Kasey Dresser| March 18, 2019
This weeks segment looks at how deforestation is affecting coffee production.
Deforestation and climate change may wipe out coffee worldwide.
This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.
Aaron Davis, a British botanist, has spent the last 30 years traveling across the world recording the patterns of coffee forests and farms. Sixty percent of coffee species are at risk for extinction due to the effects of climate change and deforestation. Coffee plantations are expected to vanish from the three major coffee producing continents.
Part of Dr. Davis’ research is the development of a barometer to test the biodiversity of forests and risks posed to coffee plants. The most popular coffee bean, arabica, comes from Ethiopia and has been shown to be extremely vulnerable to climate change effects. He reports that the ecosystems are becoming less diverse which mean less food and less shelter for species.
While there are 124 coffee species, a majority are wild and inaccessible. Dr. Davis and the rest of his team continue their research to find rare coffee plants and new places to farm them. His travels have been directed toward cooler areas. On the teams’ most recent expedition, they found a hillside in Liberia covered in stenophylla, a flowering coffee plant that they are currently testing.
More research will hopefully ensure coffee is available long into the future.
For more information, visit iowa-environmental-focus dot org.
From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Sara E. Mason.