Not all coffee is created equal
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Shade-grown coffee plantations are ideal for testing ecological questions because they are more uniform than natural forest. In my dissertation I use shade-grown coffee plantations to investigate how resource constancy or the availability of resources, such as fruit and floral products influence ecosystem services. Specifically I focus on the ecosystem services of pollination and seed dispersal, and the providers of these services, bees and birds. I found that monthly fruit energy availability or FEA is strongly, positively correlated with bird species richness in shade-grown coffee plantations. I used a multi-scale occupancy model to understand the relationship of FEA to bird use of shade-grown coffee plantations. The best model included a negative effect of wind on detection and a positive effect of FEA on bird use of shade-grown coffee plantations. Conservation professionals should encourage coffee growers to plant shade trees based on their contribution to yearly or monthly FEA rather than focusing on the number of tree species per hectare only. I experimentally planted the steady-state floral resource, Hamelia patens, in three of six sites. I found that bee species richness was higher in farms with the steady-state resource. Bee visitation to coffee flowers was measured during early and mass flowering periods in both farms with and without the steady state resource. While the steady state resource had a positive effect on bee conservation, the steady state resource had a negative effect on coffee production during the early flowering period. I recommend farmers to cover flowers on the steady state resource while the focal crop is flowering.