Previous studies have shown that shade trees in cacao and coffee are important habitats for inter-American migratory birds. A survey of 21 cacao farmers along the northern, central, and southern Pacific Coast of Ecuador found that shade trees are associated with unirrigated, traditional cacao varieties and low levels of chemical inputs. Farmers stressed the importance of shade for managing soil moisture and soil fertility, and for managing some weeds and diseases. Most of the shade trees were not wild forest trees, but had been planted and protected by the farm families. Many other trees are intercropped with cacao for economic reasons, not related to shade. Chocolate manufacturers, consumers, and environmental activists can encourage farmers to maintain shade canopies by paying a premium for the traditional, shade-loving, highquality aromatic cocoa varieties.