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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Family Adventures in Panama

Panama is for families

Every kid dreams of exploring jungles, seeing wild animals and being a true adventurer. Offering all this while having a high safety standard makes Panama the perfect destination for exciting family vacations. EcoCircuitos Panama offers brand-new family tours, developed through the eyes of a child. Our favorite one starts with cycling the promenade of Panama City, before trying exotic ice-cream flavors in the colorful Old Town. Families turn into true explorers when watching out for monkeys, birds,  and crocodiles while discovering the rainforest by boat together.

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Hiking the cloudforest

The adventure continues in the highlands of Chiriquí, with a skywalk through the treetops of the cloud forest and fun zip lining. The vacation ends with relaxing on white-sanded beaches and snorkeling the colorful coral reefs of the Caribbean island archipelago of Bocas del Toro. Seize the opportunity of visiting the sloth island and learning how chocolate is made in indigenous communities before you leave Panama with plenty of wonderful memories of unique family moments.

For more information please visit http://ecocircuitos.com or contact us via email info@ecocircuitos.com or telephone: 1-800-830-7142

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

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.

Panama Romantic Adventure

Start your trip with EcoCircuitos in the vibrant capital of Panama City with its modern skyscrapers, charming old towns.  The tour starts with kayaking the Panama Canal while looking out for wildlife and watching huge vessels passing by. Stay in the boutique American Trade Hotel located in the Old Town, offering a first-hand experience of Panama City`s extensive nightlife. Get on a snorkelling tour the next day to explore coral reefs and picturesque Caribbean Beaches.

The next stop is the charming little town of Boquete in the highlands. Watch out for birds and other wildlife in this area blessed with a spring-like climate all year. Get on a breathtaking Skywalk tour offering direct insights in the life of the cloud forest with unique views of surrounding landscapes. At the end of the tour, get on an exciting canopy zip lining adventure through the treetops.

The last stop of the tour leads to the romantic laid-back Island Plantation Resort surrounded by jungle and tropical beaches on the archipelago of Bocas del Toro. Snorkel colourful coral reefs; explore dream beaches by boat; hike through lush rainforests or gain deep relaxation enjoying a double-cabin massage before returning to Panama City.

For more information about our honeymoon programs, please contact us at info@ecocircuitos.com

Things to do during your vacation in Boquete

Boquete is a small town nestled in the green mountainous highlands located in the westen-most Chiriquí Province that boards with Costa Rica.  The Caldera River makes its way through this picturesque town.

Due to its elevation 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) above sea level, its climate is cooler than that of the lowlands. Its beautiful mountain landscape, temperature, and natural environment make it popular destination for the adventure traveler.

Our staff suggests the following activities while during your stay in Boquete:

  1.  White water river rafting –  Experience adrenaline-filled, world-class white water rafting in amazing scenic rivers.  We suggest the following outfitters:  BOA and Chiriqui River Rafting.
  2. Horse back riding tours – Boquete and Caldera offer amazing horseback riding adventures through the stunning Chiriqui landscapes. This local tour supports community farms in Boquete and use local farmers as guides. We suggest Franklin’s horseback riding.
  3. Hiking the Baru National Park – you don´t have to go to the top of the mountain to experience a great adventure.  There are several trails in the national park for all levels.   For safety always go with a local expert guide from  EcoCircuitos Panama.
  4. Los Quetzales Trail – this is one of Panama’s most spectaculars hiking trails of the western highlands. The 8km route takes between 5 and 7 hours. It runs between Boquete and Cerro Punta, crossing Caldera river.  For those in very good shape.
  5. Hot Springs and Caldera Petroglyphs – enjoy nature at its finest and discover Caldera’s famous hot springs. You will visit a typical town and walk to the petroglyphs where you will be able to observe part of the history of Panama’s indigenous past.
  6. Coffee Tours – Boquete offers some of the best coffees in the world and you can´t miss the unique opportunity to visit a coffee plantation, discover the processing mills and learn about how coffee makes it journey from the coffee bush to your cup.   Don´t miss to taste a cup of Geisha coffe from Ruiz coffee shop.
  7. Rock Climbing – Boquete is becoming a world-class rock climbing destination. You can learn from the masters and climb one of the most incredible natural columnar basalt rock formations with different levels from easy to very difficult.
  8. Birding tours in private reserves, national parks and pipeline trail – don´t miss the opportunity to admire a great variety of the species from the highlands of Panama.  The Resplendant Quetzal, Bell Bird and Volcano Hummingbird are some of the stars. Make sure to reserve a birding guide with our team!
  9. Canopy Adventure / Zip lining -glide on zip lines through the canopy of old cloud forest, high above rivers and waterfalls, an unforgetable adventure with 3 kilometers in total length and 12 different platforms.
  10. Try the local gastronomy of the area – we suggest El Pianista, Finca Lerida restaurant, La Roca, Panamonte and if you have time to drive towards volcan, why not Cerro Brujo Restaurant.