Influence of mountainous ecosystems in the production of Arabica coffee
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The aim of this study is to gain an understanding of how land use intensity in high altitude areas and soil management influences abundance and diversity of natural enemies, including pests of coffee and influences on microclimate and soil characteristics of coffee systems. Further it aims at establishing the relationship between the delivery of ecosystem services and coffee productivity. The study will generate knowledge for better understanding of coffee agro-ecosystems for improved productivity amidst increasing population pressure, climate variability, declining soil fertility, and the range of pests and diseases in the highly vulnerable landscapes on the slopes of Mt Elgon in eastern Uganda. Recommendations will be made on systems with high potential for natural pest and disease control, climate change mitigation, improved soil characteristics and microclimate control. To achieve this, fixed factors namely; altitude, land use intensity, soil fertility management type, and the interaction between the factors will be included in a generalized linear model with species richness, diversity and abundance of agents of ecosystem services (pest control agents, decomposers) in coffee fields, and with coffee yield parameters as dependent variables in the analyses of variance. For tests to establish the relationship between species richness and abundance of the agents of ecosystem services and the environmental variables and/or yield, multivariate analysis tools of Principal Component Analysis and Discriminant Analysis will be used.