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Pest reduction services by birds in shade and sun coffee in Jamaica


Matthew D. Johnson, Department of Wildlife, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA 95521, USA. Tel: +1 707 826 3218; Fax: +1 707 826 4060


The reduction of insect pests by birds in agriculture may provide an incentive for farming practices that enhance the conservation value of farms for birds and other wildlife. We investigated pest reduction services by insectivorous birds on a coffee farm in Jamaica, West Indies. Our results suggest that birds reduced insect pests on our study site. Infestation by the coffee berry borer Hypothenemus hampei, the world's most damaging insect pest in coffee, was significantly elevated on coffee shrubs from which birds were experimentally excluded from foraging. Overall, we estimated the economic value of the reduction of coffee berry borer by birds on the 18 ha farm to be US$310 ha−1 for the 2006 harvest season. These results provide additional evidence that birds can reduce numbers of economically damaging pests and enhance crop yields in coffee farms. Differences in the magnitude of pest reduction within the farm may have resulted from variation in shade management and surrounding habitats, and these factors merit further investigation.