Kiss the guacamole good bye. Researchers in Mexico warn that the avocado is becoming an endangered species due to climate change. It has been identified as an endangered fruit due to the climate-driven spread of fruit flies, Anastrepha ludens.
A New York Times article March 13 noted that an exhibit in the American Museum of Natural History about unexpected results of climate change include a threat to avocado trees. The museum’s SciCafe will “feature Mexican research on how the climate-driven spread of fruit flies affects an endangered fruit: the avocado.” The article goes on to say that “Already, rising temperatures are disrupting the avocado supply chain, causing price increases across the United States that have also been exacerbated by trade uncertainty.”
Scientists are trying to head off the avocado calamity by altering avocado DNA. “As climate change intensifies, however, the challenges facing the avocado industry are becoming increasingly urgent,” the Times article cautions. “Over the next few years, heat waves will become more common, scientists and industry experts predict, potentially leading to even more severe shortages. A recent study by scientists in California estimated that climate change could reduce the state’s avocado production, which last year totaled 300 million pounds, by 40 percent over the next three decades.”
Last year, the United States imported nearly two billion pounds of avocados from Mexico.