Measuring Our Impact: The Latest Research

In Progress

The Rainforest Alliance currently directs and/or participates in the following research studies to evaluate the effectiveness of our work:

Title Description Location
Pilot Testing a Methodology for Monitoring Water Quality on Cocoa Farms A University of Georgia researcher is assessing the cost, training requirements and data comparability of various low- and high-tech water-quality monitoring techniques on cocoa farms in Ghana. Ghana
The Role of Shade Trees in Watershed Conservation in Coffee Agro-forestry Landscapes A University of Georgia researcher is identifying the optimal shade-tree density around coffee farms for aquatic ecosystem protection and creating guidelines to improve certification program standards and Payment for Environmental Services (PES) systems. Costa Rica
Environmental and Socioeconomic Impacts of Rainforest Alliance Cattle Certification In 2010, researchers from the Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE) collected data on environmental and socio-economic indicators on noncertified cattle ranches in Latin America. In 2013, once a subset of these farms have implemented the Sustainable Agriculture Network's standard for Rainforest Alliance certification, researchers will return and evaluate the changes that have occurred on certified and noncertified ranches. Latin America
Natural Ecosystem Assessment (NEA) Pilot in Ghana and Indonesia The NEA is a new metric being piloted to evaluate the impact of the Rainforest Alliance's interventions by assessing the change in the extent and quality of natural and semi-natural habitats during the life of a project. It involves pre- and post-intervention mapping of natural habitats and the collection of field plot data. Ghana, Indonesia
An Analysis of Deforestation in Rainforest Alliance Certified and Noncertified Community Managed Forest Concessions in Northern Honduras Satellite imagery from different years is being used to analyze deforestation in and around community-managed forest concessions in and near the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve in northern Honduras. Honduras
Developing an Adaptive Management System for Evaluating Cocoa Productivity Best Practices The Rainforest Alliance is implementing a performance monitoring system to evaluate the effectiveness of training approaches and productivity best practices on cocoa productivity and quality. Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Indonesia, Peru
Evaluating the Impact of Forest Management Interventions on Biodiversity, Deforestation & Degradation This research is a collaboration with Resources for the Future to evaluate the impact of forest management practices on maintaining or enhancing biodiversity and other ecosystem benefits in the context of REDD+ (Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation while promoting forest conservation). Mexico
Impact of Cocoa Intensification Best Management Practices on Household Livelihood Systems This study will evaluate the impact of cocoa best management practices on household livelihoods using the Household Economy Approach (HEA) livelihoods-based methodology. Indonesia

Recently Completed

To view all of our completed research, please visit the Publications page or click on a specific study title, below.

Title Description Location
Report on Governmental Incentives for Sustainable Practices in the Agriculture, Forestry and Tourism Sectors in Latin America This report examines existing governmental incentives that promote sustainable production in the agriculture, forestry and tourism sectors in eight Latin American countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru. These laws and policies demonstrate a commitment to environmental stewardship in Latin America and provide a model for governmental incentives for sustainable production world-wide. Latin America
Farmer Bankability and Sustainable Finance: Farm-Level Metrics that Matter Researchers commissioned by the Rainforest Alliance compared financial recordkeeping variables between Rainforest Alliance Certified farms and noncertified farms; they also surveyed social lenders and local, in-country financial institutions. The study established a common minimum set of metrics for producers to record/report in order to apply for credit; showed that certified producers are better at tracking financial metrics; demonstrated that certified producers have better access to credit; and confirmed that although lenders prefer to lend to small and medium-sized enterprises, they also value farm-level metrics. Colombia, Peru
Impacts of SAN Certification on Water Quality, Soil Invertebrates, Farmer Livelihoods and Arboreal Mammals on Coffee Farms in Colombia The report summarizes the results of four studies conducted by Cenicafe, a Colombian coffee research institute. Streams were found to be healthier on certified farms, and certified farmers implemented a variety of Best Management Practices at a higher rate than their noncertified neighbors. Colombia
Monitoring & Evaluation of the Impact of Training Modalities for Sustainable Tea Production: Rainforest Alliance Training and Certification and Farmer Field School Training Researchers from Wageningen University found that tea farmers who received Rainforest Alliance training applied environmental best practices significantly more often than an untrained control group and experienced better leaf quality. Kenya
Kleinhans Fellowship Special Feature in FAO Non-Wood News As part of the Rainforest Alliance's 25th anniversary (and in tribute to Elysabeth Kleinhans), we asked all past Kleinhans Fellows to write essays reflecting on the current field of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) and the changes they have observed since carrying out their Kleinhans-supported research. Global
Côte D’Ivoire Cocoa: COSA Survey of Rainforest Alliance Certified Farms In 2009 and 2011, COSA scientists collected data from Rainforest Alliance Certified and noncertified cocoa farms. They report that certified farms experienced higher productivity than the control group, higher net income and fewer signs of stream erosion, among other findings. Côte D'Ivoire
Testing a BMP‐Based Approach for Assessing Gaps in Certification Impacts Research The Rainforest Alliance partnered with researchers from Wright State University to develop and test a methodology to extract certification-relevant information about Best Management Practices from the large body of academic literature that examines these practices outside of the certification context.(See Appendix H.) Global
An Evaluation of Forest Cover on Rainforest Alliance Certified and Noncertified Coffee Farms in Aratoca Municipality, Santander, Colombia Researchers from the University of the Andes in Colombia used spot satellite imagery to map forest cover within the coffee production landscape. They compared Rainforest Alliance Certified and noncertified coffee farms, and analyzed forest-cover fragmentation. Since most farms in the region grow coffee under shade, forest cover was found to play an important role in the degree of connectivity in the landscape. (The study is only available in Spanish.) Colombia
The Contribution of Rainforest Alliance/Forest Stewardship Council Certification to the Conservation of World Heritage Sites To answer the question of whether Rainforest Alliance Certified forests enhance the viability of surrounding areas, we examined the Corrective Action Requests (CARs) given to Rainforest Alliance Certified forests that are located adjacent to or within 20 km of World Heritage sites. These forestry enterprises were often required to make improvements that directly helped to mitigate threats to adjacent World Heritage sites. Global
Are Rainforest Alliance Certified Coffee Plantations Bird-Friendly? Researchers from our Salvadoran partner group SalvaNATURA examined bird density and use in Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee farms, technified (sun) coffee farms, open farmland and small and large forest fragments. Among other things, they found that migrant bird species showed a significant preference for certified farms and small and large forest areas. El Salvador
Rainforest Alliance Technical Assistance: Strengthening Community Forestry Operations in Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras In conjunction with local partners, the Rainforest Alliance's TREES' staff measured a variety of socio-economic variables before and after community forestry enterprises received technical assistance. They observed increases in income, efficiency, jobs and other variables. Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras