That morning ritual loved by millions, a simple cup of coffee, may one day be a thing of the past. New research shows that 60% of the world’s 124 species of wild coffee face a mounting threat of extinction, mostly as a result of deforestation. This potential loss of genetic diversity would, in turn, limit the ways in which coffee could be adapted to a changing climate and disease threats.
It’s not just coffee that is in danger. Deforestation is also threatening cocoa and the future of chocolate. Forest loss in the Amazon is eliminating wild relatives of cocoa, while in West Africa it is quickly depleting soils and making crop cultivation much harder. Soil depletion, along with aging trees and the increased risk of pests and disease, is threatening the livelihoods of the already-poor small farmers who produce the vast majority of the world’s cocoa and coffee.