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Amanda D. Rodewald

Garvin Professor and Senior Director of Center for Avian Population Studies


Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Department of Natural Resources & the Environment


Cornell University


Coffee, Conservation and Communities

Many of the planet’s biodiversity hotspots face widespread deforestation, land degradation, and poverty, and, as such, require creative ways to sustain species, protect ecosystem services, and support human health and well-being.   Shade-grown coffee farms are well-suited to simultaneously meet social and ecological needs. When coffee is grown under trees, farms can supply a variety of products (e.g., coffee, fruits, firewood, lumber, and medicines), while at the same time provide forest cover, support diverse species assemblages, and reduce erosion and chemical use compared to other intensive agricultural systems. Perhaps no other group better highlights the positive role that shade-coffee can play in conservation than Neotropical migratory birds, which heavily use shade-coffee farms.  Unfortunately, traditional shade management has given way to intensive “sun coffee” monocultures.  In her talk, Dr. Rodewald will discuss how shade-coffee and other agroforestry practices can support bird conservation, healthy ecosystems, and human communities in Latin America.


Amanda D. Rodewald is the Garvin Professor and Senior Director of the Center for Avian Population Studies at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment at Cornell University.  Prior to joining the Cornell faculty in 2013, she spent 13 years as a professor at The Ohio State University.  Amanda received a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from University of Montana, an M.S. in Zoology from University of Arkansas, and a Ph.D. in Ecology from Pennsylvania State University.  She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Ornithological Society, among others.  Dr. Rodewald directs an interdisciplinary, international research program in ecological and sustainability sciences that seeks to identify conservation strategies that support both people and the environment.  She has published over 165 scientific papers, 9 book chapters, and 60 popular articles for broad audiences, and she consistently engages with managers, decision-makers, community members, and private sector partners.  Dr. Rodewald also supports science-based decision-making and policy by serving on advisory boards including the Science Advisory Board of US EPA, delivering briefings and testifying to Congressional leaders and staffers, testifying to Congress, and writing for policy-focused outlets like The Hill.  

More information:

Conservation Science & Shade Coffee. 2017. Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Shade-Grown Coffee Sustains Songbirds and People Alike. 2016. Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

 Two embedded short films at

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