by 👩💻 Stephanie Boyd
You don’t know what you have until it’s gone, as the saying goes – and according to recent studies undertaken by scientists, over half of the world’s natural wild coffee could be at risk of extinction in the near future. According to Reuters, recent studies suggest that both deforestation and climate change could render over 50% of the world’s natural coffee resources null and void in years to come.
Aaron Davis, leading research into coffee for the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, UK, believes that immediate action is required in a number of tropical countries in order for some of the most previously resistant species to survive the years to come. Among those at risk, reportedly, include the popular Robusta and Arabica blends – and according to Mr Davis, there are plenty more species at risk which had otherwise shown indication of resistance to considerable climate damage.
Research into coffee’s future amid changing climates and deforestation was recently published via both Global Change Biology and Science Advances. The research team reportedly ran a projection of how climate change could affect Ethiopia’s wild Arabica. Their findings showed that Arabica could diminish in the country by up to 85% by 2080 – meaning that time may be running out to keep hold of our favorite blends and beans.
Many coffee species threatened with extinction - scientists [video]
Climate change continues to loom, despite continued division in opinion. Africa, in particular, is thought to be at risk of coffee extinction above anywhere else in the world right now – and it’s not just coffee drinkers who could be facing a stark future, it’s those growing and producing the blends, too.
“There are many countries which depend on coffee for the (…) bulk of their export earnings,” Mr Davis advised Reuters. “It’s estimated there are 100 million people producing coffee in farms around the world.” Coffee export from Ethiopia in particular is thought to generate around $1 billion in revenue each year.
Alarming Percentage of the World's Wild Coffee Species at Risk of Extinction [video]
It is a stark picture painted – and the only way that wild coffee is to be saved, it would seem, is for their forest habitats to be targeted in an attempt to decrease deforestation and to ramp up efforts to reduce carbon emissions. With global carbon emission targets far from being reached according to recent data, we may be a way off reaching a plateau. We, too, are a way off reaching coffee extinction – but there may be generations long after ours who may never get to try that iconic cup of joe on a morning.