23/Apr/2014 - Last News Update: 21:43

Climate change threat to Arabica coffee crops

Category: Headlines

Published: 8th Nov 2012 13:08:11

Climate change could severely reduce the areas suitable for wild Arabica coffee before the end of the century.

That is the conclusion of work by a UK-Ethiopian team published in the academic journal Plos One.

It supports predictions that a changing climate could damage global production of coffee - the world's second most traded commodity after oil.

Wild Arabica is important for the sustainability of the coffee industry because of its genetic diversity.

Arabica coffee and Robusta coffee are the two main species used commercially, although the former provides about 70% of production.

The Arabica crops grown in the world's coffee plantations are from very limited genetic stock and are thought to lack the flexibility to cope with climate change and other threats such as pests and diseases.

The researchers from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, UK, and the Environment and Coffee Forest Forum (ECFF) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, examined the future distribution of wild Arabica using climate modelling.

They looked at how wild Arabica might be affected under three different carbon emission scenarios and over three time intervals (2020, 2050 and 2080).

When the researchers looked at what would happen in the locations where Arabica was currently grown, the best-case outcome was a 65% reduction in suitable sites by 2080.

The worst-case outcome was a 99.7% reduction by 2080.

A different analytical approach yielded a 38% reduction as the most favourable outcome and a 90% reduction as the least favourable by 2080.

Aaron Davis, head of coffee research at the Royal Botanic Gardens, said: "The extinction of Arabica coffee is a startling and worrying prospect. However, the objective of the study was not to provide scaremonger predictions for the demise of Arabica in the wild.

"The scale of the predictions is certainly cause for concern, but should be seen more as a baseline, from which we can more fully assess what actions are required."

The researchers said the results should be regarded as "conservative", because the modelling does not factor in the large-scale deforestation that has occurred in the highland forests of Ethiopia and South Sudan (the natural home of Arabica coffee).

Moreover, because of the lack of suitable data, the models assumed intact natural vegetation, whereas the highland forests of Ethiopia and South Sudan are highly fragmented due to deforestation.

Ethiopia remains a big producer of the Arabica variety, but Brazil and Colombia are now the two largest countries for commercial Arabica growing.

Other factors, such as pests and diseases, changes in flowering times, and shifting bird numbers (which disperse the coffee seeds), were also not included in the modelling.

Co-author Tadesse Woldemariam Gole, from the ECFF said: "As part of a future-proofing exercise for the long-term sustainability of Arabica production it is essential that the reserves established in Ethiopia to conserve Arabica genetic resources are appropriately funded and carefully managed."

Source:
BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2012. Climate change threat to Arabica coffee crops [Online] (Updated 8th Nov 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1462815/Climate-change-threat-to-Arabica-coffee-crops [Accessed 23rd Apr 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Parking firms pay £1.3m more to DVLA

    Private parking firms paid more than £6m to the DVLA for the names and addresses of drivers in the past year - an increase of 28%, figures suggest.
  • Facebook earnings surge on mobile advertising

    Social networking giant Facebook reported profits of $642m (£383m) during the first quarter of 2014, beating analyst expectations.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • Griff Rhys Jones withdraws from Cardiff chancellor role

    Griff Rhys Jones has withdrawn from becoming Cardiff University's new chancellor just two weeks after an embarrassing debacle which saw his appointment halted at the last minute.
  • Mexican writer Elena Poniatowska receives Cervantes prize

    Mexican writer and journalist Elena Poniatowska has received the most important award for literature in the Spanish language, the Cervantes prize.
  • Forget Silicon Valley, meet Silicon Bali

    The Sun is setting over lush green rice paddies in Denpasar, Bali, as Andrea Loubier leads me downstairs, towards the pool.