COS 10-4
Forest-coffee conflict under future climate change

Monday, August 11, 2014: 2:30 PM
Regency Blrm E, Hyatt Regency Hotel
Ainhoa Magrach, ETH Zurich
Jaboury Ghazoul, Department of Environmental Sciences, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

A changing climate has raised the spectre that many areas that are currently under crop cultivation will in the future no longer be suitable for agriculture, or at least not for the crops that are currently planted. Particular concern has been levelled at coffee one of the world’s most important crop commodities and one of the most sensitive to local climate. Here we use ecological niche modelling to project future areas suitable for coffee cultivation under a variety of climate scenarios. We also evaluate the conflict that might exist between the shifts in the global distribution of coffee plantations under future climatic scenarios given future increases in demand across the globe and other land uses, in particular forests. We undertook these approaches on a global scale as well as a regional scale. At the regional scale we focus on the Western Ghats in India which is the most densely populated biodiversity hotspot and a major coffee producing region.


Our projections, suggest that the suitability for this crop will increase at a global scale although with certain shifts from the current distribution. Although many of these areas deemed as optimal for coffee conflict with forest and other crops, such as cocoa, our results suggest that the future predicted expanse in coffee areas could be easily met without deforestation or substitution of other crops. Within the Western Ghats, however, meeting the future expected area needed for coffee would mean the disturbance of important areas of forest with the resulting loss of carbon, especially exacerbated if forest were substituted by exotic shade plantations (mostly shaded by the fast-growing tree G. robusta).