Using coffee waste can help with tropical forest recovery

According to a new study, waste produced from coffee production could help with forest recovery.

Researches studied this effect by dumping truckloads-- 30 truckloads to be exact-- of coffee pulp in a controlled amount of land in Costa Rica. The study was conducted by researchers from ETH-Zurich and the University of Hawaii.

“The results were dramatic. The area treated with a thick layer of coffee pulp turned into a small forest in only two years while the control plot remained dominated by non-native pasture grass,” lead author Dr. Rebecca Cole stated, according to British Ecological Society.

After the two years and with the help of the pulp, around 80 percent of the canopy was covered. The control area had less than 25 percent. Also, the “pulp canopy” was much taller than the controlled area.

Another amazing finding came in the way of nutrients. Nitrogen, phosphorous, and carbon were all higher when compared to the control.

According to Dr. Cole, “This case study suggests that agricultural by-products can be used to speed up forest recovery on degraded tropical lands. In situations where processing these by-products incurs a cost of agricultural industries, using them for restoration to meet global reforestation objectives can represent a ‘win-win’ scenario.”

However, Dr. Cole does state that further research is needed, specifically with different conditions from Costa Rica.

Story via British Ecological Society