The World's Most Popular Coffee Species Are Going Extinct. And Scientists Say We Are to Blame
Savor that cup of coffee while you can. New research shows 60% of coffee species found in the wild could soon go extinct.
Researchers at Kew Royal Botanic Gardens in the UK warn that climate change, deforestation, droughts and plant diseases are putting the future of coffee at risk.
"The important thing to remember is that coffee requires a forest habitat for its survival," senior researcher Aaron P. Davis told CNN. "With so much deforestation going on around the world, wild coffee species are being impacted at an alarming rate."
Davis added that coffee plants grow in very specific natural habitats, so rising temperatures and increased rainfall brought by climate change can make coffee impossible to grow in places the plants once thrived.
"Considering threats from human encroachment and deforestation, some (coffee species) could be extinct in 10 to 20 years, particularly with the added influence of climate change," Davis said.
The study published in Science Advances -- a collaboration between scientists in the UK and Ethiopia -- says that unless governments and commercial producers ramp up protections for coffee species and stockpile more seeds, it could impact your daily grind. Fewer coffee crops means your morning cup might get more expensive and taste worse.
Out of 124 types of wild coffee, 75 are at risk of extinction. About 35 of the 124 species grow in areas with no conservation protections.
The most popular kind of coffee for commercial production, arabica, is already on the endangered species list. Davis' previous research revealed that arabica coffee could become extinct in as little as 60 years.