Caffeine Helps With Forest Restoration

Most of us enjoy a good cup of coffee or some other type of caffeinated beverage. It is consistently one of the most popular drinks in the world because it revitalizes us and helps us wake up in the morning.

As it turns out, it may also have other uses that can help us in ways we don’t understand.

Dr. Rebecca Cole published a study in the Ecological Solutions and Evidence Journal. She worked along with Dr. Rakan Zahawi from the University of Manoa in Hawaii.

Photo: LibreShot

According to the study, researchers found that forests also like caffeine and it can go a long way to helping restore the forests that are being lost around the globe.

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The study took place in Costa Rica on two different plots of deforested land. Both of them had non-native grasses covering the land, as was reported by the British Ecological Society.

They were identical in size, being 98 x 130 feet. The experiment involved bringing in 30 truckloads of coffee pulp and dumping it on one of the plots. The pulp was about 18 inches thick, but the other plot was left on its own.

Photo: flickr/Scot Nelson

What they found is that the coffee pulp killed the grass and added phosphorus, nitrogen, and carbon to the soil. Within two years, there were native pioneer plants growing.

In addition, insects were attracted to the rich soil and the birds soon followed. The birds would bring seeds from other areas, and they would sprout and grow.

Photo: British Ecological Society

National Geographic reported that 80% of the plot that was enriched by coffee was covered with a young tree canopy, with some being up to 15 feet tall!

Those trees had the potential to grow as high as 60 feet. All of the invasive grass was gone and the growth rate was four times more than the other plot that did not have any coffee.

A spokesman for National Geographic said that it typically takes hundreds of years before a tropical forest grows back. Since there were already trees in place after two years, it was quite interesting. The representative went on to say that it was like a forest on caffeine and was quite promising.

Photo: British Ecological Society

When you think about all of the coffee that makes it into our kitchens and the local coffee shops, it’s amazing to think that 50% of the coffee fruit is discarded.

In other words, over 218 tons of pulp is thrown away for every million bags of dried coffee that is produced.

The hope is that the study is only a jumping point for researchers to take a look at how beneficial that coffee byproduct can be for a global restoration movement.

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