Utne Blogs > Environment

Beetles Devastate Coffee Plants

by David Doody

Tags: coffee berry borer beetle, climate change, Environment, Yale Environment 360, David Doody,

Coffee Beans

In another example of environmental destruction begetting environmental destruction Erica Westly, in Yale Environment 360, tells us how the “cooling effects of shade trees have provided some of the best protection from coffee pests, including the coffee berry borer,” a pest that can devastate coffee plants and that can spread rapidly with minor increases in temperature.  “Studies have shown shade trees can reduce the temperature around coffee leaves by 3 degrees F to 7 degrees F, depending on the environment.”  But shade equals less crops, while sun increases yields, so “many coffee growers have cut down the trees around their coffee plants,” creating an environment more likable to the coffee-loving beetle.

Westly writes:

Jaramillo’s suggestions for the coffee industry are of the either/or variety, not offering many options against the ills of climate change: “Either they start investing in climate research, or they educate the consumers to drink something else.”  I can’t see coffee companies educating their customers to move away from their product, so hopefully they’ll pick Jaramillo’s other option.

Souce: Yale Environment 360

Image by Jeff Kubina, licensed under Creative Commons.