Are forests the answer to an uncertain future for coffee?

Our morning cup of coffee is under threat from climate change, scientists have warned. Although projections vary on the crop’s capacity to adapt to rising global temperatures, it is certain that the areas with a suitable climate for coffee cultivation will significantly shrink in the upcoming decades, challenging global production capacity. Moreover, heatwaves and unreliable rainfall generate conditions in which pests and diseases that can devastate coffee plantations thrive, such as the coffee leaf rust.

Coffee is one of the most traded commodities in the world, consumed by one third of the global population. But while climate change will deprive caffeine-hooked consumers; the worst consequences will be felt by around 125 million people directly involved in coffee production and trade, including many smallholder farmers who depend on it to secure their livelihoods.

Facing an uncertain future, major coffee companies and concerned public entities have mobilized funding to support innovation and adaptation initiatives to ensure the industry continues to thrive. However, they might be overlooking a hidden treasure in Africa’s tropical forests.

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