May 30, 2024 | Eul Basa

Coffee, Chocolate, And Other Foods That Might Become Extinct


Imagine a world without these foods

A world without coffee and chocolate may seem unfathomable—but the truth is that many foods are at risk of disappearing due to climate change, pests, diseases, water shortages, soil degradation, and habitat loss. The following foods are among the most at risk of endangerment (or worse, extinction).

Apples

Apples are the "most endangered food" in the U.S., with 86% of species lost and more at risk. Climate change affects apple growth by disrupting necessary cold weather periods. Pests like fire blight and diseases also harm orchards, usually caused by pests with developed resistance to pesticides. 

Red Apples on the tree,Elizabeth Tr. Armstrong, Pexels

Avocados

Avocados need specific growing conditions, with water needs of over 250 liters per fruit. They are sensitive to increasing temperatures, raising concerns for avocado lovers about water scarcity and temperature changes.

Close Up Photo of a Person Holding AvocadoHONG SON, Pexels

Bananas

Experts warn that the most popular banana variety faces extinction due to the Panama Disease. It's a fungal infection that affects the tree roots, leading to water absorption issues and eventual death of the fruit.

Bunch of Bananas on Black SurfaceKio, Pexels

Barley

Barley's genetic diversity is decreasing rapidly due to the loss of traditional landraces and farming methods. Barley cultivation suffers as water scarcity worsens due to overuse and urban development competition, which reduces water availability.

Brown Rice FieldJESHOOTS.com, Pexels

Cassava

Cassava's decline is due to decreased diversity during domestication and reliance on cuttings. Due to its significance around the globe, there are focused attempts to create new types of plants that can thrive in different climates.

Peeling of CassavaMarcio Skull, Pexels

Cherries

Cherries are being affected by severe weather, diseases, pests, habitat loss, and declining pollinator populations. Many cherry farms are implementing preventative measures to maintain crop yields.

Close Up Photography of a Red Cherry FruitPixabay, Pexels

Chocolate

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), future generations of cacao plants will be impacted by climate change, projecting 89.5% of current cacao land will be unviable by 2050. Saving cacao plants depends on using resilient seeds and the cabruca technique.

Cacao trees in San Jose.World Bank Photo Collection, Flickr

Coffee

Coffee plants at risk of extinction due to extreme weather events and diseases. As a result, coffee production in various parts of the world may decrease, leading to higher prices.

Harvester picking arabica coffee berries from plant in countrysideMichael Burrows, Pexels

Corn

A recent NASA study in Nature Food warns that maize and wheat crops could be affected by climate change by 2030 due to high greenhouse gas emissions. Corn harvests are expected to drop by as much as 24%.

A Heavy Equipment on a Croplandmelissa mayes, Pexels

Durum wheat

Durum wheat used in pasta production is at risk of extinction as farmers struggle with water scarcity and soil degradation. Preserveration efforts are focused on resilience, water conservation, and soil health methods.

Triticum durum (Durum wheat, pasta wheat)Forest and Kim Starr, Flickr

Honey

Honey bees, as well as other insects, are facing challenges globally due to habitat destruction, pesticide usage, and climate change. As a direct result honey production has also decreased since the 1990s and the issue persists, despite many bee conservation efforts.

Close-up of a Man Holding a Honeycomb with BeesBl∡ke, Pexels

Mangoes

Some mango orchards around the world are facing a mysterious disease leading to tree deaths. Poor tree condition indicates an unidentified illness caused by pathogens like fungi, bacteria, nematodes, and insects. Environmental changes such as global warming and pollution are adding to the problem, hindering crop growth.

Woman Staring on Hanging MangoQuang Nguyen Vinh, Pexels

Maple Syrup

In places like Canada, climate change, foreign insects, and diseases threaten maple forests and syrup production. These countries are implementing varoius forestry practices to strengthen forests to handle such challenges.

Flat lay composition with tasty maple syrup.New Africa, Shutterstock

Olives

Severe weather conditions are greatly affecting olive harvests in southern Europe, with 2020's global production being the lowest in four years. Intense heat, winter storms, wildfires in California, and insect attacks have devastated olive farming.

Crop horticulturist touching green olives on treeGary Barnes, Pexels

Oranges

Most fresh oranges, tangerines, and lemons in the US are grown in California, with small Central California communities producing 80 percent. However, a destructive illness known as citrus greening has caused a decline in orange and grapefruit production.

Closeup Photo of Round Lemon FruitAnderson Guerra, Pexels

Palm oil

Palm oil is endangered, which is a problem enough in itself—but its decline is also affecting a number of animal populations. Among these include the Sumatran orangutan, elephant, rhino and tiger.

Palm Oil Sector in Medan, North SumatraILO Asia-Pacific, Flickr

Peanuts

Some suggest that peanuts might disappear by 2030 due to their specific needs of 5 months of warm temperatures and 20-40 inches of rain. Lack of rain prevents pod sprouting while excess rain leads to mold, making peanuts inedible.

Close-Up Photo of Brown PeanutsSonny Sixteen, Pexels

Pineapples

Nearly half of the world's known flowering plants are in danger of extinction. Among them is the pineapple, although some sources claim that it is not yet on the endangered list.

PineapplesVictoria Rachitzky, Flickr

Pistachios

While pistachios are not extinct yet, they are near threatened. Its population is on a downward trend, with threats such as fruit collection, livestock grazing, and cutting contributing to the issue.

Close Up Photo of Bunch of PistachiosAlexis Lozano, Pexels

Potatoes

Temperature change and habitat loss threaten wild potato species. Modelling suggests 13 species in various regions could disappear and 52% distribution area could be lost by 2050.

Potatoes on the ground.Pixabay, Pexels

Rice

3.5 billion people depend on rice for 20% of their daily calories, but its production could drop by 5.5% with a 1.5 degree temperature increase. By 2050, agricultural production might decrease by 11%.

Woman Eating her rice.Meruyert Gonullu, Pexels

Strawberries

Commercial strawberries suffer from viral and fungal infections, making organic options costly and chemical-tainted, facing extinction due to climate change.

Close-up of Woman Holding a Bowl of StrawberriesTowfiqu barbhuiya, Pexels

Sorghum

New research in Diversity and Distributions shows advanced technology identified Australia as the main habitat for wild sorghum relatives, even though sorghum was domesticated in Africa. 12 out of 23 species are endangered.

Sorghum bicolor, commonly called sorghumKiran Nagare, Shutterstock

Vanilla

The study found that climate change is causing extinction risks for wild relatives of common crops in Mesoamerica. Vanilla, wild cotton, avocados, and wild potatoes are among the most threatened species, with vanilla being the most at risk.

Farmer looks at the Vanilla flower with a magnifying glass.chomplearn, Shutterstock

Wine grapes

Global wine regions, from Europe to Southern California, face extinction as climate change threatens grape cultivation. Future losses could be significant, jeopardizing the future of winemaking.

Red and Green Wine grapes in Red Plastic CrateIlias Nikolarakis, Pexels

Kelp

Kelp forests declining globally due to warm water, overharvesting, and predators. One of the few remaining strongholds of kelp can be found in Northern California.

Seaweed from an English beach (kelp oarweed)liz seymour, Shutterstock


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