The Coffea genus and biodiversity
According to the very latest count, the Coffea genus includes 130 species: 6 new species just summed up to the previous 124. Only two species are widely cultivated C. canephora (producing coffee known as Robusta or Conilon) and C. arabica.
This Coffea galaxy represents a huge reservoir of genes to tap in and face various challenges, including the ones we do not know yet.
Unfortunately, a lot of Coffea species are at dire risk of extinction.
RD2 believes that the biggest risk, even greater that climate change itself, is to lose the Coffea genetic resources that might allow the coffee community to cope with the climate change.
This is why Dr Montagnon was one of the initiators of the Coffee Genetic Resource conservation strategy led by CropTrust. The proposed strategy has been published here (Dr Montagnon is co-author). A nice brochure is also available here.
The top priority is to safeguard current major Coffea Germplasm collections in Côte d’Ivoire and Madagascar. Regarding Madagascar, the very nice and dynamic “Association for the Conservation and Research on will coffee trees” is helping saveguarding the unique Coffea resources of this country. This association is living from donations…Don’t hesitate to help them online! They have released a very nice book with very nice pictures of major Coffea