A recently released paper comes with some rather unpleasant, but not hopeless, predictions about two important factors of modern life: coffee and bees.
The study underlines the coffee production’s dependency on bees. The former, for its part, is not only a major product for people around the world, it is also the source of income for many people living in Latin American. The problem is that bees, and by extension coffee, are tied and dependent on the environment. So the warming weather and climatic changes are having a detrimental effect on both of them.
Coffee and Bees, Mostly Threatened but Also With the Potential to Grow?
Taylor Ricketts points out that coffee is “one of the most valuable commodities” on the planet. However, its production rates depend on various elements, the environment, and pollinators being among the two most important ones. Ricketts is a study co-author and the director of the University of Vermont’s Gund Institute for Environment.
According to the study, coffee-growing areas of the region could be reduced by as much as 88 percent by 2050. Generally, most such areas, around 91 percent of them, are near tropical forests. Research findings suggest that this proportion will likely increase to 97 percent by 2050. Thus, these forests need to be preserved from human encroachment if this beverage is to be maintained at its current rates. The other option, with Latin American bees cultivated by beekeepers, is problematic because the region’s killer bees are very dangerous to raise.
David Roubik, an entomologist and ecologist with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, explains that while certain areas will no longer be viable for coffee production, some will remain ‘just fine’.
“When it’s a lose-lose situation, we can certainly say ‘don’t try to grow coffee there.’ Grow something else there because it’s not going to work out,” he said.
The study offers possible prevention and adaptation strategies for the problem. These include increasing the number of bees and reducing certain farming practices in areas where coffee and its pollinators are threatened. It also notes that some regions of Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia and Costa Rica will likely increase in sustainability rather than decline.
Research findings and ideas are available in a paper in the journal PNAS.
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