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Coffee Extinction

A new study released by scientists at the U.K. Royal Botanic Gardens has concluded that wild Arabica coffee plants are at serious risk of going extinct within this century due to climate change. Two main types of analysis were performed: a locality analysis and an area analysis.

In the locality analysis the most favorable outcome is a c. 65% reduction in the number of pre-existing bio climatically suitable localities, and at the worst, an almost 100% (99.7%) reduction, by 2080.

In the area analysis the most favorable outcome is a 38% reduction, and the least favorable a c. 90% reduction, by 2080. Bioclimatic suitability refers to the combination of climatic variables that are necessary for the health and survival of a species: loss of optimum bioclimatic suitability places natural populations under severe environmental stress, leading to a high risk of extinction.

This study assesses the survival of Arabica, rather than productivity or beverage quality, under the influence of accelerated climate change. “Wild Arabica is considered important for the sustainability of the coffee industry due to its considerable genetic diversity,” Kew said. “The climate sensitivity of Arabica is confirmed, supporting the widely reported assumption that climate change will have a damaging impact on commercial coffee production worldwide.”

The wild Arabica plant is only thought to grow naturally in the highlands of southern Ethiopia and a few regions of neighboring South Sudan. Scientists believe some plants in certain parts could perish as soon as 2020; with a worst-case scenario for the entire species of 2080.

Unfortunately, with the Arabica plant being the parent of 70% of the species this can become a devastating outlook for certain coffee companies and coffee lovers. Especially when studies show that over 54% of Americans over the age of eighteen drink coffee. That is about 100 million coffee drinkers daily.  This could have a staggering effect on the economy and the mentality of coffee drinkers worldwide.

Sources:
Plos One.org
Statistic Brain

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