Graduation Date

Fall 2021

Document Type



Master of Science degree with a major in Natural Resources, option Wildlife

Committee Chair Name

Dr. Matthew Johnson

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. Sharon Kahara

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Dr. Jeff Black

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Fourth Committee Member Name

Dr. Peter Njoroge

Fourth Committee Member Affiliation

Community Member or Outside Professional

Subject Categories

Natural Resources


Coffee, one of the major traded commodities in the world, has captured attention of both the international business class and conservation community due to its value as a beverage and for the habitat it can provide for wildlife. Previous work in Central Kenya has demonstrated that when cultivated with shade trees, coffee farms can host high levels of bird diversity. However, questions of how the bird community in shade coffee farms compares to those in natural forest remained unanswered. Using three visits to each of 160-point count locations in natural forest (80) and shade coffee sites (80) in Central Kenya, I estimated bird abundance and species richness in natural forest and shade coffee. Specifically, I predicted higher abundance and diversity of granivores, forest visitors, forest generalists and no forest association in shade coffee than in natural forest, and higher abundance and diversity of insectivores, frugivores and forest specialists in natural forest than in shade coffee farms. Compared to natural forest, shade coffee had higher bird abundance and species diversity of all feeding guilds except frugivores, which were mostly detected in natural forest. Forest specialists and forest generalists were more abundant and with higher species richness in natural forest than in shade coffee. My study accentuates the value of remnant native trees within coffee plantations for the persistence and conservation of avian communities, while also clarifying that some groups of birds are reliant on natural forests and unlikely to be conserved in shade coffee farms. These findings contribute to a growing understanding of the value and limitations of shade coffee for avian conservation, which land managers can use in their management plans while promoting conservation efforts.

Citation Style

JWL (Journal of Wildlife)

Included in

Biodiversity Commons