Coffee Forests - a Gateway to Wild Life

Jun 15, 2009

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Coffee is an EVERGREEN perennial plant and has a curious origin in India. In the 17th century, saint Baba Budan, planted seven coffee seeds on the elevated hills of Baba Budan in Chickmagalore District of Karnataka (India). Thus coffee growing took its birth in the enchanting hills of Bababudan. There after Europeans, systematically introduced Plantations in India, in the 18th century.

Mr. Thomas Cannon established in 1830 the first coffee estate in Mysore Raj, at Balur again in chickmagalore. In Munzerabad, (Sakleshpur Taluk) coffee was introduced for the first time in 1843 by Frederic Green in Igoor and thereafter in 1857 by Mr. Elliot in a place called Barchinahalla - Hanbal. The Plantations of today are indeed the best memorials to such of those Europeans who pioneered the early coffee growing, in spite of many hardships.

India has been home to coffee for almost 200 years and has always been and still remains shade grown. However, with the winds of globalization and liberalization reaching the Indian shores, Forest grown Indian coffee is making inroads in the West as a specialty coffee. The coffee grown under the shade of forest trees has a unique taste of nature in the cupping quality. Coffee grown along multiple, and mixed cropping systems like Pepper, cardamom, Areca nut, Ginger, Citrus, Vanilla and a few other spices, imparts an exceptional and distinct flavor.

There are three key ideas here. This uniqueness is not only the result of the forest factor but also due to the fact that the coffee habitats are an integral part of multicrops, herbs and spices. In addition, Indian coffee plantations harbor thousands of species of old diverse and significant species of rare birds, insects and endangered wildlife living in complete harmony. Nature lovers can appreciate the beauty and variety of trees by simply taking a walk inside the Shade grown Indian coffee Plantation.

The amazing fact is that coffee habitat and nature bring out the best chemistry in sustaining each other’s needs. Many foreigners who visit the plantation remark that Indian coffee plantation are wild life and Bird sanctuaries. Indeed, the architectural detail of the coffee forests is astounding.

These coffee ranges are home to wildlife sanctuaries, National parks, Tiger reserves, and biodiversity plantations. The Bandipur National park flanked by Nagarahole National park, Madhumalai wild life sanctuary and Wayanad wildlife sanctuary, together constitute the protected NILGIRI BIOSPHERE reserve, which is India’s first biosphere reserve. This reserve is a key breeding landscape for tigers, elephants, sambars, and other mega fauna distributed across the three states of Karnataka, Kerala and Chennai. Indian coffee is a proud partner of this biosphere reserve. In the literal sense the Indian coffee farmer has always been an asset to the Nation as well as to the global community by being a pro active nature conservationist first and secondly by growing earth friendly Indian coffee.

Three Canopy Layers

India is perhaps the only country in the world growing all its coffee under the canopy of a three tiered shade system. Shade grown coffee is not only environment friendly; it also has a host of other benefits. The tall evergreen trees build up a pool of organic nutrients beneficial for the growth and development of coffee. Most importantly, it reduces the need for external chemical inputs which creates imbalances in the forest ecosystem. Furthermore, the filtered sunlight enables the sugars in the coffee bean to caramelize uniformly and give it an inimitable taste.

This article is intended to be an eye-opener or a window to the world of coffee lovers worldwide in allowing them to appreciate the role of Indian coffee farmers in maintaining the fragile forest cover and its inhabitants. It provides an opportunity to observe the complexity of nature both on the forest floor and the coffee canopy. With the unique flora and fauna, the coffee mountain allows one to experience the sights, sounds, smells and life of the forest canopy.


A few decades back, the coffee landscape had changed for the worse, but a new awareness is catching up with the present generation in rectifying some of the past mistakes. Mistakes have been made, forests cut down when they could have been saved, wildlife, destroyed when they could have been preserved. However the new generations of coffee farmers are paying undivided attention into Aforestation programmes and conservation of wildlife.

Forest Cover in India

The forest survey of India states that the forest cover in the country is 63 million hectares, literally covering 19% of the geographical area of the country. More than 25 million hectares of this forest land is degraded resulting in barely 10% of the land under forests. The scientific truth spells out that for any country to maintain its ecological integrity, the forest cover should be at least 33%. In such a depressed scenario, the coffee planters in the country come to the rescue of the Governments by not only protecting forests but also converting barren hills into dense forests by planting millions of saplings. It is an established fact that coffee planters are largely responsible in stopping the dwindling of forest resources. Shade loving coffee farms often provide a safe haven for the biotic community. The State of Karnataka produces approximately 70% of India’s shade grown coffee. Karnataka ranks 18th in the Country in terms of forest cover with 19.3% of its land covered by forests. 70% of these biodiverse forests come under the Western Ghat range recognized world over as one among the 18 hotspots of the world.


World Scenario

The World Resources Institute has indicated that more than 80 per cent of the planet’s natural forests have already been destroyed. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that 53,000 square miles of tropical forests were destroyed each year during the early 1980’s. Of this 21,000 square miles of tropical rainforests were deforested annually in South America, most of this in the Amazon basin. Forests air condition the planet and regulate its temperature. The Amazon forest act as the lungs of the earth. They inhale carbon dioxide and give out oxygen. Matters of fact, these forests are prime generators of the earth’s oxygen.


The specter of Industrial growth catching up in rural towns is increasing dramatically and within a decade it will have a telling effect on the world’s natural resources which are already under threat. People need to know to know the value of what they are destroying. These environmental concerns have been expressed time and again by the United Nations but precious little has been done. Our goals should be reliable supplies of energy that are ecofriendly and affordable. First; we should recognize that even as forests become scarce, other fossil fuels like tar and shale will remain plentiful for centuries. This fact will ease the pressure on existing forests.

Rare species of butterfly, crocodile, elephant tusks, rhino horn etc are trophies that are exhibited in affluent houses. Under our very own eyes, our entire ecosystem is changing. Man’s unbridled greed has resulted in accelerating deforestation. There may not be enough land left for the survival of wildlife, leave alone forests. In the coming months we need to take stalk of old challenges and gear ourselves to face new challenges. Just as we speak about global peace, we also need to make peace with mother earth’s flora and fauna.

Archives - Dr Anand & Geeta Pereira :

by Dr.Anand Titus & Geeta N Pereira
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Comment on this article

  • mih Elizabeth, Cameroon

    Tue, Jan 28 2014

    waaoooh i love this article.It is very educative and has just given me inspiration to talk to my farmers in the Boyo division of Cameroon who believe so much on organic manure. I believe they are not only going to grow organic coffee, but they are going to enjoy shading their coffee because i enjoyed watching it. The coffee berries are so beautiful.

  • Ernest, Pattiveeranpatti

    Wed, Sep 26 2012

    Fantastic article on Indian coffee grown under forest trees and eco friendly atmosphere.Hope the coffee drinkers in the Metros read this article and see the pictures.My planter's hat is off to Anand and Geeta

  • Houston Alarm Companies, Houston Alarm

    Thu, Jun 30 2011

    Wow! This can be one particular of the most helpful blogs We've ever arrive across on this subject. Basically Magnificent. I'm also an expert in this topic therefore I can understand your effort.
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  • sumanth, panchagowri estate,Bickodu

    Wed, Nov 24 2010

    Beautiful pictures...and nice article

  • vivek colaco, Field view Estate, sakleshpur

    Mon, Jan 25 2010

    Thank You Anand for your wonderful article of coffee. I also liked the pictures and it was very interesting. Hope that coffee has bright future.

  • Loy Dsouza, Mangalore

    Sun, Jun 21 2009

    Amazing coverage! I Really appreciate your initiative to share such enlightening information about our natural reserves of India.The attention to detail and the photographs are very captivating. The article is also very well written to allow the layman to also enjoy your love of nature.

  • Dr Suma shetty, mangalore

    Sun, Jun 21 2009

    Your article is really great. We would like to visit you again with our kids to appreciate the beauty and gain knowledge. Looking forward to seeing your book titled ''ECOFRIENDLY COFFEE BOOK''. GOOD LUCK

  • Madhan nachiah, siddapur, coorg

    Sat, Jun 20 2009

    Dear Anand and Geeta, Your articles are  filled with power packed ''green'' advice for the planters.I am very inspired by your work and would like to spread your ''green'' message to my friends.

  • pavithra and prem, virajpet

    Sat, Jun 20 2009

    Dear Anand and geeta, You both have done great job. Your contributions will educate people to save this fragile earth.

  • Leander Pais, Mysore

    Fri, Jun 19 2009

    Uncle Anand & Aunty Geeta. I have gone through your article & found that the images are very nice,You have taken a lot of pain & trouble to capture these wonderful images,You have your camera times very well to capture & form the image into reality,I will surely use the images in my School project work,Thanks & Regards-Leander Pais Mysore

  • Liza Gina Pais, Mysore

    Fri, Jun 19 2009

    Uncle Anand & Aunty Geeta. I went through the article & it is very beautiful,I like the nature & the animal pictures,It will be very useful in my school work,Thank you & continue to keep writing for Daijiworld.Regards-Liza Gina Pais(Mysore)

  • Leander Pais, Mysore

    Sat, Jun 20 2009

    Dr Anand & Aunty Geeta. The article is very good & informative,It will help me in my school work,I will soon print the photographs & keep them,I could use them in my school project work,Please write a good article on Elephants specially if you could the picture where the Elephant tusk is restricting the elephant from operating its trunk,Uncle Nakwi will like it since it was inside the BPTC Fairlands Estate -Regards Leander Pais (St Joseph''s School State Mysore)

  • Leona Pais, Pune

    Fri, Jun 19 2009

    Anand & Geeta. Excellent article & fabulous photographs,Thank you for updating us now & again on the environment & Endangered species,Your picture it self explains the entire story in the article,each & every corner of you article covers each & every aspect of a well written document that carries value.It will be a Shame if the Coffee Farmer''s all over India do not purchase a copy of the ECO FRIENDLY COFFEE BOOK,I am sure after reading your article in Daijiworld they will definitely buy one book each & use it as a Coffee table book at their houses.All the best Anand & Geeta & keep writing we will always read your articles,specially i have become a fan now of Daijiworld after reading your articles in Daijiworld,we have added Daijiworld into the favorite web site that we browse each day. Regards-Leona Pais-Mysore India

  • Allen Pais, Siddapur Coorg

    Fri, Jun 19 2009

    Dr Anand & Geeta,I am very overwhelmed & surprised that Sakleshpur Renowned Coffee growers are Dearer to you,They have taken responsibility to read your articles & pass the message to the World Coffee growers through Daijiworld,Very soon the ECOFRIENDLY COFFEE BOOK will be a part of every Coffee Grower in India & all over the world if only the Renowned Coffee growers put a little effort to spread the good word of the contents in the book,If one Coffee grower can respond & encourage your good work then all can similarly do so,I strongly believe in a saying that it is very easy to pass a camel through a needle thread hole but it will be very difficult to find a Genuine Coffee Grower who will respond to your efforts delivered on the ECO FRIENDLY COFFEE BOOK,Well my only recommendation to you is,Every bag packer who visits the Joe''s Sustainable Coffee Farm will have to definitely buy One ECO FRIENDLY COFFEE BOOK.Those who buy the Book will never regret,The book will provide Knowledge to the Coffee farmers all over the world & also will support the next generation.Regards-Allen Pais(Mysore-INDIA)

  • Fr Denzil Lobo SJ, Mangalore

    Thu, Jun 18 2009

    Thanks Anand and Geeta for the article and for the beautiful snaps.

  • Dr.sohandas shetty, sakleshpur/Bahrain

    Wed, Jun 17 2009

    dear Anand and geeta,fantastic article and great pictures.keep up the good work..Hope to see u guys soon-regards Sohan

  • rakesh, sakleshpur

    Wed, Jun 17 2009

    very nice pictures, but the hard work and effort in getting this work done is hidden

  • Bharat Asarpota, Sharjah , UAE

    Wed, Jun 17 2009

    Dear Dr Anand & Geeta Pereira, As i am the lover of nature and seeing the coffee plantations and wild life i am really fascinated. Seeing the pictures I imagined my self to be really in such a place one day, Kindly anybody please give details as to how to reach such places for good holidays.Dear Doctor sahib ( DIL MAANGE MORE)

  • Dorothy Pais, Poornima, Sakleshpur/Abu Dhabi

    Wed, Jun 17 2009

    Dear Anand and Geetha, Beautiful and well written article on COFFEE and how planters help in restoring dwindling forest and nature. You both made our Sakleshpur and all coffee planters very proud. Please go international with your article. Good luck.

  • Max & Jessie Rasquinha, Mangalore/Houston, Tx

    Wed, Jun 17 2009

    Wonderful article. Well written with vivid pictures nerrating the natural beauty of coffee plantation surrounded by mixed crops of all sorts, including coconut trees. The evergreen shady environment added with several species of humming birds, wild animals and the serenity of quiet forest life is something beyond words can describe.

    Our only concern, as always, is the prevailing road systems and the worsening condition during the monsoon season. A sound transport system in the remote areas of coffee plantation can bring multitude of advantages to the dedicated plantation community that will flourish with easy mode of safe and comfortable travel. Safe and sound roads will also pave opportunity for tourists to enjoy the evergreen surroundings and fresh air.

    Due to evergrowing population, the deforestation saga is an unavoidable fact, but the government has to be vigilant. The most interesting feature of the coffee plantation area is the emerging school systems that enable children to avail of the elementary, middle school as well as high school facilities for enhancing their educational values. The school children and teachers nowadays get free lunch each day throughout the year. The children of "Mulnaadu" region are bright and intelligent indeed. The plantation areas need strong support from the Punchayat Raaj. The remote areas are now also facilitated with small temples, mosques and even churches and convents, and that is a fascinating gift of the land.

    The power supply needs to be stabilized so that homes have decent power supply and the schools have consistent power to provide computer support for the high school students. The changing climate is causing equal concern to the coffee Planters. Even the herd of wild elephants have recently surfaced from the jungle in search of food thereby causing damage to the crops and also fear to the natives. The Govt has to rise to the occasion in helping the plantation natives so that they remain safe and content, and encourage the new generation to remain on the soil and love the native land.

    The State of Karnataka has been blessed with so many natural gifts, and the evergreen Coffee Plantation areas are one of them. We must nurture the green land, and we must also nurture the hard working people.

  • Joe, Chickmagalur India/USA

    Wed, Jun 17 2009

    Thanks to all who worked on this beautiful article. I got all my fond memories of my beloved Babbudan Hills. Coz I was born and brought up in a coffee Estate just below these Hills. Anand and Geetha keep up the good work.

  • Anand Dsilva, Mangalore/Dubai

    Wed, Jun 17 2009

    Very informative article. More than a business you seem to have a passion for coffee and nature. In Life you are happy when you do what you love the most. In India we are led to believe that we have to work in offices and live in cities in misguided belief that we keep up with the pace of life. I once had a wonderful opportunity to stay for a couple of days in my friends estate in Sakleshpur who I bumped during one of my vacations.

    I then realised you live a peaceful and healthier life than any of us, the way nature would expect us to live. In my opinion, every person until a couple of years was connected with agriculture in some way or the other until industrialisation happened. Now in the name of development we are destroying our nature without realising even for a second the miseries our actions will bring to our future generations and that will not be really long.

  • Ch. Mohamed Jamil, Lahore

    Tue, Jun 16 2009

    I copy here remarks of John Pinto: "Dear Dr Anand & Geetha, It is the only Nature Lovers can Understand the Beauty Of Chickmagalur, It is really great to have people like you. Keep it up." Truly only YOU can dot it.

  • Peter Dsa, Mangalore

    Wed, Jun 17 2009

    Great article, and so many wonderful comments. Congratulations.

  • Naina, Mangalore/USA

    Tue, Jun 16 2009

    Wow, Indeed it was treat to our Eyes. Thank you Daiji world. And Dr.Anand Titus & Ms.Geeta N Pereira


    Tue, Jun 16 2009

    Thank you for inspiring us with this fabolous work

  • V.Baretto, Bantwal-Bangalore

    Tue, Jun 16 2009

    My memory goes back to years 1963 to 1978 when I was stationed in Saklaspur and used to meet you,as a young man. I never dreampt that Anand will rise to this level. Keep it up and all the best to you both.

  • John Pinto, chickmagalur/ Qatar

    Tue, Jun 16 2009

    Dear Dr Anand & Geetha, It is the only Nature Lovers can Understand the Beauty Of Chickmagalur, It is really great to have people like you. Keep it up.

  • kavery, mangalore

    Mon, Jun 15 2009

    HI,anand congrats on your research work.It is fantastic.The pictures are fabulous.Great work.I hope u will come up with more great work in future.All the very best.

  • Gratian Govias, Muthukkadu, Kovalam

    Tue, Jun 16 2009

    Anand, Penning this article with photos, after the long discussions had on this issue with you, gives it a whole new meaning to the trek, esp. since we missed the wild life you got with the camera. What Naveen said about those nostalgic years is so true and the story of the wild boar, which you and I got to recount with Leah, Sara and Mala, gave me a reason to chuckle.

    I am happy, we made our trip there and wish Geeta and kids could have also been there, I am sure it would have been greater fun and Aunty, keep a good eye for those creepy crawleys,we want a lot more wonderful pictures, with that impressive looking camera. Cheers Anand and Geeta, for all these great articles - keep them coming.

  • Romola, sakleshpur

    Tue, Jun 16 2009

    Great work . You really made use of your new camera. I need to keep my eyes closer to the ground and watch for the creepy crawlies so that you can shoot them. good luck.

  • julia, kirehully

    Tue, Jun 16 2009

    Superb work.I appreciate the time and the effort you have made.

  • Dennis D''Souza, M''lore/Bombay

    Mon, Jun 15 2009

    Anand and Geeta the knowledge, information and the pictures you are providing time and again on various subjects and topics are mind blowing, this time too it''s a virtual treat.

  • geetha, grapevine/texas

    Mon, Jun 15 2009

    Thanks Geeta/Anand for another inspiring article. You are right in your conclusion about global peace that includes all of nature. Love you.

  • James Fernandes, Barkur/Chicago

    Mon, Jun 15 2009

    Hi Dr. Anand And Geeta: Have you tried to submit your informative articles and attractive nature pictures to "National Geographic Magazine"? Thank you.

  • vinod wiflred tauro, MADANTHYAR,DUBAI

    Mon, Jun 15 2009

    Beautiful pictures...and nice article...congratulations for your nice ariticle Drs.Anand & Geeta


    Mon, Jun 15 2009

    Nice to know that coffee and wildlife have a symbiotic partnership. Great work.

  • James Pinto, Mysore

    Mon, Jun 15 2009

    Wow Anand & Geeta, Wonderful pictures, wonder how you managed to click all these photos. I really appreciate your patience, time & effort you put into this. Keep up the good work.


    Mon, Jun 15 2009

    The more we drink coffee, more the income towards coffee farmers, who in turn will protect their forests

  • Jatinder Singh, Virginia

    Mon, Jun 15 2009

    Dear Anand and Geeta, As always your articles are like Expresso coffee- stimulating! Thank you Jatinder

  • nihal pereira, Mangalore

    Mon, Jun 15 2009

    Superb pictures dad. I especially like the pictures of the pea-hen''s egg and the beautiful lizard.Keep up the good work.

  • Payal Pereira, mangalore

    Mon, Jun 15 2009

    Wow, the  pictures are so sweet and  informative . Keep up the good work Mum and Dad.

  • rakesh, kundapur

    Mon, Jun 15 2009

    wonderfull photos. keep it up.

  • Dr Derek Lobo, Mangalore

    Mon, Jun 15 2009

    Well Done Anand and Geetha! very informative, educative and enriching article supported by some amazing photographs. You are a role model for all coffee planters blending professional coffee cultivation with environment-friendly actions aimed at preserving the flora and fauna of our beautiful land. You should be giving lectures and making presentations in all our schools and colleges.

  • Lawrence D Souza , Karkala / Nakre - Oman

    Mon, Jun 15 2009

    Excellent enjoyable and memorable pictures keep up …..

  • Sunil Fernandes, Kota/Dubai

    Mon, Jun 15 2009

    Wodnerful, Amazing pics. Thanks to Anand & Geeta for providing such beautiful pics to the visitors of daijiworld. Expecting more and more such pictrues in future. Great work.

  • Peter Dsa, Mangalore

    Mon, Jun 15 2009

    Anand and Geeta, the coffee article was great. what was even better is your photograph. You are a great couple. All the very best to you, Peter and Lavina.

  • Peter Dsa, Mangalore

    Mon, Jun 15 2009

    Anand and Geeta, I wish to thank you for all your efforts towards this wonderful insight on Coffee in India. But to be honest with you, its not all about the coffee, its about both of you, I should mention here that both of you make a wonderful couple, you are really made for each other. All the very best to both of you,from your good friend, Peter

  • Allen Pais, Siddapur Coorg

    Mon, Jun 15 2009

    Dr Anand & Geeta. Although i am in between a lot of Major work in Western Australia Dongara close to Geralton,As soon as i saw your link on Daiji popping up,I was sure it will be an opening to something new,I was sure that you would always come out with information that is better & better,Thank you both for taking the trouble & keeping us always d as usual on Environment,Endangered species,your contribution towards the nature will always help the next generation progress & breath good clean air.I am sure your efforts one day will bear fruit''s. Regards-Allen Pais Geralton,Dongara,Western Australia.

  • Roy Vijay D'' Silva, Cordel / Sharjah

    Mon, Jun 15 2009

    Dear Anand & Geeta, Thankyou for the wonderful articles on the Flora & Fauna of Western Ghats. We feast on these photogrpahs in between after tired of looking at the desert & traffic daily. Appreciate You for capturing the Toddy Cat ( Beru) in your Camera at a close range during Daylight.

  • Bernadine Macedo/Frank, Mangalore/Melbourne

    Mon, Jun 15 2009

    Dear Anand & Geetha, Very informative, very beautiful. Made me take a walk down memory lane,the lovely times spent together at ''Kirehally Estate''.

  • Lydia, Mangalore

    Mon, Jun 15 2009

    Excellent photographs and good informative article Geetha & Anand. Look forward to see more articles on Environment protection to create awareness.

  • Naveen Frank, Mangalore/Sharjah

    Tue, Jun 16 2009

    Dear Anand and Geetha, Thank you for putting in such a great effort on this beautiful article which is brought alive with the magnificent pictures.

    Brings back fond memories of my many summer holidays spent at your Kirehally Estate. I remember the long walks we used to have through the length of the estate, plucking ZAMBLA ( blue berries) , guavas, cherries, cikkos, fishing DENKLE ( fresh water fish in the lake). The wild boar hunting trips with your late father Joe Pereira to Goodubetta and his fascinating story of the possessed wild boar which could not be killed even when shot at point blank.

     It is heartening to note that at this age of the concrete jungle, we still have the flora and fauna intact.

  • Ashok J Lobo, Bangady/Mangalore

    Sun, Jun 14 2009

    Wow!super captures really beautiful

  • Ivan Frank, Mangalore

    Mon, Jun 15 2009

    Let India continue to grow shade coffee so as to save and multiply our fauna and flora. By preserving the forests we can be assured of a healthy environment, good climate and regular monsoons. Any Plantation or farming in order to survive and yield good results should blend with the natural habitat of the region and and make use of the available organic manure rather than depend on chemical and other artificial fertilizers. Very informative and well written article with appropriate and beautiful pictures.

  • Olivia Juliet Lobo, Kulshekar / Bahrain

    Mon, Jun 15 2009

    Wow! Very Informative article. The pictures show the rich culture of wild life and forests. Great photography. Specially the baby monkey so cute. I''ve never seen such a cute and clean baby monkey in my life. Thanks to Daiji and the article contributors by Dr.Anand Titus & Geeta N Pereira.

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Title: Coffee Forests - a Gateway to Wild Life

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