Arabica Coffee – Threatened by Climate Change

Climate change – is it fact or fiction? In the end, you will say that winters are still cold and pictures taken at the Poles still show huge blocks of floating ice. But global climate is strongly linked to average temperatures in different parts of the world and at different times of the year, and scientists have discovered that global temperature has risen by almost 1°C over the last century. Although it doesn’t seem like much, the changes that have emerged are worrying and the predictions on climate change are not looking good.

In this context, the ability of ecosystems to survive is challenged. A recent study has shown that climate change may destroy the Arabica coffee plant, one of the best and most widespread varieties in the world. Over the next 70 years, we might witness a reduction between 65 and 99.7% of the area covered by the Arabica coffee shrub.


The effects of climate change on the life and reproduction of coffee plants are negative and irreversible, and by 2080, the source of one of our most precious beverages might become extinct. The study, which has monitored and evaluated various analyses and climatic models for the territorial distribution of the coffee shrub, has concluded that this plant is vulnerable and cannot resist climate change. In a nutshell, these shrubs do not have a sufficient degree of genetic variability for them to survive variations in temperature and to combat new parasites and diseases.

The production of coffee beans is tied to the fate and health of wild plants, which means that the extinction of the coffee shrub will be not just a natural catastrophe, but also an economic disaster, since this variety is one of the most widely used and traded coffees around the world. Coffee is the second most consumed beverage in the world, after water, and it is the second most traded commodity, after oil.


The data provided by this study is rather optimistic, since it does not take into account the massive deforestations that have affected Ethiopia and South Sudan, the most important areas where the coffee shrub exists. Nevertheless, immediate action must be taken in order to create a project for preserving this plant. The disappearance of the Arabian coffee is rather surprising and unsettling at the same time, and this study must be seen as a warning and a starting point for initiating actions needed to protect the species.

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Article written by Anca Milea and translated bu Mihail Andreas Motoșeriu.

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