A new analysis predicts that, as climate change progresses, the most suitable regions for growing coffee arabica, cashews, and avocados will decline in some of the main countries that produce these crops. Roman Grüter and colleagues at Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland, present these findings in the open-access journal PLOS ONE on January 26, 2022.
Coffee, cashews, and avocados are important crops for consumers and for tropical small-scale farmers around the world. Extensive research suggests that climate change will reduce suitability for growing coffee arabica—the dominant coffee species—in most regions where it is currently grown. However, such studies have not considered land and soil characteristics that could also impact suitability. Meanwhile, no studies have addressed how climate change will impact avocado and cashew suitability at a global scale.
To address these knowledge gaps, Grüter and colleagues combined climate change projections and soil factors to computationally model and predict how suitable different regions worldwide will be for growing coffee, cashews, and avocados in 2050. They used projections from 14 global climate models under three different future emission scenarios and incorporated land and soil requirements for the crops, such as pH, texture, and slope.
The analysis predicts that some regions will become more suitable and some less suitable for each crop. Coffee is the most susceptible of the three, with predicted declines in suitability in all major