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Chocolate CrisisClimate Change and Other Threats to the Future of Cacao$
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Dale Walters

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781683401674

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9781683401674.001.0001

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Chocolate Is a Product of the Cacao Tree

Chocolate Is a Product of the Cacao Tree

(p.23) 3 Chocolate Is a Product of the Cacao Tree
Chocolate Crisis

Dale Walters

University Press of Florida

This chapter looks at both the Theobroma cacao tree and its cultivation. It covers cacao botany: its unusual habit of cauliflory, where the flowers, and hence the pods, arise directly from the trunk and main branches of the tree; pollination of its flowers, which is linked with the ecology of the rain forest in which it grows; and dispersal of its seeds, which is almost unique in its dependency on vertebrate animals such as monkeys, bats, and squirrels. The chapter also deals with the cultivation of cacao, mostly by smallholder farmers on individual, family-managed farms, typically 0.5 –7 ha in size, in the lowland tropical regions of Latin America, West Africa, and Indonesia. Finally, the chapter examines the impact of the increasing demand for chocolate on the push towards the intensification of cocoa cultivation, threatening to shift production even further from the traditionally managed, sustainable cultivation systems of the past.

Keywords:   Theobroma cacao, cacao tree, cacao botany, ecology, cocoa cultivation, sustainable cultivation

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