Y: Don, as global temperatures rise due to climate change, the cool, mountainous habitats where the best coffee is grown are becoming warmer and space suitable for growing coffee narrows.
D: Yes, Yaël, and expectedly, these changes produce interrelated effects linked to other organisms in the regions. Coffee-growing zones in Central America typically host at least 10 different species of wild bees.
Y: But researchers predict that up to 88% of these zones could be lost by 2050, and many bees currently living in these places will find them no longer suitable. Essentially, climate change drives both of these scenarios and leaves about half of the zones uninhabitable to wild bees.
D: If honey bees have a significant presence in a certain zone, then they could maintain current pollination rates, but biodiversity would severely decline. Bee biodiversity ensures a vibrant ecology, which bolsters productivity and the berry weight of coffee plants. And with around 100 million people depending on the sale of coffee to sustain their food security, maintaining productivity is paramount.
Y: Countries like Mexico, Guatemala, and Colombia are projected to retain stable climate in their mountainous regions, but countries like Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Honduras will not be this fortunate. And that is why it is important to respond to these things now and work to preserve tropical rainforests, which are vital habitats for pollinators. In fact, most coffee-growing regions are within one mile of a tropical rainforest.
D: The smallholder farmers and those working with them can help keep bees in the region by planting and replanting shade trees and native plants to provide food and nesting for the bees near these farms.