The Birds and the Bees
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Birds and bees play a major role in the makings of a great cup of coffee, Daily Mail reported.
Researchers wrote in a new study that the coffee beans are bigger and the plants produce more when birds and bees cooperate to pollinate and protect the crops.
“Nature is an interacting system, full of important synergies and trade-offs,” said lead author Alejandra Martinez-Salinas. “We show the ecological and economic importance of these interactions, in one of the first experiments at realistic scales in actual farms.”
In a series of experiments, researchers used 30 real-world coffee farms to observe how this synergy between the two species contributed to better crops.
They analyzed how the fruit’s weight and uniformity were affected in four different scenarios: In two scenarios, birds and bees operated separately on the farms – meaning they didn’t work with each other. In another, the birds and bees worked together.
But the team also tested a scenario where there was no bird and bee activity.
The findings showed that the beans were larger and more prolific when the two species worked together. However, when they were absent, the average yield declined nearly 25 percent – a loss of about $432 per acre.
Co-author Natalia Aristizabal said the study shows the integral ecological role the two species play in nature and how crucial they are to our livelihood.
“Birds, bees, and millions of other species support our lives and livelihoods but face threats like habitat destruction and climate change,” she said.
The researchers now intend to investigate how shifting farm landscapes affect the birds’ and bees’ abilities to help out on getting us that cup of joe.