Hello from Turrialba, Costa Rica!

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#1)  Hello from Turrialba, Costa Rica!

Postby pschles » Fri Mar 04, 2016 12:38 am

Hello,
I am a U of Idaho PhD student studying land use and land cover change in Central America's Trifinio Region (at the border of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador) but based at CATIE in Turrialba, Costa Rica. I am interested in learning about how to detect shading used for agroforestry in my study region if anyone knows or has ideas. The predominant shade cover used in Trifinio Region is mixed native forest species, and this makes sense, since coffee agroforests in the region are highly invisible (undetectable) on satellite images. I would like to know about the phenology of the native species there because I may be able to detect the coffee if I can pinpoint the dates of leaf off using NDVI or other images. In Costa Rica, it is different than in Trifinio, because here they use and alternative tree called Poro to cover the coffee. Any ideas on how to do learn more about this would be highly appreciated. Thanks much. Peter Schlesinger
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#2)  Re: Hello from Turrialba, Costa Rica!

Postby bbeduhn » Fri Mar 04, 2016 9:49 am

Welcome, Peter!
We seem to be getting more international posters as of late. We do have a couple of members from Costa Rica, as I'm sure you have seen.
Brian
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#3)  Re: Hello from Turrialba, Costa Rica!

Postby Bart Bouricius » Fri Mar 04, 2016 8:10 pm

Peter,

We have to talk, so send me a message and I will give you my local cell phone # and Skype name.  I am located in Alto Del Monte, in the Atenas area of Alajuela.  As I live in a village of 230 people, mostly coffee farmers, I am quite familiar with the Poró tree which can refer to any of the species in the Erythrina genus, but most commonly Erythrina fusca.  Since most members will be unfamiliar with this tree, I will mention that the farmers use it to provide shade and fix nitrogen for the coffee plants.  It can achieve a circumference of well over 12 feet (3.66 m), but in an open environment, it does not normally reach 100 feet (30.5 m).  Like the Guanacasta tree, it may get much taller in a natural forest, but I have no idea.  

I want to mention, if you are unfamiliar with this, that "shade grown" coffee in Costa Rica is quite different from most of the coffee grown in deep shade in Nicaragua, where it more closely resembles a cacao (chocolate production) plantation.  David Norman at the Institute for Central American Development Studies (ICADS) is familiar with both systems and knows several people at CATIE which, though I have been to Turrialba, I have not yet visited.

My obsession is to document and collect data on all the emergent tree species in Costa Rica and Panama.  Here are 2 images of a Poró tree with it's flat spines, from the coffee farm of my neighbors Marcos and Nora.  This species is not on my list of potential emergents.
               
                       
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#4)  Re: Hello from Turrialba, Costa Rica!

Postby Bart Bouricius » Sat Mar 05, 2016 12:47 pm

Peter,

In the mean time you may want to contact Greg Asner at Stanford.  He has used a range of imaging techniques to determine tropical forest composition etc.  http://globalecology.stanford.edu/labs/asnerlab/
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#5)  Re: Hello from Turrialba, Costa Rica!

Postby Bart Bouricius » Sun Mar 13, 2016 10:04 am

One last note Peter,

As regards Phenology,

As I am sure you are aware, many tree species that might be used to shade coffee are a bit unpredictable, in that adjacent trees of the same species may flower, fruit, and loose their leaves at different times, as is true with the Poro trees near me.  You are therefore  looking for species that may be more uniform in visible aspects of their phenology.  Can you name the most common native species that cover the coffee plants in your study area?

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