Climate Change Threatens The World's Most Popular Coffee Bean

First Posted: Jun 23, 2017 04:14 AM EDT

Arabica coffee, which is known as the world's most popular coffee bean, is now being threatened by climate change. About 60 percent of the coffee-growing areas in Ethiopia could not be suitable for agriculture by the end of the century.

The findings of the study were published in Nature Plants on Monday. The researchers discovered that low rainfall and rising temperatures have effects on the coffee-growing areas in Ethiopia, which is known as the world's fifth largest coffee producer, according to CNN.

Coffee lovers might be saddened by this condition. In addition, about 15 million Ethiopian farmers or about 15 percent of Ethiopia's population depends on the coffee industry.

Sebsebe Demissew, a senior botanical scientist at the University of Addis Ababa and one of the co-authors of the study, explained that Arabica coffee originates from the highland forests of Ethiopia. He further explained that as Ethiopia is the main natural storehouse of genetic diversity for Arabica coffee, what happens in Ethiopia could have long-term impacts on coffee farming globally.

Arabica coffee originated in Ethiopia dated about the ninth century. It accounts for about 70 percent global coffee production and is now grown in other parts of the world. On the other hand, Ethiopia is a home to many variations of the bean that could create various flavors, according to Quartz.

In the study, the researchers from the Ethiopia and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in the United Kingdom used simulations and satellite imagery to about more than 30,000 kilometers (18,641 miles) of coffee-growing areas to determine how it would react to climate change. They discovered that a 4 degrees Celsius increase in temperature could reduce the land suitable for coffee-growing by 39 percent to 59 percent.

So, what could be the solution to this? The scientists thought that transferring coffee plantations to hillside forests could heighten the coffee growing areas by fourfold. On the other hand, it has a limit. With this, the team speculates that the growing plantations could have grown on top of Ethiopia's mountain by 2040. The result could be affirmative and sustaining particularly for all the coffee lovers all around the world. 

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