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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Coffee and Climate Change in a Biodiversity Hotspot: The nexus of agriculture, climate adaptation and biodiversity conservation in Kerala, India. 


It is predicted that approximately half of the global land area currently usedfor coffee production will be unsuitable for this purpose by the year 2050 due toclimate change.1 This has substantial social implications as an estimated 125 millionpeople worldwide depend on coffee production for their livelihoods.2 While thisconstitutes a global problem, the solutions are likely to be locally derived and varywith environmental, economic, and cultural factors on a regional scale. The samestudies that project these large-scale shifts in coffee-growing suitability “call forapproaches at the local scale to help farmers to adapt to climate change.” 3 In thiscontext, the nexus of coffee, agriculture, and climate change is explored with thecoffee-growing region of Wayanad in Kerala, India as a case study. History of thecoffee industry in South India is introduced, along with a brief description of thecontemporary global coffee market. Local weather in Wayanad is examinedquantitatively in reference to global climate trends. Finally, a review of implications,policy options, and adaptation strategies is put forth. Emphasis is placed upon theimportance of conscientious consumer choice and the implementation ofsustainable agricultural practices as the most effective ways to build climateresilience into the global coffee supply chain.

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