Coffee has proven to be highly sensitive to climate change. Because coffee plantations have a lifespan of about thirty years, the likely effects of future climates are already a concern. Forward-looking research on adaptation is therefore in high demand across the entire supply chain. In this paper we seek to project current and future climate suitability for coffee production (Coffea arabica and Coffea canephora) on a global scale. We used machine learning algorithms to derive functions of climatic suitability from a database of georeferenced production locations. Use of several parameter combinations enhances the robustness of our analysis. The resulting multi-model ensemble suggests that higher temperatures may reduce yields of C. arabica, while C. canephora could suffer from increasing variability of intra-seasonal temperatures. Climate change will reduce the global area suitable for coffee by about 50 % across emission scenarios. Impacts are highest at low latitudes and low altitudes. Impacts at higher altitudes and higher latitudes are still negative but less pronounced. The world's dominant production regions in Brazil and Vietnam may experience substantial reductions in area available for coffee. Some regions in East Africa and Asia may become more suitable, but these are partially in forested areas, which could pose a challenge to mitigation efforts.
Regional studies have shown that climate change will affect climatic suitability for Arabica coffee (Coffea arabica) within current regions of production. Increases in temperature and changes in precipitation patterns will decrease yield, reduce quality and increase pest and disease pressure. This is the first global study on the impact of climate change on suitability to grow Arabica coffee. We modeled the global distribution of Arabica coffee under changes in climatic suitability by 2050s as projected by 21 global circulation models. The results suggest decreased areas suitable for Arabica coffee in Mesoamerica at lower altitudes. In South America close to the equator higher elevations could benefit, but higher latitudes lose suitability. Coffee regions in Ethiopia and Kenya are projected to become more suitable but those in India and Vietnam to become less suitable. Globally, we predict decreases in climatic suitability at lower altitudes and high latitudes, which may shift production among the major regions that produce Arabica coffee.
We present a framework for prioritizing adaptation approaches at a range of timeframes. The framework is illustrated by four case studies from developing countries, each with associated characterization of uncertainty. Two cases on near-term adaptation planning in Sri Lanka and on stakeholder scenario exercises in East Africa show how the relative utility of capacity vs. impact approaches to adaptation planning differ with level of uncertainty and associated lead time. An additional two cases demonstrate that it is possible to identify uncertainties that are relevant to decision making in specific timeframes and circumstances. The case on coffee in Latin America identifies altitudinal thresholds at which incremental vs. transformative adaptation pathways are robust options. The final case uses three crop-climate simulation studies to demonstrate how uncertainty can be characterized at different time horizons to discriminate where robust adaptation options are possible. We find that impact approaches, which use predictive models, are increasingly useful over longer lead times and at higher levels of greenhouse gas emissions. We also find that extreme events are important in determining predictability across a broad range of timescales. The results demonstrate the potential for robust knowledge and actions in the face of uncertainty.climate change | food security | vulnerability | future scenarios | policy A chieving food security under climate change is a complex public policy issue, a so-called "wicked problem." The magnitude of plausible impacts, and costs of inaction or delayed action, mean that individuals and societies must undertake adaptation actions despite uncertainty. Policymakers are accustomed to making decisions under considerable uncertainty and do not necessarily need systematic reductions in uncertainty to act on climate change (1). Nonetheless, science can make a major contribution by elucidating or prioritizing uncertainties in ways that are helpful to the decision-making processes of national policymakers and other stakeholders (2-4). The purpose of this article is to demonstrate how science can provide practical approaches to addressing uncertainty that can assist adaptation planning for agriculture in developing countries over multiple lead times. We achieve this goal by presenting four case studies linked by a framework that combines a simple uncertainty analysis with a characterization of different approaches to adaptation planning. Impact and Capacity Approaches to Adaptation PlanningAdaptation planning can incorporate scientific information both from projections of climatic impacts and assessments of adaptive capacity (Fig. 1). Impact approaches (5, 6) use statistical or mechanistic models to attach probabilities to possible outcomes under a range of scenarios; they arrive at adaptation options for agriculture and food security via analyses that start with climate forcings and global circulation models, and from these project progressive impacts on local climates, crop physiology, crop yi...
The mountain chain of the Sierra Madre de Chiapas in southern Mexico is globally significant for its biodiversity and is one of the most important coffee production areas of Mexico. It provides water for several municipalities and its biosphere reserves are important tourist attractions. Much of the forest cover outside the core protected areas is in fact coffee grown under traditional forest shade. Unless this (agro)forest cover can be sustained, the biodiversity of the Sierra Madre and the environmental services it provides are at risk. We analyzed the threats to livelihoods and environment from climate change through crop suitability modeling based on downscaled climate scenarios for the period 2040 to 2069 (referred to as 2050s) and developed adaptation options through an expert workshop. Significant areas of forest and occasionally coffee are destroyed every year by wildfires, and this problem is bound to increase in a hotter and drier future climate. Widespread landslides and inundations, including on coffee farms, have recently been caused by hurricanes whose intensity is predicted to increase. A hotter climate with more irregular rainfall will be less favorable to the production of quality coffee and lower profitability may compel farmers to abandon shade coffee and expand other land uses of less biodiversity value, probably at the expense of forest. A comprehensive strategy to sustain the biodiversity, ecosystem services and livelihoods of the Sierra Madre in the face of climate change should include the promotion of biodiversity friendly coffee growing and processing practices including complex shade which can offer some hurricane protection and product diversification; payments for forest conservation and restoration from existing government programs complemented by private initiatives; diversification of income sources to mitigate risks associated with unstable environmental conditions and coffee markets; integrated fire management; development of markets that reward sustainable land use practices and forest conservation; crop insurance programs that are accessible to smallholders; and the strengthening of local capacity for adaptive resource management.Response to Reviewers: Major revisions of the paper have been made following the guidance provided by the reviewer: 1)The paper has been shortened through elimination of some non-essential detail, especially in the introduction and the discussion of the adaptation options.2)The methods section has been expanded through a more detailed explanation of the public participation process and of the analytical process. Substantial statistical analysis of the variability among different Global Circulation Models has been added. We now present confidence intervals of 15 GCMs in the maps of predicted future coffee suitability and also a map showing the agreement among models in Figure 3. We also show the prediction of coffee suitability by altitude for individual models, in addition to mean and confidence intervals. Error bars have also been added to ...
The West African cocoa belt, reaching from Sierra Leone to southern Cameroon, is the origin of about 70% of the world's cocoa (Theobroma cacao), which in turn is the basis of the livelihoods of about two million farmers. We analyze cocoa's vulnerability to climate change in the West African cocoa belt, based on climate projections for the 2050s of 19 Global Circulation Models under the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change intermediate emissions scenario RCP 6.0. We use a combination of a statistical model of climatic suitability (Maxent) and the analysis of individual, potentially limiting climate variables. We find that: 1) contrary to expectation, maximum dry season temperatures are projected to become as or more limiting for cocoa as dry season water availability; 2) to reduce the vulnerability of cocoa to excessive dry season temperatures, the systematic use of adaptation strategies like shade trees in cocoa farms will be necessary, in reversal of the current trend of shade reduction; 3) there is a strong differentiation of climate vulnerability within the cocoa belt, with the most vulnerable areas near the forest-savanna transition in Nigeria and eastern Côte d'Ivoire, and the least vulnerable areas in the southern parts of Cameroon, Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire and Liberia; 4) this spatial differentiation of climate vulnerability may lead to future shifts in cocoa production within the region, with the opportunity of partially compensating losses and gains, but also the risk of local production expansion leading to new deforestation. We conclude that adaptation strategies for cocoa in West Africa need to focus at several levels, from the consideration of tolerance to high temperatures in cocoa breeding programs, the promotion of shade trees in cocoa farms, to policies incentivizing the intensification of cocoa production on existing farms where future climate conditions permit and the establishment of new farms in already deforested areas.
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