Things are going to be changing here at La Hesperia. The national push for more coffee production has created a huge opportunity for the preserve; allowing us to covert some of our land dedicated to cattle over to coffee cultivation. The process has already begun with the planting of some 6,000 coffee seedlings in our nursery. The plan through 2014 is to get 5 hectares of young coffee planted with each hectare requiring 2,500 plants (anybody want to help?). La Hesperia is using the coffee variety ‘tipica mejorada,’ a high quality Arabica variety used for gourmet coffee blends.
By converting our old pastures over to coffee la Hesperia is better able to conserve the cloud forest. A pasture full of cows increases runoff, pollutant and sediment loads as well as failing to retain precipitation like surrounding forest can. By converting these pastures to long rotation coffee, the soil will be better retained and vegetative cover will be improved, leading to stabilized rainfall to runoff ratios ( Knighton, Fluvial Forms & Process, 1998). The result won’t be as good as natural cloud forest but will certainly be an improvement over dairy cows.