Can We Sustain Our Coffee Habit?

[Dr. Stephen] Gliessman argues that these resilient coffee forests will be able to survive climate change. “It is the low elevation robusta variety of coffee and the coffee that is grown in large monoculture, full sun plantations (the bulk of the coffee traded on the open commodity market) that will not be resilient.” Single species plantations are more susceptible to disease and pests linked to climate change from lack of genetic diversity, and rising temperatures will make it impossible to grow even low-quality robusta at lower elevations.

“Some people say coffee will have to move up in elevation to cooler areas, but those areas are where some of the only remaining forest exists. In my opinion, with climate change, there will be added incentive for farmers to diversify their coffee plantings … so that coffee once again functions as the shade loving, interior forest shrub species it originated as in the mountains of Ethiopia.”

Leif Haven writing at Eater about coffee’s environmental footprint and long-term viability on a warming planet.

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