Climate Change Threatens The Future Of The Coffee Industry

Coffee faces extinction due to climate change

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world. It has been helping us to be more productive and keeps us wide awake to complete our tasks on time. But nowadays, the coffee family needs our help and is somehow sending us a distress signal jolting us humans to wake up about Mother Nature’s current situation.

As a result of Climate Change and deforestation, cultivated coffee crops face terrible epidemic of diseases and pests. To develop more resistant, domesticated and well-known varieties which are mostly seen in coffee shops, the future of the coffee industry depends on its wild cousins, this was suggested by two recent studies this Jan 2019.

According to Aaron P. Davis, the author of the studies which was published in the Global Change Biology and Science Advances, they analyzed 124 wild coffee species and before taking into account the possible effects of global warming, they discovered that at least 60 percent are at risk of extinction.

The second study was about examining the possible effects of climate change on wild Arabica in the future. The most likely wild source to keep the coffee industry going is the Wild Arabica. It is usually grown in Ethiopian and South Sudan forests. Researchers were not able to apply climate models to other coffee species due to data limitations.

Wild Arabica, Coffee Source Photo By: Forest and Kim Starr

Arabica is the world’s most popular kind of coffee worldwide. It comprises 60 percent of the world’s coffee production. Most of the coffee available at coffee shops and groceries are Arabica. It contains about 60% more lipids and almost twice the amount of sugar. As a result, Arabica tastes better and is less bitter compared to most coffees.

Most of the coffee that we drink daily are grown or bred because of their taste, resiliency to diseases or pests, and other significant attributes.

The study found that the mentioned forests has warmed nearly 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit every decade since 1960, while rainy seasons have decreased. By the next 70 years, it is estimated that half of the wild plants will disappear.

Davis mentioned that one of the best things to somehow solve this problem is to create strains more resilient to drought and pests, this would most likely depend on a healthy group of wild Arabica.

Every organism is somehow interconnected to another. One should always keep in mind that the coffee in front of us initially came from a wild source. If a big population of the wild species of coffee became extinct, we may not have the cup that keeps us awake when we need it the most.

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