Thu, Nov 15, 2012 - Page 11 News List

Climate change threatens sweet smell of morning coffee
氣候變遷 咖啡恐難飄香

Coffee beans are heated in a roaster at a coffee shop in Taipei’s Neihu District on Tuesday.

Photo: Lin Ya-ti, Taipei Times

Rising temperatures due to climate change could mean wild Arabica coffee will be extinct in 70 years, posing a risk to the genetic sustainability of one of the world’s basic commodities, scientists said.

Although commercial coffee growers would still be able to cultivate crops in plantations designed with the right conditions, experts say the loss of wild Arabica, which has greater genetic diversity, would make it harder for plantations to survive in the long-term and beat threats like pests and disease.

A study by researchers at Britain’s Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in collaboration with scientists in Ethiopia found that 38 to 99.7 percent of the areas suitable for wild Arabica will disappear by 2080 if predictions of rising temperatures pan out.

Because coffee is a highly climate-dependent crop, the increase of a few degrees of average temperature in growing regions can put at risk the future of Arabica coffee and the livelihood of millions of people who grow and produce it.

“The extinction of Arabica coffee is a startling and worrying prospect,” said Aaron Davis, head of coffee research at the Royal Botanic Gardens, who led the study.

In a telephone interview, he said the findings made it even more important for organizations such as the World Coffee Research collaboration to continue work to improve the genetic strength of cultivated Arabica by preserving wild types.

Researchers used computer modeling to analyze the influence of rising temperatures on the geographical distribution of wild Arabica coffee.

The results, published in a Public Library of Science (PLOS) journal, showed a “profoundly negative influence” on the number and extent of wild Arabica populations, the researchers said.

Some Notes

● Study suggests many wild growing areas will go by 2080.

● Arabica accounts for 60 percent of global coffee production.

● Wild Arabica vital for genetic diversity, sustainability.

● 研究顯示許多種植野生阿拉比卡咖啡的區域,將在二○八○年之前消失。

● 阿拉比卡咖啡占全球咖啡生產的百分之六十。

● 野生阿拉比卡咖啡對基因多樣性與永續性,扮演不可或缺的角色。










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