tropical plant

Amazon Interactive
Coffee and Conservation

Forest panorama

 You chose to maintain your current fields

  • 2 hectares of coffee in secondary forest
  • 1 hectare of cacao in secondary forest
  • 1 hectare of maize in secondary forest

Map of your 15 hectare plot of land

You earned $320. That's less than last year, due to low yields and a drop in coffee prices, and far below what your family needs to live. You're forced to borrow from your brother, promising to pay him back after next year's harvest.

You've only got four hectares of primary forest left. Your family has to walk to the far end of your land to find medicinal plants. The water in the creek running past your house is always muddy now. There's little shade left to escape the hot noonday sun.

You realize that you have nearly run out of primary forest. In a few years you'll have to plant all your crops in secondary forest--or find another line of work besides farming. Some people in your Quichua community are talking about ecotourism. Instead of farming more land, the community can earn money by bringing in tourists and teaching them about the Quichua way of life. Do you think the community should consider ecotourism? Or would you like to start over with your cash crops?

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