Comparison of Shade Cacao and Forest Fragments in Panama

January 1, 2007 by Gregory Gough

Cacao (the source of chocolate) grown under the shade of trees provides excellent bird habitat. Scientists compared bird communities in shade grown cacao plantations with forest fragments in Panama and found them to be fairly similar.

Scientists found 234 different kinds of birds with 102 in both habitats, 86 in cacao only, and 46 in forest only. When looking only at migratory birds, birds that breed in North America and winter in the tropics, 27 kinds were found. Eighteen were in cacao only, 2 only in forest fragments, and 7 in both habitats.

All Birds

Migratory Birds

Shade grown cacao plantations have a rich bird community that is fairly similar to natural forest.

This article summarizes the information in this scientific paper:

Van Bael, Sunshine A., Bichier, Peter, Ochoa, Isis and Greenberg, Russell S. 2007. Bird diversity in cacao farms and forest fragments of western Panamá. Biodiversity and Conservation, 16: 2245-2256.

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