1485.28 per ha. per year from fruit trees used as shade on high and low elevation coffee farms, respectively. With better marketing of fruit tree products and improved conditions of existing road networks to provide access to markets, shade coffee farms could significantly improve coffee farmer livelihoods and forest-like cover within the severely degraded agricultural areas within the Yallahs River watershed.