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Our Coffee Addiction Could Destroy Earth’s Tropical Forests

Coffee producers may need a wake-up call.Soaring demand for the caffeinated brew could hasten destructive climate change by encouraging producers to chop down some of the last remaining tropical forests as they struggle to increase yields on existing farmland, according to a report released Thursday by the nonprofit Conservation International.Coffee grows in tropical countries near the equator, such as Indonesia, Brazil and Uganda, where thick jungles rich with biodiversity provide fresh water and store tons of carbon. Farmers expand their fields by felling trees in these forests and burning the dense underbrush — releasing that carbon into the atmosphere, where it traps other gases and warms the planet. As a result, deforestation is a twofold environmental catastrophe: Left intact, forests absorb many of the pollutants that cause global warming. Destroyed, they unleash even more emissions and speed up the pace of climate change. Worse, it’s a self-perpetuating cycle. As climate change worsens, the amount of existing farmland suitable for growing coffee shrinks.

Source: Our Coffee Addiction Could Destroy Earth’s Tropical Forests

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