What’s in a label? Rainforest-Alliance certified banana production versus non-certified conventional banana production:
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Export banana production in Central and South America, Costa Rica included, is a very pesticide intensive crop, receiving a lot of negative publicity with regards human exposure to pesticides and environmental degradation. In the 1990s, the Rainforest Alliance (RA) certification scheme was established to certify banana producing farms that met a number of social, occupation health and environmental standards set by RA together with their certifying body, the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN). The RA seal is meant to convey that bananas were produced using the Best management practices that, among other things, ensures a lower impact on the environment. This study is one of the first, independent scientific studies of the environmental impact of some of the principals set by RA and SAN. The study focuses on insect and bird diversity as an indicator of ecosystem health, and uses yellow bowl traps, pitfall traps and bird survey with audio recording point counts. Five RA certified farms, six non-RA certified farms, and five organic certified farms were sampled; five replicates of each type of insect trap were taken from inside, 30m inside, the edge and adjacent forest areas and 2 replicates were taken of audio bird recordings at inside, edge and forest sites. The data was analyzed with RDA multivariate analyses andMonte carlopermutation tests. The results showed that RA certified farms had less insect diversity when compared to non-RA certified farms and that both farm types had less insect diversity than organic farms, and that there was little difference between RA and non-RA certified farms with regards bird community composition. This study only addressed a few of the principles set forth in the certification standards and that further research needs to be done to investigate the effects of changes made as the result of other principles included in the SAN standards.
banana production, Rainforest Alliance certification, management practices, Costa Rica, insect diversity
Research subject Ecotoxicology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-61856OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-61856DiVA: diva2:438180