Quick Reference Guide

The SMBC Bird Friendly® Criteria at a Glance
Concept Criterion
Canopy height At least 12 meters for the canopy formed by the backbone species. "Backbone" species (or sometimes genus, as with Inga spp.) dominate the shade component due to a farmer's preference for certain tree species' management characteristics or associated products (such as firewood, building material, cultural uses, etc.).
Foliage cover At least 40%, ideally measured during the dry season and after pruning when deciduous species have dropped their leaves and cultural practices have minimized foliage presence.
Diversity of woody species (trees and shrubs) At least 10 woody species (in addition to the backbone species), with at least 10 of these representing 1% or more of all individuals counted in the inspector's sample, and dispersed throughout the production area.
Total floristic diversity The sum of all species observed in the inspector's sample—both woody and herbaceous species. Other than the criterion for woody species (above), no minimum for total floristic diversity. Herbaceous species noted in sampling—often as ground cover—but not critical in attaining certification.
Structural diversity

The "architecture," or profile, of the shade should reveal obvious layers or strata of foliage-preferably 3. The layers are:

  1. the stratum formed by the "backbone" species and others of similar height;
  2. the "emergent" stratum, normally composed of native forest species of the region;
  3. and a layer beneath that formed by the backbone species made up of shrubs, small trees, and fruit plants like Musa spp. (bananas) and citrus.
The emergent layer and the lower stratum should each account for about 20% of the foliage volume, with the remaining 60% of foliage volume consisting of principal canopy made up of the backbone species and species of similar height.
Leaf litter As in organic standards, it should be present.
Herbs or forbs on ground layer Should be present; no specific amount stipulated.
Living fences Where appropriate, these should be present.
Vegetative buffer zones alongside waterways Should exist and be composed of native vegetation. For creeks and small streams, at least 5-meter swath on each side is required; for rivers, the buffer should be at least 10-meters wide on each side.
Visual characterization ("Gestalt") Four images showing forest tree diversity and density from dense to sparseAlong the shade gradient, it should at least fall into the category of the more diverse commercial polyculture. Top 2 images would be considered "Bird Friendly®".
Organic certification Must exist and be current from a USDA accredited certification agency.