“Love Coffee? It’s Another Reason to Care About Climate Change


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“At least 60 percent of wild coffee species are at risk of extinction, and climate change will make wild Arabica endangered, new research shows…


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“Climate Change and deforestation are threatening most of the world’s wild coffee species, including Arabica, whose domesticated cousin drips into most morning brews.

With rising global temperatures already presenting risks to coffee farmers across the tropics, the findings of two studies published this week should serve as a warning to growers and drinkers everywhere, said Aaron P. Davis, a senior research leader at England’s Royal Botanic Gardens and an author of the studies.

“We should be concerned about the loss of any species for lots of reasons,” Davis said, “but for coffee specifically, I think we should remember that the cup in front of us originally came from a wild source.”

“Davis’s studies, published this week in the journals Science Advances and Global Change Biology, assessed the risks to wild coffee. One examined 124 wild coffee species and found that at least 60 percent of them are already at risk of extinction, even before considering the effects of a warming world.

“The other study applied climate projections to the wild Arabica from which most cultivated coffee is derived, and the picture darkened: The plant moved from being considered a species of “least concern” to “endangered.” Data constraints prevented the researchers from applying climate models to all coffee species, but Davis said it would almost certainly worsen the outlook.

“We think our ‘at least 60 percent’ is conservative, unfortunately,” he said, noting that the other chief threats—deforestation and limits on distribution—can be worsened by climate change. “All those things are very tightly interconnected…”


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