CLIMATE CHANGE MODELING
To ensure the long term success of native cacao in Peru, climate change must be considered. As a starting point for other aspects of the FFC project, our scientists tested climate models for accuracy regarding the current distribution of cacao in Peru and then projected those distributions into the future. Check out their results here! The good news? Cacao can remain a significant crop in Peru despite the uncertainties that slimate change imposes. The catch? It will take good ecological and genetic management.
Bats, birds, ants, spiders, and more! A high level of biodiversity is a fundamental tenant of any thriving and sustainable agroforestry system. Researchers on the FFC project are using an array of methods to establish a baseline of biodiversity in fine & flavor cacao agroforests. They are also investigating what management conditions promote this biodiversity and what ecosystem services, like pollination and biological pest control, are provided by which species.
PLANTATION DESIGN & GENETIC RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
Much of the native cacao being grown today is on unmanaged plantations and features little genetic diversity. FFC researchers are developing a large data base for the genetic diversity of native cacao, selecting promising varieties, and generating living gene banks. How are they doing this (trees do indeed take a while to grow) ? They’re grafting more genetically diverse trees onto healthy, mature plantations! While they’re at it, other aspects of plantation design are being considered, like shade management. Meanwhile, locals are learning how to graft for themselves!