Planting trees on coffee fields and plantations can protect coffee plants from climate change

Wageningen University & Research 29 Mag 2020
94 volte



Will we still drink coffee in the future, and will coffee remain affordable? Maybe. But not without adjusting coffee farms to climate change. Agroforestry in coffee fields, which means growing coffee under the shadow of trees, could contribute to the conservation of coffee plantations whose existence is under threat from climate change. This is demonstrated by model calculations conducted by Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and the Federal University of Viçosa (Brazil) for Zona de Mata, a key coffee region in Brazil.

More than 1,5 billion cups of coffee are consumed worldwide each day. But while the demand for coffee increases, the coffee plant, and the Arabica species in particular, is under threat from climate change. Coffee is of crucial importance to the livelihood of millions of small-scale farmers. The rising temperatures diminish the area suited to growing Arabica coffee. Estimates show that, based on the current climate scenarios, the areas suited to cultivating coffee will have shrunk by half in 2050. Furthermore, uncertain conditions, such as severe precipitation or drought, make harvests uncertain.

75% coffee retained through agroforestry


Combining coffee farming with trees that provide shade, cooling and protection from extreme rainfall while still allowing sufficient light to pass through, could significantly increase the resilience of the coffee production system against these changing circumstances. In his thesis, PhD candidate Lucas de Carvalho Gomes states that model calculations show that 60% of the current acreage used for coffee production in the Zona de Mata (Brazil) will be lost by 2050.
However, the adoption of agroforestry systems with 50% shade cover can reduce the mean temperatures and maintain 75 % of the area suitable for coffee production in 2050. This improvement of the microclimate applies in particular to fields located at an altitude of 600 to 800 metres. The tree species Aegiphila sellowiana, Inga spp., Sena macranthera and Persea americana (avocado) are among the tree species suited to provide shade.

Scientific publication and PhD

Lucas de Carvalho Gomes research results are to be published in the June edition of Science Direct and are already available online: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167880920300438.
The doi link for the paper is: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2020.106858

De Carvalho Gomes defended his thesis on Tuesday, 26 May. ‘These results show that we must reconsider the current model of coffee production. Agroforestry in coffee fields has many advantages, but also requires agro-ecological expertise by farmers and scientists’, says co-supervisor Felix Bianchi, associate professor at the Plant Sciences Department of WUR.

 

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2020.106858

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Scienzaonline con sottotitolo Sciencenew  - Periodico
Autorizzazioni del Tribunale di Roma – diffusioni:
telematica quotidiana 229/2006 del 08/06/2006
mensile per mezzo stampa 293/2003 del 07/07/2003
Scienceonline, Autorizzazione del Tribunale di Roma 228/2006 del 29/05/06
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