60% of wild coffee species are threatened with extinction

The first ever IUCN Red List assessment has been conducted on all 124 wild coffee species, and the implications of these findings predict a concerning future for global coffee production. The newly published research reveals that 60 per cent of all wild coffee species are under threat of extinction. This includes wild relatives of Coffea arabica, the world’s most widely traded coffee, which are designated as an Endangered species on the Red List, largely due to climate change projections.

“This is the first time an IUCN Red List assessment has been carried out to find the extinction risk of the world’s coffee, and the results are worrying,” says Eimear Nic Lughadha, senior research leader in Kew’s Conservation Department and lead scientist for Kew’s Plant Assessment Unit. “A figure of 60 per cent of all coffee species threatened with extinction is extremely high, especially when you compare this to a global estimate of 22 per cent for plants. Some of the coffee species assessed have not been seen in the wild for more than 100 years, and it is possible that some may already be extinct. We hope this new data will highlight species to be prioritised for the sustainability of the coffee production sector so that appropriate action can be taken to safeguard their future.”

Source: BBC Wildlife Magazine, May 2019