High extinction risk for wild coffee species and implications for coffee sector sustainability

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Science Advances  16 Jan 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 1, eaav3473
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav3473


Wild coffee species are critical for coffee crop development and, thus, for sustainability of global coffee production. Despite this fact, the extinction risk and conservation priority status of the world’s coffee species are poorly known. Applying IUCN Red List of Threatened Species criteria to all (124) wild coffee species, we undertook a gap analysis for germplasm collections and protected areas and devised a crop wild relative (CWR) priority system. We found that at least 60% of all coffee species are threatened with extinction, 45% are not held in any germplasm collection, and 28% are not known to occur in any protected area. Existing conservation measures, including those for key coffee CWRs, are inadequate. We propose that wild coffee species are extinction sensitive, especially in an era of accelerated climatic change.

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