Global warming may reduce the coffee-growing areas in Latin America by as much as 88 percent by the year 2050, researchers have revealed.

Impact Of Climate Change On Coffee-Producing Regions

Besides its impact on Latin America, the largest coffee-producing region in the world, climate change is also anticipated to affect the coffee growing areas in Africa and Asia.

This could mean that coffee could become far less available and more expensive. It could also affect the livelihood of people who depend on the coffee industry. About 25 million farmers in 60 countries worldwide grow coffee and about 100 people are involved in production.

"There's more at stake here than my nice espresso in New York or Paris going to get more expensive. It threatens the primary livelihood of millions of people who are already vulnerable," said study researcher Taylor Ricketts, the director of the Gund Institute for Environment at the University of Vermont.

Using computer models, researchers of the new study found that as a consequence of climate change, the coffee-growing areas in Latin America could be reduced by as much as 88 percent by the year 2050 with Nicaragua, Venezuela and Honduras expected to see the largest decline.

Effect On Coffee-Pollinating Bees

The computer models also hint that the warming temperatures will drive out multiple species of coffee-pollinating bees. While coffee can pollinate itself and produce some fruits without the help of animals going between their flowers, experts said that production still tends to be a bit greater when there is something that carries pollen between plants. Coffee fruits are bigger and heavier if they are pollinated this way.

"Two-thirds of the most valuable commodities on earth rely on bees and other pollinators to produce well," Ricketts said. "Pollinators are the essential and silent heroes of our global food system."

Strategies To Reduce Negative Impact Of Climate Change On Coffee Farmers

Maintaining habitats for wild bees in coffee-growing regions, growing coffee under the shade of trees to provide habitats for pollinators and cool the beans, and transitioning to another kind of crop are among the strategies that can help reduce the negative impact of climate change to coffee farmers.

"Climate change will modify coffee and bee distributions, and thus coffee production," the researchers wrote in their study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy. "Our results highlight the need for responsive management strategies tailored to bee pollination, coffee suitability, and potential coupled effects."

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