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Posts tagged: Caribbean Area

Shade-Grown Coffee Yields a Better Product and Top-Notch Wildlife Habitat

Posted by Julie Wright, Acting Caribbean Area Public Affairs Specialist on June 30, 2016 at 02:57 PM
Shade-grown coffee plantations provide habitat for the Puerto Rican parrot. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo.

Shade-grown coffee plantations provide habitat for the Puerto Rican parrot. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo.

By growing coffee in the shade under a forest canopy instead of directly in the sun, Puerto Rico farmers help a variety of wildlife and improve the quality of their crop.

The coffee shrub, which originated in Ethiopia, grows naturally in the shade. But over the years, many Puerto Rican growers cleared shade trees to boost yields. Now, in an effort to grow higher-quality coffee and conserve natural resources and help wildlife, the island’s growers are bringing back shade trees.

Shade-grown coffee is especially important to wildlife in places where deforestation is common. Shade-grown coffee plantations provide refuge, shelter and nesting sites for the Puerto Rican parrot, sharp-shinned hawk, Puerto Rico nightjar, elfin woods warbler, and many other birds and wildlife species. Researchers have suggested that both birds and orchids have survived periods of deforestation in Puerto Rico because of the presence of shade coffee plantations.  Read more >>

Tags: Caribbean Area, pollinators

categories Landscape Initiatives, Discover Conservation, Environment, Plants & Animals


Not All Monarchs Migrate! The Puerto Rican Subspecies Stays Put

Posted by Julie Wright, Caribbean Area Acting Public Affairs Specialist on June 23, 2016 at 01:08 PM
A Puerto Rican monarch butterfly in a garden at the University of Puerto Rico's Utuado butterfly house.

A Puerto Rican monarch butterfly in a garden at the University of Puerto Rico's Utuado butterfly house.

The monarch butterfly is the iconic butterfly native of the Americas. The black-and-orange butterfly can migrate thousands of miles each year from North America and South America to Mexico. But the subspecies in Puerto Rico, Danaus plexippus portorricensis, is considered non-migrant. It likes to stay put! 


The Puerto Rican monarch butterfly was identified in 1941 as a separate subspecies. It has also been found in the Virgin Islands, Cuba, the Cayman Islands, St. Lucia and Jamaica.  


The adult Puerto Rican monarch grows up to 40 millimeters in size, and there are few differences to distinguish between the sexes. Like the monarch, the Puerto Rican monarch is particular about its host plants. Monarch butterflies depend on milkweed to lay their eggs, and the plant provides the only food source for monarch caterpillars.  Read more >>

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Tags: Caribbean Area, pollinators, monarch butterfly

categories Plants & Animals, Discover Conservation