- Planet Possible
‘A forest on caffeine’? How coffee can help forests grow faster
Waste left over from the coffee-making process can jolt destroyed forests back to life.
The idea works like this: spread a foot and a half of the coffee pulp on an area covered in pasture grasses and the foliage underneath will smother and cook until it’s asphyxiated, dies, and decomposes.
“You essentially kill all the roots and rhizomes of the grasses,” says Zahawi.
Zahawi and Cole found that as the decomposed remains of the grasses mix with the coffee’s nutrient-rich layer, it creates a fertile soil. That, in turn, attracts insects, which attracts birds, who then drop seeds into the plot, as does the wind.
Then comes the rebirth.
“It looks like a mess for the first two or three years, and then there’s this explosion of new plants coming in,” says Zahawi. “It’s so nutrient rich they’re