(ORDO NEWS) — Climate warming is bad for the well-being of many species of animals and plants, but one of the most painful losses for humanity may be Arabica.
Already within the next century, the production of coffee beans may fall significantly, and the price of one cup of the drink will increase many times over.
Arabian coffee ( Coffea arabica ) is one of the two plant species from which we harvest most of our coffee beans.
Although this tree is native to Africa, it produces the highest yields at temperatures of 18-23 degrees Celsius and is hypersensitive to climate change.
Even a small increase in temperature can affect the quality and quantity of grains obtained.
Today, the top three Arabica producers are Brazil, Colombia and Ethiopia. In these developing countries, it is difficult to overestimate the economic and social importance of Arabica coffee: millions of farmers are involved in the cultivation of coffee, who, if they lose their jobs, will be left without a livelihood.
To assess how dry air coffee plants can tolerate, the researchers used the vapor-pressure deficit and built models based on climate data, linking them to information on coffee productivity in the most important arabica-producing countries.
The researchers found that when a steam deficit of 0.82 kilopascals is reached, coffee yields drop to 400 kilograms per hectare half the world average.
The coffee plantations of Mexico, Kenya and Tanzania have already reached this point, and with an increase in global temperatures another degree “over the threshold”, Peru, Honduras, Venezuela, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Colombia and Brazil, which account for 81 percent of the world’s arabica coffee supply, will go out.
What can be done in such a situation? One option is to artificially irrigate plantations, but this will mean additional costs for farmers. In addition, even in conditions of abundant watering, the air can remain very dry.
In addition, switching to other, less sensitive to moisture types of coffee (although their taste qualities are inferior to Arabica) or genetic modification of existing plants to increase their resistance to drought is possible, but such processes will take more than one decade.
So far, the most effective way to save coffee plantations and allow people around the world to enjoy affordable coffee is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the rate of global warming.
This will not only keep coffee on the shelves at an affordable price, but will also save the lives of hundreds of thousands of farmers whose survival depends on the number of beans produced.
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