New Model of Climate Change Effects on Coffee Availability and Bee Pollinators

Overcoming Doomsday Scenarios Depends on Biological Intelligence

From STRI

Areas in Latin America suitable for growing coffee face predicted declines of 73-88 percent by 2050. However, diversity in bee species may save the day, even if many species in cool highland regions are lost as the climate warms. The research, co-authored by David Roubik, senior scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, will be published in early online Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences edition between Sept. 11-15.Scientists David Roubik

“For my money, we do a far superior job of predicting the future when we consider both plants and animals (or in this case the bees) and their biology,” Roubik said. “Traditional models don’t build in the ability of organisms to change. They’re based on the world as we know it now, not on the way it could be as people and other organisms adapt.”

A research team modeled impacts for Latin America, the largest coffee-growing region under several global-warming scenarios—considering both the plants and the bees. The team consisted of bee experts from the Smithsonian in Panama; the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Vietnam; the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center in Costa Rica; Conservation International and the University of Vermont in the U.S.; CIRAD in France; and CIFOR in Peru.

Despite predicted declines in total bee species, in all scenarios at least five bee species were left in future coffee-suitable areas; in about half of the areas, 10 bee species were left.Mountain in Panama

For land no longer suitable for coffee production, the team recommended management strategies to help farmers switch to other crops or production systems. In areas where bee diversity is expected to decrease, but coffee can still be grown, adaptation strategies may include increasing bee habitat and maintaining native bees. Many coffee types prefer to grow in the shade of tall trees. Choosing tree species that favor bees are a win-win strategy, according to the authors.

Roubik’s favorite example of a potentially huge environmental change that did not play out as predicted is the case of Africanized honey bees, which were accidentally released in Brazil in 1957. Roubik’s studies in Panama of coffee pollination taking native rainforest bees into consideration began in the 1970s as the aggressive non-native Africanized honey bees swarmed north through Latin America. Doomsayers predicted the worst: that the killer bees would disrupt the delicate balance between tropical forest species and their native pollinators. Roubik discovered the opposite to be true. In lowland tropical forests in Mexico, plants pollinated by very busy Africanized bees ended up producing more flowers, thus making more pollen and nectar available to native bees.

“Africanized honey bees in the Western Hemisphere both regulate their nest temperature and their own body temperature using water,” Roubik said. “When the climate is hotter—unless it’s too dry—they’re better adapted to endure climate change and pollinate coffee—an African plant.”

By paying attention to biological processes and managing coffee for maximum pollination depending upon the effects of climate on both the plants and the bees, as well as strategically adjusting shade, rotating crops and conserving natural forests, it may be possible for coffee producers to adapt to climate change.

The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, headquartered in Panama City, Panama, is a unit of the Smithsonian Institution. The Institute furthers the understanding of tropical biodiversity and its importance to human welfare, trains students to conduct research in the tropics and promotes conservation by increasing public awareness of the beauty and importance of tropical ecosystems. Website: http://www.stri.si.edu/. Promo video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9JDSIwBegk.

Contact us for academic travel and join amazing experts in different fiels on the isthmus that change the world:  Panama!  for details info@ecocircuitos.com

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Imbach, P., Fung, E., Hannah, L. et al. 2017 Coffee, bees, and climate: Coupling of pollination services and agriculture under climate change. PNAS. www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1617940114

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AgroTourism in Panama

Agrotourism or Rural tourism is becoming more popular and an international trend among sustainable travelers.  This type of tourism promotes cultural, historical, adventure and ecological activities and provide an understanding of the countryside heritage and a closer look at local towns, communities, local campesinos and indigenous groups that use farming as a way of life.     For travelers who are seeking a real rural experience and who want a “hands on” experience, this is the adventure for you.    The ‘Fincas’ offer you a natural space, outside of the cosmopolitan city, and delicious, natural and especially organic products.  Panama has great spots for those who want to experience the great outdoors and the healthy living of the countryside farmers.

We started in the cosmopolitan Panama City and head for the interior, where we will learn about the rice fields, poultry and porcine farms.  We also made our first agrotourism stop on the same day: a visit to La Granja Turistica San Judas Tadeo  in Chorrera a farm near the City that aims to teach visitors the best ways to make good use of animal  farms and essential crops of basic consumption and the  benefit  for the local economy. From here we will head to a beautiful circuit combining the Pacific, highlands, Caribbean and more.  In Panama, exist more than 35 licensed farms that offer basic accommodation, and agricultural activities for recreation and visitor learning.  Most rural tourism sites are located in Colón, Capira, La Chorrera, Coclé, Azuero and  Chiriquí.

Why we like rural and agro tourism vacations?   Because being truly sustainable!   The communities you visit helps sustain and develop the village for future generations.   Also Agrotourism is an activity  that helps a person understand and appreciate the land and the people who live on it.  This is the best way to meet with locals  in their natural environments and become more involved with the land they are visiting.

In Panama, exist more than 35 licensed farms that offer basic accommodation, and agricultural activities for recreation and visitor learning.  Most rural tourism sites are located in Colón, Capira, La Chorrera, Coclé, and  Chiriquí.

 

PINEAPPLE FARMS

The sweetest Pineapples of the world are from Panama! For example, Verba Odrec, located in Chorrera, is a local family farm, committed to responsible practices and minimizing pesticide and quality of our pinapples in every box. Visiting this farm is an incredible experience where you will learn everything about the growing of pineapples, and of course also tasting it.

COFFEE FARMS

Panama produces one of the best coffees in the world. If you’re a real coffee-lover, and ever wondered how coffee is made, Finca Lerida, a coffee farm which also offers accommodation is the place to go. You will learn about the history, origin, qualities and secrets of coffee handling directly in an ecological reserve! It is located in Boquete, in the highlands of the province of Chiriqui, which offers a perfect climatic condition to produce high quality coffee.

HONEY FARMS

Honey? In Panama? YES! In the province of Chiriqui you will find farms that produce excellent sweet honey. The honey that ‘Boquetebees’ produces is bioactive and minimally filtered. This incredible farm is committed to educate and increase the understanding of the importance of bees to sustainable biodiverse ecosystems.

EcoCircuitos Panama is specialized in sustainable tourism and tailor-made tours through the beautiful country of Panama. There are much more fincas to discover! Contact us and let us create your agricultural experience! info@ecocircuitos.com or visit www.ecocircuitos.com

 

Boquete: A must-visit place in Panama

By Raffaelle Capamolla, intern

Have you already been to Boquete? If you are in Panama, this is a place you must visit! Boquete is the town, where Panama’s greatest coffee comes from. The many Coffee farmers produce and export one of the world’s best coffee. Of course, the small town is not a producer of big Volume, but definitely of great quality, such as the Geisha coffee.

Surrounded by the central mountain range and the Barú Volcano, it is also the place in Panama, where you’ll find cooler temperatures, compared to the rest of the country.  It is in fact an ideal place for people escaping the hot and humid weather in the lowlands.

You will even find fresh strawberries and savor many different types of honey! Boquete is just different to the rest of Panama. Nationals and Travelers from all around the world also come every year to assist to its main attraction, the Festival of Flowers and Coffee.

Not only the great fresh climate, the flowers, finest coffee, fruits and beautiful surrounding make this town unique, but especially the friendliness of the people living in this charming place. The people will let you feel at home and are very helpful!

If you plan to hike the Quetzal Trail and admire the resplendent Quetzal bird, or to hike to the top of Volcan Barú, Panama’s highest point, where you’ll have an amazing view over the pacific and the Atlantic Ocean, Boquete is a great hub to overnight. You can stay in Hotels, hostels, ecolodges, or even in a coffee farm. Imagine waking up to a cup of locally grown, roasted and ground coffee!

Boquete is a great spot for Adventurers from all ages: You practice do Zip Line, Biking, White Water Rafting, horse back riding, rock climbing, trekking, camping and much more! Of course Boquete is great for taking it easy too, and just let your traveling companions do the adventuring.

EcoCircuitos is your local expert when it comes to real experiences in Boquete. We’ve been exploring the area for many years, so whether coffee tours, guided hikings, birdwatching or tailor-made tours, we would love to organize an unforgettable trip for you!

Contact annie@ecocircuitos.com and visit our website http://www.ecocircuitos.com

 

 

 

Green Convention Center in Panama

Panama is getting ready for the construction of the new Convention center in the province of Chiriqui, which will have an area of 4,000 square meters and capacity for 2,000 people.

According to the Ministry of Tourism (ATP), Gustavo Him, this convention center will have a short – term impact on the province and its structure will be different because it will have green areas, wastewater management and also will use an energy saving system.“It will be a unique structure in the region to promote events, congresses and green tourism which will attract visitors from Europe and the US,” he said.

Now with COPA and Air Panama flying to David there will be great opportunities for Incentives, Conventions and Rewards Events.  We look forward to assisting you with all your events.  Contact us at info@discoversublime.com

 

Places to visit in Boquete: Finca Lerida

Finca Lerida Coffee state Lodge is located in the hills outside Boquete town in a beautiful green mountain setting.  It is one of the highest working coffee plantations in Panama, with elevations reaching up to 5,200 feet, and it therefore produces some of the finest coffee in the country such as the world recognize Geisha coffee.  In addition, it contains primary and secondary forest and is home to hundred of species of birds, as well as howler monkeys, peccaries and other mammals.  Resplendent quetzals and volcano hummingbirds also inhabit this area.

If you are in Boquete, don’t miss this beautiful lodge and coffee shop.  For reservations and more information contact us:  info@ecocircuitos.com  www.ecocircuitos.com

Why should you visit Panama during the rainy season?

By Juliette Darmon

Contrary to what you think, visiting Panama during the rainy season has many advantages.

And first of all, if the rain is scaring you, then you have to know that it’s also raining in dry season as it’s raining 200 days per year in Panama…! And despite the name “rainy season”, it is most of the time raining only one hour per day!

So rain is not an excuse for not visiting this surprising country in rainy season!

Favorable and worthwhile:

The first and not the less, is that travelling during this period is much cheaper than during the dry season. You will so enjoy nicest hotels and places for less expansive, and could spend your money in extras, something you may not afford during the dry season.

Attractive and greener:

For travelers keen on nature, you definitely have to visit Panama during the rainy season, when it is much more eye-catching!

Panama has one of the most spectacular untouched rainforest in the world. And precisely in this period of the year, the nature and rainforest are greener and more authentic. It is one of the most picturesque times of the year!

Furthermore, because of the everyday rain (one hour downpour), Panama is open up to plenty of water-based activities (white water rafting, surf along the Caribbean coast..). Indeed, the rivers and streams are about 23 feet (7meters) higher, meaning that every watering place, like river, creek and lake are navigable.

You will so have the opportunity to explore more of the waterways of Amazonia and discovering more plant and wildlife areas than in the dry season.

More wildlife, less crowded:

As flowers, blooms, tropical fruits and vegetables are more abundant in this season, you will for sure have the chance to cross a lot of monkeys, birds and other wild animals.

Animals don’t really like tourists and they more tend to hide during the dry season, when travelers get too numerous. Take the chance to be fully immersed in Panamanian nature and wildlife by coming in the rainy season!

And less tourists also means less crowded, and so more availabilities and choices in terms of hotels, restaurants, activities and so on…!

KEEP THAT CHANCE! Try the rainy season in Panama!

Over the treetops of Boquete

By Carina Forster

Nestled in the hilly green highlands and surrounded by lush cloud forest, Boquete is the town of coffee and strawberries. It is inhabited by a charming mix of local farmers, international expats and indigenous people, who give the town it’s unique flair.

Joining the passionate EcoCircuitos guide Gerardo on a hilly road trip, we learned about the fascinating history of the area and its role as the “bread basket” of Panama. After some spectacular photo-stops at panoramic view-points of the majestic Volcano Baru, we ended the morning with a delicious cup of coffee at a local farm.

 

In the afternoon we boarded a shuttle truck up a steep and bumpy road deep in the cloud forest to reach the wooden Tree Trek headquarters situated in a picturesque valley, home to the famous Canopy Zip Line of Boquete. But instead of following the crowds to the Zip Line Adventure, we went on a hidden trail up behind the lodge with the local guide Raphael, where a mysterious and unique experience was awaiting us.

Following Raphael through lush cloud forest, we could feel his passion and respect for the surroundings. “Did you study Biology “? I asked him. “No. I just love nature and read a lot”. Was his simple response. Being a Zip Line guide for Tree Trek for over 5 years, in his free time he used to stroll around deep in the cloud forests on his own until he eventually came up with the idea of building a hanging bridge over the valley. By shooting arrows to the other side and climbing the ropes, he built 7 hanging bridges and a beautiful trail network without cutting down a single tree, just within one year.

Following these fairy tale like paths combines unique encounters with the plants and animals of the dense cloud forest with breathtaking panoramic views of rivers, waterfalls and the mighty Baru Volcano covered in mystic fogs. Together with a light dose of adrenaline when crossing the slightly shaking bridges with the ground deep beneath your feet, you have all the ingredients for a unique natural adventure.