Many Coffee Species At Risk Of Extinction Due To Climate Change

Many Coffee Species At Risk Of Extinction Due To Climate Change

March 15, 2020

Massively oscillating and raising temperatures as well as changing rainfall patterns affect plant growth. Climate change is thus directly impacting coffee growth and global coffee yield. To make things worse, the “immune system” of plants is also affected rendering them more vulnerable to diseases.

It began to show at significant scale around 2000, when first losses due to a fungal disease, now referred to as “coffee leaf rust”, were reported. It was first Africa, then Asia and now the Americas. For instance, the Central American coffee rust outbreak in the 2011 season affected more than 50% of coffee farms. This resulted in almost 2 million jobs lost and a massive £bn income loss.

With climate change and resulting diseases escalating, wild coffee species are an important source for preserving the world’s coffee supply. It comes with serious scientific challenges since we can only rely on two major coffee types, each with their own quirks: Arabica coffee only grows in specific geographies and Robusta coffee, whilst resistant to leaf rust, is vulnerable to many other diseases. Notwithstanding this, Robusta varieties have been used to developing resistance to coffee leaf rust in Arabica varieties through cross breeding.

Above approach however requires wild coffee species to thrive. Sadly, a recent study led Moving Bean’s neighbours, the UK’s Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, found that over 60% of coffee species are now threatened with extinction.

And coffee species are particularly vulnerable to extinction because they grow in very limited geographic regions. To make things worse, wild coffee species are in steep decline caused by re-purposing of land or overharvesting of the coffee plant. Similar to the animal world, a number of wild coffee relatives have not been seen for decades. We sadly conclude they might be extinct.

The Kew study shows that the sustainability of coffee depends on conservation of these species where they grow, i.e. in protected areas and working with communities throughout their native distribution in the Americas, Asia and Africa.

Conserving genetic diversity should thus be included in current approaches for sustainable coffee production, such as Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance certifications. This protection of the ecosystem ensures the viability of the ecosystem and the livelihoods of people from the bean in the fields to coffee cup enjoyed.



Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Our Moving Beans Blogs

4 Delicious Ways to Use Coffee In Desserts and Savoury Meals
4 Delicious Ways to Use Coffee In Desserts and Savoury Meals

September 15, 2021

Did you know that in the UK, approximately 95 million cups of coffee are consumed every day (britishcoffeeassociation.org/coffee-in-the-uk/coffee-facts)? This is a testament to how coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the country. After all, coffee is versatile — giving us drinks from affogato to macchiato. It can even be used for unique recipes (movingbeans.com/blogs/compostable-coffee-pods-articles/five-incredible-coffee-recipes), like coffee milkshakes and Irish coffee.

Read More

How Moving Beans’ Compostable Coffee Pods Help the Earth
How Moving Beans’ Compostable Coffee Pods Help the Earth

September 15, 2021

Are you someone who loves coffee and usually uses a Nespresso machine? We all can’t deny how using Nespresso machines and coffee pods are indeed super convenient, Though we also know that every cup of coffee we make using a Nespresso machine can contribute to polluting our environment.

Read More

Product Spotlight: A Classic Blend from Australia
Product Spotlight: A Classic Blend from Australia

September 01, 2021

We recently (and very proudly) announced the launch of our new sister company, Moving Beans Australia, which will be catering for our wonderful customers based in Australia and New Zealand.

It's early days, but the Aussie-made Moving Beans seems to be a hit down under.

We've learnt a lot from Australian coffee culture - some of the world's best coffee roasters are Australian and even London's burgeoning coffee scene is heavily inspired by Australian coffee culture.

So what we tried to do is pack that great culture and great taste into our compostable and biodegradable coffee pods. A great example of this is our Australian Classic Espresso Blend.

Read More