Sunday, July 11, 2010

Week’s end in Tarrazú

We have finished up a week of fieldwork in Tarrazú – Saturday evening we celebrated with a barbecue at a local farmer’s house, and the Earthwatch team departed early Sunday morning for San Jose. A second team will come in this next week, and we’ll resume work in the coffee fields…so far we have found, as might be expected, fewer bees in the coffee fields than we found during the coffee flowering season a few months ago. However, we have noticed quite a few bees in the forest habitats nearby some of the coffee fields – for instance, native stingless bees that like to make their nests in the knots of large trees. We’ll see if this trend holds up as we sample more farms and forests across the region.The Earthwatch team was treated to a private tour of one of the farms this week – Fernando, one of the coffee farmers with whom we’re working, stopped by his farm and showed us around, noting many of the non-coffee (shade) plants he has planted over the years. He noted especially several species of plants that “fix” atmospheric nitrogen, providing shade as well as natural fertilizer for the coffee shrubs. The forest habitat near his farm is particularly nice – the volunteers did a great job helping put in traps in the steep, dense forest!

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