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Wild arabica coffee could be extinct in 70 years, due to climate change

Susmita BaralSusmita Baral
Wild arabica coffee could be extinct in 70 years, due to climate change


You know that carbon emissions cause rising temperatures and they, in turn, cause extreme weather. But it’s not just your weather that rising temperatures are threatening. According to a study by researchers at Britain’s Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, rising temperatures could make wild arabica coffee extinct in 70 years. Translation: The sustainability of coffee is at risk!

The study, in collaboration with scientists in Ethiopia, used computer modeling to find “that 38 to 99.7 percent of the areas suitable for wild arabica will disappear by 2080 if predictions of rising temperatures pan out.” Since coffee is climate-dependent, even the slight fluctuation in temperature can put Arabica coffee at risk. And in turn, the livelihoods of those involved in manufacturing it.

The researchers wrote:

“The models assume intact natural vegetation, whereas the highland forests of Ethiopia and South Sudan are highly fragmented due to deforestation. Other factors, such as pests and diseases, changes in flowering times, and perhaps a reduction in the number of birds (which disperse the coffee seeds), are not included, and these are likely to have a compounding negative influence.”

“The extinction of arabica coffee is a startling and worrying prospect,” said Aaron Davis, who led the study and is the head of coffee research at the Royal Botanic Gardens, to Reuters. Reuters writes: “In a telephone interview, he said the findings made it even more important for organizations such as the World Coffee Research collaboration to continue work to improve the genetic strength of cultivated arabica by preserving wild types.”

The study was published in a the Public Library of Science journal PLOS ONE.

Susmita is a freelance writer and editor in the Greater New York City area with her own blog on natural beauty (Cherry Stained Lips). In her spare time, Susmita enjoys cooking, traveling, dappling in photography, art history and interior design, and moonlighting as a therapist for her loved ones.