Smithsonian Global

Robert A. Rice (Bob)

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Coffee roasters holding cups of bird friendly coffee


Recent Publications


Power to Convene
Science & Conservation

Robert Rice studies agroecology and land-use practices and policy in Central and South America and the U.S. He researches agroforestry systems and their impacts on and benefits to the environment and human communities.

Bob works with Smithsonian fellows and international partners to study the sustainability dimensions of a range of production systems. He is also director of the Bird Friendly® Coffee program at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (SMBC), part of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.

An independent coffee roaster himself, Bob works within the specialty coffee community to promote economic benefits related to silvo-pastoral systems—combining traditional forests with grazing—and the potential habitat characteristics of a variety of managed lands.

Bob enjoys spreading the word about how we can help protect migratory bird habitats and create sustainable farms for coffee growers. He began his lifelong interest in sustainable coffee farms while living on a coffee farm for eight months after his undergraduate years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Bob received his PhD in Geography from the University of California, Berkeley in 1990.


Bird Friendly® Coffee Program   Active

In 1996, the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (SMBC) organized and hosted the First Sustainable Coffee Congress.