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Many coffee species threatened with extinction - scientists

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on January 16, 2019 - Duration: 01:32s

Many coffee species threatened with extinction - scientists

Climate change and deforestation are putting more than half the world's wild coffee species at risk of extinction, including the popular commercial coffees Arabica and Robusta, scientists warned on Wednesday (Jan 16).

Saskia O'Donoghue reports.

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Many coffee species threatened with extinction - scientists

It's the drink which fuels most of the world - but that could be set to change.

Scientists are warning that more than half of the world's wild coffee species are at risk of extinction.

Climate change and deforestation are putting some varieties - including the popular Arabica and Robusta - in danger.

Research found that current conservation measures for wild coffee species are not enough to protect their long-term future.

The reason?

Most coffee species actually occur in forests - and climate change is hitting those regions hard, but experts say the findings are not just important for coffee drinkers.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) DR AARON DAVIS, HEAD OF COFFEE RESEARCH AT ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS, KEW SAYING: "So you might say so what?

It's only a drink.

Well it's a it's a pretty important drink.

For producing countries it's particularly important.

So there are many countries which depend on coffee for the majority of the bulk of their export earnings.

It's estimated that around the world there are 100 million people producing coffee in farms around the world." Ethiopia could be particularly badly affected.

It's the natural birthplace of wild Arabica coffee and Africa's largest coffee exporter.

Around 15 million Ethiopians are involved in coffee production and annual exports have a value of around $1 billion.

There are fears that a changing climate could reduce the number of locations where Arabica grows by as much as 85 percent by 2080.

That would be a huge blow to coffee drinkers - and its producers - worldwide.

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