Climate change and deforestation threatening the existence of several coffee species

Climate change and deforestation threatening the existence of several coffee species

Climate change could pose a threat to your morning coffee.

Scientists have warned 60% of the world's coffee species are faced with extinction.

They include the popular Arabica and Robusta types.

The British researchers say current conservation measures are not enough to deal with challenges from climate change and deforestation.

The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew said: "With global population increasing, so is the demand for coffee. Can the world's coffee production keep up with global demand?

"For the foreseeable future, the answer is yes, with bumper harvests recorded in recent years, and plenty of scope for increasing production in many areas.

"If, however, you look at the history of coffee cultivation, it has not been plain sailing.

"In recent years there have been some catastrophic problems with coffee production in many major producing countries due to issues such as fungal diseases, pests and drought."

It has assessed the extinction risk of 1,000 plant species.

As part of the project, during 2017 and 2018 it reviewed review more than two decades of research on wild coffees to produce formal International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) extinction risk assessments for all 124 coffee species.

It found that more than 60% of coffee species are threatened with extinction.

Further work showed that many of the species with the greatest potential for use in coffee crop development are amongst those with the highest extinction risk - and do not have adequate measures in place for effective conservation.

Climate change and deforestation threatening the existence of several coffee species

There are also several species that have not been seen in the wild, or in cultivation, for more than 100 years.

It has warned that some of these may already be extinct.

Around 45% of coffee species are not found in living collections or seed banks, and 30% have no protection in the wild.

An additional extinction risk assessment was carried out by Kew and Ethiopian researchers on Arabica coffee for the first time, with climate change projections incorporated into it.

The analyses showed that wild Arabica is endangered, with its natural population estimated to reduce by up to 50% or more by 2088 due to climate change alone.

"This paints an increasingly worrying picture for many other coffee species if climate change is taken into account in considering their extinction risk", Kew said.

"However, for most other coffee species we don't have the detailed spatial data required to attempt climate change projections".

It said protected areas and collections require more resources so that they can incorporate more coffee species and greater coffee genetic diversity, upgrade their facilities and improve management.

This is particularly true for specific African countries such as Ethiopia, Tanzania, Cameroon, Angola and Madagascar - which have the highest levels of wild coffee species diversity.

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