A Valentine’s ode to chocolate trees

Valentine’s day is just around the corner, and I’ve been reminded in the last few days of a few of the reasons why I love trees.

One reminder came yesterday in The Diane Rehm Show. Rehm invited a panel of experts to discuss the state of the cacao tree – which provides us those lovely pods filled with beans that, when fermented and roasted, are transformed into a favorite Valentine’s gift: chocolate.

Save the chocolate trees
Scientists are hard at work trying to learn more about cacao trees so they can help farmers around the world produce stronger, healthier cacao trees – ones more resistant to climate change, drought, pests and disease. They’re doing this in part by mapping the genome of known varieties of cacao trees, and by exploring the Amazon to find wild, uncultivated strands that may be able to infuse greater genetic diversity to the current pool of cultivated chocolate trees.  Continue reading