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How to Save Coffee From Climate Change

Climate change demands a food revolution. Faced with heat, drought, pests and diseases, the crops we eat every day could become relics in a generation or less, at least where they are currently grown.

Take coffee. Right now, the two species that dominate the industry, Coffea arabica and C. canephora (source of the commercial variant robusta) are under urgent threat worldwide—as are the 125 million people who depend on coffee crops for their income. Arabica coffee is especially vulnerable to spiking heat, unreliable rainfall, and the new pests and diseases that thrive in these conditions.

Coffee farmers need better varieties that will withstand the pests and the erratic weather. Where can such traits be found? They may exist today in the wild and on small traditional farms. In far-flung fields and hidden deep in forests are arabica and robusta types—and altogether new coffee species—that could save our future lattes.

Read the full opinion by Crop Trust Executive Director Marie Haga on Scientific American.

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