For a long time now, we have been witnessing change in climate or we may call it climate change. Climate change has its impact on everything from skyscrapers to living beings, high glaciers melting into pools, droughts, floods, devastating tsunamis and catastrophic heat waves that have caused record injuries, deaths, and devastating losses of land and property. And now a report on global warming affecting the coffee plantations has sent shock waves around the globe.
According to the report, Global warming poses a threat to future world coffee crops with rising temperatures and drought likely to force some producers to seek higher and cooler land. A rise in temperatures of about 2 degrees Celsius would mean a “dramatic” reduction in the coffee growing area with producers moving to higher regions where there is less suitable land.
India’s coffee growers will have to face two problems together. One, increasing temperatures and reduced rainfall affecting their crops and resulting in droughts. Other, drop in the number of bees that fertilize the trees. Even a third problem stands to stare, that is, threat from a destructive pest, white stem borer, to the coffee plantations.
For eons, coffee plants have been shade-grown, but a recent trend shows shift to sun-grown coffee by a majority of countries. Shade grown coffee has its own benefits. Most varieties of coffee are naturally intolerant of direct sunlight, and grow well under a canopy of trees, that protect the coffee from direct sun and their organic wastes of fallen leaves restore the fertility of the soil and help retain soil moisture. The nitrogen-fixing shade trees are in addition a habitat for birds and butterflies that, in turn, provide natural insect control with their constant foraging. No need of fertilizers and pesticides then.
Forests are called ‘carbon sinks‘. And coffee forests serve to cool the earth by evaporation and transportation of millions of gallons of water that in turn helps in cloud formation, and gives abundant rainfall. Once man behind global warming and climate change interrupts this cycle, the very life of the life cycle will be disturbed affecting not only the flora and fauna but man will be the one to suffer the most. Its better man stays away from being the culprit and killer of his own environment.