60% of coffee species in the world are in danger of extinction

Coffee Extinction

This is the first time that coffee has been included in the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as an endangered species.

60% of the world’s 124 coffee species are on the verge of extinction, as a study published in the journal ScienceAdvances and Global Change Biology reveals. According to the researchers, deforestation, climate change, the spread of disease and pathogenic fungi are the main causes for this reduction, which can cause coffee production to decline by at least 50% by 2088.

The study at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, UK, also reveals that measures to conserve coffee beans are currently “inadequate”. 28% of wild coffee species grow outside protected areas and only 55% are preserved in seed banks.

«If it were not for the wild species, we would not have so much coffee in the world today to drink,» Aaron Davis, an organizer of the study, told the BBC. «If you look at the history of coffee growing, we use wild species to make coffee collection more sustainable.»

This is the first time that coffee is classified as threatened in the official ranking of the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

«Given the importance of Arabica coffee to Ethiopia and the world, we need to do our utmost to understand the risks to their survival in nature,» said Tadesse Woldemariam of the Environment and Coffee Forum in Addis Ababa, quoted by BBC.

Ethiopia is the “home” of Arabica coffee, which grows naturally in the rainforests. There are also other world outbreaks such as the island of Madagascar or parts of India, Sri Lanka and Australia.

We mostly use coffee beans of two species in the thousands of available coffee blends – arabica and robusta. There is still a third species – Liberian – but this is rarely used commercially. Although not all wild grains know well, they always contain genes that can be harnessed to continue to preserve the species.

Are you afraid to loose your cup of Joe? What are your thoughts on this coffee extinction?