TECH

Climate Change Will Put Coffee Farming At Risk

Coffee-producing land could decrease drastically.

14/09/2017 13:57

Climate change is something that is clearly affecting every single aspect of life on Earth.

One area in particular where it could have a serious, and detrimental impact is on the coffee farmers of South America.

You see the problem is that coffee is very particular about where it is grown. Some of our most popular varieties are only capable of flourishing on the high mountainsides of South America.

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With global warming inevitably affecting these already sparse pieces of land, the impact it could have on coffee farmers is enormous.

To better understand this impact and how it could be mitigated Pablo Imbach from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture as well as a team from the Moore Center for Science and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute decided to try and predict the effect it would have on local biological ecosystems.

While previous studies have given a very good broad analysis of how farming land suitable for coffee would decrease, it wasn’t at a resolution that Imbach and his team were happy with.

Instead they focused on South America in particular and dived right down into the square-km of each ecosystem to paint a more accurate picture of what would happen.

Oswaldo Rivas / Reuters

What they found was worrying. Previous studies which have suggested that coffee-producing land would drop by around 30% between 2040 and 2060.

In their research they found that coffee-producing land could in fact drop by as much as 70% or even 88% in areas where there would be particularly high levels of warming.

One of the key issues here is pollination. A diverse and healthy bee population is crucial to the successful growing of coffee.

In their study the team predict a huge drop in bee diversity, suggesting that in some regions just 5 species would survive out of an original 10-13.

So what’s the solution? Well the research is just a predictive model, but what it does suggest is that a continued and improved focus on making sure the local ecosystem, and in particular bee populations, thrives and survives is vital.

The end result? Well as climate change continues to affect our planet aspects of our lives will start to change, now we know that one of those aspects could just be our morning caffeine fix.

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