A promising study claims that using coffee waste on degraded land increases the speed of its recovery, and also the quality of the soil.
An interesting study goes on to say that spreading coffee pulp on degraded lands helps them recover quickly, which could accelerate forest restoration in many parts of the world.
Coffee pulp is a waste product of coffee production and it looks like it could find a new use if this recent study published in Ecological Solutions and Evidence is put into practice and ends up working. To prove it, the researchers dumped 30 truckloads of coffee pulp on a degraded plot of land in Costa Rica, and they saw a small forest grow at remarkable speed in just two years, the British Ecological Society has reported.
“The results were spectacular. The area treated with a thick layer of coffee pulp became a small forest in just two years, while the control plot remained dominated by native grasses “, says the doctor. Rebecca cole, lead author of the study.
With this, researchers from ETH-Zurich and the University of Hawaii managed to discover that the plot treated with this coffee pulp grew over 80% of the canopy cover, compared to the control plot that only grew by 20%.
Not long ago they tested the exact same thing but with orange remains that were thrown into a degraded pasture, and while it showed a significant improvement in soil health, the study did not go ahead. For the experiment that concerns us, they decided to use agricultural by-products readily available in the tropics such as these coffee wastes by conducting this trial on lands in Costa Rica that had previously suffered severe deforestation.
But in addition to the faster growth using this coffee pulp, tThey also discovered higher levels of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus, thus increasing the quality of the soil..
Today, two-thirds of the world’s rainforests are degraded by human activity where logging and land conversion have wiped out nearly 34% of the world’s original rainforests, according to the Rainforest Foundation Norway.
As tropical lands become increasingly degraded, they will become more vulnerable to climate change, making it difficult for forests to recover, he adds. Anders krogh, a tropical forest researcher, told Reuters.
Climate change will hit some areas of the planet more violently than others, especially developing countries and the poorest areas.
Despite these findings, the team in charge at the moment does not advise dumping tons of coffee pulp over vast areas of degraded land. They add that more research is still needed to test this impact of coffee grounds and other agricultural by-products in different landscapes.
“We hope that our study will be a starting point for other researchers and industries to see how they can make their production more efficient by creating links with the global restoration movement,” said Cole.
According to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, one of the objectives set by the main signatory governments is to help restore large areas of forest, which will serve to fight against climate change.