Bioeconomics of Climate Change Adaptation: Coffee Berry Borer and Shade-Grown

Research on climate change in recent decades has disproportionately focused on predicting impacts while largely ignoring adaptation strategies. How agricultural systems can adapt to minimize the uncertainty caused by rising temperatures is one of the most important research issues today. We focus on the coffee berry borer, the most important coffee pest worldwide, which has recently expanded across the tropics as a result of rising temperatures, threatening coffee farms worldwide. Intercropping shade trees with coffee trees is being promoted as a promising climate change adaptation strategy that can protect coffee plantations from microclimate variability and reduce pest infestations. Little is known, however, on whether or not the benefits of the ecological services provided by shade trees justify the ensuing yield reduction associated with shade-grown coffee production systems. We develop a computational, bioeconomic model to analyze the ecological and economic sustainability of switching from a sun-grown to shade-grown coffee system as a climate change adaptation strategy. In particular, we model the spatial-dynamic pest diffusion at the plant level and evaluate alternative shading strategies based on farm expected net present values. Using parameters from Colombia, preliminary model findings suggest that the ecological benefits of shade-grown planting systems justify the forgone revenues from lower per acre yields only for high levels of shading. We solve for the threshold net price premium of shade-grown coffee that would make this climate change adaptation strategy cost-effective at moderate shading levels.

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JEL Codes:
C63; Q54; Q57

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2019-08-29

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