The influence of climate change on coffee can be devastating in the coming decades. If no measures are put in place, cultivation will be much more difficult. Are two totally different things. But everything is connected. More when talking about the consequences of environmental problems. And it is even possible to trace the influence of climate change on coffee. An entire industry that depends on a series of factors linked to patterns: temperature, soil moisture, rainfall. And with a much drier future climate, production would be lagging.
This is the conclusion of a study accessible from Science Direct that focuses attention on Brazilian coffee production. According to the authors’ research, climate change could cause a 60% reduction in coffee production in certain areas of the country. The areas in which the study has focused are mountainous: Matas, in the state of Minas Gerais, and the mountains, in the state of Espíritu Santo.
These two zones produce around 20% of Brazil’s Arabica coffee variety. And the study predicts that in 2050 its climate will be much warmer and drier. And this is where the effects of climate change would be felt in coffee. The temperature would rise 1.7 degrees and the annual rainfall would decrease. Scientists have calculated that the current 1,257 litres per square meter would go down to 1,199 litres per square meter.
The researchers’ calculations point to this drastic 60% reduction. The main reason is the height of the crops. As they are mountainous areas, a change in temperature and rainfall influences more. And it is that in these places the climate is very humid and cold, so they are sensitive to any rise in thermometers.
A Proposed Solution
Little by little, the effects of climate change on areas or groups that have not been thought of until now are known. In the case of coffee, the ravages in production – the study is fixed only in certain areas of Brazil, but it is conceivable that it can be extrapolated to other areas – could affect consumption if measures are not taken. However, the main problem is not there.
There are currently 25 million small coffee producers. Furthermore, it is estimated that around 100 million households in Latin America and Africa live on coffee crops. They are jobs and livelihoods that may be at risk.
Although not everything is bad news. The study proposes a way to save 75% of coffee production. It is about exploiting the concept of agroforestry, a term that combines agriculture and the promotion of forests. In this case, it is about planting trees next to the cultivation fields. If half of the surface has tree shade, the daytime temperature is reduced by 2 to 3 degrees.
Scientists believe that this method is especially effective at heights between 600 and 800 meters. Tree planting is a change of habits that would have to take place from now on to be effective.