A whole issue of the journal Biodiversity and Conservation looks at how cocoa production landscapes can contribute to biodiversity conservation. There are several papers on specific case studies and also an overview. Most of the discussion is — predictably — about what cacao cultivation can do for biodiversity, but, what about the other way around? The overview does suggest that
it is important to understand trade-offs between productivity and conservation and the economic costs of conservation friendly practices to land users so that more effective policies can be designed… Quantifying the benefits (both short and long-term) of biodiversity within agroforestry landscapes to farm productivity, for example via pest and disease control … requires attention.
What are these biodiversity-friendly practices? Here’s a few ideas, again from the overview:
- eco-friendly certification
- research and extension to increase productivity while maintaining diverse tree canopies
- development of markets for non-cocoa products
- payment for environmental services
As far as certification is concerned, the Fair Tracing Project may suggest solutions:
The Fair Tracing project believes that attaching tracing technology to Fair Trade products sourced in developing countries will enhance the value of such goods to consumers in the developed world seeking to make ethical purchasing choices.
I’ve just come across this project, and I don’t know much about it. A piece on its web site — basically a blog — about the ICT being used to trace fair trade coffee in Haiti did point me to a rather interesting example of a corporation trying to bridge the digital divide.