Drink Up All the Coffee You Can Before it Gets Extinct

First Posted: Nov 23, 2012 05:39 AM EST

Can you imagine your life without coffee? Yes, now you may have to, as a new study from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, suggests that the prized Arabica coffee could become extinct in the next 70 years. It says that the most consumed species of coffee, Arabica, may disappear by 2080 due to climate change.

"The extinction of Arabica coffee is a startling and worrying prospect," said Aaron Davis, head of RGB's coffee research program. The average temperatures in Ethiopia have increased by nearly one-third of a degree celsius per decade since the 1960s, according to a Reuters report.

"Arabica's history is punctuated by problems with diseases, pests and productivity problems-and growers have always gone back to the wild and used genetic diversity to address them," National Geographic report quoted Davis as saying.

"There are only two main types of cultivated coffee, Arabica (which comes from the wild plant Coffea arabica) and Robusta (derived from Coffea canephora). But there are more than 125 species in the wild, with more still being discovered," Davis said.

The researchers conducted two types of analysis. "In the locality analysis, we found that the best outcome was for 65 percent fall in the number of pre existing bio climatically suitable localities and the worst was for a 99.7 percent drop by 2080,"  the researchers said. In the area analysis, the best outcome was a 38 percent reduction in suitable growing regions and the worst case was a 90 percent reduction by 2080.

Arabica typically grows in the upper zones of vegetation on tropical mountains, explained botanist Peter Raven, who was not involved in the study. "Because such species are already living on the edges of ecosystems, the plants have nowhere to go when temperatures rise," according to the RGB Kew report.

"The kinds of cloud forest climates where Arabica is native are disappearing, and the plants and animals that occur in them are going to be among the most threatened on Earth. Most coffee production throughout the world will be in trouble as the climate shifts," Raven warned.

The economy of countries like Brazil, Sudan and Ethiopia mainly depend on Arabica coffee where it is said to have originated. It contributes more than 60 percent of global coffee production, and is valued at around $16 billion in wholesale trade this year, according to Indian Express.

See Now: NASA's Juno Spacecraft's Rendezvous With Jupiter's Mammoth Cyclone

©2017 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission. The window to the world of science news.

Join the Conversation

Real Time Analytics