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Viewings: 5016Coffee lovers expect hard times, and no matter whether you prefer three double espresso a day, or only from time to time catch cappuccino. The fact that climate change will hit the coffee industry, filling 1.6 billion cups a day. Not far off is the time when an afternoon espresso will be more expensive wines.
Coffee is cultivated in many tropical countries, but it grows in the wild only in certain areas of Ethiopia and Sudan.
This prospect terrifies not only those who drink, but those who raise. Coffee is one of the major export crops in tropical countries, at his expense live 26 million farmers. Our love for makiato and latte made coffee is the second most actively traded commodity after oil: annual export volume is estimated at $15 billion Alas, all this market depends on the plants, which are very vulnerable to climate change.
...Which has already begun: in the coffee growing temperature and increased or decreased rainfall. And every bad harvest, the price of coffee jumps. Industry is ready to give any money for a solution that ensures its future. What are the chances?
The cultivation of coffee began somewhere in the VI century, when a few trees from the highlands of Ethiopia were in Yemen. The widespread consumption of the drink belongs to XVII-XVIII centuries with the prevalence of coffee plantations in the colonies. Today, coffee is grown in 70 countries. About two-thirds of grains gives a view of Coffea arabica (coffee Arabian) - the same, of Ethiopian origin. Arabica has a mild, delicate aroma, for which the consumer is willing to pay big money, which is used by the farmers. At the same time, reliance on one view makes the industry is particularly vulnerable.
C. arabica appeared in the undergrowth cool, shrouded in cloud forests at a height of from one thousand to two thousand meters above sea level and therefore the whimsical to the environment. Best of all, this plant is feeling where is kept a constant temperature in the area 18-21 C. the warmer, the worse yields. If the thermometer is too long shows more than 30 C, the leaves and stems are covered unhealthy growths. Before that, at temperatures above 23 degrees C, the growth and maturation accelerated, resulting in reduced quality of grains. Meanwhile, greenhouse gas emissions today cater to the most pessimistic forecasts of the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC), which States that by 2060-s, the global average temperature will increase 4o C, and by the end of the century - 5--6 C.
Coffee tree demanding and water. During the formation of buds he needs dry weather, and in the period of flowering give rains. But not too strong, otherwise there will be no fruit. When the berries grow, they also want to dripping from above.
Alas, climate models predict that rising temperatures in the tropics will be accompanied by the change of the pattern of precipitation with more frequent weather extremes and El-Nino and La-Nina. One area awaits the prolonged drought, and other flood. The rainy season and the cloud cover will change their habits. Above all, climate change will lead to the ingress of pests and diseases into new regions. For example, predicted the appearance in the higher latitudes of the worst pest of all - coffee beetle Hypothenemus hampei.
These phenomena have already affected Eastern Africa, where the climate is particularly changeable and frequent droughts, and Central America. About what awaits the world, one can judge by the example of Colombia is the largest after the Brazilian manufacturer of Arabica. From 2009 to 2012 there were incessant rains. No need for coffee dry period and the spread of mold led to the fall in yields to 35-year low.
And if with heat and drought can fight (for example, planting tall trees offer shade to mulch, go for irrigation, and so on), then get rid of moisture is almost impossible. Therefore, the most reliable lifeline will become more hardy varieties of Arabica. But breeders will have to solve a very difficult task. The fact that almost all the trees are descendants of a small number of plants brought in the Dutch and French colonies in XVII-XVIII centuries, that is, the genetic Fund of extremely small: the genetic variability within the species is estimated only about 1%.
So, for example, the organization of World Coffee Research is looking for in the collections of the countries-manufacturers of mutants with unusual characteristics, as well as trees that grew from seeds exported from Ethiopia after the 1960s, the Genetic variability of these instances by at least an order of magnitude higher than those that are bred on the plantations. The new variety is scheduled in early 2020 agricultural
If these few hundred trees have such a capability, then what about the wild coffee, which continues to adapt and evolve! Economists estimate of the annual value of genetic resources of wild coffee trees Ethiopia at $0.5-1.5 billion, But access to them is not easy: we have to wait until we resolve the issue of the rights on biological property, and it may take years. Ethiopia is reluctant to disclose all of its natural wealth - it is enough to recall her clash with American coffee giant Starbucks, when the country tried to register the trademark on his most famous of grain.
Do not forget that wild trees Ethiopia vulnerable not less than the garden. In the result of climate change, they can disappear in a few decades. Even if the situation of greenhouse gases will be developed according to the most optimistic scenario of the IPCC, by 2080 65% of the areas where coffee is grown now, will be for this is unfit. In the worst case, this figure will make up 99.7%. And this despite the fact that the researchers did not take into account deforestation, the possible extinction of birds carrying the coffee beans, and other factors.
Scientists have recently been on a plateau Boma in the East of southern Sudan is one of the few places in the world where is growing wild C. arabica. In 1941 there was a great high wood, and now only a handful of Hilo copies. Computer model suggests that there coffee will disappear by 2020.
In this situation, other species of coffee trees are beginning to receive more attention, and above all it C. canephora (coffee Congolese), which accounts for a third of the world market. This variety is known to a wider public as Robusta, comes from the hot lowland forests of Africa. Most comfortable to him at temperatures between 22 and 26 OC), but it worse cope with the heat and drought. And then - not the taste, you know? Drink turns out strong and bitter, so it is mixed with Arabica. In the basis of instant coffee it is this mixture. Robusta is actively cultivated in Brazil, Vietnam and India, but low prices for this sort of almost like the farmers who used to earn on the Arabica.
Perhaps the situation will be corrected by the elimination of a new Robusta with improved taste. So breeders again go into the wilderness of Central Africa in search of suitable genetic variants.
There are other types of coffee in the genus. Aaron Davies of the Royal Botanic gardens Kew (UK) says that in the last 15 years he managed to open 22 new species, bringing the total number rose to 125. May they can never replace the Arabica, they can be useful for her genes.
However, who knows - perhaps by mid-century we will have to try them all.
Prepared according to NewScientist.
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